25th January 2016 -Simon Tonkin, Conservation Grade

Simon TonkinSimon was raised in Plymouth and has been an avid naturalist since childhood. At nine years old his enthrallment with the natural world led him to sneak out with his father’s binoculars at first light, returning home many hours later covered in estuarine mud to face the music! Fulfilling a boyhood dream, Simon has worked for the RSPB full-time for many years; the first projects he was involved in were to protect breeding Hen Harriers and Bee-eaters in the north of England. Simon studied Agroecology, and he has lectured in ornithology, specialising in a variety of subjects including bird ethology and bird populations. He has worked in farmland bird conservation for the last 15 years and now works at the RSPB’s headquarters in Sandy in partnership with Conservation Grade who run the Fair to Nature accreditation scheme. Simon has conducted research on Corn Bunting crop nest site selection and on the seed palatability of farmland granivores. He also co-launched Operation Turtle Dove, co-ordinating efforts in the UK and internationally to save the species from extirpation and created the Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone. Simon has worked as a Conservation Manager for Conservation Grade, working on ground-breaking and exciting conservation projects in Spain, Portugal, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Morocco, Senegal and the Gambia and is widely travelled in these countries being particularly familiar with their avifauna, lepidoptera and mammalian species. Simon spends a lot of his year in Spain working on a variety of conservation projects or tour leading, but when not there lives in a village near Norwich – an ideal location for a birder – and he delights in birding the north Norfolk coast at weekends throughout the year or rummaging through his moth trap wherever it maybe located!

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