A Field Guide to the Waders of Britain and Europe with North Africa and the Middle East. By Peter Colston & Philip Burton. Hodder & Stoughton, Sydney, London, Auckland and Toronto, 1988. 23 colour plates; 95 line-drawings; 53 maps. £9.95.If you were delighted by Philip Burton's paintings in BWP vol. 3 and cannot wait to get your hands on a wader book with all the plates illustrated by him, then you may well be disappointed. All the more so in view of the claim that this book is 'Worth buying for the colour plates alone--undoubtedly the most accurate and beautifully painted and reproduced set of illustrations to be found in any field guide.' Beautiful many of them may be, but they are not as good as his work in BWP and they are not all accurate, particularly those where identification criteria have improved in recent years (e.g. stints and sand plovers). A good example is the adult breeding Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis, on which the wing-coverts and tertials are typically mainly grey, but the illustration shows a wing exactly as breeding Little Stint C. minuta. It is difficult to believe that an artist of Burton's stature would make such a mistake, and I suspect that these plates were painted some time ago and predated his work for BWP. It is disappointing, too, that juveniles are not depicted for many species. Nevertheless, it would be churlish not to acknowledge that many illustrations, such as the Ruffs Philomachus pugnax in a variety variety of breeding plumages, are excellent and an improvement on other published work. 

Volume: 
Issue 12
Start Page: 
667
Authors: 
Redman, N
Oddie, B
Display Image: 

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