Saturday, June 30, 2012

Joe Neal's saddest report since this blog was created: The passing of Paige Mulhollan

Please click on image below to ENLARGE April 17, 2011, photo of Mary Bess (left), Paige and Kelly Mulhollan at World Peace Wetland Prairie.
Paige Mulhollan passed away in Fayetteville this morning. Paige was my adviser in the History Department at UA-Fayetteville when I was an undergraduate in the late 1960s. He left Fayetteville for a career in college administration. I got to know him better later, after he and Mary Bess returned to Fayetteville in retirement. We came to birding as a second career.

The Mulhollans have been active in all manner of natural history pursuits. Their interests extend beyond to wildflowers, butterflies, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, etc. Among many other generous uses of time, Paige served on the board of Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society.

Several years ago Paige, Mary Bess, Mike Mlodinow, and I birded around Maysville in January. Paige was chauffeur. Somewhere around mid-day we got to the handistop and a sparrow conversation, specifically Lincoln's Sparrow. Why do we have such a hard time finding them in winter? While we sat in the car, someone, maybe Paige (?), spotted a small brown bird in the yard. It was one of those mid-winter Lincoln's! Who would have predicted? We enjoyed it from the warmth inside the car.

Paige has been party chief for an important sector on the Fayetteville CBC. Besides Paige, the party includes Mary Bess, son Kelly, his partner Donna (both birders, both outstanding musicians renowned as Still on the Hill). The party also includes some of Kelly and Donna's famous musician friends who, like Paige, have wide interests and a broad view of life. We look forward to a Mulhollan party on the 2012 Fayetteville CBC.

Several years back I was recipient of a Mulhollan call about a truly unheard-of winter bird here: Painted Bunting. I just couldn’t believe it. I rushed over, was ushered into the bedroom, and there by cracky! The unexpected with the expected: a green Painted Bunting, feeding inside a window box with juncos.

Paige and I both grew up in Fort Smith. Who would have thought 60 years ago two otherwise promising native sons would turn bird watchers?  Yet, isn't that the experience of life.