South Scotland

Wigtownshire bird book finally takes flight

Bird book

A book on birds based on notes gathered in the late 19th and early 20th centuries has been published 78 years after the author's death.

Jack Gordon from Corsemalzie Estate near Port William was one of Scotland's leading ornithologists.

He spent a lifetime meticulously researching local bird life but died in 1938 before it could go to print.

His notes survived and RSPB regional manager Chris Rollie and co-editor Richard Mearns have now published them.

Mr Rollie said Birds of Wigtownshire remained relevant to this day.

"It always makes sense to consider information in the current context against what happened in the past," he said.

"It provides a fascinating insight, not only into the birds and their numbers but into the land use and the changes in land use that have happened in Wigtownshire over that period."

Image caption Mr Rollie said the information for the book had been "meticulously gathered"

Mr Gordon left five ring-bound volumes and a huge range of other notes which have been pieced together to produce the book.

"He was very, very thorough in everything he did but in particular in getting information from any source he could," said Mr Rollie.

"That included shooters, gamekeepers, the aristocracy, lighthouse keepers, country people and well-known ornithologists of the day as well.

"He meticulously gathered all that information together and his life work became setting this down."

The co-editors said they hoped they had done justice to the author's work.

"I hope that he would have been very pleased that we have completed that work because this was clearly his magnum opus," said Mr Rollie.

"He did many things, published various articles in various journals but clearly this was his big project.

"I think it is great that it has been brought to fruition now for posterity."

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