Joseph Sultana was a scientist, a gentleman and my friend. For about two years in the 1960s, before my departure for Australia, Joe, Joseph Attard and I were the ‘three amigos’, travelling the length and breadth of the Maltese islands and promoting the newly formed Malta Ornithological Society and bird conservation in opposition to the hunting and trapping which were rife then and which appear to have become even worse now. I have many fond memories of those times.

Joe went on to become, in my opinion, a living legend in the field of ornithology, particularly where it applied to Malta. He was a human dynamo, travelling throughout the world to visit nature reserves and other areas of outstanding scientific value.

He wrote about his experiences there and contributed to learned journals in his impeccable English, a joy to read.

He is the sole or co-author of several books and was most generous to send copies of some of the major ones ‘down under’ as a token of our friendship. In April this year, Joe was endowed with the Buonamico award for his dedication to ornithology, the latest in a long line of honours.

On my visits to Malta I always made sure I got in touch with Joe, and on several occasions my wife and I were guests at the magnificent Sultana residence, overlooking the beautiful Xagħra valley and filled to the brim with books and artefacts. His wife Lucy was a most gracious hostess and the meals she served were superb.

My sincere condolences go to Lucy and her children and grandchildren, and may Joe rest in peace now.


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