Mike San Miguel
- There is little I can add to Kimball's exquisite tribute, which both serves to sum up perfectly this man's character, passions, and accomplishments, as well as to speak the hearts of all of us who knew Mike. The birding world has lost a virtuoso, the world at large a magnificent person. I am deeply saddened, and extend my sincerest condolences to Mike's family and friends.
Sherman Oaks, CA
- I can recall the first time I met Mike in the late 60's at a lake in the
eastern part of L.A. county looking for a rare waterfowl that had been
reported. I forget which bird was there, but I do recall my conversation
He had been an active birder, he said, but for the time being he was
concentrating on being a father to his children, Mike Jr. and I believe a
sister- but I could be wrong. Those of us who have felt the all-consuming
attraction of birding can but envy, with a twinge of guilt, Mike's attitude.
His birding then consisting mainly of banding in his backyard. As his
children matured Mike became again active - probably one of the most active
birders , in southern California, with an increasing interest in the
science of ornithology.
Switch forward to 1998. We had just moved to our current home in Hereford,
Arizona. Mike, now a friend of many years, was instructing a MAPS banding
class in our area, and he stayed at our house. My wife and I had in the
meantime developed an interest in butterflies that now rival our interest in
birding. Mike seemed to us to consider butterflying a waste of time, just a
distraction from the serious avocation of birding. So you can imagine my
surprise when he asked me to take him to Ft. Huachuca to look at
butterflies. We had a fantastic day that yielded some 52 species - the
great majority of which were "lifers" for Mike. He was really stoked!!
But he made me promise not to tell any of our mutual birding friends that he
was secretly interested in butterflies also. I don't think he would mind my
sharing this now.
Mike Jr and all of Mike's birding friends, most of whom I have known through
the years - Priscilla and I share your sorrow at this most unfortunate and
Carr Canyon, Cochise County, AZ
"Butterflies of Arizona - a Photographic Guide"
"Finding Butterflies in Arizona - a Guide to the Best Sites"
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- I have some video clips of Mike San Miguel on the Condor Express. I'm creating a video tribute and memorial to Mike and it would be enhanced by some additional photos. Some of Mikes close friends have already sent me their favorite photos of Mike. If you have any photos of Mike that you would like to share in the tribute, please email them to thunefeld@...
Peace on earth.
W. Terry Hunefeld, Encinitas
Life is short. Seabird often.
In memory of Luke Cole and Mike San Miguel
"Come on out with us to see what's out there."
Southern California Seabirding Trips
by: Buena Vista Audubon Society
Los Coronados Islands & Nine Mile Bank
all the way to the edge of the Continental Shelf
- To me, Mike was a role model in so many ways. One thing that speaks well of
Mike is that there are many of us in my generation who can say the same. I
had known Mike through acquaintances and birding for a number of years. Mike
and I became friends when he came to me to assist him with crafting a letter
to the LA County and the Army Corps over destruction of least Bell�s vireo
habitat during maintenance activities. I helped him integrate his
observations with environmental regulations that protect the vireos and
their habitat. This spring and summer, I have observed least Bell�s vireos,
as well as yellow-breasted chats and other riparian birds in new areas and
in higher densities in existing patches of riparian habitat that I believe
are a direct result of his efforts and many battles over the years.
The last time I saw him in the field was at Bonelli Park looking at a wood
stork. He was staring into his scope and I jokingly walked up behind him and
asked, �sir, what are you looking at?� As was typical of Mike, not looking
up, and not knowing who I was, he began to describe the wood stork and why
it was interesting to what he thought was a complete stranger. He finally
looked up and chuckled at me. That was Mike, always a great ambassador for
birding and conservation.
He and Gayle became good friends to me and my family. When my wife Yelitza
immigrated to the US, we visited with him and Gayle. At the time, her
English was very limited. They made her feel at home, then he broke out the
champagne and her English improved ten-fold after two glasses. They made her
feel comfortable and confident in her new surroundings. Then last year, I
brought my 2-year old daughter to his house and she learned the joy of
watching dozens (it was a slow day) of hummingbirds buzzing around her head.
Finally, I would like to thank Jon Feenstra. I cannot imagine what he must
have gone through that night. As I have read and heard, his actions during
the situation and the following morning were heroic. I am sure his presence
gave tremendous comfort to Mike. More heroic and brave was immediately going
to see Gayle and Mike�s children after he got off the mountain that morning.
All I can say is thank you and that I wish I could help lessen the sadness.
I know Mike would have been proud of your actions.
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