Being dragged across Wales with my father and brother is what really kicked off my interest in birds, we would travel to different places to sit on top of the car to watch the Rally cars do their forest stages which meant a lot of sitting around doing nothing! Despite knowing the ins-and-outs of cars, I never took an interest so instead as a bribe to go with them I was bought my first Bird ID book and a pair of Bins to keep me occupied. I took an instant interest in Birds of Prey and would spend hours watching them especially the Red kites of Brecon. I'll risk sounding patriotic, but Wales is always where my heart will be.
Once I got older I realized that a career involving wildlife is what I wanted and this persuaded me to start volunteering for WWT Llanelli in December 2012, I would mainly do the Saturday activities which included things like Mini Beast hunts and Pond Dipping. Anyone that knows me, knows how obsessive I get over learning, hence why I can speak four languages.. But my need for learning has helped me a lot with my career because in October 2013, WWT offered me a job as a Learning Assistant which means I now teach schools, Universities and lead educational groups for events such as Bat Walks and Dawn Chorus. This year I have entered PWC and so far its proving challenging especially sharing a patch with Laurie who is a rare bird magnet! This is also driven me to learn more about my patch and what birds we get. My patch is WWT Llanelli so I mix birding with work, although all the good birds turn up on my day off. I have a slight obsession with feathers, I wouldn't say I'm into taxidermy for example I wouldn't have a stuffed bird in my house but I do have a few skulls and pellets. I have now started to cast bugs into resin (obviously I find them dead, not killing them!).
David Attenborough has had a huge influence on the way I look at the world, but I grew up being obsessed with Steve Backshall's tv series and have now continued to read about him. But from a more local point of view, the guys of Gower Ornithology Society are absolutely amazing! They do so much for each other and are genuinely lovely people, myself and Emma were invited to do a talk to the society about how to encourage the younger generation of birders into the society and they were so open minded about it all.
Best birding experience:
The memory that sticks with me was not actually that long ago, It was going to see the Great Northern Diver in summer plumage at mumbles. I had never met anyone from NGB before and decided the day before that I was going to go see it. I woke up at and got on the first bus into Swansea then to Mumbles where I met Emma-Louise Cole who was so lovely to me and from there we have become good friends, Literally cannot get rid of her.. NGB has provided me with the opportunity to meet some amazing people who share the same interests as me. I've started to bird outside of Wales now, passed my driving test in January and within a month or so I was driving myself, Emma and Espen down to Cornwall on a twitch (I won't mention the Eider incident). I have to mention every birding trip with Emma is an experience in itself mainly because of my near-death experiences in my car or the fact we always end up in a pub.
Finally, Favourite Bird:
Easy, Black Winged Kite. My love for them is unreal, having these birds fly directly above your head in Portugal is surreal! Most people know my love for Wigeon but Monties, Eagle Owls and well, owls in general are right up there with my favourite birds. Raptors have always been in my life, be it watching them from a roof-rack to surveying them in the Gower."