Please find below the article for Barry. I'll leave it up to you as to how to
print it - whether to do it as a regular obituary or simply as a letter to the
editor. Not sure if it fits the usual obituary format. Also do you reckon that
you could up sending me a couple of copies please? If so P.O. Box 696, Jabiru,
Hope you doing good! When am I gonna see you in this neck of the woods?
Letters to the Editor
Reflections on the passing a good mate and of a friendship forged in the love
of all things avian.
1 October 1944 - 25 August 2006
I only met Barry four years ago (at O'Reilly's Guesthouse where I was working
as a guide) but in that time I regarded him not only as a mate but also as a
mentor and whenever I had a birding or business question inevitably I would
seek out his wisdom. Later when living and working at Ayers Rock I, like many
others, was the recipient of his generosity and had a place to stay whenever in
Alice Springs. Early in our friendship, after a great meal and a couple of
drinks he asked me that fateful question, "How many birds have you seen in
Australia?". I being pretty new 'to the game', had not actually ever counted my
hard earned ticks scribbled with pride in a much dog-eared Slater & Slater.
Moreover, I wanted to get my total up there a little bit more before the first
calculation. However this response did not satisfy a clearly excited Barry as
he grabbed my bird-book out of my desperate hands. Ticks where counted and
numbers projected into the balmy Alice night before finally
an announcement of the total number of bird species seen - mid 300's - not too
bad but embarrassing next to Barry's 700! Thereafter, with his usual gusto, he
helped me in building my list (now mid 500's without pelagics) and I frequently
felt that through his interest and photographic memory that he had a better
knowledge of my list than I did! Through birdwatching with Barry I can say that
he provided me with the thrill of 24 'new' birds, including a lot of the
difficult birds of Central Australia like Grey Honeyeater (the bird with which
most people will probably best associate him). I can also say that I was
fortunate to also go birding with Barry in Kakadu where I now work and also on
Kangaroo Island where he also had a home. I should also quickly mention at this
point that Barry's total also progressed .... to the dizzy heights of 740!
(equal ninth of personal totals in Australia).
Unfortunately for me, Barry was frequently witness to the foibles of my
chaotic mind and he would commonly chastise me heavily for my errors. In
return, all I can say is there was only ever one bird that I could tease Barry
about - Sooty Owl - and I loved to bring it up at the best of occasions. I had
the pleasure of having this bird on my list for a little while before it
finally found its way onto Barry's colossal list. Oh.. also, I could also
mention a certain incident when Barry stepped just a little bit too close to a
certain sewerage pond but I better not say any more...
I was not able to travel to Barry's funeral, so I did the next best thing - I
went searching for a special bird, one that has avoided me on dozens of
occasions! This thing is a major 'BOGEY BIRD'! It has avoided me so badly that
in the past I have even refused to say its name, actually all I will say now is
that it has a white throat and lives above Gunlom Falls in Kakadu. I chose to
resume my search on that special day because on a previous occasion Barry and I
searched for this bird and the 'birding gods' were particularly cruel that day
- Barry SAW it and I only HEARD it! What do you think happened with this new
attempt? Did the gods deliver me from my birding anguish? It would be really
nice to finish this story by saying yes but unfortunately I DIPPED again! Barry
though would be having a laugh about it and I can almost hear him, even from
this distance calling me all kinds of nasty names.
Barry was a special bloke. His birding knowledge and expertise was
extraordinary. But above all, his generosity of spirit in sharing his life,
house, car, food, drink and information was, I believe, his defining trait.
Mate, you will be sorely missed.
Thoughts go out particularly to his wife Julie and his sons, John and Brian.
Guide @ Yellow Waters
Kakadu National Park
Photos: Unlimited free storage ? keep all your photos in one place!
To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)