I called her Eglinor. Her real name was Eleanor Waldron. She died Wednesday, Feb. 22 at her home on Brandy Brow in West Tisbury.

Eleanor was one of a quartet of birders that I had the honor of being part of. We were all about 10 years apart. Dolly Minis was the senior member, then Eleanor. Barbara Pesch was second to last in age and I brought up the rear as the youngest. Eleanor and Dolly were the ears of the group, while Barbara and I were the eyes. We birded together almost daily in the spring and fall, and sporadically in the winter. Barbara and I took Eleanor birding at Black Point this last fall for what was to become our last time. Eleanor could still hear the bird songs and chips and direct us to the songsters’ locations. Over the years the birding quartet taught each other. Barbara became quite good at bird songs and I, before losing my hearing, actually knew many of the common Vineyard bird songs and chips thanks to Eleanor and Dolly. Although birding was our main bent, we frequently puzzled over flowers, trees and shrubs and any creature of nature. We spent time poring over guide books identifying same. The quartet’s outings frequently provided the subject matter for my All Outdoors and Bird News columns in the Gazette.

Eleanor’s home on Brandy Brow was a perfect habitat for her. She was on a rise above the Mill Pond and the Mill Brook. She had the benefit of pond, field, woods, swamp and brook habitats plus the garden she and her husband Tom tended. Her bird yard list was extensive due to this marvelous combination of habitats.

I know of very few people who were as well read as Eleanor. At one point I figured that she had read all the books in the old West Tisbury Library. The residents of West Tisbury that knew Eleanor would always drop off books which she welcomed. She had the complete set (21 volumes) of Arthur Cleveland Bents’ Life History of the Birds of North America. Dolly, Barbara and I knew that she had read every last one as she often had tidbits of data on the behavior of a bird we were observing. Always the questioner, I asked: “Where did you glean that information?” Eleanor would quietly reply, “Bent.”

Eleanor and her husband Tom purchased land in Cape Breton where they spent part of several summers. Eleanor found new bird species during these visits. She kept excellent records of every bird she saw, both on the Vineyard and Cape Breton. Her bird journals are a pleasure to read as they not only have the identity of the bird mentioned but information on habitat, weather conditions and sketches. She was given a camera and documented her finds with same more recently.

Eleanor and Tom were my parents’ bridge partners and I can still hear their playful banter over the bridge table while they played. Eleanor was a good cook and taught me a thing or two along the way. I can remember in my hippie days making everything from scratch, receiving recipes from Eleanor. One recipe exchange sticks in my mind — how to make farmer’s cheese. I never quite got the gumption to try making this cheese back then, but I may this summer as I still have the recipe.

Oh, and Eleanor could cut a rug. My husband Flip and I visited her in Cape Breton one August and took her out to dinner. There was a band playing. On my urging Flip asked Eleanor to dance and the two of them had a ball dancing up a storm.

Eglinor was my birding mother and I will miss her dearly.

Susan B. Whiting lives in Chilmark and is a former longtime columnist for the Gazette.