I was saddened to learn that Cumbrian birder Ian Kinley had recently passed away.
When I first moved to the county 14 years ago Ian was the first Cumbrian birder that I made contact with through the Bird Club, and I am indebted to him for introducing me to the Cumbrian birding scene.
Being a bit younger back then I was hugely enthusiastic about the prospect of birding in this wonderful county and Ian always gave me lots of encouragement, invaluable information and tips. In fact our communications became a regular thing and I knew that I could always rely on him to be totally trustworthy and give me words of advice. This came as recently as a few weeks ago when I contacted him regarding the Ambleside Rosefinch, and as ever he replied with helpful information.
He was of course a hugely passionate and active county lister, and there wasn’t many species on the county list that weren’t also on his. I feel privileged to have been able to add a few for him in the shape of Broad-billed Sand and Semi-P, but conversely I was gutted when he was abroad for the duration of the Stilt Sandpiper’s stay back in 2008.
The Cumbria Bird Club and the County Bird Report will never be the same – in my opinion Ian’s ‘Review of the Year’ was about the only interesting and readable part in the report! He also wrote the ‘monthly highlights’ section for the current website and bird magazines, and was also a key member of the records panel. I was never very efficient at submitting my records, and he would often phone or text me encouraging me to get my finger out and get my descriptions to him!
I have many fond memories of my times with Ian, and I often bumped into him when he was up on the Solway with Ronnie Irving. Such was his enthusiasm for birding he probably visited my patch more regularly than me, even though he lived in Kendal! I always made time to stop and have a chat with him and we sometimes met up to watch skuas or the occasional rarity. We would always have great crack together and many, many laughs – I shall certainly miss our lively discussions about birding in Cumbria!
The Bird Club and Cumbria birders have lost an excellent birder and true character and it will be a far poorer place for his passing.