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Mrs Benson's Brush Warbler (1 Viewer)

Björn Bergenholtz

(former alias "Calalp")
Sweden
Does anyone have access to:

Benson, C W. 1960. The birds of the Comoro islands: results of the British Ornithologists' Union centenary expedition 1958. The Ibis 103B: pp. 5-106.

On "page 81" we should find the OD of today's:

• Moheli Brush Warbler Nesillas mariae BENSON 1960 also written Mohéli (Brush) Warbler, a k a Moheli Tsikirity, Moheli Warbler alt. Short-tailed Brush Warbler or Mrs Benson's Brush Warbler alt. Mrs Benson's Warbler ... wow! (either with, or without hyphens, in all various ways) ... and bensonsångare (in Swedish, the latter being my main concern).

The reson for this search is to find out if the OD of mariae truly, clearly tells us if the scientific name (in its latinized way) is commemorating Benson's wife, the botanist Mary Benson*, which is to expect, and claimed all over, like in today's HBW Alive Key:
mariae
[...]
● Florence Mary Benson (fl. 1960) wife of English ornithologist Constantine Benson (syn. Cisticola njombe, Nesillas).
[...]
... or (!?) if it's aimed at his "favorite aunt Mary Hughes" (the latter mentioned at the end of Mr. Benson's Obituary in the Auk, here).

Anyone who have access to the OD?

Björn
_________________________________________________________
*The shared tombstone of Constantine Walter Benson (1909–1982)
and Florence Mary Benson (19091993) is to be seen here.
"Con" Benson himself is commemorated in several birds; here and here.
 

James Jobling

Well-known member
Benson 1960, p. 81, gives no dedication, but on p. 8 he wrote, "Originally Mr. J. G. Williams, of the Coryndon Museum, Nairobi, was to have been a member of the expedition, but he had to withdraw owing to ill-health. My wife took his place. She took many photographs, both cine and still, collected botanical specimens, and assisted directly with the ornithological work." Some of his wife's observations are mentioned elsewhere in the text.
 

Björn Bergenholtz

(former alias "Calalp")
Sweden
Thanks James!

Then Florence Mary Benson (19091993) it was/is, or must be (... and will be, also in my MS)!

I´ve also checked the invalid "Cisticola lais mariae" BENSON 1945 (here) which I assume (?) is the Key's "syn. Cisticola njombe" LYNES 1933
New Name for Cisticola lais nyikae Benson
Mr. C. W. Benson sent the following :—

Cisticola lais mariæ, nom. nov.,
for Cisticola lais nyikæ Benson, Ostrich, August, 1941, p. 28 : Nyika Plateau, Nyasaland ; not Cisticola aberrans nyika Lynes, Ibis, 1930, Suppl. p. 564 : Nyika Plateau, Nyasaland. The new name is in honour of my wife, Florence Mary Benson.
That one is most definitely "hers" ... ;)

Thanks again.

Cheers!

Björn

PS. Ooups, forgot ... One minor detail; did Mr. Benson write it "Nesillas mariae" or (with a ligature) as "Nesillas mariæ" in the OD of 1960?
--
 
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James Jobling

Well-known member
"Cisticola aberrans njombe Lynes, 1933. Njombe, Tanzania. Birds of Nyika Plateau sometimes separated as race nyikae, on basis of slightly darker coloration; this race was sometimes listed under replacement name mariae (as in HBW), due to wrongly perceived homonymy with C. aberrans nyika." (P. G. Ryan et al. 2016, in HBW & BL Intl. Illustrated Checklist, vol. 2, p. 420).
PS to your PS. Nesillas mariae, new species.
 
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l_raty

laurent raty
Under
Florence Mary Benson (1909-1993) wife of English ornithologist Constantine Benson (syn. Cisticola njombe, Nesillas).
... "subsp. Zoonavena grandidieri" might also be added, I believe.

Described on p.65 of that same 1960 Ibis paper as "CHAETURA GRANDIDIERI MARIAE, new subspecies. (Zoonavena grandidieri.) Grand Comoro Spine-tail."
Explicit dedication, on the same page (can be seen [here]):
Our specimens of C. g. mariae, named after my wife, have been compared with a long series of C. g. grandidieri in the British Museum and the National Museum, Paris.
The ssp is recognised as valid [in HBW].
 
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Björn Bergenholtz

(former alias "Calalp")
Sweden
Thanks again James, for the clarification of Nesillas mariae ... and: Well noted, Laurent! Suddenly the Key tells us:
● Florence Mary Benson (1909-1993) wife of English ornithologist Constantine Benson (syn. Cisticola njombe, Nesillas, subsp. Zoonavena grandidieri (Laurent Raty in litt.)).
To my surprise, after a new search, I think I can suddenly add even more details ... ending up with:

= Florence Mary Benson née Lanham (1909–1993) a k a "Molly", born 27 September 1909, in South Africa, botanist, ornithologist, artist, wife of Constantine "Con" Benson, ... etc., etc., ... died in England, 8 January 1993.
[...]
On a trip to South Africa at the end of the war, while visiting the Transvaal Museum, Con met Florence Mary Lanham (Molly), who worked there as a botanist and artist. Molly was born in South Africa, and she and Con were married after the war and had two daughters, Rosemary and Diana. Molly supported Con’s work throughout their married life, and co- authored several books with him, also publishing a little of her own. At his death he had almost completed, with Molly as co-author, his manuscript on the parrots for The Birds of Africa. She was the practical one and did the day to day running of their lives – Con could think of nothing but his work. Although born in South Africa, when they retired to England Molly spoke of ‘coming home’.
[...]

