Saturday, August 18, 2018

Four Tex Wells stories

  Long time Washtenaw Co. resident and avid birder Tex Wells has passed. He was 96. His ashes are to be spread in one of his favorite birding spots, Sabine Woods, TX. No service is being held.
Take care, Sean

The above post to the Michigan list serve many subscribe to prompted me to make this post from the response posts that came in.  With all the mixed text, etc. this post will seem a little multi-media-ish with the various print styles, etc., but you'll read why I had to make the post to save the stories.  All were posted in the past 2-3 days in response to Sean's message of Tex Wells death.

Below from Mark Wloch:

I'm not one to save posts to birders in an archive folder, but I do have one saved post from the past.  It's Tex's brief report of a Washtenaw County Rufous Hummingbird.  It gave me a chuckle at the time. 

I arrived at ----- Whippoorwill Lane at 2:43 pm today and the bird showed up at the feeder at the house next door at 3:27 pm.  It fed for perhaps a minute, then disappeared.  I disappeared a couple of minutes later.

- Tex Wells

Also from Mark Wloch:

Mark wrote the following, very enjoyable, blog post featuring Tex.  Although a Rufous Hummingbird is also mentioned in this post, I don't think it was the same bird that sparked Tex's brief report above.  Mark lived in Wayne County when a Rufous hummer showed up in his yard.

Sycamore Warbler:  Just like Tex said

From your's truly, I offered the following memory:

I didn't know Tex nearly nearly as well as many but there was a brief period of time - maybe about 9-10 years ago so he would have been around 86 or 87 then - when I got to hang out with him occasionally and got to know him a little.  

Tex wanted to get a good start on his Michigan year list - "seen birds only, no heard birds" because he couldn't hear - and he had several targets in mind that could be seen on Lathe Claflin's and Gary Siegrist's February Soo trip that year.  He didn't feel he could make the drive all the way to the Soo and back by himself so he enlisted me as the driver of his car for the trip. "Don't worry, I'll pay for the gas, the motel, everything." When I protested that he didn't need to pay for my motel room he replied, "Why not?  After all, I'm not saving for the future anymore." 

From Washtenaw Audubon President Juliet Berger below:

Birders are known for our dry sense of humor about birding, a somewhat humorous hobby.  Tex was masterful at the art of writing silly reports about birding outings, without cracking a smile.  Below is an example of his writing, circa 1975, after a nasty, cold trip to Magee Marsh, then known as Crane Creek.  We mourn our oldest Washtenaw Audubon member's death today. We'll miss you Tex!

Juliet Berger
President, Washtenaw Audubon Society

Click on the report image to open and read the entire report.

There are many things to notice about Tex's field trip report.  I editorialize a little.

1.  So happy I figured out how to transfer the copy of Tex's original report to my blog.  Tex's report was perfectly typed on a manual typewriter for the very old-style Washtenaw Audubon newsletter - probably mimeographed.  It's a visual thing.  None of us will ever again read another field trip report written with a manual typewriter unless it's from the archives.

2.  I can only imagine how different Ottawa Refuge and Crane Creek must have been back in 1975 - over 40 years ago.

3.  For how terrible the weather was, the participants of this 1975 field trip certainly saw a lot of birds.

4.  Tex lists the birds seen with lower-case letters.  I think nowadays most would write out the birds names with uppercase spelling.  He was also fond of punctuating with commas. 

5.  This field trip report is all Tex Wells.  His droll humor and sharp wit never changed.  He was so much fun to be with.

RIP Tex.  You've left your mark, will not be forgotten and will be missed.     

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