Who we are

Birds SA has members from all walks of life.

We have a Management Committee, Conservation Fund Committee and several sub-committees.

Members of our Management Committee are listed below.

Management Committee

Steven Langley


Raised in the UK, I have been keen bird watcher all my life. Member of RSPB, Hawk & Owl Trust, British Trust for Ornithology and local County wildlife clubs. Active involvement in several active raptor protection schemes including Barn Owls in UK, Ospreys in Scotland and Montagu Harriers in France. Lived in France, Spain as well as UK, but emigrated in 2010 with my Adelaide wife and 3 now teenage kids, so I’m loving the challenge to learn a new avian world. Professionally, I have a Sales & Marketing background, focusing on technology and international business.

Jeff Groves

1st Vice-President & General Meeting Talks Coordinator

I grew up in the northern rivers region of NSW where I was surrounded with a wonderful diversity of birdlife. After a working life in engineering, mainly in new product development and related business activities, retirement has provided the opportunity to pursue my passion for wildlife photography, made far more accessible with modern digital cameras. Birdlife has been a priority with these photographic pursuits and I have come to appreciate the diverse range of bird species available to us in South Australia, within reasonably easy reach, as well as the major threats that many species are facing. Since joining the Conservation Sub-Committee of Birds SA in 2012 I have come to the realisation that the role of Birds SA in actively pursuing the conservation of Australian birds and their habitats has never been more important.

Ray Nias

2nd Vice-President

Originally from South Australia, Dr Ray Nias moved to New South Wales in 1982 and studied cooperative breeding in the Superb Fairy-wren for his PhD thesis. He returned to South Australia and was funded by the South Australian Ornithological Association to conduct surveys of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos on Eyre Peninsula. In 1988 Ray moved to Sydney to take up the position of Conservation Director for WWF Australia until 2009. From 2011 - 2018, he was the South-west Pacific Director for Island Conservation, a US-based conservation group that specialises in the problem of invasive species on islands. In 2020 he returned to South Australia and, in addition to being a Director of the environmental organisation TierraMar, Ray is the Chair of the Birds SA Conservation Sub-committee.

Roger Bourne


Born in a small town in a Welsh mining valley my early birding memories are looking for nests of ravens, buzzards and sparrowhawks on the cliffs and in the woods of the steep mountain sides above the town. Later birds provided regular subjects for my growing interest in photography and while not being a fanatical birder I enjoyed watching and photographing birds on weekend trips and holidays. Emigrating to Australia in 1979 I was blown away by the colours of the honeyeaters, robins, cockatoos, rosellas and lorikeets that seemed to be everywhere even in streets and gardens around Melbourne and Adelaide. I was also fortunate that as part of my job I worked on projects in remote locations, initially in outback Australia and later overseas in Indonesia, India, West Papua, Thailand and Vietnam. This presented many birding opportunities for the multitude of new and exotic bird species. However, some of the most memorable moments came while not actively birding but doing other things such as floating in a swimming pool in an Indian hotel while vultures and kites circled overhead in the thermals and hearing hornbills flying overhead while soaking in a pool in West Papua. Relocating back to Australia after five years in India we decided to make Adelaide our home. Since retiring my interest in birds and bird photography increased resulting in frequent birding field trips, pelagic trips, participating in bird surveys and eventually joining Birds SA in 2018. My wife and I started attending the monthly Birds SA meetings, participating in field trips and camp outs resulting in meeting a great bunch of like minded birders and greatly increasing our bird knowledge. It was at one of the monthly meetings that my wife volunteered me to assist with the secretarial duties and I became Secretary in December 2021, presenting me with the chance to give something back to the association, while further increasing my birding knowledge.

Anita Smyth

Treasurer & Website Tech Support

I started birding at about 8 years old when watching a spotted bowerbird at its bower in western Queensland. I was a keen twitcher on weekends and holidays in my 20s and 30s twitching anywhere in Australia and learnt heaps about seabirds and migrants. Science beckoned and I studied the foraging and nesting behaviours of the Silvereye on Heron Island, Black-breasted Button-quail, Powerful Owl and another 28 species in south-east Queensland for my PhD. My postdoc was on hollow-nesting birds of subtropical forests at The University of Queensland. I work on inland biodiversity of grazing lands and sleepy lizards of the Mallee lands at CSIRO. Before retirement, I transitioned to managing research data in national databases with TERN at The University of Adelaide office. I have also studied accounting as part of a MBA. I was briefly President of Queensland Ornithological Society (now Birds Queensland) and a member of the then RAOU (Birdlife Australia) Rarities Committee for Queensland in 90s. I'm also a member of the Conservation Fund Committee. My main interests are promoting healthy ecosystems for healthy living and biodiversity, nature travelling (birding), and reading.

