Neil Bucknell


Streatley, Berkshire, UK

Involved with the BOU as:
Currently Vice President, formerly Hon Sec, and one time member of the old Ornithological Affairs Committee

BOU member since: 1990

Most likely to be found . . .
. . . Sadly (for the time being!) behind an office desk, but at weekends with my binoculars in the Berkshire countryside

Why are you a member of the BOU?
I joined having been to the 1990 conference at the suggestion of a friend, and enjoying it so much I needed no persuasion!

What do you enjoy most about your involvement with the BOU?
So much – working with some fantastic people, playing a very small part in its transformation in the last 25 years and seeing it take on an important new role fostering early years researchers.

What would you say to anyone who is considering joining (or leaving!) the BOU?
Do (and don’t!). If you do, please consider if you can contribute actively to the Union. People who can spare time to participate in its committees and conferences or assist with editing are its lifeblood.

When did your interest in ornithology begin?
A long time ago. The sound of Skylarks on my father’s farm is one of my earliest memories.

What is your most memorable bird-y experience?
There have been so many, starting with the male Black Redstart in the garden at home when I was at school. If you had enough space, I could list the top 50…. There’s four Dotterel on the summit of Ingleborough during a school A -level Geography field trip, the vast flock of seabirds following Dutch trawlers when crossing the Irish Sea after a storm in August 1974, my first Chiffchaff in the year of 1975 in a snowstorm on 31 March, being hounded by an aggressive Treecreeper, handling a Green Woodpecker during my brief career as a trainee bird ringer at university, my first “white nun” male Smew, a smart male Wheatear on the CBC patch I covered at university seen on a very warm morning after a heavy night in the bar, ….and I have not yet reached 1977.
Perhaps it’s more than 50!

What is your favourite outdoor place and why?
A place on the Berkshire Downs where I can sit in the sun and watch Stone Curlews.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, that you haven’t yet been to, where would it be and why?
I would like to see more of the countries of the former Soviet bloc. They are interesting to visit, to see how the changes since the fall of the Iron Curtain have affected the habitats, land use and biodiversity. It is a complex picture, with apparent gains and losses, and many opportunities and threats.