No one had a greater impact on California field ornithology and birding than Guy McCaskie. Guy was the godfather of California birding, the "agent for revolution" as described in the 1992 article by S.R. Drennan entitled "McCaskie as Mentor"
To someone who just missed seeing a rare bird: "It's not here anymore, but would you like to see where it WAS?"
When asked where an uncommon or rare bird came from: "Where did it come from? It came from an EGG, for god's sake!"
When seawatching from land at La Jolla Cove and asked by passer-bys if he is looking for whales: "Wales? Wales is 8,000 miles east of here! How could I possibly see Wales from here?"
"Binoculars make things appear larger."
On a bird festival pelagic, a participant was not able to see a booby that everyone else was viewing on Coronados Island. Guy patiently pointed out one feature after another, from boulders to crevices, but she remained confused. Finally, in a fit of frustration and trying a new tactic, Guy exclaimed, "Look up, up into the clear blue sky, then come STRAIGHT DOWN and it's RIGHT THERE!"
When a birder, seeking to understand the field marks of an unfamiliar species stumbles into the trap of phrasing his question, "Why is that a Red-necked Stint?" the reply will always be: "Because it's MOTHER was a Red-necked Stint!"
While viewing an unfamiliar bird, if the birder pulls out a field guide, Guy is likely to exclaim, "Don't look in a BOOK! Look at the BIRD!"
If a birder stands by a rare-bird-report of an extremely unlikely (and totally undocumented) sighting, Guy has been known to write, "If you've seen that, you've seen something completely UNKNOWN to science!"
Send your "Guy-ism's" us and we'll post them here.
From Left: Van Remsen, Least Bittern, Guy McCaskie, Jon Dunn, John Luther, Steve Summers
Guy McCaskie shares some pelagic birding advice with Mark J Billings Jan 1, 2010
R. Guy McCaskie and Paul E. Lehman
Admiring the Rusy Blackbird - 27 DEC 2008
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