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Too hot to work


Allan Ridley <aridley@...>
 

Hiked the riparian corridor of Glen Canyon in the heat of late morning
wednesday, pines popping, birds panting and hanging out in family groups right
down at the water. Observed parents with ambulatory young of the following
species: dark-eyed junco, song sparrow (both parents and 4 juv. in one
instance), bushtit, downy woodpecker, scrub jay, lesser goldfinch, house
finch(mucho), white crowned sparrow, modo, eust, hosp and red-tailed hawk (up
in cypresses, 2 adult and one noisy juv. flying & calling). Adult & juv.
Anna's hb hawking insects in close proximity. Also in the willows: 2 wilson's
warb and above in the cypress black-headed grosbeak - singing. A pair of pigmy
nu were repeatedly visiting a hole in a cypress and a pair of white-crowns
were mating nearby - everyone panting - lots'o young birds in evidence right
now. The creek was alive with birds drinking and bathing, feeding and just
hanging out.



I feel a need to say a word about Luis Baptista who always found time to
enchant my ornithology students with his insights on bird communication and
many other fascinating examples of the unique capabilities of birds. He
possessed and encyclopedic mind and delighted in making connections with
history and contemporary events and using his knowledge of several languages
to reveal shades of meaning in scientific terminology. His ideas often seemed
to flash along ahead of us drawing us to new insights and understanding. He
loved to share his knowledge and did so with twinkling humor, artfully
whistling and making faces. Have you read his book on the Biology of the
Columbiformes? It's full of unexpected information (and humor)... such as the
importance of sunbathing and the variety of sunbathing pigeon postures. His
enthusiasm and energy seemed boundless. I once lamented the fact that both of
the ornithology texts suitable for high school students (Pasquier and Corral)
were out of print. His immediate and enthusiastic response was, "Let's write
one! We'll co-author ...." It seemed a great idea but I was a bit slow on
the uptake I'm afraid. A busy man with commitments galore, he scheduled a
morning each fall for the past 10 or 12 years for talking with the students
and showing them through the highlights of the study skin collection. He also
worked more extensively with some of the students who chose to return to the
academy to volunteer in birds & mammals. Such a bright light so suddenly
extinguished leaves us for awhile in the dark.

Allan