• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

RICHARD RICHARDSON — Did you know him? (1 Viewer)

Tom Lawson

Well-known member
In 1955 I spent the first three weeks of September living at the Cley Bird Observatory which was then a hut at The Hood halfway to Blakeney Point,and which had an adjacent Heliogoland trap which occasionally caught what was then considered to be a good bird.There was no freshwater so every few days RAR would arrive with a churn for drinking and cooking only! For everything else it was seawater.Every other day involved a trek into Cley for food as there was no electricity so no means of preserving anything fresh.However the Observatory got deserted on those days as it was much more interesting to sit on the East Bank and learn at the feet of the master.Even in September hardly anybody did the trek up the shingle to Blakeney Point so peace reigned! At the end of the three weeks I got a lift on the back of the Norton to Cromer Station,and I don't think I have ever been so frightened since! Happy days!
 
Last edited:

Penny Clarke

Well-known member
I first came across Richard ( Mr. Richardson - I was only a nipper at the time and wouldn't have dared call him anything else as my Mum amd Dad were close by ;) ) on the ubiquetous East Bank in 1964 on my first visit to Norfolk. It is surprising how much information I gathered in that brief first meeting, and how helpful he was. On future meetings it didn't matter how daft your ID's or questions were he always had the time to gently point you in the right direction. An all round cracking chap, particularly as he also rode a motorbike as well. I'm really glad to hear your Dad's still keeping active as he always made my day when I called into the Obs. ( although he did almost cause me to have a childish accident back in the 80's, when he fed me about 2 pounds of plums from his tree, and I had to walk all the way back to the village!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )

Chris
:-O:-O:-O Love the plum story!!!!!!! (they still have the same plum trees!)

Yes, RAR was a unique person, great pity he's not still around.

Best Wishes Penny
 
Last edited:

Penny Clarke

Well-known member
In 1955 I spent the first three weeks of September living at the Cley Bird Observatory which was then a hut at The Hood halfway to Blakeney Point,and which had an adjacent Heliogoland trap which occasionally caught what was then considered to be a good bird.There was no freshwater so every few days RAR would arrive with a churn for drinking and cooking only! For everything else it was seawater.Every other day involved a trek into Cley for food as there was no electricity so no means of preserving anything fresh.However the Observatory got deserted on those days as it was much more interesting to sit on the East Bank and learn at the feet of the master.Even in September hardly anybody did the trek up the shingle to Blakeney Point so peace reigned! At the end of the three weeks I got a lift on the back of the Norton to Cromer Station,and I don't think I have ever been so frightened since! Happy days!
Hi Tom

Thanks for sharing your lovely memories!!!:t:

Best Wishes Penny
 

Happisbirder

Always looking, seldom finding...
Thanks James for posting these - lovely. Is the second one the East Bank?

Best Wishes Penny

Both photo's were taken by the sluice along the East Bank where fishing for crabs was a fun pastime for my brothers and I. Richard was always willing to show us how it should be done! I don't know the exact date but would guess 1975 - '76...

James

PS Nice meeting you yesterday too.

J
 

username

Well-known member
I have very fond memories of RAR...in fact i can picture the scene now as we gathered around him reclining on the East Bank overlooking Arnolds Marsh and listened to the man communicate his wonderful passion and observational skills for birds. Usually there was only about a dozen or so of us around in those days...and for some reason i always remember Enid Allsopps almost constant 'nattering'....;)

It was the beginning of the birding tribes and i feel privileged to have known the man and to have been part of the whole 'scene'.....bloody marvelous days...:t:

ps...okay...'rose tinted glasses' off now....!

http://username-beast.blogspot.com/
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
Never met him unfortunately but did have the pleasure of working for 2 superb Summers on Blakeney Point (81 and 83) and apart from the breeding birds and drift migrants etc we had breeding Kentish Plovers and vagrant Lesser Crested Tern - i was also tasked with clearing out some old 'rubbish' which included a Little Tern display, Ted Eales' Observer book of British days and an A3+ size charcoal sketch of 2 Bean Geese in flight with the distinct initials RAR - all of which reside on my narrowboat - halcyon days! Steve Gantlett running back to the Lifeboat House to make a phone call to Nancys Cafe to report the Tern, low tide oops and then a slow but distinct trickle of birders walking the 2 1/2 miles or so up the Point. No Internet or Twittr not even CB's - there, that dates me.............................
 

