Sunday, 8 January 2017

Graham Rees Retirement From Pembrokeshire Bird Group Committee.

On hearing that Graham has decided his stint of massive involvement with the Pembrokeshire Bird Group Committee should come to an end it's fitting that people who over many years have benefitted from his input should like to pass on their Good Wishes on the posts below:

Whether it be at Bird Group Meetings or as in my case Numerous Sessions in the Lookout at Strumble Head or even seeing Graham & Linda at the Flagpoles at Goodwick interesting discussion prevailed & not to mention numerous good birds, Especially a rather nice large black & white Tern on 23rd August 2005 !

Thank You Graham

Adrian Rogers


Well Graham Rees has had a profound influence on my bird watching  I first met him at Strumble with my brother David in September 1980 it was evident from the start that provided you were trying to look for seabirds that Graham was a  great source of encouragement.

As the years progressed his absolute knowledge of seabirds was highly informative he was always there to acknowledge, help ,share, his  seabird identification. He never put people down, we all start somewhere.

I suppose for me the 3 September 1983 THE “ BIG DAY” also further encourage me to do more Seawatching.

Together we have seen a lot , good days, bad days 1000s of hours together at the lookout,happy days.

As a fixture in residence at the lookout year after year from August to November 8:00am to 3:00pm , he has encouraged many a new seawatcher from all over the UK .

Alas since Graham came back from our South African trip and his illness developed, he has not  been able to come to  the lookout,we have all missed  him terribly its not the same.

One of Grahams favourite sayings was each year is different ,no two years are the same and as the records show this to be absolutely true.  And ,don’t forget only identify it after the bird has past 12;00 o clock position.

Of course we must remember that without Graham foresight and  tenacity there would of been no “lookout” he saved it from demolition, can you imagine trying to seawatch at Strumble in the rain, wind etc. Virtually impossible in a gale.

Over the last 36 Years of seawatching has increased vastly at Strumble more and more people have come and gone but there at least a few regulars, we all consider, and will always consider Graham Rees as THE MASTER SEAWATCHER.

Richard Davies

Anyone who has tried seawatching will have realised that it is a very niche sector of birdwatching and requires some very specific skills.

I was lucky as I had the best tutor – Graham.

Over many hundreds of hours seawatching alongside Graham I learnt the key skills of:

·         Staying calm when someone calls out a “Biggy”!
·         Listening to directions from others carefully and finding their birds (it’s a big sea out there).
·         Understanding what different weather conditions mean and what birds may be around – including the “classic Corys weather”.
·         Being able to carefully give directions to others when you have found a bird.
·         And of course the identification skills to id distant skuas, shearwaters, petrels etc.

And just when you thought you had the id’s nailed Graham would challenge you with a question such as – What is the underwing colour of a House Martin?  And then you realise you need to do more watching!

Richard Stonier