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.
If, like me, you have been on holiday during part of August, you may have struggled to keep up with the news. To help you get back up to speed, I have listed below my pick of the best stories from the past few weeks. It's amazing what has happened in just a short space of time. These serve as a reminder that despite the huge pressures on the natural world, by working with partners, the RSPB continues to have a huge impact for species, for sites and for people. Many congratulations to all involved in these projects.
Record breaking year for the UK's rarest seabird: while sitting in my hut on a cliff opposite Coquet Island last week, we shared the news that the roseate tern, has enjoyed its most successful nesting season in the last 40 years with 118 pairs raising chicks at the Northumberland site.
Important milestone in battle to save Coul Links: after a great joint campaign, Scottish Ministers have “called-in” plans for a golf course at Coul Links near Embo, East Sutherland after deciding that the case is of ‘national importance’.
Project Godwit success: out of 55 black-tailed godwit eggs saved from muddy flooded fields in the Fens, 38 chicks have been fledged in captivity this year.
Agri-environment scheme success in Northern Ireland: a new RSPB study has shown that populations of three key farmland bird species (yellowhammers, house sparrows and tree sparrows) increased over a five-year period in response to an agri-environment scheme (AES), according to a study by the RSPB.
Game-keeper found guilty of illegally killing short-eared owls: on Tuesday, our Investigations team reported the successful conviction of a game-keeper for shooting short-eared owls on a grouse moor on Whernside.
The new Sherwood visitor centre opens: in time for the Robin Hood Festival which has been running this week, the £5 million centre is complete, offering visitors new experiences and insights into the iconic site which is home to over 1,000 ancient oaks.
New study highlights dramatic decline in mountain hare population: a paper published in the Journal of Applied Ecology shows that Scotland's mountain hare population is at just 1% of 1950s level due to large-scale culling.
A new collaboration to save albatrosses: Albatross Task Force teams in Chile and Argentina have joined forces to crack down on seabird bycatch in South America.
30th anniversary of Birdfair: once again loads of money was raised for conservation - this time the focus was on helping Argentina create its largest protected area providing a refuge for nearly a million flamingos and shorebirds.
I look forward to sharing more good news soon.
More great efforts by the RSPB . The RSPB’s investigations department and in particular the albatross task force are doing superb work in very difficult conditions.
The “call in” of Coul Links is great news.
The report of the state of mountain hares is shocking and yet another an appalling reflection on the shooting industry and those that have the power to prevent this slaughter but do nothing.
Keep up all this good work RSPB. I know you will.