[CT Birds] Richard English

Schlesinger, Lee Lee.Schlesinger at purchase.edu
Thu Jul 14 08:32:35 EDT 2011

By and large, in this community we know each other primarily as birders--our other or further lives (but is there anything "further" than birding?) in many cases remain rather mysterious to each other.  This is fine, and for all I know, as it should be.  Nonetheless I think I am right in saying this:  Richard English was a true eccentric, in a grand Connecticut and New England tradition.  And of course, he was a true and truly outstanding birder, one who set standards of commitment, accuracy, and delight in the field.  AND he couldn't pass up a pun, a good one or a bad one.

One thing I especially admired about Richard was the pleasure he took in there BEING BIRDS.  When he saw you, he asked what you had seen.  He appreciated the amazing fact that there are birds to be seen.  Few people in Connecticut have seen as many birds as he did, and I don't mean as recorded on lists or even ebird.  He did contribute vitally to Christmas Counts and the like, of course; because he saw so much, he often saw rare birds, which is how it works, and he knew where to look as well as how.

Though not the figures of fun we birders might have been a generation ago in the popular imagination, there are not doubt many who still think of birding as a fundamentally eccentric behavior.  Why not?  As Richard showed, it can be triumphantly so.  We will miss him.  I will miss him.

Lee Schlesinger
Port Chester, NY

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