[CT Birds] Richard English

Mark Szantyr birdinggeek at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 19:35:46 EDT 2011

One of my most fond and vivid memories of Richard is the vision of his unbelievably worn Leica (I believe) binoculars,so worn as to see the metal casing where once was a black coating      

These binoculars could only belong to a passionate birder

Richard was a fine gentleman and brought color and life to the Connecticut birding community.  

He cared so much for all of us and for all we do...


On Jul 14, 2011, at 5:43 PM, <jtriana1 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> CT-Birders,
> As the historian of the New Haven Bird Club, I am saving all the notes and
> remembrances from CTBirds about Richard and will add them to our archives.
> 'Thank you' to everyone who has commented.  If you have more that you'd like
> to share off-list, you can email me directly.  I'd also be interested in any
> photos you have of him.
> Back in the spring, Patrick Comins asked me for some information on Richard
> as he was going to receive the President's Award at the COA meeting.  The
> following is a list of information about Richard that I provided.
> "Patrick,
> I'm just going to give you a number of bullets about him.  Obviously, most
> of what I have is based on NHBC history.  However, many across the state
> have benefited from his work, whether they know it or not.
> - First joined the NHBC as a junior member in 1946.  His parents were
> members back into the 1920's.  His is the longest membership in the history
> of the NHBC.
> - He and his parents (Philip and Katherine) were the first to join the NHBC
> as life members in the early 1970's.  (note: we bestowed life membership on
> at least one other person before that, but they were the first to join at
> that level).
> - He served as NHBC president from 1965-1967.  This was during a period when
> NHBC was transitioning from somewhat of a social club interested in birds in
> the 1940's-1950's to a more hardcore birding group.  It started in the early
> 1960's when folks like Mae McCabe, Tony Cosenza, and Bill Stoddard started
> to make various lists and restarted the New Haven CBC.  We have almost no
> record of participation in CBC's during the 1940's-1950's - only one mention
> in 1953.  The first one that appears in the minutes after that is the 1960
> CBC that included Richard.
> - Richard was in the middle of that crescendo of birding in the 1960's.
> After taking the torch from those that I mentioned, he ran with people like
> Noble Proctor and Davis Finch, getting the club more and more involved in
> what we would consider "birding" as we know it today.  He would then pass
> the torch to people like the Letis' and Fred Sibley.
> - Two of Richard's biggest accomplishments for the club were 1) an update of
> our checklist in 1965.  The previous checklist was done in the late 1920's.
> We've updated our New Haven County checklist several times since 1965,
> always relying on his notes from the 1960's. 2) He was one of the founders
> of our hawkwatch site at Lighthouse back in the 1970's.
> - Richard (and his whole family) have been very generous towards parks and
> environmental concerns around the state, but especially in New Haven.  There
> was an English on the New Haven Parks Commission for many years - preserving
> many of the places we hold near and dear (e.g. East Rock Park and Lighthouse
> Pt. Park).  They've donated money for parks and bird sanctuaries in many
> places.  One such location is the Richard English Bird Sanctuary next to
> Deer Lake in Killingworth.  I believe it is part of a scout camp.
> - One more personal note.....Richard comes from a long line of successful
> Connecticut Yankees.  I believe that he has CT governors on both parts of
> his family tree (from his father's and mother's side).  While he goes to
> operas and enjoys the things that might be stereotypical of a person of
> great wealth, he is very down-to-earth, extremely friendly, and never puts
> on airs.  I have been a member of the NHBC for many years myself, going back
> to the early 1980's when I was in junior high school.  When I came back in
> the area after grad school and got involved in the club again, I remember
> going to my first annual banquet.  I was sitting at a sparsely populated
> table, not really talking to anyone.  Someone tapped me on the shoulder from
> a neighboring table and asked if I had seen anything interesting lately.
> That person was Richard.  We talked for a while, with him sounding like he
> had known me forever.  I knew who he was, but I am sure he didn't know my
> name at the time.  It was a gesture of kindness I will never forget.  I
> often try to "pay it forward" when I see someone by themselves at walks or
> meetings."
> Thank you Richard.  Godspeed.
> Thanks,
> JT
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