I grew up in Bristol and went to Bristol Grammar School where a couple of masters (Derek Lucas and Tony Warren) were instrumental in fueling my interest in birds. I was in the Young Ornithologists' Club.
In the school holidays I practically lived at Chew Valley Lake - a bicycle and a pair of binoculars were all I needed.
My parents liked nice scenery and walks in the countryside and that gave me plenty of opportunities for birding.
I spent a few years when rare birds were very important to me but aside from the very occasional lapse they aren't any more!
I did a Ph.D. on pipistrelle bats but most of my research before joining the RSPB was on bee-eaters in the south of France (nice eh?) and great tits and marsh tits around Oxford. However, the first scientific paper I wote was about the lekking behaviour of great snipe.
I joined the RSPB staff in 1986 as a researcher, became Head of Conservation Science in 1992 and Conservation Director in 1998 - all have been great jobs!
It's been great! Thanks for everything.
And if you want to keep in touch with Mark Avery in the future then visit markavery.info
Did I mention the book of the blog?
Thanks for the opportunity
Good Luck Mark
trimbush - you haven't had the last word yet
Gert - you are wrong about Politics
It's beyond me why anyone who cares about our planet would not stand behind organisations like the RSPB, I suppose there's a financial objective for those who don't or because they simply have adopted a position out of principle. We who care about the sentient creatures that we share our planet with salute those who stand with them. Maybe this comment is a bit over the top , but it's what it boils down to. Politics don't come in to it but a genuine concern and realisation for the state and future of environment do.
Mark, I did email you as you know because I thought I wouldn't be here to say something on this occasion. I am more than happy to repeat those comments here in public. So best wishes for the future from both of us. I am sure I will be in touch and am sure we will bump into you somewhere. I have already signed up for the Mark Avery newsletter.
For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes it was my way
Thanks so much for all your hard work and brilliant work for the RSPB, Mark including this blog. Your blog has been a pleasure and very worthwhile. You will be very widely missed. All the very best in whatever you choose to do. I gather from my RSPB colleagues you are going birding across the USA as a start, so enjoy that. Maybe I might bump into you at the Bird Fair in August?
Hope you enjoy your trip Mark and will keep in touch.
We appear to disagree on a number of topics but you have tolerated my ‘input’ – no doubt knowing that the end was nigh
But I have to say that my interest in and knowledge of – bird life in general – has increased somewhat since my ‘involvement’ with your blog and I am surprised at the number of bird books that we’ve had for many long years which have been dug out and re-read.
However I have to say that I could never join the RSPB – the ‘gap’ is just too wide to even contemplate – it would be like joining the Labour Party – something – incidentally - I did as an ‘entryist’ but was subsequently rejected by the local Labour Party(!).
I wish you and yours all the very best and shall watch out for news of your progress -.
You made even the difficult days fun and that is not an easy task. Enjoy your trip, keep blogging and tweeting and good luck in everything you do. We'll be watching with interest!
With love from all of us XXX
Good luck Mark, and thanks for all that blogging.
I have a vague recollection you might have mentioned the book of the blog somewhere before Mark, but I can't quite put my finger on where I heard about it. You've worn me down - I will go and buy it. I hope there is suitable advice in the book on how to increase viewing figures.
It's been fun. Have a great time in the States - don't forget to see the big trees at Sequoia NP if you can!