I have been an amateur entomologist since childhood – in fact for as long as I can remember I have been turning over stones and catching things. I have always had an intense curiosity and a need to identify things.
I have been the warden of a local nature reserve called Hartslock for over 30 years and spent a lot of my spare time finding out more about the wildlife on the site. This took the form of doing all of the Monkey Orchid mapping and also running moth traps up there. I eventually branched out from moths into trickier groups like flies & wasps but finally settled on Parasite Flies (Diptera, Tachinidae) as my speciality. I’ve worked on those for over 20 years and now run the UK recording scheme for them with Matt Smith.
I spent 30+ happy years as a computer programmer & analyst with Trio Computing but in 2012 I joined the Natural History Museum’s UK Biodiversity department (the Angela Marmont Centre) and have been in charge of managing the museum’s identification & advisory service, plus looking after the department’s facilities and resources. I also maintain the UK Species Inventory, the UK’s primary source of names & taxonomy of UK wildlife.
My personal interests spread quite widely and I have various collections from Cast Chinese Coins (mainly Tang to Qing dynasty) and ceramics. But my latest interest has been Japanese Woodblock Prints (ukiyo-e) and in particular the actor triptychs (yakusha-e) of Toyohara Kunichika and his disciples. I don’t speak much Japanese but I really enjoy the identification challenges and using the print subjects to learn about life in the turbulent Meiji reform period.