1903-2000. Writer, naturalist and island dweller, author of Sea-Birds (1054, with James Fisher). Born in Cardiff, son of a railway manager, educated at Cardiff High School, afterwards working with his sister on a chicken farm. A keen naturalist from boyhood, in 1926 he took a lease on Skokholm island and settled there, rebuilding the farmhouse from wreckage, studying birds, raising chinchilla rabbits, and practising self-sufficiency. He set up Britain's first bird observatory there in 1033, and was soon ringing more than 6,000 birds ayear.
With Julian Huxley he made one of the first professional nature films, The Provate Life of the Gannet (1934), which won an Oscar, and later wrote definitive studies of shearwaters and puffins. Worked for naval intelligence during the war, moved to Orielton, later bought the Field Studies Council.
Wrote books on island life, travel and natural history, including a biography of Gilbert White and The Private Life of the Rabbit (1964) which inspired Richard Adams's novel Watership Down. Helped plan Pembrokeshire National Park and found West Wales Field Society. Emigrated to New Zealand in 1977, where he continued to pursue his love of islands and birds. 'Mischievous and unsentimental', well-preserved in old age, his face, said one admirer, had 'something of the serenity that comes from life in lonely places'.