Thanks for sharing this, Bob. Your subject line could also apply to Rich's approach to finding vagrants. When asked how he managed to find so many, he would say he looked at EVERY BIRD, not assuming any ID with just a glimpse. That philosophy has certainly helped me to look more carefully.
On Dec 22, 2012, at 11:16 AM, Bob Barnes <bbarnes@...> wrote:
> I first met Rich Stallcup in 1971. Of course, there are lots of
> memories based on correspondence and in person experiences;
> especially when I live in Palo Alto in 1971/1972 - not just birding
> either! The following concludes with the most memorable lesson I
> learned from Rich - in SE Arizona in 1976 or 1977.
> It was July 1976 or 1977. Ten of us were on a Northeast
> Birding/Wings trip to SE Arizona. The ratio of four leaders to ten
> participants was amazing as were the leaders themselves: Davis Finch
> from New York (or Connecticut?), Will Russell from Maine, Rich
> Stallcup from California, and a young man in his early 20s from
> California by the name of Jon L. Dunn.
> The last days of the trip were spent in the Chircahuas. One evening
> we went owling up the South Fork of Cave Creek when we heard a
> Spotted Owl. What a glorious sound it made. After hearing it call a
> few times over a few minutes, Rich Stallcup declared, "That's not a
> Spotted Owl. That's Billy Clow. I recognize his Spotted Owl call. I
> didn't know he was here in Southeast Arizona." The next morning, sure
> enough, we ran into Billy Clow!
> The last evening of the trip it was Rich's turn to meet in front of
> his cabin at the Southwest Research Station with trip participants to
> go over options for our final day to follow. Rich went over options
> of where we might wish to go again - or for the first time on the
> trip: Rodeo, Rustler Park, Pinery Canyon. There was an ultimate
> lister on this trip. He was the #1 lister from a large state east of
> the Rockies. He had sent his list of wanted life birds. Rich had
> memorized it. Each time Rich mentioned the preceding and some other
> potential last day birding stops, this ultimate lister would ask if a
> life bird might be awaiting him. Rich said no each time. Each time
> the ultimate lister responded with "I don't want to go there." The
> last option Rich mentioned were the ponds in Willcox. No doubt having
> the ultimate lister's prior responses in mind, Rich preemptively
> said, "There is also the option of visiting the Willcox ponds. There
> likely will be no life birds for any of you there. But, it will
> provide you with the opportunity to get at least a bit of a feel for
> shorebird migration through SE Arizona where shorebird stopover sites
> are at a premium." Predictably, the ultimate lister for a final time
> stated, "I don't want to go there."
> Rich's seemingly inexhaustible well of patience finally ran dry.
> Assertively and emphatically Rich stated, "GARY, EVERY BIRD YOU EVER
> SEE...FROM THE MOST EXALTED SPOTTED OWL TO THE LOWLIEST EUROPEAN
> STARLING...IS A LIFE BIRD!!!!!!!"
> I do not know if the ultimate lister was ever truly impacted
> positively by Rich's words. However, I am confident the other
> participants were. I sure was. Those of you who have participated on
> one or more of the 100s of field trips I have led over the past 35
> years may now have an added clue as to why EVERY BIRD was and is to
> be enjoyed as EVERY BIRD YOU EVER SEE IS A LIFE BIRD! Lesson learned
> from Rich Stallcup in SE Arizona
> +/- 35 years ago. Thank you Rich. May each of us continue to enjoy
> every bird while we are able with your words in mind. Our lives will
> continue to be enriched as a result.
> Bob Barnes, Ridgecrest, Kern County, California
> P.S.: Our 1976/1977 SE AZ trip spent the last day birding Rodeo,
> Pinery Canyon, and the ponds at Willcox with other stops along the
> way. It was surely the most successful birding trip in history as
> clearly every bird we saw was a life bird - amazing! Unfortunately,
> ultimate lister Gary did not see a single life bird. His last day was
> not successful. The choice was his. BB.
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