Marmora's Warbler. Mike Watson.
As I write there's no sign of the Marmora's Warbler present in Gwent since Thursday 3 June. Many thanks to Mike Watson for the use of his image about which and an interesting account of the visit to Gwent by Mike can be found HERE
The bird has an interesting story attached to it regarding who it is named after. This person has a quite distinguishing sounding name being, Alberto Ferrero Della Marmora (1789-1863) who - in addition to being a naturalist - was an Italian general involved in the Napoleonic wars and was indeed decorated by Napoleon 1 and was later employed by the King of Sardinia where Marmora also has a mountain named after him, he is also credited with naming Eleonora's Falcon. But this man had a very dark side to his life in that he stood accused of having massacred those who revolted against the reign of the Savoys in Genoa with his newly formed uniformed soldiers, who were all carrying a 'carbine' which he had invented.
Incidentally the Marmora's Warbler was described by Coenraad Jacob Temminck who's only one species I personally recognise is the Temminck's Stint of which there was quite a few in the UK recently and of which I observed no less than nine together at Cley in Norfolk in early May 2000. Temminck has a total of seventeen birds named after him.
With regard to the Eleonora's Falcon we now go back further in time to around 1350-1404 when Eleonora of Arborea was the warrior-princess of Sardinia who passed legislation to protect birds of prey. She apparently died 'during an epidemic of the plague' in 1404. The falcon was first observed in Sardinia in 1830 and Marmora named the bird in her honour.