I was born and brought up in Leicester, where one of my first childhood memories was being shown a Great Tit in a local park by my dad. From that moment, a lifetime passion for birds and natural history was born.
I was named the national 'Young Ornithologist of the Year', a competition run by the Young Ornithologist's Club (the junior section of the RSPB) in both 1984 and 1985, and soon became involved with the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS). During my time in Leicester, I served as County Bird Recorder for 12 years, along with 14 years on the Leicestershire and Rutland Bird Records Committee. I was Chairman of LROS for three years, and also had stints as Bird Report Editor and Newsletter Editor. My period in Leicester culminated with authoring two books: 'The Birds of Leicestershire and Rutland' and the second edition of 'Where to watch birds in the East Midlands'.
I first visited Shetland in 1986 (a week on Fair Isle) and began making ever more frequent trips to the islands, mainly in search of migrant birds. Eventually, the lure of Shetland proved too great and I became a permanent resident in 2007. Initially I lived in a small house on the shore of the Pool of Virkie, in south mainland Shetland; in April 2018, I moved just up the road to Bakkasetter, close to Loch of Spiggie, where I live with my partner Kate.
I began guiding in 2006, and have worked (and still do work) for several well-known wildlife tour companies in Shetland and elsewhere. I spent three seasons as Assistant Warden for RSPB Shetland, with responsibilities for the three south Shetland RSPB reserves of Sumburgh Head, the island of Mousa, and Loch of Spiggie. I also carry out a large amount of environmental survey work, both in a professional capacity for Ecological Consultants, wind and tidal turbine developers, etc, and in a voluntary local capacity involving Breeding Bird Surveys and so on.
I am heavily involved with the Shetland Bird Club. I have been a General Committee member since 2010, have served on the Shetland Bird Club Records Committee since 2010, and have been County Bird Recorder since 2014. I am also jointly responsible for maintaining the Nature in Shetland website.
I am a very keen world birder, and have visited close to 40 countries on all continents except Australia.
I am interested in all aspects of natural history; birds are obviously my main focus, but I am also one of Shetland's most active moth-trappers, as well as having a good all-round knowledge of mammals, cetaceans and plants. Away from birds and natural history, I am a big fan of my home-town football club, Leicester City, and followed them home and away, through thick and (mainly) thin, whist I lived in Leicester. Following Leicester City has, until recently, mainly been a bit of a trial, although that all changed in 2016!