A Sound Guide to Waders in Britain. Compiled from recordings by 15 recordists; produced (and sleeve notes) by John Burton and Nigel Tucker. REC545 Album, ZCM545 Cassette. BBC Records, London, 1984. £2.99.This well-produced record succeeds admirably in its twin aims of providing both an aid to wader identification and a great deal of listening pleasure, and can be highly recommended. Side I, entitled 'Waders on their breeding grounds', covers all well-established British breeding species (plus Kentish Plover), with emphasis on songs and alarm calls. The birds are grouped into six bands by habitat. On side 2, the habitat is Tidal estuary' and we are treated to non-breeding calls of 32 wader species regular in Britain at passage times. The sleeve features an attractive colour photograph of six wader species, an introduction by Tony Soper, a programme of the soundtrack, and brief notes on the birds included. The beginner wishing to learn the waders will find this record a most useful reference to a wide range of calls, many of which defy adequate description in words. In the main, the recordings are typical of the species in question. Sleeve-note text is minimal, owing to shortage of space, and refers readers to field-guides for further information on the birds. A 'quick reference guide', listing the time from the start of each side to the major track for each species, uses space, but gives no extra information, and would have been more helpful if ordered by species and including occurrences in the background of other tracks (some of which are referred to in the programme). Listeners relying entirely on the sleeve notes to identify the calls will be annoyed that times are not given instead from the start of each band. For the more expert wader-watcher, such rarely heard calls as those of Ruff, Dotterel and the phalaropes will perhaps be the highlights.

Volume: 
Issue 10
Start Page: 
524
Display Image: 

Stay at the forefront of British birding by taking out a subscription to British Birds.

Subscribe Now