Thursday, March 09, 2006
Bob loved birds. He was fond of all animals, but he loved birds. As a younger man, he would hunt them. I saw an article from a long ago paper about him hunting, shooting, and missing a flock of ducks at close range. He was probably just looking for an excuse to be there. More background. We lived about twenty miles apart, and across the lake from each other. I asked him if he fished, and he replied. "I moved out there thirty years ago, and when I did, I made a deal with the fish. If they would leave me alone, I would leave them alone. So far the arrangement has been honored by both party's." One of the islands on the lake was home to two unusual phenomenon. The first was a herd of goats, put there by Bob. I never did ask why, but it was probably to keep the vegetation down. This island was where the famous Jimmy Doolittle, and Doolittle's Raiders practiced Bombing during WW11, before going to bomb Tokyo. The second thing the island has, is birds. Lots of birds. More birds then anywhere else in north America, except maybe Lake Pontarchrain La. I don't know how Bob set foot on the island with all that bird shit everywhere, but he did to feed the goats every day. He coined the term, "Lakel", short for lake lover, and he was that indeed. You could often see him with the crowd of boats that come out every summer evening to watch the birds arrive. Up to 750,000 to 1,000,000 purple martins every night. Bobs passion was raptors. He did a lot of work for the South Carolina Birds of Prey. A nonprofit group that found and healed sick and injured Hawks, owls, Osprey, and eagles. I got my first look at a real Owl, one day at work. He was hurt, and in a box. They transferred him to a cage to ship him to the hospital, and I got to see him up close. Man he was pissed! He near put holes in the thick leather gloves Bob wore, but he went! I think he liked the release back into the wild, more then anything on earth. Bob had put up man made nests for the Osprey, in several places on the lake. It is through his hard work that we can see them fishing, and raising families. I had a friend from Liverpool, and his wife out on the lake one day, and saw an Osprey come off a light pole and snatch a fish. He looked at me and told me that in Great Britain, people would pay big for that sight. Thanks to Bob, it was free.