Chaz Mason (02/15)

Noted for sartorial elegance and a keen fashion sense


Although for many years I have been associated with my career as an Information, Advice and Guidance adviser (with thirteen years experience of delivery in a Careers Guidance role), by qualification I am an Environmental Scientist (with Human Geography) with additional vocational experience of creating and implementing conservation projects, delivering evidence at Public Enquiries and conducting environmental Impact Assessments.

I was also involved in extra-mural courses in Wildlife, Urban Wildlife and Field Bird Study for over ten years and have been co-editor of a Birders Checklist (now out of print). In addition to this I have occasionally provided articles for local media and have extensive experience of delivering illustrated lectures on local wildlife. I have also participated in botanical survey work (published by Birmingham University), and managed Butterfly Transects when a member of Butterfly Conservation during the 1980s and 1990s (some of the results of which were published as part of a scientific paper on the range expansion of the Speckled Wood Butterfly into the midlands). 

My academic development was undertaken with a focus on post-industrial sites (Plagiosere habitats) in the local area and specifically at Clayhanger Marsh. During the 1980s I was an active participant in the Walsall Wetlands Campaign which eventually succeeded in the designation of Clayhanger Marsh as an S.S.S.I. From 2008 until 2014 Chaz regularly maintained the Clayhanger Marsh Log.

Although at heart a birdwatcher I have a better than average working knowledge of Butterfly and Dragonfly species, a basic knowledge of botany and have recently been studying the occurrence of different species of Bumble Bee in the local area in order to enhance my identification skills.

Birding Achievements

For those just interested in the birder, I maintain a Life List in accordance with the B.O.U.R.C. criteria which currently stands at 416 although there are also a modest number of additional species that I have seen which are not recognised (but perhaps should be?).

My second most important list personally is my Staffordshire List  (although technically I live in and monitor a site in the West Midlands, I was born in Walsall Staffordshire, and still feel that this county holds my cultural heritage). This list currently stands at 259 (according to the West Midlands Bird Club criteria) with an additional six species that the W.M.B.C. does not recognise but which many local birders consider acceptable (So were I a competitive birder and included species that many other Staffs Lister's do - which I'm not - my Staffs List could be seen to be as high as 263).

When cutting my 'Birding Teeth' Chasewater was my home base and I still consider myself a Chasewater birder. My one birding ambition that remains is to see 200 species there (my Chasewater list currently stands at 191).

Birding achievements and ambitions

Best bird I have seen in Britain? Belted Kingfisher in Staffs must be a serious contender.

Favourite Bird seen in Britain? Baltimore Oriole (I have now seen two of these and would still go a long way to see another) you will find a very distressed hardboard specimen on the front wall of our house which I will be very sad to see inevitably fall apart.

Biggest Tart (Bogey Bird)? Little Bittern (which have eluded me at many sites in Britain and abroad) 

Bird I would most like to see in Britain? Pallas's Sand Grouse it used to breed after occasional eruptions into western Europe but this doesn't happen any more!

That's more than you probably wanted to know but there it is. - Chaz