... much more is to be read here, (from a Newsletter for The Friends of Grantchester Church, 2012, uploaded 2015)

Enjoy!

Björn
 

fatbirder

Fatbirder
Thanks again James, for the clarification of Nesillas mariae ... and: Well noted, Laurent! Suddenly the Key tells us: To my surprise, after a new search, I think I can suddenly add even more details ... ending up with:

= Florence Mary Benson née Lanham (1909–1993) a k a "Molly", born 27 September 1909, in South Africa, botanist, ornithologist, artist, wife of Constantine "Con" Benson, ... etc., etc., ... died in England, 8 January 1993.


Enjoy!

Björn
I see James has Con Benson listed as the guy honoured in the followinwing subbies... but it is not so... My entry is:

Benson, JP

Terrestrial Brownbul ssp. Phyllastrephus terrestris bensoni VGL Van Someren, 1945 NCR

[JS Phyllastrephus terrestris suahelicus]

Kenrick’s Starling ssp. Poeoptera kenricki bensoni VGL Van Someren, 1945



J P Benson (fl.1961) was an ornithologist who collected (including these holotypes) for many years in Kenya, particularly the Meru-Isiolo area whilst employed by the Department of Agriculture in Kenya (c.1938-1962) when he passed the preliminary oral exam in Swahili.

See here: https://www.africamuseum.be/sites/d...-documentation/type-specimens-birds_feb11.pdf

I'd love to get full names and dates

bo
 

Björn Bergenholtz

(former alias "Calalp")
Sweden
His (first) given name (or nick-name) seems to have been "Jack" (see here, p.12, and pp.34–37, also mentioned on p.42). At least I assume it's the same guy.

Both ODs here:
Named in honour of Mr. J. P. Benson, who collected the material.

Who he was? I haven't got a clue.

I have only checked Mrs & Mr ('Con') Benson, and "their" birds (as of above).
 
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Björn Bergenholtz

(former alias "Calalp")
Sweden
Below are some pieces in this puzzle ...

🧩

He's listed (below "BENSON, C. W."), as a Member of BOC (in June 1948) as:
[Member since] 1946 BENSON, J. P. Dept. of Agriculture, Meru, Kenya Colony and Dellfield, Felden, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.

[here]​
He's equally mentioned (among other New Members), in BBOC 68 (No.1), p.1 (here), as well as mentioned here.

Following those small clues (and his address) the actual full name of "Jack" Benson seems to have been John Percival Benson (listed here).

And, in/when following this (full) name we find him as; "Assistant Agricultural Officer" as of/from the 1st of January 1944 (here), and in 1948 he became "Senior" ditto here (also, the same year, mentioned here), taking us onwards, to May 1952, when he became an "Honorary Fish Warden", for a period of five years (here, p.494), leading to September 1960, when he became a "Member of the Coffee Marketing Board" (here, see p.1153, alt. here). To me, it all seems to fit/match van Someren's friend.

Hopefully of some use/help?

Good luck finding his Birth and (presumed) Death .

/B
 
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Taphrospilus

Well-known member
You are right here

PROMOTION John Percival Benson, to be Assistant Agricultural Officer, Agricultural Department, with effect from the 1st January, 1944.

Or here
John Percival Benson, Esq. to be a member of the Coffee Marketing Board.

or here
John Percival Benson Esq to be an Honorary Fish Warden for a period of five years from the date hereof

or here
John Percival Benson to be Senior Assistant Agricultural Officer, Department of Agriculture, with effect from 1st January, 1948.
 

l_raty

laurent raty
Name: BENSON, John Percival

Birth Date: 5 Sep 1907 Berkhamsted

Death Date: 1 June 2002 Medway, Kent

First Date: 1930

Profession: Civil servant, agricultural officer

Area: Manzi, Athi River, Nairobi

Married: Kathleen Margaret Langdon

Book Reference: Red 31, Hut, Wed, OP

General Information:

Nyeri June 25 1949 - John Percival Benson, age 41, Civil Servant of Meru and Kathleen Margaret Langdon, age 36, Nursing Sister of Nairobi.
OP - Issue 84, October 2002 - Obituary - J.P. Benson
John Percival - KR 966
 

PScofield

Well-known member
Death 22 June 2002

Daily Telegraph 26 June 2002:

BENSON — John Percival (Jack) of Tiverton Devon. On June 22nd 2002 aged 94 years peacefully at Medway Hospital Beloved husband of the late Kathleen Margaret (Peggy) and father to Paul and Anthony Local. Funeral service Medway Crematorium Robin Hood Lane Blue Bell Hill Chatham Kent on Tuesday July 2nd 11 a m Family flowers only donations to “Farm Africa” may be sent to W Naylar & Son Funeral Directors 9092 Deice Road Rochester Kent ME1 2DH Interment and memorial service Friday August 30th 2002 11 am St Andrews Church Blundells Road Tiverton Devon Donations to “St Andrews Church” co The Vicarage Blackmore Road Tiverton EX16 4AR or to “Farm Africa".
 

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