27 January, 2015

I've Been Struggling To Find The Words

I didn't know Dave Norman as well as many, but I've been bumping into him on and off since I started 'proper' birding. Sometimes as little as 2 or 3 times a year, sometimes every other week.
I remember the first time we met; at the seawatching spot on Prawle Point, and I'm not sure who was more surprised to see the other! I'd found the place entirely by accident and this was the first time I'd arrived to find somebody else there. As for Dave, he [as those who knew him will be unsurprised to learn] was the model of polite welcome to this weird bloke who, after a not very well hidden double-take, plonked down next to him with a cheery 'Hiya'.
Especially when said weirdo found out who he was and went slightly fanboy on him, the famous author [yes, I used those words..]

It was a rather sunny day to be seawatching, but we persevered and Dave pulled out the bird of the day - a Stormy, no less! It was a piece of typically understated skill; the level of which was shown by my utter inability to get on the bird before it got to the sun. And then after it passed back into view, when Dave picked it up again..

Stealth petrels aside, it was pretty quiet, so we spent a fair amount of time chatting - by which I mean Dave shared a few of his stories and I said 'Wow..' a lot! The intervening years have blurred the details, but I still remember the sense of wonder, I'd had no idea just where and to what birding could lead you.

Dave was one of the rare kind who makes you a better birder just by his presence.

I'm going to miss him.

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