Death Of An Ornithologist

There is an obituary in today’s Guardian of ornithologist David Snow, who died in February, You can read the whole thing here, but I have helpfully extracted the more arresting bits:

[He] pioneered studies of three of the world’s rarest birds: the lava gull, the nocturnal swallow-tailed gull and the flightless cormorant.

His father also gave him a pair of pocketable first world war German Goerz binoculars.

The nearby birding hotspot of Slough sewage farm was a favourite destination, and resulted in muddy shoes in chapel on Sunday evenings.

He maximised his ornithological shore leave by having his bicycle sent ahead by train to suitable British ports.

in 1958, [he] married Barbara Whitaker. Between them, they pioneered studies on such species as hermit hummingbirds, the bearded bellbird and the extraordinary cave-dwelling oilbird which emerges at night to feed on fruit, navigating by echo-location, using audible clicks.

he was active to the end of his life: a scholarly little note about the feeding of blackcaps wintering in his Wingrave garden appeared in the January bulletin of the Buckinghamshire bird club.

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