Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Our faithful friend Monty and keen follower (sometimes chaser!) of local wildlife sadly passed away on Wednesday after quickly falling ill and being diagnosed with cancer, aged 13. It was a complete surprise to Nolly and I, especially at the suddenness of it all. From his first outward sign on Tuesday that something wasn't quite right, to the end when his pain ended was all of about 28 hours.

He had led a very active ten years on Mersea and was certainly well recognised and quite often was the real boss at the country park. Monty quite often provided the excuse to get outside and walk the footpaths and seawalls and much of the wildlife I've seen and admired was done with our faithful friend nearby.

Apart from wildlife watching, his next favourite hobby was watching lunchtime snackers. Not even the presence in the picture above of BBC Countryfile presenter Matt Baker next to him, could distract his concentration of watching my ham and cheese baquette being eaten.

Monty was a bit bored here with looking at the rare red-breasted goose again on the Strood seawall. His walk a few days earlier was the reason the bird was discovered here feeding with the brent geese last November.

I'm not sure Monty ever got the point of staring at a bright light over a white sheet on mothing nights. However he did know that rabbits came out at night and of course he just hated those foxes that strayed too close to the trap! One fox seemed to taunt him just before dawn one mothing session last summer, when it kept reappearing from the bushes knowing that Monty would sprint over to it but not go into the undergowth after it.

All sorts of wildlife were followed by our little friend including the frogs and toads although he never showed much interest in doing anything with them. At the park I was able to watch many adders over the years in his company, knowing he would usually stay a few feet behind me.

Wildlife comes and goes on the Island and one of the recent colonists has been the wasp spider. It was always tricky trying to make sure Monty didn't walk through the grass to disturb the big webs.

Amongst the many interesting wildlife incidents attended by the little chap was the refloating of the stranded porpoise at East Mersea Point a few years ago. His little head just visible in the background as he watches the drama unfold from behind a bush.

Mersea Wildlife pays tribute to a real faithful companion who wanted out in all weathers, happy to go out at some weird times of the night and would trott along any sort of Island path. He will certainly be missed by many admirers - although perhaps some of the local vermin might be able to relax a bit more now! His favourite Mersea wildlife was usually furry, four-legged, all shapes and sizes and usually lived underground.

Ten happy years on Mersea for the little chap!


Nolly Urquhart said...

Goodbye my cheeky little furry friend with the biggest heart.
Brave little man who followed us up mountains, over rivers, through deluge and snow storm - even though you didn't like to get your paws wet. Who was made to travel in the terrifying canoe and sit on a soggy cushion then go camping on the marshes. Little chap, you just took everything we threw at you in your stride!
You brightened up the gloomiest of days with your simple straightforward honest love.
I can still hear you trotting round the house trying to find me, and once you found me you'd be happy to ignore me again (but always with one eye on the chair where the boots went on)
And you did all of this for a sniff of Dad's socks, the lick of a plate and a gravy bone.
You will always live in our hearts xxxxxxx

Phil Smith said...

Hi Dougal - very sad news about little Monty, he always added to the enjoyment of a day out at Cudmore and many a time he scrounged tit-bits from my sandwiches. It won't be the same without him. Phil Smith.

Anonymous said...

We have been coming to Cudmore Grove with our Jack Russells (but now we have just one) for a few years now and have spoken on a few occasions. We are truely saddened to here about the loss of Monty. He obviously had a wonderful life with you and we know you will miss him greatly. Kindest thoughts. Jayne and John Pound.

Seymour Birdies said...

What a wonderful life he had and enjoyed every minute.

Anonymous said...

Ah poor little Monty, such a lovely boy x

Andy Field said...

Sad news indeed. I shall never forget Monty's skill at detecting a pasty in an air tight plastic box hidden in a backpack from twenty yards. He will be missed.

Dougal Urquhart said...

Thanks for all the comments.
He certainly touched many hearts and was certainly a real character who made the park his own. He certainly liked to remind many of the other dogs at the park each day who was in charge! For him the park was full of interesting smells, dogs to greet, vermin to chase, open space to run around in, dog bins that needing checking for food scraps and running over to other dog walkers to beg for their doggy biscuits! He also helped anybody who was struggling to finish their lunch whenever they came to the park!
He enlightened all of our lives and he became a really special friend. We've been very lucky to have known him and we've had ten memorable years with his cockiness, cheekiness, happiness and grumpiness!
A devoted friend for all those years right up to the end to myself and Nolly.