Hilbre; the Cheshire Island: its history and natural history. Edited by J. D, Craggs. Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 1982. 306 pages; 31 black-and-white plates; many line-drawings. £20.00. Hilbre, Middle Eye and Little Eye are three tiny sandstone islands (totalling only 6.1 ha) lying in the mouth of the Dee Estuary just off the Wirral peninsula. Hilbre is, however, world famous for its high-tide roosts of waders which provide a spectacle which is a magnet for birdwatchers and, especially, bird-photographers. In its 19 chapters, this attractive, profusely illustrated and well designed book covers everything from the island's history, flora, invertebrate and vertebrate fauna, to the fishes and marine mammals of the surrounding waters, its ornithology and its ecology. There are tables and lists, graphs and histograms, maps and diagrams, photographs galore and line-drawings by Laurel Tucker. As a source of reference or for browsing by those who know or would like to know this enchanting area, this book would take some bettering. The price, however, is high, so that many would-be purchasers will, I suspect, become library-borrowers instead. Observatory aficionados and migration students will find the histograms showing distribution through the year of 137 species a fascinating source of information for comparison with other stations (such as Cape Clear Island and Lundy, both previously shown by the same methods), but I personally found it very irritating that some species are plotted from January to December and others from July to June, so that it is not possible to compare species (even ones plotted side by side) at a glance, as should surely be the intention with histograms, since the left-hand peak in one will be spring and in the other will be autumn. 

Issue 1
Start Page: 
Dony, J. G
Display Image: 

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

Subscribe Now