2016-10-27 / Nature

A Tribute to Jack Kelly – Nature Lover


A great egret flies into the Gooseneck Cove salt marshes A great egret flies into the Gooseneck Cove salt marshes For nearly seven years, Jack Kelly has filled this page with his photos and his words revealing a vast store of knowledge about birds, the outdoors, and nature. It was a shock this week, when on Monday, Oct. 24, Jack’s brother called to share the sad news of his passing.

One of the best words to describe Jack is passionate. He shared his wisdom and insights with enthusiasm and love for what he did. His work was appreciated and admired by fellow birders and naturalists, novices young and old, from here on Aquidneck Island and from afar. It was not uncommon for Jack to get a card or a note from readers in Florida or Texas asking for his opinion about a bird they’d seen.

But, Jack brought us much more. Born in an Irish family, he taught non-Fifth Warders that there was much more to the Irish in Newport than the St. Patrick’s Day parade with his anecdotal tales of little-known Newport Irish stories.


Painted Lady butterfly Painted Lady butterfly As a Vietnam veteran, his articles about other veterans were always heartfelt. He was an expert listener and could retell their experiences as if he had been there himself.

Jack was a masterful storyteller and had an appreciation for humor too. One of his favorite stories had to do with his wildlife wanderings and a chance encounter with a flock of wild turkeys in Middletown that sent him scrambling over a stone wall into the safety of his car.

To Jack, our colleague, our teacher, and our friend: You will be deeply missed by all of us here at Newport This Week and by the thousands of faithful readers always eager to learn more about the wildlife you loved so much.



Great blue heron Great blue heron

Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird

Juvenile snowy owl Juvenile snowy owl

Painted bunting Painted bunting

Piping plovers Piping plovers

Juvenile osprey Juvenile osprey

Tufted titmouse Tufted titmouse

Coyote warily watches from a safe distance Coyote warily watches from a safe distance

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