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TITLE
Early Ornithologists in the Highlands
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DESTHOMSON_03
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Desmond Nethersole-Thompson
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1898
KEYWORDS
ornithology
bird watching
audio

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Desmond Nethersole-Thompson first came to the Highlands in 1932 to study birds. Following almost twenty years of study, mainly in the Spey Valley, he published his first account of the greenshank species. From 1964, he and his family lived each spring in a remote valley in Sutherland where they followed a population of greenshanks through many consecutive years. In this audio extract from 1980, Desmond talks about early ornithologists in the Highlands.

The first bird visitors to the Highlands were trophy hunters because the Victorian period was the age of the acquisitive society. And these were virile men, dynamic men, rich men, with a great desire to hunt and possess. They were really out to find and to shoot the most spectacular of our birds; the osprey, the sea eagle, the red kite, and the divers. They were showmen and then they had their booty set up in glass cases. But by the end of the century, the trophy hunters were out and the egg collectors were in. Among these remarkable men, Harvie-Brown, the Laird of Dunipace in Stirling, was quite outstanding. It was the lure and the magnet of egg collecting that took Harvie-Brown and his companions all over the Highlands and Islands. And what did they leave to us but the most magnificent series of books, 'Vertebrate Faunas', which is still the foundation of our knowledge of distributional ornithology today. And then, for the next thirty years, egg collectors dominated ornithology. They were largely responsible for all our knowledge of the breeding behaviour and the breeding biology of birds

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Early Ornithologists in the Highlands

1980s; 1990s

ornithology; bird watching; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Bird Watching

Desmond Nethersole-Thompson first came to the Highlands in 1932 to study birds. Following almost twenty years of study, mainly in the Spey Valley, he published his first account of the greenshank species. From 1964, he and his family lived each spring in a remote valley in Sutherland where they followed a population of greenshanks through many consecutive years. In this audio extract from 1980, Desmond talks about early ornithologists in the Highlands.<br /> <br /> The first bird visitors to the Highlands were trophy hunters because the Victorian period was the age of the acquisitive society. And these were virile men, dynamic men, rich men, with a great desire to hunt and possess. They were really out to find and to shoot the most spectacular of our birds; the osprey, the sea eagle, the red kite, and the divers. They were showmen and then they had their booty set up in glass cases. But by the end of the century, the trophy hunters were out and the egg collectors were in. Among these remarkable men, Harvie-Brown, the Laird of Dunipace in Stirling, was quite outstanding. It was the lure and the magnet of egg collecting that took Harvie-Brown and his companions all over the Highlands and Islands. And what did they leave to us but the most magnificent series of books, 'Vertebrate Faunas', which is still the foundation of our knowledge of distributional ornithology today. And then, for the next thirty years, egg collectors dominated ornithology. They were largely responsible for all our knowledge of the breeding behaviour and the breeding biology of birds