Patrons of Birding For All
Thanks to all our Patrons for their continuing support and encouragement…
|Dr Mark Avery|
Former RSPB Conservation Director
Naturalist - TV Presenter
|Garin Baksa Partner Opticron|
|Dawn Balmer Head of Surveys at British Trust for Ornithology Dawn has been a keen birder since she was a child, and a trained bird ringer for over 20 years. She lives in Thetford (Norfolk) and enjoys local birding and other wildlife, with regular trips to the coast. She has special interests in migration and gull identification. Dawn has worked for the BTO since 1992 on a wide range of census, fieldwork, ringing and online bird recording projects. She was the Atlas Coordinator for the Bird Atlas 2007–11 project and is now Head of Surveys. Dawn also represents BTO on the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. In her spare time, she is on the British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee, the Editorial Board of British Birds, a Trustee of the Eric Hosking Charitable Trust and writes regularly for British Wildlife.|
|Dr Mike Clarke|
CEO - RSPB
I am a writer, with nearly 30 book titles to my name. I have also been a regular birdwatching field trip leader since 1988 and organise and lead birding trips in the UK. I love meeting people and sharing with them the things that excite me about nature, especially my main area of expertise, which is bird behaviour. I believe passionately in communicating greater understanding about the natural world and am fortunate that the opportunities offered to me through my Books, Magazine Articles and occasional Television work enables me to share an understanding of birds and other wildlife.
Naturalist - TV Presenter
|Charlie Moores BAWC Based in Wiltshire, Charlie has been a birder for over forty years. Now freelance (and Chairing Birders Against Wildlife Crime), Charlie formerly worked for a major airline travelling extensively and birding continuously (in one memorable year he recorded over 1900 species, raising money for parrot conservation at the same time). Charlie has been writing about conservation and animal welfare issues since the 1990s. As well as developing BAWC, Charlie co-founded the NGO Birds Korea and is known for his Talking Naturally website. He has made well over 100 podcasts interviewing conservationists and researchers around the world. In 2013 Charlie became a trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports. In May 2015 he relaunched the Talking Naturally podcasts in association with Rare Bird Alert and Wild Sounds and Books.|
Writer & Tour Guide
|Ian Griffiths |
Naturalist & Broadcaster
Urban Birder - TV Presenter Widely known from his TV appearances as the Urban Birder. He describes himself as a broadcaster, writer, naturalist, photographer, public speaker, tour leader whose main passion is for urban birds. He was briefly Head of Membership at BTO.
Company Owner & Guide
Chris is the founder of Birding Ecotours and since childhood has been an incredibly enthusiastic birder. He particularly loves tracking down owls, but other favorite birds of his are falcons, harriers, pittas and, well, all of them! His passion for birding is completely unstoppable. Chris obtained a doctorate on African sunbirds, has taught university zoology and did a 2.5-year post-doctoral research stint on hummingbirds at the University of Wyoming. For the last 10 years he has been kept very busy guiding and scouting for Birding Ecotours to a host of exciting destinations in Asia, the Americas, and especially across the vast African continent. Chris has a burning passion for bird conservation and does voluntary work for BirdLife South Africa and other conservation organisations. He has published several research papers, but he eventually discovered that that endeavor gets in the way of birding, so he tries to keep it to a bare minimum these days, ha ha! Chris lives with his wonderful wife Megan in Johannesburg, South Africa and for part of the year in the USA.
|Philip Merricks MBE|
Journalist, Author & TV Producer
Birder & TV Presenter
Naturalist - TV Presenter
|Christine Percy Swarovski Optik UK Christine has worked for leading optics company Swarovski Optik for 21 years. She says… during this time I have met some great people. Through Swarovski I have been associated with the DBA now Birding for All for many years and greatly admiration the work that the Charity does to improve facilities and standards so everybody can enjoy the great outdoors. I’m not a birdwatcher but enjoy watching wildlife in its natural habitat; the most magnificent sight I have seen was watching condors flying overhead while on holiday in Chile. I’ve toured around the world, but, my favourite place is Interlaken. I love history (especially the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s). I'm a member of the Leyton Orient Supporters Club, although I prefer rugby union. I enjoy a game of cricket and as a good Essex Girl I go to the Oval to cheer them on when they play Surrey. I simply love the Olympic Games from start to finish. I'm a bit of a telly addict, watching drama, comedy, quiz shows, the natural world and never miss a dramatisation of Dickens, such great stories. I'm also a lifelong fan of The Archers. I also belong to a local pub quiz team.|
Naturalist & Activist Based in Cumbria, Tristan has been a birder and naturalist for over thirty years and currently works as a freelance ecologist. Earlier in his career Tristan worked as a nature reserve ranger/naturalist. He is a passionate conservationist and has embarked on some innovative projects to raise funds and awareness for several projects (detailed on his website). He currently sits on the council of Ornithological Society of the Middle East where he helps promote birding and conservation in that region. Tristan is also part of the BAWC admin team and committee.
