I am uniquely privileged to be one of a very close circle of ornithologists who have had the pleasure to meet, in person, the maverick Yolo Birder.
A man, a lone wolf, a disrupter and a proactive advocate for the nature.
It was an honour to explore the banks of the Tyne with him one fine September morning. Anonymity doesn't come easy though. Yolo would slip in and out of my company, one second by my side, the next out of sight in repose to prying eyes. He would always rejoin my path allowing for the conversation to continue. Sometimes with a different jacket, glasses or headwear. Sometimes with a wedding ring or watch - sometimes without - all tricks of his trade. Through the myriad of accents he used there was one common theme; dedication. Whole hearted dedication to our birds and in particular raptors. Always consistent - always Yolo.
Maybe Yolo walks beside those advocating raptor persecution? An unwelcome spectre, shadowing their actions and diligently planning their downfall. I hope so.
He certainly walks amongst us bird watchers. Albeit much more subtly than the camo-clad hoards.
It was a pleasure to walk with Yolo and to view his beloved Peregrines.