The Digital Stringers
The deceptively named Digital Stringers are a crack race team assembled and fielded by Dick Newell and sponsored by Digital Spring. Don’t be fooled by the premise of their name though – its design is provocative subterfuge and their fieldcraft and recording integrity is actually faultless.
Digital Spring has enjoyed a long association with BirdLife International and acts as their digital marketing agency, responsible for the environmentally sensitive advertising you see on their website as well as a number of other innovative digital initiatives that support BirdLife’s conservation action. Digital Spring actually set up their ‘Ads for good’ portfolio, of ad carrying wildlife websites, to raise money for BirdLife International. The digital advertising revenues this generates has already contributed many thousands of pounds to conservation over their four years together. Digital Spring also acts for many other wildlife clients including birdguides and The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, for the Champions of the Flyway initiative.
While The Digital Stringers name may be anathema to other competitive race teams, there will be no exaggeration when it comes to their effort supporting BirdLife International’s actions to halt the illegal killing of birds in Southern and Eastern Europe. Please help them on their way by making a donation to their online fundraising page here.
Rob, Hannah, Megan McCrea, Bea e Mike, Matt Bruce, Kevin Chan, Catherina que dorme, erdibirdy, Kate Bull…
Sean Thompson, Rowena, Sean, Sue and Peter Woodsford, Chris Mason, Neil Saunders, Geoff & Muriel, B&J…
Anthony Clay, Bob Humphrey, Newells, Kirkpatricks and Wojtkowiaks, Richard Grimmett, Dave Boyle…
Helen & Jeremy, Nicola & Arthur, Gareth, Charles & Barbara, Mom & Dad, Jane, Bruce Martin, Judith…
Richard & Julia, Robert Sansom, Melissa, Sian, Jan L, Scott, David Fisher…
Hugh and Lynne Fingland and our many other anonymous suporters.
Dick Newell is a scientist, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is also a former BTO council member and Chairman of the Cambridgeshire Bird Club.
Dick has been an RSPB member since 1955 and spent his early years birding at the UK migration hotspot - Dungeness - in Kent. While widening his birding experience Dick became a ringer.
In August 1965 Dick undertook a pioneering pelagic birding expedition on a trawler off Cape Clear with the late great Jim Enticott. The extraordinary experience they encountered, as a huge invasion of Great Shearwaters passed through, sparked Dick’s lifelong love of seabirds.
In 1977 Dick lived in the USA for three months. This was the time when Belgian ornithologist - Pierre Devillers - discovered that the large skuas occuring off the US west coast were South Polar Skuas, and that some of the large skuas off the east coast were South Polars too. So, intrigued, Dick set out to find South Polars in the eastern Atlantic. Undeterred by a number of failed attempts off the coast of Portugal, he eventually scored at Dakar in Senegal, where he discovered hundreds of South Polar Skuas passing south in October. Early scepticism about Dick’s claims were fully vindicated when, years later, geo-locators confirmed the same phenomenon. Dick published a new paper in BB on the use of primary moult score in South Polar Skua identification in June 2013.
While never far from thoughts of larids and other seabirds, Dick’s latest passion is for the conservation of Swifts. He now maintains an active blog
which is full of ideas, case studies and thoughts about Swifts and later this year he’ll be leading the Cambridge International Swift Conference
in April this year.
Rob has been a birder and conservationist from a young age, learning the ropes by sorting through countless migrant LBJs at Holme, in Norfolk, in the early 80s.
Rob has a particular interest in migration observation and for seabirds, which are two interests that have taken him around the world. He’s visited China, Australia, Canada, Thailand, the USA and many other other countries looking at land birds and he’s spent more time than you might imagine messing about in boats floating off the continental shelves of Oman, Costa Rica, Portugal, Canaries, Tasmania and South Australia specifically in pusuit of seabirds.
Despite his extensive birding travel, Rob has never been to Eilat before so he is really looking forward to partnering with two team members who have got rather more experience of the region!
Recently graduated from the University of York, Tim is now spending as much time as possible birding and ringing at Spurn Bird Observatory in East Yorkshire in the UK.
Having grown up in the Midlands, Tim became hooked on the migration spectacles at Spurn during his very first visit in 2005.
At 23, Tim is likely to be among the youngest international team members in the Champions of the Flyway bird race but what he lacks in experience he is sure to make up for in enthusiasm!