Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Retreat! Retreat!

Monday 18th May 09.

Common Chiffchaff singing at the top of Newtonhill Road this morning. Bet it's gone by tomorrow.

Tuesday 19th May 09
.. it's gone.

I was on a retreat... don't ask. In Old Aberdeen, next to this.

Little known fact... the great ornithologist William Macgillivray (see here), contemporary and friend of Audubon, author of a great 5 volume History of British Birds (Vol I, 1837), lover of long walks through the countryside accompanied by young boys, lived in the University of Aberdeen Conference and Events Office.

MacGillivray has got a poor deal from history - the first person to be really describing birds in detail as they were, on this side of the World. But he was eventually scooped, at least in popular imagination, by the better connected, toned and tanned, William Yarrell, who also published the first volume of his History of British Birds in 1837. Yarrell's book was an easier read, but not as good on the descriptions, of birds.

William Macgillivray - sorrowful loser in the Battle of the Bills, we salute you.

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