ERIC MEEK, 1947-2017
Birdwatcher, botanist and Orkney UKBS correspondent Eric Meek passed away on February 16 after a short and unexpected illness. He had worked as RSPB Scotland’s Orkney Officer from 1981 until his retirement in 2012, and had been awarded the BTO Boddy and Sparrow Award for his paper on the breeding ecology and decline of the Merlin on Orkney, published in Bird Study. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and brought up in Northumberland, he co-authored Northumberland’s avifauna, was a ringer and served on BTO committees, was chair of the Scottish Birds Rarities Committee and the BOU Records Committee, and also was a director of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust. But it is for his work on Orkney that he will be particularly remembered. He fought to get moorlands on Mainland made a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – some local farmers who wanted to turn them into productive farmland, which would have destroyed wildlife and biodiversity interest, burnt an effigy of Eric in protest, but he took the opposition in his stride and quickly rebuilt relationships with the locals. He is survived by his wife, Aileen, and two children, Sally and Terry.