Re Frederick T H Smith
Wed, 19 Jun 2013 14:26:13 +1000
I had three encounters with Fred Smith, all very positive and confirming
what a great birder he was.
The first was when camping at Round Hill where we had dipped badly on
finding (or even hearing) a Red-lored Whistler. Fred came walking
through the mallee with a group of birders and casually let us know that
he'd heard them just up that way. We still dipped.
The second was when I was leading an Outback Track Tour in south-west
Victoria. He conducted us through Werribee, giving lots of useful
advice, listening and patiently replying to questions however arcane,
and generally being a marvellous informant on all aspects of bird life.
The third one was sharing a cabin with him on a trip to Ashmore Reef.
He slept in the bottom bunk, being the senior member of our two person
cabin, and I had to climb over him to get to my bunk. Sharing with Fred
was an honour and I was very much aware of my junior status bird-wise!
He was I think about 79 and anxious not to fall over when we were on the
high seas so
spent most of his time on his bunk between islands (a person on an
earlier trip had fallen and fractured a hip - not a good thing to do
when you are 3-4 days away from medical help) but came to startling life
when we disembarked at Scott, Ashmore or Lacepedes islands and was
immediately onto terra firma taking part in the ticklish process of
identifying pipits, warblers and other wayward species that had become
lost at sea.
He was one of our great Australian birders. Honour to Fred.
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