Don Green - 1935 -2017 - Yesterday we travelled up to Bedford to attended the funeral of one of Bedfordshire`s senior naturalists and a dear friend, Don Green. Inevitably there was a large turnout of birders present who knew Don including several Dungeness regulars from the past such as Peter Smith, Barry Nightingale and Arthur Livett. It was also good to meet up with Rob, Stewart and Pete from the former `Dunstable Wednesday Club`, and Dave Kramer, among many others.
However, I first met Don in 1978 when I moved to Dunstable and became involved with the Bedfordshire Natural History Society. His farmhouse was a regular meeting point for those involved with the creation of a nature reserve at the nearby sewage works, where we stored gear in his barn and concocted up ideas for the reserve, often over tea and cake with his wife Maureen.
Don held numerous positions in the Society from the 1960`s onwards and as a result was recently awarded honorary life membership together with Maureen, who was always at his side over the many years when they organised the meetings programme and performed the thankless task of projectionist for the evening slide shows.
Don also used to organise winter birding weekend trips to the Solway in Dumfries and Galloway which were always a fun occasion. We stayed in a family run hotel in New Galloway and after a long day in the field the craic was brilliant in the evening with everyone telling stories from their travels, many of which became more and more embellished as the malt whiskeys flowed! What great memories and Don was in his element with tales of back-packing around Europe in the 50`s and his time in Canada as a lumberjack!
Even though I left Bedfordshire in 2006 Don often used to phone for a natter to update me on the Bedfordshire scene and to see how things were going down here, and he regularly visited Dungeness with the bird club. I shall miss those chats and visits, but feel privileged to have known such a wonderful human being who had such warmth and verve for life.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Maureen and the family at this difficult time.
Thursday - Sweet Caroline - 0900hrs - mild, wet and windy, S 7-8 - I joined BC in the seawatching hide this morning more to watch Storm Caroline batter the Dungeness peninsula than the expectancy of any birds. And sure enough a big sea was running up-Channel with a steady passage of Gannets, Fulmars and a few auks making light of the gale force wind and spray.
From Hanson hide on the bird reserve a decent selection of wildfowl, waders and gulls included an adult Caspian Gull and 30 Black-tailed Godwits until flushed by a Peregrine. Also present, two Great White Egrets and a Kingfisher.
The local patch at Lade was windswept and I could find no sign of the Long-tailed Duck.
Acadian Flycatcher in Kent: new to Britain - The morning of 22nd September 2015 will be forever etched in my memory, as no doubt it will be for many Dungeness birders. It was raining hard outside as I bid farewell to our B&B guests in the porch, the mobile phone trilled on the sideboard and went to answerphone. I cleared the breakfast table and loaded the dishwasher, while Barney looked on expectantly for his morning walk.
Ah!, yes, the phone message..., from Plodding Birder, sounding as though he was having a heart attack, babbling on in broken tones, due to the usual poor mobile reception at Dungeness: "There`s an Am...r...can fly...cher at the boats!" I`m not much of a twitcher, but this was local, and within five minutes I was on site with a handful of other awe struck locals (which very soon turned into a flood of hundreds), and the rest is history as they say.
However, the stimulus for this post is the December edition of British Birds that has just arrived, featuring a full and authoritative account by David Walker of the Acadian Flycatcher found by Martin Casemore on that memorable morning, and a must read for all Dungeness regulars. Well done to all concerned.