27th Feb. Goodbye Old Friend

I haven't blogged for a while but chucked a draft post together this morning moaning about what a crap month I'd had blah blah blah.  I was going to add some more dross to it this evening but received some terrible news that made my small troubles pale into absolute insignificance.

The news this evening was that Yorkshire birding stalwart Russell Slack had passed away after losing his battle with cancer.

I have some happy memories of birding with Russ, when he first came to Sheffield Uni' in the mid-Eighties. Being a couple of years older than me and my then birding mate we looked up to him and were inspired by his enthusiasm, student tales of charming members of the opposite sex (that failed to inspire me to progress my education) and his seemingly ever present smell of Patchouli Oil and long curly locks.

During this time Russ and I would regularly bump into each other at Thrybergh Country Park usually seeing very little, in fact the highlight of a few years visits was a summer-plumage Spotted Redshank that circled the reservoir then left. It was only a few months ago that we were laughing about that and how crap Thrybergh was (and it still is). On another Thrybergh visit I was sat next to Russ when he was shit upon by a Swift which gave us much hilarity and a short discussion on the likelihood of an apus shitting on you - of course statistics were very much Russ's bag.
My first Spurn visit was courtesy of a field trip organised by Russ and I saw my first Subalpine Warbler and Brent Goose!

I've used the word inspiring a couple of times already but to me as a 16 year old birder Russ was like a big brother during those distant Thrybergh days and truly did inspire me to get out birding.

Russ you were a bloody good bloke and you will be much missed R.I.P mate though the memories will live on.

1 comment:

franksidebottomsuncle said...

Very sad news indeed. Russ was a genuinely nice guy who could see the lighter side of birding as well as the serious stuff.Spent a few nice evenings in the Red Deer on Pitt Street with Russ when I lived in Sheffield some years ago. Like Nige Lindsey who passed away this time last year, another good guy gone way too early.