Derek Barker

Derek is, arguably, Berkshire's number one birder*. He has written the main body of a number of the county bird reports and is largely responsible for the surveying of  heathland in the south-east corner of Berkshire. The reports that he camps out in Swinley Forest from March to June are only slightly exaggerated. 

If you meet him in the field he's always helpful and happy to pass on tips - like telling you that firecrests aren't are rare as you think and to learn firecrest's call but won't tell you where to look [except in general terms!]. He is a scourge of dog-walkers and will lift any birders heart with the telling-off he gives irresponsible ones. He will however let you know if you go around thoughtlessly flushing.

His team won the most recent "Bird race" with 109 species. A careful reading of the account of the day by Jon Holt at Berksbirds.co.uk only reveals a couple of Derek's many 'secret' sites around the county which he exploited in a tactically perfect plan on a day with no passage.

Derek's local patch used to be Slough Sewage Farm where he's recorded loads of Berkshire rarities. He only rarely visits the site now as it is generally over-run with newcomers who tend to flush all the good birds without being able to id them. Derek gets about the county and happily grips-off many a "local patch watcher"  most notably in May 2000 at Eversley GPs where he found a Red-necked phalarope - the first Berkshire record in 60 years. It stayed an hour and was only seen by one other person. He was subsequently banned from the site by the Moor Green bird recorder.

 

 

* obviously excluding Chris Heard who is generally regarded as the UK's number one!