Meet Brydon Thomason
Nearer to the Arctic Circle than to London, the remote and beautiful Shetland Islands are Brydon’s home. A born and bred Shetlander, he lives on the island of Unst, the most northerly of the British Isles, with his wife Vaila and their three children, Casey, Corey, and daughter Nula.
His interest in wildlife began early on the island of his birth, Fetlar, where his family can be traced back hundreds of years through the island’s history. It was here on his family croft that his passion for wildlife began as a toddler.
From that early age Brydon was already tuned into the changing seasons and how they affected the landscape and the wildlife within it. This is something that fascinates him as much now as it did as a child some four decades ago. By the age of eight he had already begun to learn the ways of the island’s otters and, by the age of eleven, he was well known amongst local Shetland birders.
With a lifetime of knowledge of the islands and their wildlife, and a genuine passion and enthusiasm to share that with others, setting up Shetland Nature in 2007 was a dream come true, allowing him to establish a fulfilling career built around the wildlife, islands and way of life that meant so much to him.
With this authentic insight the visitor experience offered by Shetland Nature is truly unique. Brydon’s down to earth, friendly, and team-spirited nature has been key to success in building a team of like-minded wildlife professionals coming together to celebrate and share Shetland’s natural heritage with the wider world.
Whilst a renowned birder, Brydon is, however best known for his work on Shetland’s otters. In 2015, with Richard Shucksmith, he co-authored the acclaimed Otters in Shetland – the Tale of the Draatsi.
He has worked on and featured in over 15 television programs and documentaries as a consultant and guide, including high profile productions such as the BBC’s Springwatch, Countryfile and The One Show, and blue chip documentaries such as the recently aired ‘Wild Shetland: Scotland’s Viking Frontier’, produced by Maramedia.
As a photographer Brydon’s passion lies with the wildlife he knows so well and enjoys so close to home, and in this regard he is best known for his work on otters as well as Shetland’s rarer breeding and otherwise iconic species.
Although a deeply committed photographer when he has time, Brydon realised very early on that he would build a career around putting other people’s desire to take memorable wildlife images before his own. He is therefore better known for his subject knowledge, field craft and responsible approach as a guide and facilitator. In 2019 he felt honoured to be invited onto the judging panel of the British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA).
In addition to being an Opinion Leader for Swarovski Optik UK and a brand Ambassador for Páramo, Brydon is also proud to be a volunteer with the Royal Maritime Coastguard Agency. However, even more than otters, his biggest love and the aspect of his life he feels most proud of is his family, and making sure time is made for them.