About us

We’re a team of seven that comprise WWT’s Monitoring Unit. Our unit is one of three in the Conservation Science Department, that in turn is part of WWT’s Conservation Directorate.

Kane Brides – Monitoring Assistant

Kane joined the Monitoring team in 2011 after previously working in different departments at WWT Martin Mere. His work in the monitoring team comprises assisting with overseeing WWT’s waterbird capture and marking work, assisting with fieldwork (particularly waterbird ringing and counts), processing and analysing data, and providing support to WWT’s Reserve Management team on monitoring protocols. He has 10 years experience in ringing birds, particularly wildfowl, and has travelled extensively to carry this out. Prior to joining WWT, Kane worked as a Field Assistant at an Ecological Consultancy. He has travelled to Iceland several times assisting the Icelandic Institute of Natural History with the collection of productivity data on waders & seabirds. He has also assisted in fitting tracking devices to several bird species including Whooper Swan, Puffin and Arctic Tern. When not at WWT, Kane enjoys travelling and ringing/researching his favourite bird species – the Coot!

Jonny Cooper – Monitoring Volunteer

During a year out from studying, Jonny initially began volunteering for WWT in the Reserve Management Unit helping to computerise historical biological records before joining the Monitoring Unit in 2015. Jonny’s role now involves entering bird ringing data and processing goose colour-mark sightings, and he has been using these data to study the moult migration of Greylag Geese within the UK. Being a qualified bird ringer, Jonny also helps with fieldwork and wildfowl catches.

Maurice Durham – Monitoring Volunteer

Maurice has a degree in mathematics and is now retired from a career working on the safety of nuclear power stations.  He started volunteering with the Monitoring team in 2007 through bird ringing – he has now held a ringing permit for over 30 years! Since that time his main role has been computerising historic ringing data, though he has also helped out with the ringing of wildfowl. Maurice has a long association with colleagues at Slimbridge through his ringing activities, particularly in organising the Constant Effort Ringing in Decoy Wood during the summer months – this is a national project organised by the BTO which feeds into the population monitoring of small birds.

Colette Hall – Monitoring Officer

Following her graduation from Dundee University, Colette volunteered at WWT Martin Mere, where she worked on the Centre’s grounds, along with helping Dr Eileen Rees on WWT’s swan studies by entering and analysing data.

Colette joined WWT’s Monitoring team at Slimbridge in 1999, working primarily as a member of the Wetland Bird Survey secretariat team. Since then, she has been involved in organising, reporting and data management for various large-scale surveys of waterbirds, including WWT’s Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme, as well as national surveys of naturalised geese, Cormorant and Ruddy Duck. Colette has also been involved in WWT’s aerial surveys of waterbirds in UK inshore and offshore waters, both as a surveyor and in the planning and reporting process, and more recently as a surveyor for aerial surveys of Greenland Barnacle Geese.

Richard Hearn – Head of Monitoring

Rich joined WWT in 1995, following an expedition to Argentina looking for Brazilian Mergansers, and has worked on species monitoring projects for most of the time since. He currently manages the Monitoring team, and also represents WWT on a number of groups including the CMS Flyway Working Group, Waterbird Harvest Specialist Group Board and African-Eurasian Waterbird Monitoring Partnership Steering Group. He has particular interest in improving global status assessments of waterbirds and the sustainable management of huntable species. He considers himself very fortunate to have taken part in waterbird surveys and research in a range of countries, from Botswana to China and is also an experienced bird ringer and current member of the BTO’s Cannon-netting Technical Panel.

Carl Mitchell – Principal Research Officer

Carl is a wildfowl biologist with a background in monitoring and research. Much of his work has focussed on migratory studies of geese and ducks, but he has also spent ten years managing wetland reserves.

After graduating from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Carl began his career with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Wales specialising in computing and surveys. From 1987-1997 he was a Research Officer with WWT based at Slimbridge delivering a wildfowl population dynamics contract supported by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). From 1997-2002, Carl was Centre Manager at WWT’s Welney reserve and, from 2002-2007, he was Reserve Manager at RSPB’s Insh Marshes reserve.

Carl rejoined WWT in 2007 and now works across the Monitoring Unit and Research Unit, primarily on geese and Common Scoter. His key contribution to the Monitoring team is managing the Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme.

Xudong Tao – Yangtze Waterbird Monitoring Project Officer

Xudong is based at WWF China’s office in Wuhan, in the central Yangtze floodplain, and coordinates the development of the Yangtze Waterbird Monitoring Network. He has been employed in this role, supported by WWT and WWF China, since 2011. In this time he has set up monitoring protocols for a number of important wetlands in the region, undertaken numerous training activities for reserve managers and bird watching groups, developed various promotional materials to increase awareness of migratory waterbirds and their conservation, and most recently organised the 4th coordinated waterbird census of the central and lower Yangtze.