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A bird nut since the age of 11; was at school at St Stithians College in Johannesburg and at university at Wits (BSc 1965, MSc cum laude 1979, PhD 1991); and Sheffield (UK) (MSc 1972); began my working life in 1966 as a geologist but changed subject-matter for something less inert in 1974 to pursue a career in ornithology, working for 22 years as a specialist scientist (birds) with the then Transvaal Directorate of Nature Conservation. Free-lancing since then. PhD was aimed at unravelling the very complicated and bizarre mating system of the African Jacana (shown above).

A member of BirdLife South Africa (originally Southern African Ornithological Society) since a schoolboy (1958); served on its Rarities Committee for 9 years, on its council for 11 years, and as its president from 1996-2000; was awarded by BLSA the Gill Memorial Medal 'for services to ornithology south of the Zambezi' in 1996, by the Zoological Society of SA, the Stevenson-Hamilton Award 'for exceptional contributions to zoology' in 2007 and by the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Bird of Prey Programme, the Steven Piper Lifetime Achievement Award. Other memberships include the World Dragonfly Association, the Africa Bird Club, BirdLife Botswana, BirdLife Zimbabwe, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Society of Southern Africa.

Have authored or co-authored about 40 scientific papers on birds and dragonflies, 200 or more short notes and popular articles, (here are a few)*, and a number of books, pictured alongside. Favourite group of birds? Woodpeckers. Least favourite? Seabirds, in any form and especially from a boat!

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