Book reviews

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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If you are interested in what seabirds do and why they do it, as opposed to what they simply look like, then buy this book – you’ll have a very entertaining and informative read…

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Most birders will have heard of Frances Willughby through his association with John Ray and their joint publication ‘Ornithology’…

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David Tipling’s work will be well-known to most BB readers and a quick check back through the years shows him being a finalist in the BB Bird Photograph of the Year competition six times between 1991 and 2001, after which he was appointed as one of the judges. Over the years, his work has evolved, from photographing many of Britain’s most memorable vagrants, to expeditions to far-flung regions…

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As one who has lived in North Wales for over 30 years and with an interest in rare birds since the early 1970s, this book was eagerly awaited. For the first time, details of all rare and scarce birds (defined as those that occur on average five times or fewer annually in Wales) recorded in the vice-counties of Flint, Denbigh, Caernarfon, Anglesey and Meirionnydd are brought together in one volume…

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This is the follow-up to the same authors’ Behind the Binoculars published in 2015 (Brit. Birds 108: 552–553), which this reviewer referred to as ‘a print version of Desert Island Discs with a very specific category of castaway’…

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Curlew Moon

Book reviews // 11.05.2018

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Mary Colwell wrote Curlew Moon to help raise awareness of the plight of the Eurasian Curlew. This is an iconic but rapidly declining species – one of the world’s eight curlews, most of them faring very badly in the modern world, with two species probably already extinct…

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World year-listing is not entirely new as a challenge, although it has become more competitive in recent years. But no matter how keen you are, there is nearly always someone who is keener still, and in 2015 Noah Strycker set himself another goal: to become the first person to see half the world’s birds in one year. His haul of 6,042 species and how he managed to achieve it is the subject of this book…

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