A NATURE photographer and ‘bird whisperer’ is on a mission to open people’s eyes to Oxfordshire’s natural wonders, with informative group walks and photography lessons.

Steven Gozdz and partner Billie O’Connor moved to Goring in South Oxfordshire, from a London suburb, in May last year, wanting to have a better work life balance and to be closer to nature.

Mr Gozdz and Ms O’Connor have been together for five years and have always loved going on walks and bird spotting in the Chilterns and Cotswolds.

Last year, wildlife photographer Mr Gozdz started showcasing his photography online.

He set up a Facebook page to engage people in Oxfordshire’s local nature spots and when lockdown hit the page took off.

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Mr Gozdz said: “Within a matter of weeks, I had over 300 people following me on it. A lot of people started to get involved and share their own photos, because everybody was out and doing their one-hour walks.”

After inspiring people online and taking friends out for nature walks, Mr Gozdz decided to start offering informative guided walks and photography lessons to the public.

Ms O’Connor said: “His number one ambition was to get people interested in wildlife because they are more likely to conserve it, to take care of it and care about their environment more, so it came from that and it has turned into a business.”

The couple now run an operation offering private and group walking tours near Goring and Streatley, on the edge of the Thames.

The wildlife photographer also offers a family-friendly walk, where children can tick off the animals they spot on a check list.

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He sells specialist walks, such as owl walks in the evening, gift vouchers for one-to-one photography tutorials, so people can learn more about wildlife photography, and an at home wildlife watch, for those who cannot leave their own home due to the pandemic.

Mr Gozdz said: “Because they have been in that lockdown situation, they have been able to see more and hear more, but they don’t know what it is.

“Just adding that little bit of information, whether it be the habitat and how you can improve it, it adds to their knowledge and appreciation.”

Now, Miller Hotel and Rare Bird hotels company has spotted his skills and asked if Mr Gozdz would offer a bespoke experience for its guests.

The wildlife enthusiast and photographer is known as the ‘bird whisperer’ for his ability to spot rare species of birds.

His friends came up with the name after he consistently spotted rare birds on walks that others had not seen in years, such as tawny owls and green woodpeckers.

The photographer wants to open other people’s eyes to the surrounding beauty on their doorsteps that perhaps they have been taking for granted.

Walking tours and wildlife photography lessons can be booked via goringgapwildlifewalks.co.uk