Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blast from the Past

Talked to an old birding buddy, Chuck Hunter, on the phone today for about two hours; first time he and I have chatted in a decade or so and the longest conversation we've had in about 30 years. We met sometime in the late 1970's (we were both teenagers) when he guided me birding around his home town of Jacksonville FL for a weekend. He showed me my first Burrowing Owl and Great Black-backed Gull, back when the gull was a good bird in those parts. We corresponded for a while, and last ran into each other at a Partners in Flight meeting in Colorado in the 90's. So we had a lot of catching up and many war stories to cover. It was great fun! He's living in my ancestral stomping ground of Atlanta now. Lots of gossip about mutual acquaintances, tales of most amusing and embarassing birding blunders, and "whatever became of ol' whats-iz-face?" Man, the birding world has changed so much since then. We ultimately had to wind up the conversation because Peggy was due home soon and I hadn't done anything about supper yet. One thing that he did mention that has left me kind of confused, though. It sounds like David Sibley was in Athens at the same time as I was (1984-1992, at least part time), but I can't dredge up a single recollection of him. I would have expected him to be travelling in the same mostly UGA-associated birding circles that I did, and I remember well many of that cadre (Barny Dunning, Peter Yaukey, Chris Haney, many more of Josh Laerm and Ron Pulliam's students and post docs, etc.) but I can't place a Sibley in it at all. Maybe he was there before I was.


At 7:22 AM, Blogger cyberthrush said...

Sibley was a college drop-out (I'm not sure from where), so if he was at Athens, maybe it wasn't for long enough for you two to cross paths. Maybe too, at that time he was more into painting than birding???

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

Ah that would make sense, if he was an undergrad there. I was there for grad school; I spent my college days in California. Since he and I are about the same age that would explain why we missed each other.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David's girlfriend (now wife) Joan Walsh was in the Ecology department (with Barney, et al). David would occasionally visit, but didn't really hang out much. Joan was doing work at the Birdsville wood stork colony most of the time.

BTW, I was there 1986-1990 in the Forestry School working on coyotes, and picking up lifers at Horseshoe Bend and the Bot. gardens (started listing in 1986).

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

I remember Joan, but not the boyfriend. And I've been trying to place you (Steve) for months without quite making it click... I suppose this is all getting to be a loooooong time ago.


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