All photographs courtesy of Steven Gozdz
Billie, my partner, and I moved here last year, as part of relocating from Surbiton to Goring & Streatley. Billie continues to work in Finance for Selfridges (although given COVID 19, she said she has swapped fancy dresses and heels lately for the still stylish but rather comfortable pants and shirt combos given all this working from home at the moment)…. However, after moving and sorting out some changes to our home we wanted to make, when I was due to head back into corporate life, COVID 19 had happened. During this time, we re-assessed, and we agreed now was the time to swap that corporate lifestyle for my passion. Wildlife photography and wildlife tour guiding.
Our friends have called me “The Bird Whisperer” for some time as I’m often able to help them enjoy the wildlife around us when visiting us back where we lived near the river in Surbiton, and now here in The Chilterns, or when we went on holiday. In addition, Billie and I travelled often pre this current situation, and would regularly pay for a guide for half a day / a day to see the sights but also the wildlife of different locations; Gambia, Senegal, South Africa, Portugal…. and so on.
I started building a wildlife photography portfolio and have now launched GG Wildlife Walks. I started on Instagram as a bit of a novice some 5 weeks ago now and have grown to just over 1,000 followers but I am conscious I still have a lot to learn!
As a business I cover a range of needs and desires for all different customers.
SHORT WALKS, GEARED TOWARDS CHILDREN
From parents looking for a both educational AND fun activity to do with the children, I run Family Friendly Wildlife Walks. Here we have the children checking of what they see from a check lists, learning how to use binoculars. At the start, they tell me what they would like to spot – which runs from everything from a snake some days, to a unicorn on others. I just do the best we can on that day! Still to spot a unicorn…..
PRIVATE / TAILORED WALKS
I have had a number of couple of families book private ones from one of my two, three-hours excursions I offer; both take you through a really scenic route, but I help you explore what you are seeing and hearing around you. In some cases, they have specific sighting in mind, and so I tailor the route to maximise the chances to see the birds or animals they are most keen to see.
I do a number of prescheduled group walks individuals, couples or small groups can book onto which can be seen on my website and Facebook events list.
I think one of my favourite parts has been the gifting – I have sold a number of gift vouchers which have been people buying for parents who love wildlife and their gardens but can’t get out and about to walks anymore, as one of my options is “At Home Wildlife Watch”. Quite a few people in our area have lovely gardens and land, and have a lot of wildlife visiting it but either don’t know how to identify what they are seeing, or even know what is there. I did a three hour session with an older couple recently and we found evidence of moles, foxes, deer – as well as sat and watched a variety of birds which I helped them identify and learn more about. It was a really lovely morning and they gave such lovely feedback.
I think there really is a growing interest in the countryside and appreciate of the wildlife within it. This might not be the kind of business you would normally be interested in, but I saw a comment about you asking people to write in if they have a business which really has grown out of the COVID 19 situation, and for sure, following relocation and COVID, my desire to follow my passion and make a business out of it is coming true!
Please find some relevant links below.