I hope you are settling back into British life after your ten years of missionary work in Africa? I cannot begin to think what it must be like. If you need help adjusting, might I suggest contacting the Reverend Harold Davidson of Stiffkey, Naaarfek? I think he is going through a similar situation and might be able to steer you on a good path.
Now, pleasantries aside and on to matters ornithological, namely your question regarding that dreadfully suggestible rude new name for Haematopus ostralegus occidentalis which has come into common usage while you have been away.
I agree young Catesby has sold us all out since idling off to the colonies. There he had indeed found lesser fame as a lesser naturalist through discovering a lesser version of our wonderful bird which he termined to be called 'Oystercatcher' to celebrate the difference from our superior version. He knew full well that name sounds exact the same as one of the most rudest of English phrases, 'Oyster-Catcher'. (I tremble to even write that down here. Forgive me. Do not read it aloud and do not vicar-pedia it either or you will find fifty shades of Victorian steaminess.)
It might well be the new word gained some acceptance for jokey attachment to our bird as it appeared in the Oxfud TUKOGBANI Dictionary just one year after Catesby's initial shout, but I know very well the editors used it only to relieve themselves of any previous meaning therein, now deemed suitable only for publication in Doctor Samuel Melly-Johnston's Profanisaurus.
'Sea-Pye' it was, 'Sea-Pye' it must remain. We must remove all Yankee-doodle terminology from our shores. There is nothing bawdy about that.
And yes, I agree, the actual description itself is so very wrong; I know full well our beloved native Sea-Pye never catches oysters. Any fool with half-decent optics will have noted this for themselves and laughs at the thought of it. Perhaps the fishermen of Hangmonkey-by-the-Sea use the best name of 'Mussel Cracker'. That has no chance of ever being confused as any euphemism past, present or future, for certain.
If the worst comes to worst, and Yarrell, Witherby or Garnier adopt it then I may very well be forced to register my protest by going back to using the oldest English moniker 'Olive', the Sar'fek 17th century name for any good-looking plump beach bird with no hallux and blessed with just a slight webbing between the toes.
Plucky Brit names for our plucky Brit birds should remain steadfast and strong, for ever and ever. There is still time TUKOGBANIOU will see sense.
Your old dorm chum,
|Dates for your diary:|
The TUKOGBANI Ornithologists' Union
meeting this April is on 'upland habitats'