Being brought up in the Welsh countryside with a large wildlife garden instilled an appreciation of natural history. My parents have a wide knowledge of natural history (my father being a professional ornithologist) but neither knew anything about moths.
In July 2009, I went on a Field Studies Council (FSC) course with TV naturalist Nick Baker, who first introduced me to moth trapping. Shortly after this, I got my first light trap and began identifying moths in my garden. Having built up experience of the local species, I gained wider knowledge by attending wildlife illustrator Richard Lewington's FSC course in Suffolk, as well as trapping on holidays to Dorset and Hampshire.
As time progressed I became involved with my local moth group and benefited greatly from the help and support of my county moth recorder, Peter Williams. I also got more moth traps, including battery-powered traps and a generator to facilitate trapping in other habitats. As my knowledge of the common macro and micro moths developed, I began identifying more obscure micros through genitalia determination. I also improved my fieldcraft skills through finding early stages, including leaf mines.
In 2013, I took over the role of county butterfly recorder for vice county 47. I set about increasing the number of records and coverage across the county, producing a digital atlas to highlight under-recorded tetrads.
In recent years, I continued to expand the garden moth list, which is now over 800 species. Since learning to drive I have been able to explore the county (and further afield), visiting under-recorded areas and producing thousands of new records. I've expanded the county moth list by well over hundred species. In addition, I've run a number of successful public trapping events, as well as field identification workshops covering both butterflies and moths. I have also trapped at a field centre in the south of France and in Brazilian rainforest.
I studied for my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at Brasenose College, Oxford, where I particularly enjoyed the ecology, evolution and conservation aspects of the course. For my final research project, I chose to explore the micro moth communities that live within bird nests (research that will be published in due course). I graduated with first-class honours in August 2017. I have decided to continue my studies at Oxford with an MSc. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management.