Raised in the Lakes, Dirk began his career with NERC as a Forestry assistant in Cumbria, engaged in botany and ornithology. In 1988 his interest in birds brought him to BAS, where he has worked on albatrosses, penguins and seals and now also leads the field work team at Bird Island.
15 years later
“When I first joined, there was no promise of field work and the post was only for 5 years. I’ve now been here for 15 and been out to South Georgia four times with another trip planned this year.
South Georgia is simply mind-blowing, especially for an aspiring biologist or anyone with a passion for wildlife. I’ve been lucky enough to co-lead a higher predator long-term monitoring project, which has involved working closely with HM Navy. Before that I spent about 14 months away on 3 visits to Bird Island”.
“It’s easy to romanticise about your time ‘down South’, but it is exciting. For me, the best part is catching my first glimpse of an albatross or penguin from the ship as I travel from the Falklands to South Georgia. It’s like coming home.
Obviously if you’re away for a long time, there could be ups and downs — but it’s not unlike life elsewhere really. When I’m back in Cambridge, there’s a real variety of things going on. The only issue might be that people rush around too much — but maybe I’ve spent too much time at Bird Island!”
“For a biologist it’s the best job in the world (probably) — and that’s coming from a man usually more accustomed to understatement”.