This weekend I heard about the sad new of the passing of a very well known and respected birder Martin Garner.
Now I only conversed with Martin via e-mail and had a single face to face meeting with him last year and know others will be better placed to eulogise about his massive contribution of birding as a whole, but I wanted to do my little tribute from a small personal standpoint.
I was a fairly regular visitor to Martin's website - http://birdingfrontiers.com - and was always totally amazed by the depth of his knowledge and they way this was put across to experts and novices - like me - alike. I was told last year by mate Steve that Martin was after images of certain species of bird for his forthcoming 'Challenge' - Winter, which was the next in the series of book on Iding certain species of bird from different sub-species and areas.
I emailed Martin and after a couple of emails I sent him a few Redwing images for him to consider using in the new book, I was and still am; very pleased and honoured to have Martin ask to use one of my photos of a wintering Redwing taken at Stainby, Lincolnshire in December 2014.
To you this may not seem like a big thing but for me as a hobbyist avian photographer who is new to the hobby and bird photography to get someone of Martin's stature and influence in the hobby to like just one image of mine enough to include in his next book to assist him in relaying his theories etc. was and still is a massive boost and honour to me and something I will be grateful to him for a long, long time.
I finally got to meet Martin at last year's Birdfair at Rutland Water and had an all too brief chat with him about the book his aims with the next editions and what he liked about my image for him to use it but what struck me most was that I felt he communicated to me in such as way that I felt we were at the same level with no pretence nor looking down on a fellow birder with far less knowledge then he.
For me we need more people like this in the hobby to encourage more to come into it with out fear of being belittled for asking what may seem a silly, simple question to other more experienced birders.
Martin signed my book with a message so simple but one that I had not considered I was before (see below) we are all explorers I guess but at differing levels and even the top explorers require help from others from time to time to support and get their message across.
In writing this I just wanted to say thank you to Martin I hope you can understand my sentiment in doing so.