14th April. RIP 'Gilly'

I was going to write about this evenings birding walk around RVCP and Pit-house West but frankly I didn't see very much though two hunting Long-eared Owls at totally separate locations were very welcome and presumably breeding birds. Obviously I was going to write more than two lines about the evening but lost my thread when I opened an email from Mr Fray informing me of the said death of Martin Gilbert AKA Gilly. I can't pretend to have known Martin that well because I didn't, but I had met him on several occasions first on my first Scilly trip in 1987 and lastly some six years ago at Lands End where I enjoyed a Pallas's Warbler alongside him. Those who really new him would probably agree that he was a smashing lovable eccentric who cared not for modern comforts, apparently recently living in a cave in North Wales. But for most birders of my generation it will be the finding of the two gorgeous Slender-billed Gulls at Cley that Martin will be fondly remembered. RIP mate wherever you are.

I nicked this from Tom Mckinney (who copied it from the Cley bird log) I'm sure nobody will mind


The Leicester Llama said...

Like you, I only met Gilly a few times, mostly on Scilly, where he stayed in our chalet on Tresco once or twice. Sleeping on the sofa must have been the height of luxury compared with his usual accomodation arrangements - a tent on the RSPB reserve at Marazion, a haystack in the Outer Hebrides and the cave in North Wales to name but a few! A true birding character.

Although it doesn't name him, there's a short piece about the incident on the BBC News site (North-west Wales section):

Martin said...

Yikes didn't expect to read this on our blog Mark. I knew Martin pretty well really as he originally hailed form Runcorn Cheshire.... same area as me (from Frodsham). I gave him many lifts for twitches. I remember the first time I ever picked him up..some early hours thing. he was so excited he has waited from 8 pm, at the meet point the previous evening. he found the SB Gulls in the process of walking the full length of the N Norfolk coast (as I remember). a good guy indeed!

Fred Fearn said...

Amazing how the news of Gillys untimely death spread through the birding community, he was a one off and certainly brightened up many of my birding days.

He lived his life well outside of 'normal' society and I for one am glad to have known him.

RIP mate.