top of page

Eclectic Ecologist

Time spent leaning on a five-bar gate is never time wasted (anon.)

The aim of this website is to make available resources that encourage and support biological recorders.

2023_09_28 (Earthball sp., Bradley Wood, SK20364610, SD)
2023_05_01 (Bluebells, Sides Plantation, SK15174403, SD)
_2014_02_07 Steve Docker
2023_01_03 (Hawthorn Blossom, SK15264418, SD)
2023_09_28 (Waxcap sp., Bank Farm, Mapleton, SK16784830, SD) (1c)
2021_10_03 (Bradley Wood, SD) (1)
2022_01_11 (Auricularia auricula-judae, SK11054686, SD) (1c)
2023_09_28 (Waxcap sp., Bank Farm, Mapleton, SK16754823, SD) (1b)
2021_10_03 (Fomitopsis betulina, SK20214625, SD) (1b)
2022_09_13 (Diplolepis rosae, Crich Chase, SK35375221, SD)
2022_09_15 (Macrolepiota sp., Mappleton, SK16764815, SD) (1c)
2022_09_21 (Lycaena phlaeas, SK28775566, SD) (1d)
2021_11_10 (Armillaria borealis, SK19734623, SD) (1c)
2022_09_15 (Lycoperdon perlatum, Mappleton, SK16514804, SD) (1b)
2022_10_17 (Apricot Waxcap, Mapleton, SK16754825, SD) (1d)
2021_02_26 (Sarcoscypha austriaca, Bradley Wood, SK19854589, SD) (1b)
2021_05_12 (Bluebells, Bradley Wood, SK19714613, SD) (1)
Derbyshire Sky 1.png


I am very concerned about adverse climate change and the rapid loss of biodiversity.


Biological records are the foundation of evidence based conservation and contain the data needed to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity.  I’m an active biological recorder and a multi-skilled, independent field ecologist with an eclectic mix of interests including ornithology, invertebrates and fungi.  My skills are based upon more than 20 years of both voluntary and professional work, ranging from otter to veteran tree surveys.

I am particularly interested in technologies that enable the rapid and accurate identification of species and the efficient acquisition of high quality biological records.  These include Identikit, digital multi-access taxon identification keys; DNA based biodiversity assessment and soundscape ecology, especially avian bioacoustics.

I wish to play my part in helping us all to understand the changing state of nature.


Home: Introduction
Home: Bradley Wood
2022_04_30 (Oak Bark, Sides Lane, SK15184414, SD) (1).jpg

Bradley Wood

Precious Woodland Habitat

Bradley Wood is my local patch which I visit on a regular basis.  It was given, in perpetuity, to the people of Ashbourne for their enjoyment by Henry Fitzherbert Wright in 1935 and it is managed by Ashbourne Town Council.  In order to assess the condition of the woodland and to inform its management, it is essential to accurately record the presence and location of its species on a frequent basis.  This should then allow this precious woodland habitat, its immediate surrounds and its species to be protected, cherished and enjoyed by everyone.


One of the largest remaining woodlands in the area, it is on a north facing slope and is dominated by birch, oak and pine.  It has a long history of woodland cover and is included on the Ancient Woodland Inventory, is designated a Local Wildlife Site and has considerable nature conservation value.  Fungi species richness is a noted feature of interest.  In addition, at least five bat species have been recorded as well as nearby lapwing Vanellus vanellus and skylark Alauda arvensis.

Throughout 2021 a range of invertebrate surveys were conducted.  Specimens were identified and material sent to a laboratory for DNA analysis. Post comparison of results the DNA sequences will be added to the Barcode of Life Data system (BOLD).

Docker, S. (6 Dec 2021) Bradley Wood Biodiversity Summary

Docker, S. (6 Dec 2021) Bradley Wood Provisional Species List & Biological Records

2021_10_03 (Bradley Wood, SD) (1).JPG

Digital multi-access identification keys

Wader Species

This multi-access key covers the identification of wader species known to occur in Britain and Ireland on a regular basis. It is part of an integrated suite of wader resources which also includes the Field Studies Council's WildID fold-out guide and Quizlet on-line flash card learning to Waders of Britain and Ireland.

