My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
I have now been the RSPB's Conservation Director for three months. It really is a fantastic job - I feel so lucky to be able to work with such talented and committed people and to have a window onto the breadth of the organisation's work.
But, to be honest, I could do with a bit of a break. So, I am off for a long weekend to our family hut in Northumberland and will soon be travelling to France for a fortnight's holiday.
So, to give you advance warning, I may blog a little less frequently during August. I am not expecting the world to stand still - and I will pop back for the odd posting - but it is time to recharge the batteries before the fun and games begin again in September.
Before I head north, it is worth recapping on what we have managed to achieve over the past three months.
We have successfully launched our Stepping Up for Nature campaign following the elections in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
We have (literally) set sail to save the Henderson petrel from extinction.
We have influenced (with mixed success) a raft of policy announcements including the UK National Ecosystems Assessment, the Natural Environment White Paper and the National Planning Policy Framework.
We have had our first major fight with the European Commission over their proposals for reform of the Common Agriculture Policy as part of the the EU Budget.
The past 3 months have been busy, but tremendously rewarding. I've learned a lot - and I'm still learning!