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Me and a Storm Petrel - Mousa, Shetland

Rob was born and brought up in Leicester, where one of his first childhood memories was being shown a Great Tit in a local park by his dad. From that moment, a lifetime passion for birds and natural history was born.

Rob 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 his time in Leicester, Rob served as County Bird Recorder for 12 years, along with 14 years on the Leicestershire and Rutland Bird Records Committee. He was Chairman of LROS for three years, and also had stints as Bird Report Editor and Newsletter Editor. His 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'.

Rob 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 he became a permanent resident in 2007. He began guiding in 2006, and has worked (and still does work) for several well-known wildlife tour companies in Shetland and elsewhere. He 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. Rob also carries 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.

Rob is heavily involved with the Shetland Bird Club. He has been a General Committee member since 2010, has served on the Shetland Bird Records Committee since 2010, and has been County Bird Recorder since 2014. in November 2020, Rob joined the Scottish Birds Records Committee.

Rob is interested in all aspects of natural history; birds are obviously his main focus, but he is also one of Shetland's most active moth-trappers, as well as having a good all-round knowledge of mammals, cetaceans and plants. He is a very keen 'world birder', having travelled to almost 40 countries on all continents except Australia in search of birds. Whilst not by any means a professional photographer, Rob likes to try and capture a photographic record of some of the things he sees, particularly when travelling overseas; visit his Flickr page to view a selection of his photographs.

Living and working in Shetland for the last 13 years has enabled Rob to learn about much more than wildlife though, and as well as passing on his knowledge of Shetland's birds and other natural history, he is always keen to share information on the history, culture and everyday life of Shetland.

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