We are very sad to report that Tom Kittle, a highly respected and well liked Hertfordshire birder and naturalist, died on 23 August 2016.
Tom, originally from south London, lived in Codicote. He was a mathematician and worked at British Aerospace at Stevenage until his retirement.
With a lifetime interest in birds, Tom spent much of his spare time watching, studying and recording birds. He was a qualified bird ringer, with several long term study sites in the Welwyn area. He made a big contribution our knowledge of birds in Hertfordshire through bird ringing, BTO Breeding Bird Survey and other BTO and Herts Bird Club surveys and projects and was a 10Km square co-ordinator.
Tom was a longstanding member of Hertfordshire Natural History Society and Herts Bird Club and other local wildlife groups. In the last few years he had not been well and unable to continue active bird studies, but helped by Robin Cole and Barry Trevis, retained a keen interest in what was going on. Even this year, from his hospital bed he was following the fortunes of the Swifts nesting in Codicote.
News update - Tom Kittle was honoured posthumously by the BTO with the award of the Tucker Medal for 'Outstanding Service to the Trust' at the BTO annual conference on 2 December 2016. The medal will be on display at BTO HQ in Thetford as a tribute to Tom and all other BTO volunteers. Tom made a massive contribution to the development of software for the handling of ringing data from 1984 to the early 1990s; this was based around the BBC Microcomputer. The programs were the first to be made available for ringers to administer and analyse their own data electronically; they blazed the trail for electronic data submission; they changed many ringers' attitudes from hostility to computers to enthusiasm for the power they offered.
In remembering Tom, Chris Beech said – ‘that is so sad, Tom was a great inspiration to me as a young birder, I remember bird ringing with him at Waterend Marsh’
Ken Smith, former chair of Herts Bird Club said, ‘We will all miss Tom. I first came across him when I was a trainee ringer in 1970’s and ringed with him at Tewinbury. Tom published one of the first papers in the ringing journal Ringing and Migration – as it happens on the migration patterns of Green Sandpipers – He took great interest in our Green Sandpiper studies at Lemsford Springs and was thrilled when we were able to discover where our birds go to breed.’
Tom's funeral was on Monday 26 September at 11.45 at the Harwood Park Crematorium, Watton Rd, Stevenage SG2 8XT. A reception will follow at a place to be confirmed.