Thursday, August 13, 2020

The visit by John MacGillivray to the Kermadec Islands in 1854 and the discovery and description of the Kermadec petrel (Pterodroma neglecta)

TitleThe visit by John MacGillivray to the Kermadec Islands in 1854 and the discovery and description of the Kermadec petrel (Pterodroma neglecta)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBourne, WRP, David, ACF
JournalNotornis
Volume54
Issue4
Pagination229-230
Type of Articleshort note
Abstract

[First paragraphs...]
It has long seemed strange that the Kermadec petrels (Pterodroma neglecta Schlegel, 1863) collected by a British warship were first described in the Netherlands. Recent accounts of the voyage of HMS Herald (David 1995), and of its naturalist John MacGillivray (Ralph 1993), have helped to elucidate the chain of events leading to the apparent anomaly.

John MacGillivray was the wayward son of one of the greatest British ornithologists, William MacGillivray, friend of J.J. Audubon (Ralph 1999). He became a ship’s naturalist like Joseph Banks, Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, and Joseph Hooker, but unlike them went little further. While he was an excellent field observer and made good notes, he was irresponsible in his private life and major writing-up. When MacGillivray was appointed to the Herald the Captain, Henry Mangles Denham, asked for abstracts for the Admiralty of his observations at the places that they visited, such as Tristan da Cunha and St Paul I (Bourne & David 1981, 1995). MacGillivray apparently then took offence when the St Paul I report was published under Denham’s own name (Denham 1854), possibly because he had not included his own, and sent a rude (untraced) comment to a Sydney newspaper. A court of enquiry (including Denham) was held in Sydney on 25 Apr 1855. MacGillivray (was dismissed the following day, but his records were retained on HMS Herald.

Full Text
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Full Article356.58 KB