[CT Birds] George Letis

jaybrd49 at aol.com jaybrd49 at aol.com
Tue Jun 3 22:33:40 EDT 2008

Connecticut birders have lost one of their leading lights with the passing of George Letis.? I first met George and Millie in June of 1973 on a North Dakota roadside.? I was a new birder heading to Alaska with two friends, trying to see as many birds as we could.? George and Millie were attending an ABA convention.? Our paths converged looking for Sharp-tailed Grouse.? We were so raw, we didn't even know there was an ABA convention.? George and Millie befriended these three scraggly kids who were living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sleeping sometimes under the stars, sometimes in the car; giving us tips as to where to find birds in the various North Dakota Wildlife refuges.? Several weeks later, we ran into them again near Denali, and again in southeast Alaska as we headed down the inland passageway toward home.? With each meeting, they greeted us as old friends and were just as excited to hear about we had seen as they were to tell us about their own discoveries.? That fall I moved to Connecticut and a few months later took my first pelagic trip off the New Hampshire coast.? As I recall, the trip wasn't all that great with rough seas and few birds.?? However, who was on the trip but George and Millie.? Again, they treated me as a long lost friend, telling where I might go to find birds in my new state.? Over the years, I would run into them from time to time while birding the Connecticut shoreline and other locations around the State.? The final time was last fall at Lighthouse Point, where George was delighted to see me, as always wanting to discuss our Alaskan adventure some 34 years ago, and remembering aspects of the trip that I'd all but forgotten.?? I will always remember George and Millie's kindness to beginning birders and I'm sure there are many other subscribers to this list serve who must have similar memories.? Thank you, George!? Connecticut's ornithological community will not soon forget you.

Jay Kaplan

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