I was born in Leicestershire, where my father had a small farm. I began watching birds at the age of 12, and have rarely put my binoculars down since! At that time we lived in rural Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds. I discovered that I could remember any bird-song I heard once, and have never forgotten them.
I have a degree in Classics from Oxford University (useful for understanding scientific names!) and a M.Sc. in Environmental Conservation from Edinburgh. After a short spell in North Yorkshire in local government, where I planned to try national parks administration, I took up a summer job with the RSPB, first in Shetland (wardening breeding Snowy Owls), and later at Minsmere in Suffolk.
For the last 37 years I have made a living leading wildlife tours (mostly Ornitholidays bird-watching tours), tours), to all 7 continents: over 300 tours in all. I have also worked on 20 voyages to Antarctica, three to Spitsbergen (Svalbard), three in Arctic Canada, three around the British Isles, two to the South Pacific, and one each to the Amazon and Sea of Cortez (Mexico).
Having turned my first hobby into work, I have found some new ones: wildlife gardening, cricket, snorkelling, baking bread and playing traditional Irish jigs and reels on mandolin. I've lived in the same cottage on the Welsh borders for 35 years, now with my wife Clare and son Douglas.