I was having a beer with Trevor Quested and friends at the Yandina Hotel, near our Sunshine Coast home, sometime in November 2011. Trevor mentioned that he had been feeling oddly unwell at times - as he had during an earlier visit - but that doctors did not seem to know what was wrong. I thought he was maybe being overly concerned, but just a month later came the cruel diagnosis - motor neuron disease.
In an email that Trevor and his wife Annie sent to friends at the time, he said he was "gobsmacked" by the news, and it appeared he was already going downhill fast: holding his binoculars steady and typing were becoming harder. His specialists did not expect him to be around a year later - he was told he would not see Christmas 2012. Trevor commented that he was fortunate to have such a loving and supporting wife in Annie.
|Annie, Trevor & Glenn - May 2012.|
Over time, however, he came to accept the inevitability of his lot and made the most of it in what were clearly very trying circumstances, for both him and Annie. Luckily the Questeds had their lovely shaded verandah and spacious gardens, with birds and kangaroos invariably in attendance. To the end, it was unfailingly a delight to Trevor to watch the goings-on in his special corner of the world.
I recall getting a phone call from Trevor last October, after Glenn and I had returned from a 4-month camping trip around Australia. His breathing was considerably laboured by then, but he had insisted on calling to thank me for posting a photo album from the trip on Facebook. Trevor had invited Eric Zillmann around to look at the photographs with him; he said it was like revisiting many of the places he had seen over his years of birding trips. That gesture, no small feat given his condition, was typical. During a visit a month or so later - and not so long ago now - Trevor was in surprisingly good spirits. He looked forward to visits from birding mates, especially if they brought new photographs to show him. We planned to visit again this week, as Trevor's final journey was not expected for a little while longer.
|Trevor with Eric Zillmann - July 2011|
|Commemoration of birding platform built in Trevor's honour - Pic by Chris Barnes|
|In Akegara National Park, Rwanda - December 1989. Trevor is on the right, back.|
Even during illness, his enthusiasm did not wane. In October 2012, Trevor and Eric took us to see a Square-tailed Kite nest near Bundaberg. At the time, Trevor got about with the help of a wheelie walker. As soon as he was out of the car, he raced off through the bush with his walker, covering the distance of several hundred metres in a scarily short time. He was exhausted when he got there but keen as mustard to show me the nest.
|At the Square-tailed Kite nest - October 2012|
I later helped him set up a blog (it is here) that was going to be his newest venture. Apart from an initial short post, however, he didn't get around to expand it before falling ill a few months later. Trevor continued to indulge his love of social media and technology during his illness, however. He mastered the use of an i-pad to reduce the effort of typing, and even when use of his fingers had been reduced to a reluctant single digit, he keenly recorded numerous Likes on Facebook posts.
|With Trevor & Lucy - October 2014|