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WINGS Tour Leaders – Brent Stephenson

Brent Stephenson

Image of Brent  Stephenson

Brent was born in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. At age 8, he took his first bird pics with his mum’s old point and shoot. Infatuations with birding and photography started early, and his first bird photos sold at 16. Birding took a back stage as Brent started a Bachelor Degree in Zoology at Massey University, but during his Masterate on the ‘Ecology of Morepork’ – a small owl from the Ninox genus – his birding obsession rekindled in earnest.

Species from several trips to Australia, and a tour of the UK and South Africa became the foundation for his World List. Trips to Queensland’s Cape York and Victoria led to an Oz list tantalisingly close to the magic 500 species, and he managed a first for Australia when he and mate Rohan Clarke found a chaffinch on Phillip Island.

Brent founded the BIRDING-NZ newsgroup, to connect New Zealand birders and help with the exchange of information. He was also Regional Rep for the Hawke’s Bay OSNZ, and is currently the webmaster for the OSNZ’s website. Possibly Brent’s biggest adventure to date: sailing with the John Ridgway ‘Save the Albatross’ Voyage 2003-4, for the Falkland Islands, rounding Cape Horn along the way. Brent recorded and photographed the seabirds seen, as well as helping to sail the boat - the English Rose VI. Then he spent six weeks on the amazing Falkland Islands where he married his wife, Adele.

Brent was a key player in the rediscovery of the supposedly-extinct New Zealand Storm-petrel, and the photos he took that day were the first ever taken of a live New Zealand storm-petrel. He has since been involved with ongoing research, and has captured six of these birds at sea. Since completing his PhD, Brent has enjoyed work with the NZ Department of Conservation, research for proposed Windfarm projects, and small expedition cruise ships. His present adventures and photos can be found on his blog:


Updated: September 2011