In memory of Philip John Everitt 1951-2016
Phil retired in 2003 after a thirty-year career in education. He had a passionate interest in raptors and was involved in the study of Honey Buzzards, Harriers and Peregrines for many years. He joined Sussex Peregrine Study in 2005 and played a major role in the conservation of Peregrines despite suffering from a physically restricting lung condition (A1AT) deficiency. Following a bi-lateral lung transplant in 2011 his health improved dramatically for several years and he is pictured here walking in to the mountains in his favourite birding country, Sweden, in search of Great Snipe. Going forward we will take with us, amongst many things, inspiration from his passion and determination.
Bartalan John William Atfield 1958-2004
Bart Atfield was born on the 30th June 1958 in Horley, Surrey. After attending infant and junior School at Shottermill, Haslemere and Preparatory School at Newells and Desmoor on the Handcross Park Estate, he went to Ottershaw School, where thanks to the broadmindedness of his teachers, he developed his fascination for wildlife and in particular, birds of prey. He kept Jackdaws, Little Owls, Tawny Owls, Kestrels and one Sparrowhawk. On leaving school, barely 16 years old and after a short stint working at an antiques shop in Hindhead, Bart moved to Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire where he became an underkeeper. Bart moved to Sussex in 1975 and his passion for falcons emerged, during this period he made regular visits to Scotland to watch Peregrines. In 1988 he acquired and trained a female prairie falcon and together with his pointer ‘Clay’ began hunting game, this was one of several large falcons he would use for both falconry and breeding. In 1989 he acquired his first tiercel (male peregrine).
Occasionally during the winter of 1989-1990 when Bart was hunting with his tiercel on the downs, a wild female would fly over and hang around near them, sometimes on consecutive days. There had been sightings of Peregrines in this area before, individual adults and juveniles were being reported all along the coast but the significant difference was that this bird was behaving territorially; The first confirmed sighting in the area of an adult male was in August 1988, it is likely this was the first one to take up the territory and pair with the female Bart was watching. A survey of the cliffs during the breeding season of 1990 confirmed that a pair had in fact produced at least two young; it appears however that only one female survived the fledging period. The Sussex Peregrine Study had begun.
Sadly, Bart died of a heart attack in 2004.