Artist, Photographer, TV Presenter & Writer
Angie Scott is an award winning author and an internationally renowned wildlife photographer based in Kenya, Africa.
Photographer, TV Presenter & Writer Jonathan and Angie Scott are award winning authors and internationally renowned wildlife photographers based in Kenya, Africa. They’re the only couple to have individually won the Overall Award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition – Jonathan in 1987 and Angie in 2002. They have been honoured as Canon Ambassadors – and members of the SanDisk Elite Team – a small group of world-renowned photographers whose work and ethos has proved an inspiration to others. They divide their time between their beautiful home in a leafy suburb of Nairobi – with giraffes as their neighbours – and a cottage at Governor’s Camp overlooking the animal speckled plains of the Masai Mara, Africa’s finest wildlife area. The Mara is the location for many of the popular TV series that Jonathan has presented for the BBC, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Paramount TV and Turner Broadcasting including ‘Big Cat Diary’, ‘Elephant Diaries’, ‘Big Bear Diary’, ‘Dawn to Dusk’, ‘Flamingo Watch’ and ‘Africa Watch’.
Naturalist & Presenter Howie Watkins is best known for presenting BBC1’s Really Wild Show, a job which allowed him to, in his words ‘put off growing up’ for seven years and indulge his passion for wildlife; travelling around Britain and the World. Since the birth of his daughter, Amy, in 2005 he has accepted that he has to be a grown-up and has settled down to a quieter life in Devon. Together with his wife Alison he runs a public relations and communications consultancy that specialises in medical education and the public understanding of science. Howie divides his time between: multimedia production projects, science writing, lecturing, campaigning on behalf of various conservation organisations, and running the Art Alert Project (an environmental art co-operative.) Animals and nature have been life-long passions for Howie. His early years on the Island of North Uist (Scotland, UK) may well have something to do with this. Free to explore at will with his dog Melanie he developed a fascination for the natural world that has never left him. Howie was a founder member of the South Wales Porpoise project, a volunteer research organisation working to understand more about the lives of these poorly understood members of the Dolphin family.
Naturalist Iolo Williams is a Welsh naturalist, broadcaster, public speaker and writer who’s worked in conservation for over 30 years. He is most widely known as a popular member of the 'Springwatch', 'Autumnwatch' and 'Winterwatch' presenting team and for presenting series such as 'Wild Wales', 'Rugged Wales' and 'Great Welsh Parks' for BBC 2. He was born and brought up in mid Wales and studied in London for his degree in ecology then went on to work for the RSPB for almost 15 years as Species Officer for Wales, a job he loved as he worked with some of the country’s rarest breeding birds. Eventually this brought him to the attention of the media and BBC 2’s ‘Visions of Snowdonia’ and ‘Birdman’ followed Iolo’s work as an RSPB officer. In the late 1990s Iolo left the Society to work full-time in the media. His series, in both Welsh and English, concentrated on the wildlife of Wales and the world and he co-presented several network series such as ‘Nature’s Top 40’ and ‘Countryfile’. Iolo has written several books on Welsh wildlife in both English and Welsh and he is a regular contributor to several magazines, including ‘BBC Wildlife’.
Birding Journalist Stuart Winter is a birder, journalist and author in that order. The journalism pays the bills, the birds make life worth living. He is currently Environment Editor at Express Newspapers. He has been writing a weekly column about birds and birding for more than 20 years. His books, 'Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher' and 'Birdman Abroad', detail his antics chasing rare birds and birding celebrities around the world – often with hilarious results. That’s if you call being bitten by snakes and bullet ants funny! He has witnessed the horrors of bird trapping on Cyprus first hand, joining a covert operation with police on the island that ended with him rescuing trapped Masked Shrikes and Blackcaps from the hunters’ nets. In 2009, he was awarded the British Trust for Ornithology’s Dilys Breese Medal for communicating science to new audiences and has also won the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s prestigious travel writing award.
