Staff Profiles


Dave Gibson – Denby Dale

Dave GibsonDave was born and brought up in the little village of Aberford near Leeds and his birdwatching started at a very early age while living on the edges of Parlington woods, gaining a vast knowledge in natural history.

An apprenticeship in engineering in 1969 followed. Then in the late seventies Dave became involved in the Leeds RSPB group and also become a YOC leader and a regular birder at Fairburn Ings and Spurn Point.

Dave has worked in engineering mostly in the motor industry, moving into the quality and customer liaison areas of that industry for some 15 years.

Now married, Dave lives in Tingley near Wakefield and Ardsley reservoir has become his local patch. He is a New Swillington Ings bird group member spending most of his free time at this site or local sites such as Blacktoft Sands, Old Moor and Pugneys Country Park, not forgetting going back to his roots every Sunday to his beloved Parlington Park.

Almost every year since the late 1970s he has holidayed in Northern Scotland, West Cornwall and the Scillies, as well as trips abroad to Majorca and Cyprus.

He became a member of the In Focus team in January 2009 taking over the Denby Dale shop upon John McLoughlin’s move to become a full time ornithologist. His other interests are motoring and optics.

He has a bit of a soft spot for the Zeiss Dialyt Classic range. Scopes used are Nikon ED 60 A III and what he says is the best scope he has ever seen – the Kowa 883 (at least for the time being!).

Keith Mortimer – South West

Keith MortimerKeith Mortimer describes himself as a failed fisherman at the age of eight and so his rod, reel and hooks were traded in for a Russian pair of binoculars and a copy of the Eye Spy Book of British Birds. He used this as his launch pad for a life long interest in birds and once the turquoise flash along the river bank was firmly identified he was ready to broaden his horizons.

One of the major influences was a move to Lundy Island where he took over the running of the island Tavern and acted as a voluntary bird warden. During his four years on the island most of his spare time was spent bird watching and with migrant highlights such as Black eared Wheatear and American Robin it was anything but routine. His move there was both pivotal in his understanding of birds and at the same time provided him with a taste for travel and more adventures.

On leaving Lundy he visited Europe and the near East. Keith then worked for In Focus as manager of the Slimbridge shop for some ten years, in addition to visiting the USA, Vietnam, the Himalaya and the Sahara. However the pull of his favourite destination, India, was too much and he left In Focus for a prolonged trip round that enchanting continent.

Keith has returned to In Focus and runs the outside events programme in the south as well as working a few days in the Slimbridge shop.

Bernie Starkie – Lancashire

Bernie StarkieBernie has been a birder for longer than he can remember, though he does recall at the age of eleven making thirty five-mile cycle trips to Martin Mere. By the age of fifteen he was spending his school holidays on birding trips throughout the UK.

An eight-year spell living (and birding) in North Norfolk followed. He then started working for In Focus which coincidentally returned him to Martin Mere!

More recently Bernie has developed a passion for birding abroad and he is now a tour leader to several European destinations in addition to solo trips to destinations as far apart as America and South East Asia.

Over the past couple of years Bernie has spent an increasing amount of his time recording and photographing moths and says “at last something to fill in the hours of darkness”. Of late he can often be seen lugging a Nikon telephoto lens around the reserve as his budding interest in bird photography develops.

Mike Willis – Rutland

Mike Willis


Mike was born in Hertfordshire where from an early age he showed great interest in pastoral matters. Art college led to an apprenticeship in a leading commercial photographic business and via photographic retailing to a career in the optical trade culminating in 10 years with Carl Zeiss.

Mike joined In Focus over 20 ears ago and helped establish several of their shops. Now at Rutland he has become involved with the Rutland Osprey Project. He has accumulated an extensive knowledge of binocular and telescope design and development; ideally placed therefore to advise on their selection.


Bruce Hanson – Willows Farm

Bruce has been with in focus for over 35 years, after working with Carl Zeiss Jena, E.Hill & Co. as well as Ross London, he was also a co-founder of Birdfair along with Martin Davies and Tim Appleton.