The Flyway Racers
The Flyway Racers consists of both amateur and professional birders. Each of us has considerable experience in getting out and finding birds and this will be our main aim on April 1st. The more birds we find, the more money we will raise for conservation.
Through our commercial experience with the Shields companies, we know the importance of funding. Nothing is successfully achieved without good funding and that includes conservation. Providing organisations like BirdLife International and its national partners with the right funding and to get out there and take action, when we, going about our everyday lives, cannot, is most important to us.
Our second sponsor Rare Bird Alert operates the longest running instant bird news service for birders in Britain and Ireland. Over the years many bird races have benefitted from RBA’s pagers, website and smartphone app, giving birders in the field instant updates on the very latest sightings. Unfortunately they don’t yet operate in Israel so we will have to find the birds there ourselves but we are we delighted and thankful for their support and continued contribution to BirdLife’s conservation action.
Our team is committed to raising money for the BirdLife Flyways Programme to help stop the illegal killing of birds in Southern and Eastern Europe. If you believe in this cause too – please back us by clicking on the JustGiving logo below and making an online donation.
Adam Shields, Ele Walsh, Daniela, Colin Ockwell, Alina, Julie, Dana, Anatolij & Dominik (Vilnius,LT), Julian…
Gary Judd, Martina, Chris Tyas, Leo, Nick Ransdale, Anthony and Svetlana Evans, Jason, Brian Churches, Terry Laws…
Graham & Julie, Chris Lewis, Peter, Nic, Dave and Sophie, Graham Oakes, David and Patricia Selley, Gordon Shields…
Malcolm Maddog Flynn, Michal, Anna and Nikola, Jill & Luna, Best looking Melia, Jane, Rare Bird Alert…
Colin Mackenzie-Grieve, Linda Elsom, Anthony, Success, Sharon, Shield & Ukoha, Howard Jolliffe…
Charlie and Jan, Richard Bayldon, Roger Elsom, Grant Maton, Rob Mountstephens…
Lesley, Kevin, Stephanie and Lauren and many other anonymous supporters…
Colin ShieldsChampions of the Flyway
Colin has successfully managed his own recycling company – S.G. Shields (Benfleet) Ltd – for the past 35 years, assisting numerous charities and the impoverished in under-privileged countries.
Born in rural Essex, Colin’s interest in birds started in the late 50s while he was at an early age. For many years a keen British twitcher, with over 450 U.K birds to his credit, he has ‘gone full circle’ and now prefers birding his local patch. He shares his wife Pat’s passion for travel to exotic countries that are rich with birdlife, and he loves to explore and discover his own birds there too.
Having been involved with many local breeding bird surveys, and being a BTO WeBS counter for almost 20 years, he remains a passionate conservationist. He is also proud to be a BirdLife Species Champion and has supported The BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme in this way for the last six years.
On hearing about BirdLife’s Flyways programme, and its intention to stop the illegal killing of migratory birds, Colin was keen to additionally support this important cause. When he heard that the Champions of the Flyway Bird Race was taking place in Eilat, Israel – one of his favourite birding destinations – he just had to enter a team to raise funds for this vital cause.
Patricia ShieldsChampions of the Flyway
Pat originally worked in advertising for Unilever in the City of London. After she met and married Colin, she joined S.G. Shields (Benfleet) Ltd and now runs the company’s administration.
Although not originally a birder, for Pat it was a case of if you can’t beat them, join them. In her early days of birding, Pat’s favourite words were “WHAT’S THAT?” Now, 440 British ticks later and with a lifetime of travelling to places such as Africa, Asia, South America and Antarctica under her belt, she is a keen and experienced birder in her own right. Although she still has a few “what’s that?” moments now and then, she now often gives Colin a run for his money!
Pat is keen to find birds whether in the depths of the jungle or the deserts of Arabia – though, if truth were told, she still hasn’t quite come to terms with all those early morning starts!
In addition to enjoying the birding, Pat also takes a great interest in the history and culture of the places she and Colin visit during their regular international birding travels.
Stephen ShieldsChampions of the Flyway
Stephen has worked in Environmental Management for over 30 years and also successfully managed a telecommunication business to its stock market floatation in 2005.
Following his dream of becoming a professional golfer, in 2009 he competed in several “European Senior Tour”events. Now dividing his time between the UK and Spain he spends much of his time exploring the “Cadiz Province”.
Although always having a passion for wildlife and nature, Stephen’s first proper birding experience was a day out on a twitch with his brother, Colin, in 2004. Thrown in at the deep end, he was fascinated and soon became a passionate and dedicated birder too. He may be the least experienced member of The Flyway Racers team, but he will undoubtedly add a few birds to the tally and his enthusiastic and humerous approach is always a very welcome addition.
Stephen is particularly looking forward to experiencing the spectacle of migration in Eilat, together with supporting a great cause on his first birding trip to Israel.
Stuart ElsomChampions of the Flyway
Stu Elsom is an international tour leader for Sunbird Tours and an ecologist and wildlife photographer who lives in Cambridgeshire, England.
A keen birdwatcher for more than 30 years, Stu’s passion for wildlife conservation has seen him serve on several environmental and conservation forums and he is a former chairman of his local bird club. Stu has been a keen UK twitcher from the mid 1980’s and, although more laid back these days, he’s seen well over 500 species in Britain & Ireland.
Stu’s knowledge and expertise in birds has been drawn from field experience in many countries on six continents. Along with extensive travel throughout Europe, locations he has birded further afield include; Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Peru, 14 US states, Morocco, The Gambia, South Africa, Australia, Papua New Guinea,Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan.
As a professional ecologist, Stu undertakes a range of surveys on protected habitats and species and is a member of both The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and The Society of Biology.
Stu is also an enthusiastic wildlife photographer and a member of the Royal Photographic Society Nature Group, through which he was awarded his Licentiate Distinction (LRPS) in 2012. Over 300 of his images have appeared in various natural history journals, magazines, CD guides and books, and many images from both his UK and worldwide travels can be seen on his website www.stuartelsom.co.uk.