Larry and Jerry were always conscious of — and often vocal about — the loss of habitat that they witnessed over the years. The Common Pasture were always close to their hearts, as they birded in the area often. They had treasured the song of the Upland Sandpiper (or plover, as it was called in those days) perched on a short cedar tree on this breeding ground. They enjoyed watching rough-legged hawks, harriers and short-eared owls hunt the open fields. But they, like many of us, also saw much of the open grasslands replaced by industrial buildings. They mourned the loss of land to development, and the disappearance of some of these birds to the area as a result.
But they didn’t just spread an awareness to the loss of habitat. They contributed monetarily to Essex County Greenbelt, and other conservation organizations, to help preserve this beautiful landscape and valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife. So it is fitting that an observation platform in that tranquil spot, overlooking the habitat and birds that they helped preserve, should be dedicated to them and their spirit for conservation.
I am a better birder today for having had Larry and Jerry as mentors, teachers, and, especially, as friends. We are all thankful for their contributions to birding and to the preservation of this property that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Steve Grinley is the owner of Bird Watcher’s Supply and Gift at the Route 1 traffic circle in Newburyport and the Nature Shop at Joppa Flats.