Current Panel Members


The current Panel members are (left to right in this photo):
Dawn E. Balmer
Mark Holling (Secretary)
Professor David Norman
David A. Stroud
Dr Mark A. Eaton (Chairman)
Andrew King
Dr Ian S. Francis.

Rare Breeding Birds Panel, Yorkshire, November 2016.

Dawn E. Balmer
Member of RBBP since 2014; BTO Representative
National Surveys Coordinator at the British Trust for Ornithology

Dawn has worked for the BTO since 1992 on a wide range of census, fieldwork and ringing projects and was the Migration Watch and BirdTrack Organiser from 2002–2006. She was the Atlas Coordinator for the Bird Atlas 2007–11 project, which resulted in the publication of the book in November 2013. During that time Dawn worked closely with the RBBP Secretary and attended two RBBP meetings to discuss appropriate mapping scales for rare breeding birds in the Atlas.

Her new role is in the Monitoring team, working as National Surveys Coordinator and most recently organised the 2014 Peregrine Survey in England. Dawn lives in the Brecks and is a keen birder, fieldworker and ringer and enjoys spending time at the local pigfields looking at gulls. Dawn is on the Editorial Board of British Birds, a Trustee of the Eric Hosking Charitable Trust and writes regularly for British Wildlife and Sandgrouse.


Dr Mark A. Eaton
Member of RBBP since 2007; RSPB representative
Research Biologist, RSPB

Mark has worked for the RSPB since 2001, based initially at the Edward Grey Institute, Oxford, studying farmland bird ecology, then at the headquarters in Sandy in the Monitoring & Indicators section of the Conservation Science department. He works on a wide range of projects, including running single species surveys, the production of UK and English wild bird indictors, the red-listing of birds, the development of monitoring schemes abroad (e.g. Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal) and ‘citizen science’ surveys, and is the lead author on the annual The state of the UK’s birds report. In recent years, he has overseen UK surveys of Golden Eagle, Capercaillie, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Black Grouse, Black & Red-throated Diver and Common Scoter.

Before the RSPB, Mark studied wintering waders on the Northumberland and Durham coasts, and worked on conservation projects in Canada and Mexico. Recent fatherhood now leaves little time for birds outside work, although he can be found birdwatching near his Cambridgeshire home whenever the opportunity presents itself..


Dr Ian S. Francis
Member of RBBP since 2001; independent
RSPB Scotland - Area Manager for NE Scotland since 1992

Ringing permit holder, member of Grampian Ringing Group and Osprey co-ordinator for the NE Scotland Raptor Study Group. Joint co-ordinator of Greenland White-fronted Goose Study and NE Scotland Breeding Bird Atlas. Founding Chair, NE Scotland Biological Records Centre. Past editor, NE Scotland Bird Report and Scottish Bird News, Born 1959. Ph.D. in peatland hydrology. BSBI vice-county plant recorder for South Aberdeenshire.

Particular interests within ornithology: Geese, especially Greenland White-fronts, raptors (especially Ospreys), waders, Lapland Buntings, atlasing and biological recording, and African birds. Publications: wide range of publications, e.g. on Greenland White-fronted Geese, Lapland Buntings, Broad-billed Sandpipers, African birds, peatland and land use issues, many articles in local bird reports. Author/editor of three books on birds in NE Scotland including ‘The Breeding Birds of North-East Scotland’.


Mark Holling
Secretary of RBBP since May 2006

After a long interest in the status and distribution of breeding birds in the British Isles, Mark became RBBP Secretary in May 2006. An active member of the birding scene in southeast Scotland, he is a former President of Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (2003-2005) and was a member of Atlas Working Group for Bird Atlas 2007-11.

He is a co-author of The Breeding Birds of South-east Scotland (1998), a local tetrad atlas study, and is now part of the organising team for the repeat Atlas of this area, due for publication in 2017.

