posted on behalf of Gail Menk:


Since 1970, I have touched shoulders with a number of ornithologists
and naturalists who have greatly influenced my interest in birds,
notably among them one Noel Oliver Wamer.  I first met him while he was
typically "loning it" on St. George Island while I was in the company
of Florida ornithologist Dr. Henry M. Stevenson, who as we approached
Noel, admiringly recounted to me his advanced knowledge of birds and
skill in their identification in the field.  In later years HMS was to
often defer to him for help with statistics, identification of
questionable bird species and other avian matters.

One of Noel's most important contributions to field ornithology was his
detailed report of an Arctic Tern off St. George Island which lead to
a field note in the FLORIDA FIELD NATURALIST co-authored by Dr.
Stevenson and Jim Cavanagh.  While living in Tallahassee, he was
authoritative regarding bird life in the Big Bend area and also became
well acquainted with just about every birding "hot spot" in Leon
County; it was he who alerted me to the birding potential of Black
Swamp where in time local birders were to encounter a surprising variety
of bird species.

I well remember visits to his rented cottage on East Georgia Street where
on one occasion he was monitoring wintering hummingbirds at his feeders
and where he had enthusiastically identified via a mounted telescope an
immature male Black-chinned--at the time a rather novel approach to ID of
a "good bird".  Later I was to be indebted to him for his willingness to
confirm with his videotape recorder a Black-throated Gray Warbler I found
in south Leon County.  I also remember his generosity in giving one of his
prized pair of binoculars to a budding biology student at Florida State

Naturally, I regretted his return to hometown Jacksonville, Florida, as I
then no longer had ready contact with him regarding identification of
certain "mystery birds"; he had always shown much appreciated patience
with certain of my naivete.

In Jacksonville, Noel, independent soul that he was, contented himself with
self studies of local species, their migration and related matters, always
availing himself of the latest sophisticated technology.  His resultant
internet postings were read with great interest.  When he posted, one
always took heed.

                                         --(Mr.) Gail E. Menk


Fran C. Rutkovsky
Tallahassee, FL
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