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Monday, 24 December 2012

One of London's finest leaves us for ever - RIP PETER NAYLOR 1950-2012

It is with very deep regret that I have to announce the extremely sad news that PETE NAYLOR has died this evening, after battling with a dehabilitating illness for a number of years. My deepest condolescences go to both Mandy and Simon (Pete's brother) who were with Peter at his bedside when he passed away this evening. At just 62 years of age, he has left us all too early........

Peter had been a very good friend of mine for a very long period of time and we had shared many thousands of great birding moments over a long period, particularly on the Isles of Scilly during what have become affectionately known as 'The Golden Years'. He had been particularly keen on London Birding too, after spending all of his life in the Capital, moving from his birthplace in Uxbridge to neighbouring Hayes, and his enthusiasm and contribution for birdwatching in the area and at his beloved Staines Reservoirs was virtually second to none. His input on the London Birding Scene was extraodinary and for several volumes, he virtually single-handedly wrote and got up-to-date the London Bird Reports. Despite his illness, and the setbacks he suffered, he still managed to fight back and get himself out in the field and testament to his keenness and exceptional ability, was the fact that he discovered the fabulous male RED-BACKED SHRIKE that frequented his local patch at Lake Farm Country Park this June. Sadly, that was the last time I was ever to see Peter in the field, as he was struck down again not long after.

Peter's contributions to British birding were immense and it was always very pleasurable to be in his company. He had the very same obsession I have for accuracy and for figures and we would pull each other's legs whenever we met at various London reservoirs, comparing the various counts of ducks, passage terns or waders. He was an outstanding ornithologist who always had a notebook to hand, was meticulous for detail and extremely sharp in the field - he would frequently beat me to a flyover Whimbrel or Bar-tailed Godwit in April and would relish the chance at identifying an Arctic Tern from an almighty mass of Common Terns. His list of finds is impressive, especially in Middlesex, where sites such as Perry Oaks Sewage Farm were once in favour and highly productive (and before it made way for Heathrow's Terminal 5).

There are not too many like Peter and I will miss him dearly. Although not forceful like myself, Peter would take time out to help others not so gifted and was often surrounded by a number of faithfuls, always grateful for what Pete would be able to point out for them. He was a very friendly individual and was also extremely tactful and funny at the same time. He had an interesting sense of humour.

Judging by the number of phone calls I have had this evening, Peter was extremely popular and well-liked - his passing will be mourned by many.

Lee Evans