Posted on 01 March 2021
Oliver (Oli) Reville is our newest team member who specializes in leading our fully updated and exciting European and Western Palearctic bird tours. He took some time out from his day of itinerary writing to provide some answers to the following questions. Enjoy learning a bit more about Oli and what makes him tick!
1) Tell us about your childhood and family? Where you grew up/ the important people in your life/ childhood heroes /memories or experiences that have shaped who you are today.
I was born in Hertfordshire, England and moved to Norfolk, England when I was seven years old. It was this move that kickstarted my love of birding, via my dad who is also a keen birder. One of the first rare birds I saw in Norfolk was Rustic Bunting, a bird I have not seen again since.
2) If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Driven, enthusiastic, and passionate.
3) What ignited your passion for wildlife and in particular, for birds?
I have always loved the natural world, especially how people interact with it. Thanks to my environment growing up, I kind of fell into birding as I have always been surrounded by birds.
Oli (third from the right) birding in Peru with Eduardo (second from right and leader of our Peru tours), Andy (second from left, enjoying a holiday), Giancarlo (furtherest right, our Colombian expert), and three of our clients from Australia.
4) What formal training have you undertaken? (university degree/ diploma etc.)
I have a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of East Anglia, Norfolk, UK. I was also a member of the first team to run an extensive study on the effect of bird hunting in the Batumi Bottleneck, Georgia.
5) Do you remember some of your earliest wildlife and bird encounters?
In the UK it was having an injured Common Kestrel land in our garden. I was able to get my mum to put it in a box and we took it to the vet. I imagine that’s when the love of birds started, being so close to such an attractive species was a fantastic experience.
6) At what point in your life did you realize that birding would become a career for you, whether part time or full time?
I think post university I realized that I could use my bird knowledge as a career path. It has been hard to figure out what path to take with it but having dabbled in consultancy, conservation, and photography, I found guiding the route that has given me the greatest satisfaction.
7) How has birding enriched your life so far?
It is an incredibly relaxing hobby most of the time, but it also provides a real buzz when finding a rare bird or seeing something new. It has also taken me to some wonderful places that I would not have ever considered visiting were it not for birding.
8) What items/ equipment never leave your side on a birding trip?
My camera and binoculars. Photography is a real love of mine so I like to keep my camera close by at all times.
9) What are your top three birding destinations (worldwide)?
Top three I’ve been to are:
- Arctic Norway
Top three I want to go to are:
- South Africa
10) What is at the top of your birding “bucket list”?
Really hard question. I love visiting the locations as much as the birds in them. I think seeing birds-of-paradise one day might need to be done though.
11) Do you have a favorite bird/ bird family? Please explain your choice.
Another hard question. The bird that I recall really giving a “wow” moment was Magpie Tanager in the forested mountains of Peru. As far as families it would be the rollers (Coraciidae).
Magpie Tanager was one of Oli’s favorite birds in Peru.
12) Could you describe some of your most rewarding/ intimate birding encounters?
I think being face to face with hummingbirds in Peru would really be hard to beat. That said, seeing hundreds of thousands of raptors passing overhead in Georgia was also a rather incredible moment.
13) What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to see a bird?
Despite the UK being a small country, I did once manage to do 700 miles in a day while twitching birds, even though it was mid-winter! I did manage to see about five lifers though, so it was worth it…probably.
14) Do you have a bogey bird?
Citril Finch. Despite birding in Spain a lot over the last ten years I can’t seem to catch up with this species. Hopefully once Covid is behind us and tours begin I will be able to see one on our fantastic spring tour to Spain.
15) What is your life list/ year list for 2021 so far?
I don’t tend to do year lists anymore, the time and effort they require is incredible and I really admire anyone that does. I remember having a good year in 2013 in Norfolk though. Due to the Covid lockdown situation I’ve not kept track so much this year but have had some nice birds in and around my garden!
The roller family is Oli’s favorite, this is Broad-billed Roller and it can be found on our West African tours.
16) Do you have a life “moto” or message that you would like your life to reflect?
Its cliché but “life is for living” would be mine. Especially with the recent events in the world I think it is so important that we grasp every minute given to us.
17) What advice would you give to people getting into birding?
Just enjoy it and make it your hobby. There are so many avenues you can go down with birding and you will find which one works for you. Be it patch birding, twitching, year listing, photography, ringing (banding), guiding, ecology…the world is your oyster.
18) Other hobbies and interests?
I am a keen football (soccer) fan and played it myself for around 20 years. I also play guitar, love to read, but mostly just enjoy being outside with nature.
19) Favorite book?
The Lord of the Rings. I first read it when I was eleven and I was hooked.
20) If you had one more day left on this earth, how would you spend it? Where/with who etc.?
Tough question. I’d really like to visit the places I’ve always wanted to go, if that was possible in one day.
21) Dreams for the future of Birding Ecotours?
I am really excited by our new European and Western Palearctic birding tours and I really look forward to developing them and adding some photography tours too. The other continents have some amazing tours already and I am hopeful that we can make Europe just as appealing to clients.
22) Dreams/ goals for the future?
Follows on from the question above really. I would love to bring Europe to the forefront of clients’ minds when booking a wildlife holiday as the birds here are just as spectacular as elsewhere in the world and once you add in the amazing food, accommodation, landscapes, and cultural aspects, they all form a fantastic package that anyone interested in birds or wildlife will definitely love. Alongside this, I really want to develop my work with The One Stop Nature Shop, in Norfolk, UK, which is owned by my good friend Richard Campey.
To be able to witness huge birds in Europe, like this Griffon Vulture is a real thrill.
Why not check out our wide range of well thought out and carefully designed European and Western Palearctic tours and go birding with Oli, details here.