Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Sad News

I received the sad news today that Stephen Knowles of Blueberry Farm had died peacefully in his sleep this morning. He had been unwell for a few months.

We first met Stephen quite a few years ago when a Common Crane was discovered on his land and as you can imagine this attracted a large number of birders. I can remember Neil plucking up courage to go and talk to Stephen and his wife Jo to arrange access and parking.  But he need not have worried as Stephen was so welcoming and also very interested in this "strange" bird on his land.  

As many of you know both Neil and I have spent quite a bit of time birding around Blueberry over the years and have enjoyed many interesting conversations with Stephen and Jo, both of them hugely passionate and interested in all the wildlife found on their land.
I think that many of us experienced their enthusiasm and warmth a few winters ago when we witnessed a truly magical event of the huge numbers of Short-eared Owls, the sight of which I will never forget.  Again Stephen and Jo welcomed huge numbers of birders and people onto their land, keen to share these beautiful birds and let them be inspired and wowed by the experience.

As I've said both Stephen and Jo welcomed folk onto their land and they even erected some benches on the top of "Blueberry Hill" so that you could sit and enjoy the marvellous view of the countryside as far as the eye can see.  Stephen called it the "best view in Northamptonshire", and I tend to agree.

Many birders, walkers, runners etc will have their own memories of this lovely, softly spoken "gentle" man, who always had a twinkle in his eye and time to talk.  I used to meet him on his regular trots around the fields on his trusty horse. We would exchange bird notes, and despite me using binoculars he would inevitably see more than me and he loved to grip me off with his eye level encounters of roosting owls which he saw from his horse!!

One of life's rare characters, loved and respected by many but I'm sure that his spirit will live on around Blueberry.

Our thoughts are very much with Jo and the family at this sad time. A time which is even more difficult for the family as Jo is very ill at this time.

Thank you Stephen and may you rest in peace xx

Regards   Eleanor

Post a Comment