Rikthevik

New member
Is there anyone else that knew Richard and has any wonderful stories to tell?
I have only just registered for Bird Forum so have not seen Penny's question until now. I had a schoolfriend Roger Durman who was a great bird-watcher all his life. Sadly he died in 2001. In about 1958 when we were 14 we arranged to stay with Richard Richardson at Mrs Dee's house for a week. It was rather basic and I remember her giving us a jug of warm water and a bowl to wash in. We cycled to Cley from Kenley where Roger lived.
Richard used to ride a big motorbike and sent us off each day to undertake some birding activity. Once on Blakeney Marshes we bumped into the Duke of Edinburgh who was shooting coypu with Prince Charles. On another day Richard sent us to Cromer on our bikes to see the new collared doves that had arrived from the Netherlands. One afternoon he sent us to some heath land to try to find a great grey shrike that had been reported there. As we wandered about I asked Roger what we were looking for. He said, "it will probably be sitting on top of one of these young trees." Then we saw in the distance a row of people with binoculars who seemed to be looking at us. We looked about us and there was the shrike only 20 metres away, at the top of a bush. Sadly after a short time it flew away. We decided not to confront the birdwatchers and rode swiftly back to Mr Richardson telling him we had seen it!
Every morning we went with Richard to a heligoland trap where he ringed birds. He wisely would not let us handle a goldcrest, but allowed me to ring a songthrush, after instruction.
Roger continued birdwatching all his life with his wife Penny.
 

Penny Clarke

Well-known member
I have only just registered for Bird Forum so have not seen Penny's question until now. I had a schoolfriend Roger Durman who was a great bird-watcher all his life. Sadly he died in 2001. In about 1958 when we were 14 we arranged to stay with Richard Richardson at Mrs Dee's house for a week. It was rather basic and I remember her giving us a jug of warm water and a bowl to wash in. We cycled to Cley from Kenley where Roger lived.
Richard used to ride a big motorbike and sent us off each day to undertake some birding activity. Once on Blakeney Marshes we bumped into the Duke of Edinburgh who was shooting coypu with Prince Charles. On another day Richard sent us to Cromer on our bikes to see the new collared doves that had arrived from the Netherlands. One afternoon he sent us to some heath land to try to find a great grey shrike that had been reported there. As we wandered about I asked Roger what we were looking for. He said, "it will probably be sitting on top of one of these young trees." Then we saw in the distance a row of people with binoculars who seemed to be looking at us. We looked about us and there was the shrike only 20 metres away, at the top of a bush. Sadly after a short time it flew away. We decided not to confront the birdwatchers and rode swiftly back to Mr Richardson telling him we had seen it!
Every morning we went with Richard to a heligoland trap where he ringed birds. He wisely would not let us handle a goldcrest, but allowed me to ring a songthrush, after instruction.
Roger continued birdwatching all his life with his wife Penny.

A wonderful story - thank you so much for sharing this!:t::t::t:
 

Richard Abr

Well-known member
A wonderful story - thank you so much for sharing this!:t::t::t:

Lovely story Penny. I remember Richard well. Spent many a happy hour in the early 1970's sat with him on the East Bank at Cley. He was a lovely chap with an incredible eye for spotting birds, and he was a fountain of knowledge about birds.
Richard
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Sadly, I can’t claim to have known RAR, but I did meet him a couple of times on my first ventures up to Norfolk from my native Hampshire. Two memories stand out. First was listening to him tell a story, probably apocryphal, about two spinster birdwatchers ‘of a certain age’ claiming to have seen a Shag somewhere off the Norfolk coast. He claimed they’d rushed over to him as he held court on the East Bank crying “Oh Mr Richardson! We’ve just had a wonderful Shag in the sand dunes!” Whatever the veracity of the story it still makes me smile!

A few years later (in 1970 or 1971 I think) we drove up from Hampshire to see the long staying Baird’s Sandpiper at Cley, but were despondent when we heard from RAR that it hadn’t been seen for a few days (no Birdline back then!). However, we managed to relocate the bird feeding in a ditch at close range and called the great man over. As more folks appeared RAR was very particular about giving us ‘young lads’ the credit for refinding the bird. At the time we all swelled with pride, but what remains is the memory of a kind and generous birder anxious to give credit to others and encourage young birders.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
I think i might have met Roger whilst working on The Point - there was a chap called roger who would walk up from Cley almost every other day, birding on the way. He might have had a holiday home locally. Sometimes he canoed up - i think he had a couple of sons and i am pretty sure he lived and worked down South somewhere in the Home Counties - he was great friends with Liz Forster who was in her 70's back in the 80's. She was an amazing character and the 3 of us had a meal around her place near Cley on a number of occassions where she would regale us of her stories of hiking and birding in the Himalayas and elsewhere. In return i always got the kettle on when i saw her distinctive shape making it's way up from The Hood!