Here’s what some Patrons say about Birding For All:
“I have just turned 74, and some days I feel it! Especially when I am trudging up Parliament Hill to get to the “viz mig” watch point. Everyone overtakes me : joggers, dog walkers, kids on scooters, and people in wheelchairs. Hampstead Heath is managed so that everyone can get around. The paths are smooth and there are plenty of benches to rest on. You could call it ‘outdoors for all’, and if it weren’t so you can be sure that the citizens of North London would soon demand it. All Nature reserves should have such facilities -not just wheelchair ramps to the hides, but obstacle free trails, regularly spaced rest places and thoughtfully positioned viewing points. Oh yes, plus something Hampstead Heath doesn’t always have – lots and lots of birds“. ~ Bill Oddie, TV Presenter & Naturalist
“It’s not all about wheelchairs and walking sticks, Birding For All, is just that, whether you’re disabled, pregnant, with kids in tow or just unwell – birding for all is there to help you and let’s face it you might be leaping around like a mountain goat on Tartrazine now but at some point, at best you’re going to slow down and become less able, it’s the only certainty in life – we are all going to get old and birding for all will be there for you.” ~ Nick Baker, TV Presenter & Naturalist
“What’s the use of great urban transport links if, when you get to a reserve or park you just can’t get around easily? Maybe you find distance a problem, have a pram to push or are under the weather, the last thing you need are soggy paths and barriers in your way. That’s where ‘Birding For All’ comes in, pressing for improvements to make great birding places available regardless of your physical needs. Whether in town or country, ‘Birding For All’ is helping to make birding available for EVERYONE!” ~ David Lindo, TV Presenter & Naturalist
“My own story and experiences as a bird watcher, artist and parent’s made me a BFA supporter. My eleven year-old son Thomas has very complex ‘additional needs’, whatever that means – we all have additional needs one way or another. What BIRDING FOR ALL wants to achieve is just that ‘birding for all’ so the phrase ‘additional needs’ is obsolete in the birding world. Thomas has learning difficulties, no speech, difficulty walking, behavioural issues and more. But, he loves going out and has made up signs for certain birds including blue parrots, which are scarce in Cornwall.
We used to go and park in a layby opposite to one RSPB reserve until the council closed it off. When Thomas was walking we used to visit our local reserve, which was wonderful, but his mobility deteriorated so I bought a 3-wheeled buggy, which certainly does the job even in water and rough terrain. However, the boardwalks are too narrow to use as both rear wheels hang over the sides. Another 3 inches would have opened up another world for him and other users. Moreover, no hides are accessible and general access is poor. Just think, 3 inches can make a difference and change people’s love of and access to nature. We need to create and share such memories as a family before its too late.” ~ Ian Griffiths, Wildlife Artist & Parent
“As a Birding For All patron and a board member at the famous Hawk Mountain in the USA, I am proud that we have just opened the ‘Accessible Trail’ that allows everyone to traverse to the South Lookout. The smooth pathway with a gentle gradient will accommodate wheelchairs and people with small children and prams and there is bench seating along the way for people with limited mobility.
The hefty investment is already paying dividends in increased attendance from positive press and increased accessibility. It’s a great thought that everyone has the opportunity to see the stunning panoramic views and the days when the skies are full of birds. My days of overzealously chasing balls and birds are also coming to an end and it is nice to know I will also have a perch to sit on – even if I need a hand to get there.” ~ Richard Crossley, The Crossley ID Guides, Birder and Conservationist.
“When I was younger, I was a sporty type; not very good mind, but sporty nevertheless. I was always out on my bike, running half marathons or playing 5-a-side with a few games of badminton and squash thrown in for good measure. Now I don’t. After years of battering and mistreatment, my knees tell me they need a rest! It’s one reason why I was for the name change from Disabled Birders’ Association to Birding For All. After all, we all need a sit down now and again!
When I am out researching reserves for my ‘Best Birdwatching Sites’ books on Norfolk and Yorkshire, I urge reserve managers to include seating plans on reserve maps. Friends tell me it’s make or break for them – they can only visit a site if there are regular stop off points along paths. Friends with children regularly contact me to see if reserves they intend visiting have paths suitable for pushchairs. Easy Access isn’t just wheelchair access; it’s about making facilities accessible to as many people as possible. It doesn’t just mean putting a ramp to the visitor centre door, it means levelling access paths and putting regular seats for the elderly and not-so-good-on-their-feet.
We all become more decrepit as we age; just ask my knees, so the next time you visit a reserve, just take a peek at how many rest points are along the way because you might need them one day!” ~ Neil Glenn, Tour Guide & Author