Claire Bourne

Ordinary Member - Events Coordinator & New Memberships

I was born in Dunedin, New Zealand and one of my earliest birding memories as a child is of sitting on a swing in the park watching a Tui in a Kowhai tree.I moved to Australia in my 20’s and have been lucky to have travelled extensively throughout the country always taking an interest in birds wherever we went.We have been fortunate in living and travelling throughout the world and seeing many wonderful birds.We have had many holidays in the UK over the decades and enjoyed many birding experiences there becoming members of the RSPB. After retiring from Medical Science I became a Zoo Guide at Adelaide Zoo where I have enjoyed a wide and varied interaction with the public for over a decade.

Alan Burns

Ordinary Member - Events Team

I have always had a love of the southern Australian bush. Having many country cousins, as a western suburbs Adelaidean boy, my family was regularly visiting relatives in Langhorne Creek, Strathalbyn, Nuriootpa, Clare and many other SA towns. When I first saw my cousin’s budgie aviary at Strathalbyn, I knew what I wanted. I built my first wooden cage at about age 10, which was soon replaced by my fitter & turner father with a new steel aviary and I kept and bred many species from then on. I have since been drawn to the conservation of the Australian woodland as a place to preserve these wonderful birds and many more unique creatures and plants which make up our unique Australian symbiotic systems, all trying desperately to survive against urban development and ignorance. I have grown and planted trees for Trees for Life and been a member for over 20 years and when I settled at Sheidow Park in the mid-1980s to start a family, I was determined to save as much as I could and learn as much as I could. In 1996, I joined a group of southern residents trying to save 208 hectares at O’Halloran Hill and my devotion to Glenthorne Farm had begun. I joined Birds SA in September 2005. I enjoy being around like-minded environmentalists. I have joined many conservation and Friends groups including the Australian Plant Society (SA), Bush Heritage Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation and devote my spare time to anything environmental. Recently I worked to have the City of Marion and residents to start to revegetate Nari Reserve at Sheidow Park and to date about 3,000 plants have been planted with more to follow in coming years. But Glenthorne Farm remains my most consuming passion and has been for over 21 years, where I organise monthly working bees to control weeds and plant seedlings. I have been the Secretary / Treasurer of the Friends of Glenthorne Inc (Now Glenthorne National Park) for about 15 years. I am a CPA qualified accountant and have worked in the insurance industry, the motor vehicle manufacture industry and are currently working in the fishing industry for a large, privately owned Australian company. I have recently also taken up the position of Secretary / Treasurer of the Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association Inc and have enjoyed working in the fishing industry for almost 28 years.

Graham Carpenter

Ordinary Member - Bird Record Secretary

Graham has been a enthusiastic and dedicated Birds SA member for many years and is a highly regarded and respected bird expert. He also manages our Bird reports and sightings records collected by our members over the years, which are then published in the 'Birder' newsletter and the SA Ornithologist Journal.

John Gitsham

Ordinary Member - General Meetings Coordinator

John Gitsham has recently retired as Ranger in Charge for the SA NPWS famous Coorong National Park. He’s had over 25 years’ experience working the Conservation Industry both in Government and private in many and varied Conservation roles. He’s a dedicated Conservationist, Naturalist and Birder (over 40 years) and Bird photographer. Has worked for various wildlife sanctuaries under Earth Sanctuaries, Australian Wildlife Conservancy, (NPWS SA) National Parks and Wildlife SA, NRM SA in many roles e.g., Nature Guide, Head Ranger, Wildlife Manager and Fleurieu Swamps Project Officer and Wetlands Manager for the Murraylands NRM in SA. Worked as Senior ranger at the world renown Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary (NPWS SA). Has Bachelor’s Degree in Ecotourism (Conservation Biology) Flinders University, SA and Grad. Dip Photography, SA School of Art, University of SA. Is a Past President of Birds SA and Committee member and member of the BirdLife Australia’s Gluepot Bird Reserve Management Committee in the SA Riverland of both for over 20 years. An accomplished Nature Photographer of Birds and Landscapes, he was previously a Professional photographer for 20 years in the 1970’s and 80’s and has recently produced two books of his BW Landscape photography work. Facilitator/Tour guide of many Guided Bird walks, Bird talks/Lectures and Birdwatching Courses for 20 years including teaching Photography courses for SA TAFE. Operated his own Nature/Bird Tours as a Tour guide throughout SA on and off over the past 10 years. Casual Bird Tour Guide up in Darwin 3 months of the year with NT Bird Specialist. John firmly believes in “Conservation through Education” when working with the public.

