22 October 2012

Barry Weston

Barry (right) with Paul Evans crossing the Severn at
Llandinam during the Across Wales Walk in 2009

Andrew Lucas wrote:
Barry Weston, one of the stalwarts of birding in Gower, died on Friday, 12 October.
I had known Barry for nearly a decade, since I bumped into him one day at Blackpill. We discovered that we lived just around the corner from each other, and since then we have spent many weekends birding together around Glamorgan.
Barry had exceptional ability as an observer, particularly with bird calls. We often had a friendly competition to see who could name a bird quickest, a race that Barry almost always won. Mewslade was our regular venue every weekend between late September and early November, where we dreamed of finding Glamorgan’s first American warbler, or perhaps some exotic Siberian thrush. His local patch was Mynydd Gellionnen, where he turned up some nice birds over the years, including short-eared owl, whinchat and wryneck.
Barry was a prolific contributor to local bird surveys. He was a prime mover in the Gower Tree Sparrow Project, and one of my most vivid memories is of Barry, telescope in one hand, a 25Kg bag of bird seed thrown over the other shoulder, striding out towards the feeding site at Newton Farm. He contributed hundreds of records towards the BTO Atlas, checked the nestboxes at Cwm Clydach, and undertook butterfly surveys. Typically, when the call went out for volunteers for the BTO thrush survey this winter, Barry was the first to volunteer.
Barry also enjoyed long-distance walking. For his fiftieth birthday, he organised a walk from his home in Clydach to the top of Bannau Sir Gar and back. In 2009, with Paul Evans and myself, he completed the 50 mile Across Wales Walk in just over 16 hours. At the end, exhausted beyond belief, I swore never to do anything like that again. But, for Barry, there was always the challenge: could he complete the distance in a faster time? The following year, he returned and did just that.
Barry touched the lives of many naturalists in Glamorgan. He was a great companion in the field, and always ready to share his expertise. His passing leaves a huge hole in Glamorgan ornithology.
The last time I saw Barry was the Sunday before he died. We were at Mewslade – of course – and Barry was as sharp-eyed as ever. He picked up two distant dots with his naked eye, which proved to be a cracking male and female hen harrier.
Barry leaves his wife Angela, and his two daughters, Cerys and Anna. Barry’s funeral will take place at 2pm on Tuesday 30 October at Morriston Crematorium. The family have invited anyone who knew him to attend. They have asked for no flowers, but donations can be made to Gower Ornithological Society (cheques payable to ‘GOS’).

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