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This excerpt comes from Birds New to Britain and Ireland by J.T.R. Sharrock:

In 1980, after due deliberation (including a survey of all known European records), the BOU Records Committee accepted not only that wild vagrants could reach Britain, but also that both the 1954 Fair Isle and the Caerlaverock birds were such, so, eventually, following the opinions of the Wildfowl Trust and the late Dr J. M. Harrison(Harrison 1958).

I am not sure what such, so, eventually means here. I can't make sense of the sentence because of these three words that seem out of place.

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In 1980, after due deliberation (including a survey of all known European records), the BOU Records Committee accepted not only that wild vagrants could reach Britain, but also that both the 1954 Fair Isle and the Caerlaverock birds were such, so, eventually, following the opinions of the Wildfowl Trust and the late Dr J. M. Harrison(Harrison 1958).

This is truly puzzling. Here is one possible interpretation.

We could add "so, eventually," to almost anything. For example.

"He walked down the block."

"So, eventually, he walked down the block."

Or

"He bought some ice cream."

"So, eventually, he bought some ice cream."

Hopefully that meaning is clear. And also that "so, eventually," are just filler words. They don't mean terribly much. So, we can temporarily remove them from the sentence, and eventually put them back later.

What remains in the puzzle?

that wild vagrants could reach Britain, but also that both the 1954 Fair Isle and the Caerlaverock birds were such

This could mean that the Caerlaverock birds and the Fair Isle birds were "wild vagrants that could reach Britain". They fit that category.

following the opinions of the Wildfowl Trust and the late Dr J. M. Harrison(Harrison 1958).

The Wildfowl Trust and the late Dr J. M. Harrison both had this opinion. Which opinion? That the Caerlaverock birds and the Fair Isle birds were wild vagrants, that could reach Britain.

That's at least one interpretation. Another is:

"such, so, eventually, following"

is an editorial mistake, or a Monty Pythonesque trick.

  • such means "could reach Britain"? – repomonster Feb 12 at 23:26
  • @repomonster , yes. "Such" means "of a similar kind as; like", in this case the kind of birds which could reach, or had been seen, in Britain. – Sam Feb 13 at 6:33

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