Philippa Horton

Ordinary Member - Journal Editor

My budding interest in birds developed into a passion in 1970 during a family holiday on the Hawkesbury River, where I wanted to know the names of new birds I was seeing. I borrowed Leach’s An Australian Bird Book from my school library and discovered that the very elegant bird standing on a mooring buoy had been a White-faced Heron; I was hooked! I joined the SAOA in 1972, and studied Zoology and Botany at the University of Adelaide. After two years working in the Herbarium at the Waite Institute, followed by a Ph.D. on frog reproductive anatomy, I was lucky enough to land a junior position at the SA Museum. I remained there for 34½ years, much of the time as Senior Collection Manager, Ornithology. I was also Editor of Records of the South Australian Museum 1989-1992. Following retirement in 2019, I am now an Honorary Research Associate at the Museum, and continue working on diverse collection-related projects, including historical and taxonomic research. I was a volunteer walk leader for 30 years with Walks with Nature (Nature Conservation Society of SA), and in Birds SA I looked after non-member publication subscriptions for 15 years and was a member of the Conservation Fund Management Committee for seven years.

Lynton Huxley

Ordinary Member - Field Program Coordinator

My interest in birds started when I kept and bred budgies about 40 years ago. Shortly after that my wife Karen and I built aviaries and expanded into also breeding King, Princess and Scarlet-chested parrots for the next 12 years. Our life and free time changed when our son Michael was born and so the birds and aviaries were sold and we concentrated on our other interest, remote area travel. As a family we have been most fortunate in being able to film/ photograph many of Australia’s birds and reptiles during our extensive travels. We joined Birds SA as a ‘young family’ about 12 years ago and appreciated the support and friendship shown to us from day one. The Newsletter, Journal and monthly general meeting are very informative and the field trips and campouts have increased our birding knowledge and been a lot of fun. Planning expedition holidays, photography and maintaining the family home and our faithful 80 series Landcruiser keeps me fully occupied in my retirement.

Cynthia Pyle

Ordinary Member - Feature Writer (The Birder)

Cynthia was born in England, but most of her adult life was enjoyed in Adelaide. As she was growing up, she became interested in birds of the English countryside and was keen to learn the names of the birds she saw around Adelaide. One of her first memories of Australian birds was the sight of a Galah perched on a fence by the side of a road. She was entranced to see such a beautifully coloured bird. She attended several series of Joan Paton’s WEA classes to learn how to identify Australian birds, and really enjoyed the excursions, especially the ‘Grand Prix Getaway weekends’ that Joan ran for as long as the event was held in Adelaide. Cynthia joined Birds SA in 2001 when she retired from teaching, just as the Association was looking for a replacement Newsletter Editor. Being a teacher had made her an eager candidate for word processing as soon as it became available, so her daughter Josie, as Cynthia says, “very kindly volunteered my services” as Newsletter Editor for Birds SA. Cynthia, who held the position from 2001 – 2023, said always approached each edition “with interest and enthusiasm”. At the February 2023 General Meeting of Birds SA, Cynthia was honoured with a Distinguished Service Award from the Association in recognition of her 22 years of dedicated service as Editor of The Birder. Cynthia remains on the Birds SA Management Committee and has taken the role of Features Writer for The Birder.

Sue Winwood

Ordinary Member - Membership Officer

I have always been interested in the natural world and the creatures that inhabit our environment, including humans. My interest in bird life increased 25 years ago when I attended one of Joan Paton’s WEA courses “Little Brown Birds”. I was hooked…… and joined Birds SA. I enjoy the interaction with our amazing members and the management committee. I have met many people and made friends with like minded people who are keen to protect our birds and conserve their environments.My career in education in Home Economics and then Community Services and Community Health over 40 years was enjoyable and rewarding in both the University sector and TAFE SA. I particularly enjoyed teaching and observing the learning & personal development of students and their move into employment. A highlight of my career was co-authoring the curriculum for all the Community Services Certificates in the TAFE sector. My favourite birds are the bush birds in the semi-arid country of the Murray Mallee, especially the honeyeaters and raptors which I’ve been surveying since 1998. My second favourite birds are the incredible waders that come to SA annually from the northern hemisphere. Birds SA is an excellent conduit for protection of our birds in SA, whether it be to protect our birds from cars on beaches & the duck hunters, or by promoting research & development in the community and the university sector.

