A Tribute to My Father – With Memories of Walks and Birds

On December 11 my father, Robert Gayvert, passed away, at the age of 94. He lived a full and fortunate life, as much as anyone could ask, but I will miss him. His love of gardening, especially flowers and flowering shrubs and trees – roses, gladiolas, lilies, azaleas, dogwoods, redbuds and many more – gave him the greatest pleasure, and is one of the greatest gifts he left to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Even though he never insisted on any of us sharing in his gardening work, we all picked it up in different ways. For myself, his influence had more than a little to do with my own early interest in organic vegetable gardening – which led me over time to a greater interest in all of the natural world – and to birds.

My father was not a serious birdwatcher, but he did love to take long walks, and on a few occasions he took along binoculars and joined me in birding – especially during the years when he and our mother lived in Bluffton, SC, near the South Carolina coast. During that time we visited Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge many times together, walking the trails and watching Common Moorhens and American Coots in the ponds, and also usually finding White Ibis, Great Blue Herons, lots of Eastern Bluebirds, Painted Bunting in the summer, Yellow-rumped Warblers in the winter, sometimes Wood Storks, and almost always at least a few other herons, egrets, ducks, shorebirds and songbirds. These pictures of us birding together at Pinckney, and some of the birds we saw – Common Moorhen and White Ibis – are among my favorite memories.

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