The Harrier

Subtitle: The newsletter of Devon Birds

Obituary – ‘Dave’ Moses Murray 9th November 1942-22nd July 2017.

Dave was known to many in Devon Birds and particularly the East Devon Branch where he will be greatly missed for his companionship and bird watching expertise.  He regularly led fieldtrips until his health deteriorated towards the end of 2016.  He kept his illness private and died in hospital at Exeter comforted by his loving family.

Dave was born in Corringham, Essex as a War baby and at school was recognised as an all round sportsman being a fast runner and strong swimmer.  As a footballer he was a lifelong supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

Dave and Carole his wife to be, met while at secondary school and they married in 1963.  Carole described the young Dave as being a handsome young man, slim with dark curly hair and dark eyes and with an independent and self contained nature.

After working in the construction industry Dave found employment as an industrial fireman with Shell Petroleum who evidently recognised his football  skills and he played for the company football team gaining many medals and trophies over his lifetime of mixed sporting achievements.

Dave took early retirement in 1993 and he and Carole moved to East Devon for the milder climate.  This was a county that they had visited while on holiday and at Colaton Raleigh he constructed a beautiful garden and fine home but still found time to enjoy their motor home and to travel widely.  They visited Australia a number of times and other exotic locations included Costa Rica, Peru, Russia, Kazakhstan, India, Canada, Finland, Malaysia and Ethiopia.

Dave was always a keen birdwatcher and on his retirement to Devon he joined the committee of the East Devon Branch (DBWPS) and became a much valued leader of fieldtrips.  I personally recall how he showed me my first Great Grey Shrike on Dartmoor, and it was his enthusiasm for sharing his birding experiences with others that made him special.  We all had a deep respect for Dave and the knowledge that he was always ready to share.  He frequently found a bird of note and the call “it’s in the scope” became his catchphrase and an invitation to savour the moment through his Swarovski.

Dave came to love Devon.  The Otter Valley and Heaths became some of his favourite haunts together with Dartmoor, where he would always try to find the first Pied Flycatcher of the season at Yarner Woods and the Warren House area where he even had a sighting of the now famous Lammergeier.

Dave and Carole had two children, David and Linda who live in Essex and Norfolk respectively.  Their childhood was clearly blessed by Dave’s love of sport and nature which he shared with them from an early age.  In their loss we offer the Carol and the family our condolences in the knowledge that Dave made many friends in Devon Birds, that he was greatly respected and helped to create many happy memories for his birding friends.  He will be greatly missed.

Jonathan Ruscoe.


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