Protecting the world’s waders through Wader Quest
Rick Simpson is a life-long birder that has followed a circuitous route to conservation from being a garden birder as a child, through to local patch watcher, British birder, twitcher, world birder and a bird guide. It was whilst being a guide in Brazil that led him to running local community and school conservation projects in the Atlantic forest with his wife Elis. In addition, he was involved for several years in making twice yearly survey counts of aquatic birds for the Contagem Naçional de Aves Aquáticas (CNAA) for Wetlands International in Brazil.
Rick volunteered at British Natural History Museum bird collection in Tring and as a volunteer collector for the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. In addition, he has been a bird guide in the UK and Spain for Capital Birding Tours and in Brazil as Rick Simpson Birding Services.
In 2012, together with his wife Elis, he set about raising money for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust captive breeding programme in Slimbridge, Gloucester, England through a fundraising site by travelling the world to find waders. This adventure was called Wader Quest and, when it was finished in January 2014 and after the couple had seen so many problems facing waders in all the habitats that they visited, they decided to fight for waders. Thus, Wader Quest, the fundraising project, morphed seamlessly into the eponymous charity it is today.
Since returning to the UK Wader Quest has taken over his life, taking him and Elis around the world to six continents, birding on all nine flyways to see one hundred and seventy-eight species of wader; giving talks in many places along the way. Wader Quest has become a conservation effort for a group of birds about which Rick is passionate becoming more and more concerned about the pressures they face and the seemingly low profile their problems have among birders and other wildlife observers.
Rick has had many articles relating to waders and their conservation published and writes blogs and articles for the Wader Quest site, newsletter and the Rick Simpson Birding site. He is a sought-after speaker and amateur bird artist. With Elis he has published three books Eury the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (2016 later translated into Chinese and published in China 2019) for children aged 6-11; An Inspiration of Waders (2019); A Quest for Waders (2020).
The inspiration that are waders.