Anyone who visited Otmoor more than a few times since the start of the Millennium would probably recognise Paul Greenaway who sadly, died last week. He had borne his illness just as he lived his life with quiet fortitude, calmness and humour.
I first met Paul over twenty years ago on Otmoor and our friendship grew around our shared passion for birds, nature and the unique character of the place. Paul was an amateur naturalist in the classic Victorian tradition. He was curious about all aspects of wildlife and would avidly research anything that he came across. He became our “go to” expert on flowers and plants and would photograph and then identify anything that he could not immediately identify. He often contributed images of insects, plants and mammals to the Oxon Wildlife blog and of course posted his bird sightings on the Oxon Birding Blog under the name “Stoneshank”.
He gave a huge amount of time and effort to winter and summer bird feeding programmes. He was conscientious, and he worried about the welfare of the birds if there was harsh weather. His regular and detailed observations were a huge help to the reserve management in documenting and tracking the breeding successes of our scarcer birds.
What we will miss more than anything however is his quiet, helpful and friendly personality. Paul was always happy to talk to people and share his knowledge and experience, as is demonstrated by the number of warm comments that have been made on the Oxon Bird log and on the Otmoor Facebook page.
Over the years I have spent very many hours in Paul’s company walking, talking and watching. It seems impossible to me that we will no longer see him, coming along the bridleway with his scope over his shoulder, walking with his very distinctive rolling gait that meant we could tell it was him from a great distance. It is sad that we will not be able to joke with him about his winter and summer plumage ( a beard in the winter and clean shaven in the spring and summer). Paul was a true gentleman and an enthusiast. A birding friend once said of Paul that he was “a plumber with the soul of a poet”, I couldn’t disagree with her. The moor will not seem quite the same without him and we Otmoor regulars will miss him massively.
|With the Otmoor Massive in winter plumage|
|With other Otmoor inhabitants, In summer plumage.|
There will be a simple ceremony at the Oxford Crematorium at 2.30 on Monday 24th June to which all are welcome.