Desmond Nethersole-Thompson has been studying his favourite bird, the greenshank Tringa nebularia, since May 1932.
Greenshanks, published in 1976, owes much to the interest, almost an obsession, of the Nethersole-Thompson family. The two girls and four boys, as well as both parents, now work as a team in the wild and beautiful north-west Highlands of Scotland.
Greenshanks has drawn heavily on the team's field notebooks. In the gneiss country of Sutherland, so different from the forest bogs of Spey Valley, Fennoscandia and the Soviet Union, they have particularly concentrated on the greenshank's displays and breeding, food and feeding behaviour and its remarkable voice. There can be few long-term projects on waders to equal this made by the Nethersole-Thompsons, and there are valuable specialist contributions by other eminent ornithologists.
Greenshanks is a major contribution to bird studies and takes its place beside Desmond Nethersole-Thompson's four earlier monographs. The illustrations in colour and monochrome by Donald Watson have all the veracity and atmosphere that one has come to expect of this gifted artist.
"This book is a must for any serious ornithologist, and it is difficult to see how it can ever be superseded as a definitive work"
- New Scientist