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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The passing of a treasured friend and a first-rate birder

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the sudden death of RAY TURLEY whilst on holiday in his favoured destination of recent years Goa. After a short period of illness, he died from a heart seizure.

Ray had been on the UK birding scene since the mid 1960's and was part of the earliest, mad keen twitching brigade from the London Area, which comprised the likes of Dave Holman, Baz Harding, Paul Dukes, Pete and Dick Burness, John Clements, Cliff Davies and Chris Goodfellow. In those days, Dungeness was the main target for weekend visits, particularly at migration times, and of course a place that Ray quickly fell in love with and later moved to.

Ray and I hit it off with our like-minded obsession with seawatching and I would look forward to early May each year to join him and others sitting on Dungeness Beach waiting for the Pomarine Skuas to come through. We spent endless hours together seawatching and then much later in the 1980's, helped rejuvenate his passion for the Scilly Isles in October. Carmel and I spent ten fabulous years or more sharing a flat with Ray and Janet on the archipelago in what were undoubtedly some of my most enjoyable in my birding career, Ray relentlessly rising at dawn come rain or shine and remaining in the field until very last knockings; he found many, many rare birds and scarce migrants in his long career and was outstanding in the field and was passionately keen until the very end. He will be very sorely missed indeed and Dungeness Beach and its environs will never seem the same without him

Carmel and I extend our sincerest condolences to Janet in this difficult time

Lee Evans