Jeff Nichols, born in 1953, spent his early years in Silverdale. The farming community there played a large role in his childhood, however, Jeff’s first job was as a jobbing gardener and gamekeeper.
His interest in wildlife began early and he tells of tracking deer and foxes, becoming familiar with the local badger setts, tawny owls and other birds of prey in his area. He talks about the importance of developing good observation skills and recalls much detail about the fauna of his youth.
Jeff’s continuing work as a gamekeeper has allowed him to note the changes that landuse and farming practise have effected on populations of badgers, foxes, red squirrels and many other native species.
He has seen the numbers of grouse and other birds diminish over the years as land management has moved from traditional to more intensive methods.
“Red Squirrels were everywhere when I first came round here. You didn’t remark on seeing a red squirrel because every wood had them and the park had them. It was brilliant to see them. Some had dark tails, some had blond tails. Nesting all over the place. It was ‘77 when I saw my first grey squirrel.”