|Ted Parker, with signature Nagra recorder and Dan Gibson parabolic microphone, Explorer's Inn, 1978 (photo: Paul Donahue, from Gregg Gorton's ABA blog)|
Looking at the sources for the new biography, it is clear that Gregg has been just as methodical in his search for first hand information from those who knew Ted Parker - the names mentioned in the blog article read like a roll call of Neotropical ornithology. He has talked to an enormous number of individuals and unearthed a wealth of fascinating new information. Several of the photographs, including Paul Donahue's image of Parker at a 1978 Explorer's Inn (which looked almost the same a decade later), are new to me.
*Almost forgotten today, Schwartz amassed what remains the second largest collection of recordings of Neotropical birds, most of which were made in Venezuela and archived at the Rancho Grande Biological Station (the original Nagra reels are now housed at the EBRG Museum in El Limón, with copies at the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library). He was also a pioneering bird photographer (and movie-maker). Careful observation led him to produce a key paper demonstrating that Northern Waterthrushes winter at the same Neotropical puddle year after year, while his knowledge of bird sounds gave rise to a series of papers suggesting that vocalisations could be used to separate visually similar species such as Tinamous, Forest-falcons and Nightjars. He is honoured by the naming of Chamaeza turdina "Schwartz's Antthrush".