I am honoured that Sharon has invited me – amongst others – to continue to post to Martin’s Birding Frontiers blog, following his untimely death after a long courageous battle with cancer. Before I do so, however, I wanted to write my tribute to the great man. It has taken me some time because it has been very difficult for me to put into words just how much Martin meant to me.
It may sound over the top but I make no apology; Martin was an inspiration to me as a birder, photographer and a man. I first met Martin in the late 1990s at Poolsbrook Country Park, Derbyshire when he introduced me to the intricacies of gull identification. By that stage I’d been birding seriously for about 20 years and was no slouch, but Martin’s knowledge far surpassed mine and he opened my eyes. Not only did he open my eyes and expand my knowledge but he inspired me and positively encouraged me to pursue my digiscoping be it video or stills. He recognised my digiscoping skills and his mantra “Be the best you can be” echoes in my ears. To hear Martin say that I was “pushing the boundaries” with my digiscoping is much-treasured praise.
Martin was a real expert in bird identification – he was at the top of his game. Queries were invariably referred to him. Martin was definitely the ” man who does”. It’s no surprise therefore that Birding Frontiers was ground breaking stuff, being interesting and informative with many learned contributors and experts from around the world. I was really proud therefore when Martin asked me to contribute on digiscoping.
I also have Martin to thank for my working relationship with Swarovski which has been beneficial to me in pursuing my digiscoping passion.
Martin will be sadly missed by me and many others but his knowledge and his willingness to spread and share that knowledge will live on through his Challenge books and Birding Frontiers.