Thursday, March 22, 2007

Inaugural meeting of CaMPaGULAN

Order! Order! Order! I say.
Egg and Chips and a mug of tea, 2 sugars!

Wow, that joke is so old, it thinks 'if I could walk that way I wouldn't need the talcum powder' is a witty new rejoinder.

I'm calling the first meeting of CaMPaGULAN to order. Thanks to Bob McGowan and
Cole & Trobe (2000) The Egg Collectors of Great Britain and Ireland we now have full and frank information on the mysterious Percy Bunyard (19th March). Turns out he was a major player in the oological field, and the sale of his collection was a big deal. Only he had the kind of personality where he fell out with everyone, so when he died, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and he never got an obituary. He was one of the hardcore egg collectors who took immaculately prepared egg series along to the British Ornithologists' Club meetings for over 40 years, long after a series of extremely rowdy and forthright meetings has resulted in a breakaway Oological Association for exiled eggers and a distinct cold shoulder for oology in the BOC. Another major egger was the Rev Jourdain, and for much of the 1920s the MAJOR reason for going along to BOC meetings was to hear those two bickering. They sold tickets.
'Bunyard's retorts' it says here, 'abusive in the extreme would be countered by Jourdain's pointedly sarcastic rejoinders.' Apparently most were on Jourdain's side, because he was more of a purist (personal collection, well authenticated) cf. Bunyard's collection of substantially bought and traded specimens, some of which were of dodgy authenticity. Both were gifted oologists, apparently, which I assume means they were very good at climbing trees. Bunyards collection and presentations were immaculate. Although he mostly stayed in Britain, he distinguished himself in the field by going to Finland and robbing 18 bar-tailed Godwit nests - no mean feat.

At the sale of his eggs, as advertised in BB, the star of the show was a well-marked clutch of Greater Yellowlegs that went for £27, probably representing a few weeks' wages for most people at the time?

'One comes to the conclusion that Percy Bunyard deserved better recognition than the ornithological establishment was prepared to allow him.... Bunyard's last exhibit in May 1937 consisted of a long series of Blackbird clutches, mostly from Kentish orchards, one of his interesting conclusions being that erythristic eggs tended to be larger and heavier than more normal sets. By the time of the B.O.C. Chairman's annual address in November of the same year Percy Bunyard had passed on, and an important link with the old school of oologists had been severed.'
Cole & Trobe (2000) The Egg Collectors of Great Britain and Ireland

With no other competent business, I draw the inaugural meeting of CaMPaGULAN to a close. DONM to be determined.
Martin Collinson MA, PhD, MBOU (but you can call me Percy).

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