Friday, December 21, 2012

Tribute to Rich Stallcup

I was shocked to hear of Rich’s passing. He always seemed so healthy to me, both physically and mentally. I think everyone that knew him felt they were in the presence of a special gifted and unique individual. He will be greatly missed by so many people, a huge lose to all. I bet birds can sense his absence and are grieving as well!  I guess only a few select people knew of his illness. I sense that he had periods of great suffering. I’m really going to miss those bird walks, I’m glad I made as many as I did.

John Owen and Rich Stallcup
 I remember well the bird walk that Rich led for the Beach Watch people at Limantour Beach on October 24th 2009. Amanda Jobbins spotted a lone peep high up on the sand dunes. Rich immediately got excited; I and several other photographers shot as many photos as we could. Rich identified the bird as a rare Long-toed Stint. Immediately birders from all over Northern California descended on the site to get a look. Many doubted Rich’s ID and thought more than likely this was a Least Sandpiper. I’m not an expert birder, so technically I could not contribute any expertise to the controversy except two things. I’ve seen enough Least Sandpipers to be somewhat familiar with their behavior and this bird was exhibiting behavior not typical of a Least Sandpiper. Many people agreed on this point. Secondly Rich has so much experience and insight on birds; if he with confidence calls a bird, that’s what the bird is!  Last year on another bird walk with Rich, I asked him about the controversy surrounding the bird and he said, “there is no controversy; the bird is a Long-toed Stint!”  I knew that!
Long-toed Stint

 Rich was a person nobody can forget, so sad to see him leave, he touched everybody who knew him; me for sure!

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