Click here for Wader Species

Click here for Wader Species (mobile)

Beetle Families

This multi-access key covers the identification of adult beetles to family and sub-family level.  It includes all 102 beetle families known to occur in Britain and Ireland.

Click here for Beetle Families

Click here for Beetle Families (mobile)

Gilled Fungi Genera

A collaborative project with Geoffrey Kibby, an experienced mycologist, talented artist and author, this prototype multi-access key covers the identification of mature fungal fruit bodies (sporophores) to genus level.  It includes over 200 genera known to occur in Britain and Ireland.  All have spore producing surfaces in the form of radiating gill-like structures (lamellae) on the lower surface of a protective cap (pileus).

Click here for Macrofungi Genera (Gills)

Click here for Macrofungi Genera (Gills) (mobile)

Plant Families

This prototype multi-access key covers the identification of flowering plant (angiosperm) specimens to family level.  It includes a total of 14 plant families which, between them, contain approximately 67% of the wild British flora.

Click here for Plant Families

Click here for Plant Families (mobile)

Home: Identikit

On-line learning flash cards

Wader Species

Covers the wader species known to occur in Britain and Ireland on a regular basis. It is part of an integrated suite of wader resources which also includes the Field Studies Council's WildID fold-out guide to Waders of Britain and Ireland and Identikit Waders of Britain and Ireland.

Click here for Wader Species


Docker, S. (30 Apr 2022) biological records stored on the iRecord system.  Includes over 1,000 multi-species records collected from a range of geographical locations within the United Kingdom.

Docker, S. (1996 to 2023) Summary of BTO Breeding Bird Survey Results for SK1544 (Church Mayfield).

Docker, S., Offord, K. D. and Langman, M. (2023) Waders of Britain and Ireland, WildID, OP212, Field Studies Council.

Laessoe, T. and Petersen, J. H.  (2019) Fungi of Temperate Europe. Fungi Form Wheels.

Soundscape Dataset

Xeno-Canto is a citizen science project dedicated to sharing wildlife sounds.

Abrahams, C. (2022) Bioacoustics as an applied tool in ecological research and biodiversity conservation, PhD Thesis, Nottingham Trent University.

Docker, S., Lowe, A. & Abrahams, C. (2020) Identification of different song types in the European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, Bird Study, 67:1, 119-127.

Docker, S. (2016) The Detection of ‘Paired’ Male European Nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus Linnaeus, 1758 Using Unattended Acoustic Recording Devices: A Potential Census Tool, MSc Dissertation, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Docker, S. (2014 & 2015)  Three terabytes available for future research upon request. Contains a range of crepuscular and nocturnal sounds (biological, geophysical and anthropogenic).  Known to include vocalisations of oscine passerines, European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, Common cuckoo Cuculus canorus, Eurasian woodcock Scolopax rusticola and Tawny owl Strix aluco.

Nightjar Song
00:00 / 00:54
Nightjar Spectrogram.png


2013 - 2016

Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.

Units: Biological Data Management, Research Methods, Fungi, Birds, Ground Beetles, Mosses, Bats, Grasses and European nightjar bioacoustics.

2005 - 2007

University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Units: Biological Recording, Land Mammals, Bats, Songbirds, Reptiles & Amphibians, Invertebrates.

Home: Work

Work Experience

2023 - Present

Resource Development Officer

Field Studies Council Publications, United Kingdom. Taxon identification resources (WildID & AIDGAP)

2019 - Present

Field Ecologist

2014 - 2019

2010 - 2019


Associate Lecturer

Ashbourne, Derbyshire, United Kingdom. Independent biological recorder, including birds by sight and sound (songs & calls).

Baker Consultants, Matlock, Derbyshire, United  Kingdom. Wide range of ecological surveys.

University of Derby, Derbyshire, United Kingdom. 

Mammal survey techniques.

In addition to ecology based activities, I have had a rich and varied career as a chartered engineer.


Drawings courtesy of Geoffrey Kibby

Purple Sandpiper Northumberland 2017 Keith Offord.jpg

Photograph courtesy of Keith Offord

Green Tiger Beele.jpg

Drawing courtesy of Courtenay Holden

bottom of page