The new BTO President, taking over from Chris Packham CBE, is Frank Gardner OBE the BBC Security Correspondent and birder.
When interviewed by Keith Betton for Behind More Binoculars Frank said things like this;
Where did it all start for you with birding? I was about ten, my mother got me into it, and we thought she was a bit mad standing on windswept North Sea beaches in Holland when we lived there. I remember she was terribly excited one winter when she saw a Nutcracker, which sounded quite fun to me at the age of ten.
…when I think of all the amazing places I backpacked round in central Asia, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Brazil and I wasn’t a birder then!
My parents bought a cottage near Selborne in northeast Hampshire in 1971 – at the time the fields were wet and quite overgrown, and every time I walked through I’d put up Snipe, saw Woodcock there in the woods, Whinchat, and I saw my one and only Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the garden – and have
never seen them there since.
I have been to Syria – I spent an afternoon birding in Ghouta, which of course is now synonymous with the terrible gas attack in August. It’s quite high up in the foothills on the Syria side of the Lebanon Mountains and I was primarily looking for raptors, but saw Finsch’s Wheatear there.
I also went to Iran. It’s really not a good place to have binoculars, but before I was injured I walked right up from the last bus stop in the north of Tehran to quite high up in the Alborz Mountains. That was the first and only time I’ve seen Red-fronted Serin.
Sounds like a birder to me…