Book reviews

We are blessed with a large literature on bird names, much of it quite recent. It is easy, for example, to discover the meanings behind the Latin or Latinised nomenclature, to investigate eponyms and to find long and fascinating lists of obsolete or dialect names. What, then, is the point of this new book?

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The Keyhaven area in southwest Hampshire is well known for its nationally important breeding concentrations of gulls and terns, a substantial list of vagrants, and its fine seawatching in favourable conditions in spring…

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The latest in a series of occasional publications produced by Carlisle Natural History Society is a collection of four articles relevant to the ornithological history of Cumbria…

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To the surprise of everyone except, perhaps, the authors and the publishers, Volumes I and II of the long-awaited Handbook of Western Palearctic Birds (HWPB), covering the passerines, was released over the summer…

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Is there space on your shelf for another book on gulls? For any ‘gull freak’ the answer will always be ‘yes’…

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The front cover image is of resting Oystercatchers, the back cover of Ringed Plovers. Their bold plumage patterns are a gift to printmakers but even so, as book jackets go, this is a stunner and an indication of the quality of artwork by Robert Gillmor…

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This new book provides a comprehensive review of all the rare birds, both breeding species and vagrants, to have occurred in Poland…

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It seems that every few weeks a bird species is announced as being ‘new’ to science. In some cases (such as the Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch) this is simply achieved through the promotion of a well-known subspecies to full species status. By comparison, the discovery of a completely new species that has gone undetected is still quite rare…

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The Long Spring takes us on a fragmented journey through Europe: from Spain in February to Norway in May, via France, the UK, Sweden and Finland. As he travels north, the author remains in a ‘perpetually incipient spring’, which is a nice idea, captured perfectly in these three words…

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This is an attractive little book, copiously and nicely illustrated, and written in a cheerful and informal style. It sets out to explain the binomial system we use to name birds, and then to translate and explain scientific names and, to a lesser extent, their vernacular counterparts. Unfortunately, it rather falls down on these aims…

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