The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World
In 1990 an expedition of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar, tucked between the hills of the Great Rift Valley in the Gamo Gofa province in the country of Ethiopia. On that expedition, 315 species of birds were seen; 61 species of mammal and 69 species of butterfly were identified; 20 species of dragonflies and damselflies; 17 reptile species were recorded; three frog species were filed; plants were listed. And the wing of a road-killed bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world.
At British Natural History Museum in Tring, the wing set the world of science aflutter. It seemed that the wing was unique, but they questioned, can you name a species for the first time based only on the description of a wing, based on just one wing? After much to and fro, confirmation was unanimous, and the new species was announced, Nechisar Nightjar, Caprimulgus solala, (solus: only and ala: wing). And birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream.
Twenty-two years later an expedition of four led by Ian Sinclair set off to try to find this rarest bird in the world. Vernon R.L. Head captivates and enchants as he tells of the adventures of Ian, Dennis, Gerry and himself as they navigate the wilderness of the plains, searching by spotlight for the elusive Nechisar Nightjar. But this book is more than a boy’s own adventure in search of the rarest bird in the world. It is a meditation on nature, on ways of seeing, on the naming of things and why we feel so compelled to label. It is a story of friendships and camaraderie. But most of all it embraces and enfolds one into the curious and eye-opening world of the birdwatcher.
- ISBN: 9781909930315
- Author(s): Vernon R L Head
- Stock Code: 9930315
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 256
- Published: 2015
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Seeking the beautiful, the breathtaking and the bizarre, Charlie Elder goes in search of Britain's rarest and most endangered animals. Travelling the length and breadth of the UK, and meeting up with experts along the way, he tracks down secretive and scarce mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects living on the brink, ranging from the iconic Scottish wildcat and surreal spiny seahorse to the striking golden oriole, outlandish wart-biter cricket and sinister black rat. This title celebrates the diversity on our doorstep and highlights the natural treasures we risk losing.