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Jono Leadley BSc Hons

Jono Leadley BSc Hons

YCN role: Birding/Wildlife Guide

Qualifications: BSc Hons Ecology

Jono is a self-confessed nature geek. His passion started at an early age, firstly with birds and then broadening into all forms of wildlife and this interest has taken him all over the world.

Jono conducting cetecean research in ScotlandJono conducting cetecean research in Scotland

Jono obtained his first degree in Ecology at the University of East Anglia in the mid-1990s before heading to Madagascar and then Indonesia to carry out field work for BirdLife International and the WWF. The highlight of this work was the first sighting of a presumed extinct species, the Flores Scops-owl, known only from a couple of Victorian specimens.

Following this, Jono worked in fundraising, communications and project development for Beds, Cambs and Northants Wildlife Trust and Norfolk Wildlife Trust between 2002 and 2010. Now back in his home city of York, Jono has been working for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for the past ten years, firstly as Director of Development.

Jono interviewing Sir David AttenboroughJono interviewing Sir David Attenborough

One of the key moments of this period was the organisation of the Trust’s 70th birthday celebrations. Sir David Attenborough spent the day with Jono and colleagues, visiting Askham Bog and culminating with a public event at the University of York where Jono acted as master of ceremonies, introducing Attenborough to over 1,200 guests. For the past three years, Jono has held the role of North Regional Manager, responsible for over 30 nature reserves, two farms and a variety of nature conservation projects across North Yorkshire.

Jono birding with his son Jono birding with his son

Despite developing a keen interest in botany, marine mammals and moths, amongst other things, Jono has always indulged his original interest of birding, with a focus these days in the York area, especially at Wheldrake Ings and around the Lower Derwent Valley, with coastal trips particularly during spring and autumn migration.

Jono seawatching at FlamboroughJono seawatching at Flamborough

Over the years, Jono has taken part in a range of surveys at home and abroad, including habitat assessment, breeding bird censuses and WeBS counts along with a host of species-specific work. Jono has been fortunate to find a selection of rare birds, with finds in the last few years including Pallid Swift, Dusky Warbler, Laughing Gull (x2) and White-rumped Sandpiper. Jono is the York Area Bird Recorder and sits on the committee of the York Ornithological Club. The main tasks of this role are to assess rare bird records from the York area and assist with the production and editing of the annual report. He writes for publications including the Yorkshire Post, Wildlife Yorkshire Magazine and the YNU annual bird report and has published two books; Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife and the Rare and Scarce Birds of the York Area. Online, Jono has been writing his birdingdad blog for over ten years, diarising his nature exploits around Yorkshire and beyond.

Jono leading a YCN Seabird and Whale trip 2019Jono leading a YCN Seabird and Whale trip 2019

Jono had led wildlife tours for over 15 years for Wildlife Travel and has been a nature guide for Yorkshire Coast Nature for five years.