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My interests include wildlife, merchant shipping, canals, railways, motorcycles, history, architecture, modern languages and photography.
My wildlife interests include birds such as Wagtails, Kinglets and Redstarts. Kinglets are a nice challenge to photograph because they can let you get quite close to them but I have never known them to keep still! I have seen the Madeira Firecrest in its native habitat and I added to Wikipedia articles about this bird in both English and German. I also like photographing butterflies.
I call myself Motacilla because I like wagtails. The pied wagtail is one of my favourite birds because it seems able to survive by eating dead insects from the surface of car parks, and it always looks cheerful even when living in miserable places. Sometimes pied wagtails have very scruffy plumage but they still look happy. Also the pied wagtail has different races with distinctly different plumage, but they live together as one species and seem to get along alright!
I have contributed to many articles about places in England: most of them about villages and hamlets in and around Oxfordshire. I have created a few dozen new articles about individual villages, several about Victorian architects who worked on Oxfordshire churches and houses, a few about present and former railway stations in the county and a handful about parish churches that deserved fuller treatment than could be fitted into the main article for their villages. I have contributed a lot of photographs of churches and other historic buildings to Wikimedia for use in these articles.
There is a proposal to set up a WikiProject Oxfordshire. Would a WikiProject help to improve coverage of the county or would it be a distraction? If you are interested please visit the proposal page, read the discussion and add your opinion.
I have a few historic motorcycles: BSA, Matchless, MZ and Norton. Occasionally I get one of them working and use it to take a touring holiday. I don't often write Wikipedia articles about motorcycles, but in 2012 I did create the article Industriewerke Ludwigsfelde, about an East German factory whose products included motor scooters.
My interest in railway history includes England, Ireland and the Near East. I've written or contributed to articles including Egyptian National Railways, Iraqi Republic Railways, Iraqi State Railways PC class, Palestine Railways, Palestine Railways H class, Palestine Railways P class and Portadown, Dungannon and Omagh Junction Railway.
I'm interested in the history of merchant shipping. I've written or contributed to articles including Bow, McLachlan and Company, Burntisland Shipbuilding Company, Counties Ship Management, Eagle Oil and Shipping Company, P Henderson & Company, London & Overseas Freighters, Richardson, Duck and Company, MV Abosso, SS Abukir, SS Aguila, SS Almeda Star, SS Anselm, HMT Aragon, SS Avila Star, SS Avoceta, SS Brazil, SS Calabria, SS Cyclops, MV Daronia, QSMV Dominion Monarch, SS Donegal, MV Dromus, SS Gasfire, RMS Lady Hawkins, SS Lanthorn, SS London Valour, SS Maloja, MV Mefküre, MV Melbourne Star, SS Mohamed Ali El-Kebir, MV Nino Bixio, RMS Nova Scotia, SS Ollanta, SS Oropesa, SS Patria, SS President Hoover, TEV Rangatira, SS Robert Coryndon, SS San Flaviano, MV Sebastiano Veniero, SS Shuntien, SS Springfjord, MV Struma, SS Umona, MV Victoria, SS Wandle and SS Yoma.
The history of places and buildings leads to the work of historical figures, so I have ended up writing a number of biographical articles. The majority are either provincial architects, or historians who have written about provincial buildings and places. The remainder are an assortment including two clergy, two landowners, an actor, a clockmaker, a composer and a trades unionist. I've written or contributed to articles including: Cyril Beeson, Thomas Bowles, Ronald Brunskill, Charles Buckeridge, Joseph Clarke (architect), T. Lawrence Dale, Peter Ditchfield, Albert E. Fox, Daniel Harris (Oxford), Roger d'Ivry, Wolf Kaiser, John Knibb, Mary Lobel, Edward Miller (musician), William Henry Page, Clapton Crabb Rolfe, Henry James Tollit, Sir Edward Turner, 1st Baronet and William Wilkinson (architect).
Whenever expanding or creating articles I cite published sources. I refer repeatedly to the same sources and find it time-consuming to keep putting the same details in cite book templates so frequently. To save time I now keep a template of each of my usual sources in a list on a special page from which I can copy and paste them.
I am fluent in English, fairly good at German and get by in French. If you send me a message in German or French please keep it simple so that I can understand! I know rudimentary Spanish, Polish and Russian, but not enough to contribute much to Wikipedia.
I use userboxes to summarise some of my interests. Unfortunately I've not the faintest idea how to control the way they lay themselves out on this page! The "Babel" template seems to have a mind of its own...