Friday, January 8, 2016

Evidence that Gilbert collected the Wongan Hills WGP chicks

Below is a photo of a Black Honeyeater collected by John Gilbert, John Gould's collector in Australia, on October 29, 1843. The label written by John Gilbert shows clearly in the second photo. This specimen is held in the Liverpool Museum. The third photo is of the oldest label on the Western Ground Parrot nestlings that are housed in the Museum of Natural History.

John Gilbert usually documented his specimens, if not in a diary, in the consignment list when the specimens were shipped but no record has been found of the Wongan Hills chicks. Although there have been sight records of WGPs north of Perth, these are the only specimens collected north of Perth. When Liverpool Museum's Clemency Fisher (an eminent specialist in the collections of John Gilbert), saw the Wongan Hill chick label, she was confident it was written by John Gilbert. The label itself is the same type, and there are many points of similarity in the handwriting. The spelling of Wongan Hills is different. Gilbert was in the Wongan Hills area twice - in September and October 1842, and again the following spring when the Black Honeyeater was collected. A future posting will show that the WGPs would have been collected in 1842. Back then, on the first visit, it is not surprising that the spelling was different, as the area was being explored and spelling of the indigenous name had not been finalised.

Copyright Liverpool Museum

Copyright Liverpool Museum

Copyright British Museum

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