Andrew Harrop

Retired teacher
Toab, Shetland and Oakham, Rutland

Follow Andrew on Twitter @AHJHarrop ‏

Involved with the BOU as:
Chair of Records Committee

BOU member since: Originally joined in 1978. At that time it was quite a formal process which involved being nominated. I’m pleased that the BOU is much more open now.

Most likely to be found . . .
. . . Quendale, Shetland looking for migrant birds in spring and autumn or rural Rutland looking for Purple Emperor butterflies in high summer.

What is your role on the BOU Council or committee on which you sit?
As Chair of Records Committee I steer the work of the Committee, and liaise with colleagues in Britain and Europe who are interested in the work of the committee. I report on the work of BOURC, both to Council and through publications in ‘Ibis’ and ‘British Birds’.

What do you enjoy most about your involvement with the BOU?
The opportunity to share ideas and learn from others who are committed to studying birds with all that entails.

If you’ve attended a BOU conference, what did you get out of it?
Meeting people, renewing friendships, and exchanging ideas. I remember an entertaining and inspiring talk by Chris Perrins, and being impressed by the constructive working ambience at the annual dinner.

When did your interest in ornithology begin?
My family on both sides has had a long interest in birds and ornithology. My own interest in birds developed whilst I was at primary school and has continued ever since. I suppose that my interest in and awareness of ornithology really began at university, and has continued – mainly through local studies – ever since.

Why birds?
Birds have been part of our collective psyche for as long as anyone can remember, and have inspired a rich literature and art. They are aesthetically appealing and do amazing things. They have been shot, sold and fought over. I still feel joy every time I look at a bird.

What are your interests outside the world of ornithology?
Birds can best be understood in the wider context of natural history. I have learned a lot from studying other wildlife, for example butterflies. My professional interests have always been in education and communication. My wife and family deserve recognition for tolerating the time we spend on ‘little brown jobs’!

View my Birding On The Edge blog
View my Rutland Butterflies blog