Mark is particularly interested in bird distributions and has organised and taken part in many local and national surveys. He has written up a number of such studies, including Nuthatches in Lothian and roof-nesting gulls in Edinburgh. Since 1995 he has also been a member of the Lothian & Borders Raptor Study Group, initially compiling data on the re-colonisation of the Borders by Buzzards and now co-ordinating records of Long- and Short-eared Owls.

Since 2002 he has lived by the sea in North Berwick, East Lothian, returning to the coast after spells in Scottish Borders, Leicester, Nottingham and (originally) North Yorkshire. He has been active in local ornithology in all these areas. Currently outside of his RBBP work he is developing an interest in Rock Pipits.


Andrew King
Member of RBBP since November 2010; independent

Andrew King has been a keen ornithologist since his early teens in Hampshire. Even at that time he began to take part in waterfowl surveys and counts, as well as the early Atlas projects. After gaining a BSc Biological Sciences at London University he entered a career in Agriculture R & D, advisory work and latterly as a Rural Inspector in South Wales. His interest in bird distribution, counts and habitat selection continued after moving to Breconshire, and he contributes to many BTO surveys. He joined the County Records Committee in 1992, and became County Recorder in 2004. Apart from maintaining the archive and editing the County Bird Report, he maintains a close interest in the fortunes of farmland birds in mid-Wales. He takes an active role in licensed monitoring work of breeding Peregrine Falcons in South Wales, and montane waders in Scotland.

He is widely travelled across Europe, particularly in Scandinavia, and in parts of Africa and Australia.


Professor David Norman
Member of RBBP since 2005; independent

David has lived in Cheshire since 1978 where he was a physicist and Director of a national scientific facility before retiring early. He wrote the 704-page Birds in Cheshire and Wirral: a breeding and wintering atlas, for which Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society won the inaugural Marsh Award for Local Ornithology (2010). He chairs Merseyside Ringing Group and publishes their acclaimed website, is an elected member of the national Ringing Committee and is an avid contributor to the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme.

David’s RBBP-related activities include ringing chicks in Cheshire’s Peregrine nests since 1993, a long-running study of Wales’ only Little Tern colony, and proving several ‘first breeding records’ for Cheshire: Marsh Warbler (1991), Cetti’s Warbler (2009) and Marsh Harrier (2010). His broad interests in birds are illustrated by papers on Sand Martins, waders on the Mersey Estuary, Fieldfares, Common Terns, Little Terns, Wood Warblers, Firecrests and Bramblings; and he wrote the BTO Migration Atlas texts on Common Tern, Wood Warbler and Chaffinch. The BTO recognised his volunteer work in surveying, nest recording and ringing birds by awarding him its Tucker Medal in 2002.

He has always been an advocate for the conservation value of bird study, and has been active in committee rooms as well as in the field. David was a Council member of English Nature (1996-2002), acting as Chairman for six months, a member of RSPB Council (2004-09) and Chairman of Cheshire Wildlife Trust (2004-12).


David A. Stroud
Member of RBBP since 1991; JNCC representative
Senior Ornithologist with the UK's Joint Nature Conservation Committee

David Stroud is responsible for providing aspects of JNCC’s ornithological advice to government, the statutory conservation agencies and others at both UK and international scales. This has involved managing commissioned research and survey programmes with a range of other governmental and non-governmental organisations, including developing new formal partnership agreements, notably the BTO/RSPB/JNCC Breeding Bird Survey, the BTO/RSPB/JNCC Wetland Bird Survey, and the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme. In the late 1990s, he provided the Secretariat to the Raptor Working Group, established by Ministers to consider conflicts between raptors and various other interests. The RWG delivered its consensus report – developed after five-years of deliberations – to Ministers in 2000. He has co-ordinated three national reviews of the UK network of Special Protection Areas classified under the EU Birds Directive.

Among David’s personal ornithological interests are the long-term population study of Greenland White-fronted Geese, developing a better understanding of the historical and current distribution and trends of Spotted Crakes in the UK, as well as the assessment of population status and trends of waders in Africa and western Eurasia.