Chris Bates-Brownsword

The Birder Managing Editor (non Management Committee member)

I’ve been interested in birds and nature for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Adelaide hills around Blackwood in the 1950’s, when it was quite rural, and the birdlife prolific. I had my copy of "What Bird is That" and I knew where all the nests were. That period led to my love for Aussie bush birds in particular. I attended Coromandel Valley Primary School, then Unley High School before starting my first job, aged 17, in the Dept of Entomology at the SA Museum. Whilst mostly using admin skills in this role, I also worked with the collection, which gave me some exposure to nature! In my early teens, I remember visiting Sir Norman Tindale at the SA Museum, who gave me my first ‘killing bottle’ for collecting butterflies, and who was a great encourager of young people with an interest in the natural world. Most of my working life has involved medical administration. For the last 20 years or so before my retirement in 2007, I was Secretary in the University of Adelaide Dept of Surgery at The Royal Adelaide Hospital, working with a great group of people whose research efforts have been globally recognised. The camaraderie was such that we still meet annually. Full-time employment didn’t allow much time for birdwatching other than on weekends – but my husband and I attended Joan Paton’s WEA classes, including long weekends at Graham’s Castle at Goolwa - and I recall experiencing a wonderful Bird Week at O’Reilly’s at Mt Lamington in Queensland many years ago. My passion for the environment has taught me much about native plants, which I have been growing for many years. I’ve been a member of Trees for Life for 30 years, a foundation member of FAME (Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered species) for 30 years, and a supporter of Bush Heritage, Nature Foundation SA and similar organisations that purchase large tracts of land for revegetation/preservation - which I see as our best hope for enabling future generations to experience the wonders of the natural world. I am enjoying my role as Editor of The Birder (which began in 2023) and which is certainly increasing my knowledge of birds. I am grateful for the support of Julie-Anne Harris, Assistant Editor, and graphic artist Ingrid Grigg as we endeavour to make each issue of the magazine an informative and enjoyable read for our members.

Other Committees & Sub-committees

Conservation Fund

This Committee assesses applications for research grant funding, and reports to the Management Committee. Members: Jody Gates (SA Government and Chair), Leo Joseph (CSIRO & ANU), Charles Moore (MIPAA-SA, C Moore Solutions Australia) , Beatrice Rogers (SA Government), Anita Smyth (Birds SA Treasurer), Brian Walker (MCAANZ). David Paton (University of Adelaide) participates when conflicts of interest arise.


This Sub-committee considers all issues impacting upon the conservation of birds that we are aware of, or are brought to our attention. We act upon those we deem important and where we think we can have an impact. Our responses include letters of advocacy and meetings with interested parties. Increasingly we are drawn to positive actions such as supporting on ground activities such as Tolderol and the International Bird Sanctuary. We are also interested in promoting birding and increasing the general public's knowledge of birds generally. Members: Ray Nias (Chair), David Andrewartha, Rodney Attwood, Bill Breed, William Brooker, Phil Cole, Jeff Groves, David Hansman and Ali Ben Kahn

SA Bird Records

This "Committee" is a Sub-committee and documents distributional records for SA and reviews reports of birds records in the State. These are basic functions for authoritative regional bird groups in many parts of the world. It was formerly part of old the SA Rarities and Distribution Sub-committee (SARDS). Members: Graham Carpenter (Chair), Bob Green, Lyn Pedler, Philippa Horton and Julian Reid.

SA Rarities

This "Committee" is a Sub-committee (SARC) and documents bird records and reviews SA reports of rare bird sightings in the State. These are basic functions for authoritative regional bird groups in many parts of the world. It was formerly part of old the SA Rarities and Distribution Sub-committee (SARDS). Members: Colin Rogers (Chair), Graham Carpenter, John Fennell, John Hatch, Bob Green, David Harper, Sam Gordon, Merilyn Browne and Miles Ramm