Sunday, 21 July 2013

A tribute

David Keith Green

25/02/1947 to 07/07/2013

My dad is pictured here outside his house in the Cotswolds with a Goldfinch I had just ringed. He was always feeding the birds at his house and very much enjoyed watching them. He was particularly interested in the comings and goings (mostly the latter) of the Goldfinches.

He died of a heart attack 2 weeks ago today. His funeral was on Wednesday 17th July 2013 at Cheltenham Crematorium where I gave this tribute to him:

Some of you will recognise this tie [I am wearing] - Dad knitted it himself to show the colours of the Spanish flag and he had no hesitation in wearing it at school. Knowledge, learning and languages were some of his passions and he certainly did his best to pass them on.

When we were kids, he would always speak in Spanish and by the age of 7, I was translating into English for my mum. I also remember at around the same age, marking Spanish Exam papers with him. I guess he was proud that his young son knew more Spanish than teenagers who were supposedly studying the language! The teacher in him was never far from the surface.

He taught me whilst at [Cheltenham] Bournside [School & Sixth Form Centre] so I also got to see his classroom techniques that included looking at his watch and asking people what the weather was like in French or Spanish. For the next person, he'd look out the window and ask them what the time was!

Since he retired, he was learning to relax and enjoy life more and actually spending some of the money he'd fought tooth and nail to hold onto! At every opportunity, he'd go on holiday abroad and I went with him to Menorca twice, Spain and Sardinia twice. I'd drag him around the bird watching sites and he'd drag me around the cultural sites. They'd always involve a lot of walking which we both enjoyed and we walked a lot of miles and we both managed to get a lot of mileage out of sharing our experiences with others.

He was well known to most, if not all of you for his money saving exploits. There are too many stories under this subject to decide what to tell you about. I will share a unique moment I shared with him whilst on holiday in Sardinia this year. We were at a restaurant and he was trying to make up his mind as to whether he wanted a glass of wine or not with his meal. I couldn't believe my ears when he actually used the words (and forgive my language here) "bugger the cost!"

I got my phone out and texted the news to my brother - warning him first to sit down before reading further. The reply from Mark came back to say that he was [lying down at the time] currently watching Dr Who, so anything in time and space was possible!

Back in this country, he would call every Sunday to hear my news and to share his. He would regularly mention many people who are sat here in front of me today; people who he cared about and called his friends. I think that sharing life is what brings us closer together.

I shall miss those phone calls, the walks and the holidays, the visits to his house, the sharing of news and much more. But most of all Dad, I'll miss you.

Mark (left) and myself after the funeral wearing the ties our Dad knitted.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Contrasting totals

On Friday of last week, I took the day off and, as the weather conditions were better than of late, I put up some nets at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR). A decision that proved to be productive with 68 birds captured. 60 of these were new and 8 were retraps of 13 species. 17 were adults and 51 were juveniles.

A while back now, I saw a Jay on my feeders and a couple of others around my netting area so it was only a matter of time:

Above: The first Jay ringed at SSNR (this being the 46th species I've ringed here).

Above: An adult Kingfisher.

This was the first Kingfisher ringed here for nearly 2 years. Recent hard winters and the flooding of nest sites have meant this species has been in decline recently. Sightings at SSNR used to be regular along the river up to 2 years ago but have been rare of late so nice to ring one.

Above: A juvenile Long Tailed Tit - one of many ringed on Friday. At 44 new for year Long Tailed Tits in 2013, this is the highest year total for the site.


Kingfisher 1 (0)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (2)
Wren 0 (1)
Dunnock 2 (1) - including a juvenile
Robin 0 (1)
Whitethroat 0 (1)
Blackcap 6 (0) - mostly juveniles
Long Tailed Tit 17 (1) - mostly juveniles
Blue Tit 3 (1) - mostly juveniles but surprisingly few of them
Great Tit 19 (0) - mostly juveniles
Jay 1 (0)
Chaffinch 7 (0) - including several juveniles
Goldfinch 4 (0) - including 1 juvenile

In contrast, a visit to Priory Country Park on Saturday morning, CES visit 6 was carried out and produced a meagre total of 12 birds. Of note were juveniles of the following species: Great Tits, Blackcaps and a single juv Whitethroat (suprisingly absent from SSNR the day before apart from one retrap adult). What a difference a day makes - even if it is a different site.

Above: A Juvenile Whitethroat 

CES totals have been low so far this year. I've started compiling totals and comparing them to previous years, but there's still a lot of work to do. We know nesting is later this year because of the cold spring weather (and therefore there has been less food), but juveniles are starting to appear and only time will tell how good a breeding year this will be. The last 6 visits will provide crucial information!

Elsewhere, I saved a juvenile Green Woodpecker from being squished on the road. It may have been injured (not flying) so it was put in a safer place and left unringed.

The weather for this weekend looks good (a lot less wind) so I hope to have more news.