BARRY PORTER 18th September 1946 to 27th April 2011
Barry as we’ll all remember him, soaking up the wonders of the big outdoors:
A memorial service was held for Barry at the Port Shepstone Country Club.
Dress attire casual – as Barry would’ve liked.
A request for no flowers has come from his family. His son feels it fitting that donations be made to Birdlife Trogons Bird Club in lieu of flowers.
A TRIBUTE TO BARRY PORTER FROM BIRDLIFE TROGONS BIRD CLUB
Friend Colleague Confidant Gentleman
Born in Johannesburg into a family steeped in South Coast history.
Educated at St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown and immensely proud of it.
Reserved, scientific and tempered with technical ability.
Concluded his education at Natal University PMB with a BSc Agri Degree and commenced a farming career at Hella Hella.
His knowledge of environmental issues was unsurpassed and covered everything from birds to frogs to trees to grasses to game – from common names to scientific names to even Zulu names in which language he was fluent.
The use of this language in regard to Zulu tree names often led to very interesting and vigorous debates between ourselves and our Zulu speaking compatriots. To disagree with him was a complete waste of time, he would just quietly walk away, leaving one to wonder why did we even try and realising that we had not obtained an ‘A’ in that subject.
His knowledge of birds was unsurpassed and he studied avian issues with an undisclosed passion. He was a dedicated member of the Bird Rarity Committee and was always ready to give a fair judgement on all requests. As Chairman of Trogons Bird Club for a numbers of years (under duress) he never appreciated his ability being noticed and he led the club to be one of the most active and productive in Natal (if not the country) and he had the ability to motivate his committee to perform above expectations to the benefit of its members. He served on many Avian orientated committees where his knowledge was highly regarded.
Apart from his scientific knowledge, his technical ability was quite fascinating and he was adept at repairing and studying all aspects of modern engineering.
He was very computer literate and enjoyed all the advantages of its intricacies to the extreme .
The loss of his wife, Lyn, some six months ago left him tragically scarred – a scar that he bore bravely and undisclosed and no doubt had a bearing on his tragic demise.
His passing will leave a void that will be difficult to fill as there are very few people with his reserved manner and willingness to impart their knowledge to others available in this world today.
May he rest in peace.
Your civility and reservedness which endeared you to so many will not be forgotten.
TRIBUTE POSTED ON SABAP2 WEBSITE
I have sad news to report. One of the stalwarts of SABAP2, Barry Porter, passed away on Wednesday after a short spell in hospital. Barry’s contribution to the BirdLife Trogons Bird Club was legendary.
An email sent to me by one of his friends, Carol Bosman, includes this paragraph which helps to sum up all our feelings: “Barry lived for birds and whenever I stayed with him he would take me out to record the various pentads for the Bird Atlas Project. His wife Lyn passed away only five months ago. What saddens me the most, I guess, is the loss of a ‘fountain’ of information as Barry was so well read in so many subjects. Your project has lost an incredibly knowledgeable observer and participant.”
Barry submitted a total of 261 checklists for 77 pentads, mostly in southern KwaZulu-Natal, but extending further afield as well. His first checklist was made on 19 August 2007, right at the outset of SABAP2, and the most recent was on 27 March this year, a month ago. Over this whole period there were very few months in which Barry did not submit a checklist.
He was a regular contributor of interesting comments on fora such as SABirdnet. On 14 June last year during the World Cup he wrote this email, with the subject line “Soccer Birds”: “I went birding yesterday in the normally tranquil rural tribal lands inland from Hibberdene. I struggled to fill my atlas card, very difficult to hear birds voices – ‘the hills are alive with the sound of vuvuzelas!'”
The birding community and SABAP2 are poorer with the passing away of this passionate citizen scientist.
Here’s a pic by Barry of the Trogons at his brother’s litchi farm. Lyn is in the picture, second from left:
The vulture hide at Oribi Gorge – in the feature pic – was named in Barry’s honour. He would secretly have loved that.
I wrote a tribute to Barry here.