Halcyon days.........

laurie -
 

Penny Clarke

Well-known member
I think i might have met Roger whilst working on The Point - there was a chap called roger who would walk up from Cley almost every other day, birding on the way. He might have had a holiday home locally. Sometimes he canoed up - i think he had a couple of sons and i am pretty sure he lived and worked down South somewhere in the Home Counties - he was great friends with Liz Forster who was in her 70's back in the 80's. She was an amazing character and the 3 of us had a meal around her place near Cley on a number of occassions where she would regale us of her stories of hiking and birding in the Himalayas and elsewhere. In return i always got the kettle on when i saw her distinctive shape making it's way up from The Hood!

Halcyon days.........

laurie -

Lovely story - I remember my parents talking about Liz Forster - father said she was known as the 'BBC' in Cley as she had done some work for them.

Penny:girl:
 

Happisbirder

Always looking, seldom finding...
Time to bump this one again methinks...

Three photos of RAR taken on Fair Isle circa 1976, courtesy of Walter Trunchite. Thanks Keith... :t:

Thanks to Amanda also for the scans... :loveme:

Atb,

James
 

Attachments

  • RAR.jpg
    RAR.jpg
    163.8 KB · Views: 354
  • RAR (a).jpg
    RAR (a).jpg
    176.3 KB · Views: 276
  • RAR and Puffin.jpg
    RAR and Puffin.jpg
    188.1 KB · Views: 382
Last edited:

RonMac

Well-known member
Richard

Time to bump this one again methinks...

Three photos of RAR taken on Fair Isle circa 1976, courtesy of Walter Trunchite. Thanks Keith... :t:

Thanks to Amanda also for the scans... :loveme:

Atb,

James

Wow these photos really take me back, I would often sit with Richard on the east bank at Cley in the early 70's along with friends Sam-Foster Smith and Graham Buck discussing what would be likely to turn up next. I remember one day Richard suddenly sat up and looked into the distance saying 'could be an arctic tern' and we were all looking trying to just see the bird, after a while the dot appeared and flew over the bank - yep an arctic! He was truly a fantastic birdwatcher and an inspiration to us all.
 

Happisbirder

Always looking, seldom finding...
Any chance of having jpgs of these pictures please?

Best Wishes
Penny:girl:

The photos were posted in a bit of a hurry from work but I hope to try and 'improve' them. I'll send you copies by all means.

I spoke to Keith today (Bailey - the originator of the photos) and he told me he has printed off a set of the photos which he will leave at Cley visitor centre for you at some point in the not too distant future...

RonMac - Hello! Hope you and Sue are both keeping well and still spending many enjoyable hours 'lost' in Broadland...

James
 

Penny Clarke

Well-known member
The photos were posted in a bit of a hurry from work but I hope to try and 'improve' them. I'll send you copies by all means.

I spoke to Keith today (Bailey - the originator of the photos) and he told me he has printed off a set of the photos which he will leave at Cley visitor centre for you at some point in the not too distant future...

RonMac - Hello! Hope you and Sue are both keeping well and still spending many enjoyable hours 'lost' in Broadland...

James
Thank you James, very much indeed:t: Wow! Thanks to Keith too:t::t::t: My email is [[email protected]]
 
Last edited:

West End Birder

Well-known member
Hi Penny

Not about RAR but about your father, a quote from my book

The list was now up to 104 and, in honour of this auspicious occasion, I thought it appropriate and ‘officially’ correct to start a proper list ‘adjudicated’ by me. So whilst we were at Holme, Peter Clarke, the charming Warden there, managed to sell me the Norfolk Ornithologists Association’s (try saying that after a couple of pints) Field List of British Birds, and on the cover was a shrike, how appropriate – look at all those ticks!

I remember him showing us his Convolvulus Hawk Moths that he was breeding, fascinating - lovely bloke.

Regards

Rob
 

Attachments

  • NOA.png
    NOA.png
    194.3 KB · Views: 87

Users who are viewing this thread

Top