Very sad news was received from Derek Spencer’s son, Hylton Spencer on Saturday morning advising me that Derek, one of our long-time members, had passed away in ICU on Friday 4 June after being ill for a month. Derek joined the Natal Bird Club (our ancestral bird club name) 40 years ago in February 1983. He became a dedicated birder and stalwart club supporter. He converted his garden from exotic to indigenous to further encourage his passion and make a home for the birds and had a garden list of 150 species including uncommon and rare birds such as Spotted Ground Thrush, Capped Wheatear and Eastern Bronze-nape Pigeon. He was described by Don Porter as one of the star birders of the club and this was recognised in 2013 when he was nominated and awarded Honorary Life Membership. He had a phenomenal memory for where birds had been sighted when and often regaled me with tales of the more exciting ones and was excellent at identifying birds and their calls. For me personally, Derek was a quiet and steadfast support to me directly when I took over as chair and I am delighted that Ticky and I have his collection of 17 volumes of the Handbook of the Birds of the World to remember him by. Derek, you will be very missed by all of us and the birds you loved. Hylton has promised to let us know the arrangements for a memorial service and we will advise members.
Kind regards Nicolette Forbes BE KZN Chair
Messages of condolence from committee and members are included below:
So sorry to hear this sad news.
Derek was a stalwart of the Club for many, many years and an absolutely star birder!
May he rest in peace. David Allan
So sad to hear this. Roy, Derek and I spent many hours in the field atlassing and discussing the many unknowns of bird distribution and movements. Kind regards Steve Davis
I remember fondly many bird walks with him. Ros Conrad