Alongside his friend, John joined a bird club at age 12 or 13 since it seemed like a good way to learn about birds. Along the way, mentors helped him grow as a birder. During the first year of retirement in 2010 he did a Big Year alongside Bob Aike, breaking the 700 mark and taking two months off- an impressive feat! (Bob's Big Year Blog is linked here)
I met John and his wife on my return trip to Little St. Simons, along the causeway to Jekyll Island. I enjoy meeting other birders serendipitously. They both offered some helpful suggestions after I outlined my goals of The Birding Project. We had a nice visit before I had to leave to catch the boat back to the island. (which I barely made in time!) Hopefully, our paths will cross again- someday in 2017, perhaps a get-together of birders who've passed the 700 mark?
Only time will tell...