1) Svensson, Lars et al.. Collins Bird Guide: Large Format Second Edition. 2011. Collins. Hardbound: 443 pages. Price: GBP 50.00 (about $77.81 U.S.).
SUMMARY: Following on from its hugely successful launch in 1999, Collins Bird Guide – the ultimate reference book for bird enthusiasts – now enters its second edition.
With expanded text and additional colour illustrations, the second edition of the hugely successful Collins Bird Guide is a must for every birdwatcher.
The book provides all the information needed to identify any species at any time of the year, covering size, habitat, range, identification and voice. Accompanying every species entry is a distribution map and illustrations showing the species in all the major plumages (male, female, immature, in flight, at rest, feeding: whatever is important).
In addition, each group of birds includes an introduction which covers the major problems involved in identifying or observing them: how to organise a sea watching trip, how to separate birds of prey in flight, which duck hybrids can be confused with which main species. These and many other common birdwatching questions are answered.
The combination of definitive text, up-to-date distribution maps and superb illustrations, all in a single volume, makes this book the ultimate field guide, essential on every bookshelf and birdwatching trip.
RECOMMENDATION: This Large Format edition of THE European bird guide will be useful for those with bad eyesight or those with an interest in field guide art!
New and Recent Titles:
1) Arlott, Norman. Collins Field Guides: Birds of North America. 2011. Collins. Hardbound: 239 pages. Price: GBP 29.99 (about $46.67 U.S.).
SUMMARY: A comprehensive illustrated field guide to the birds of North America, ideal for the travelling birdwatcher.
Covering most of North America, including Canada and Greenland, the latest Collins Field Guide focuses on the rich and diverse birdlife of what is known as the Nearctic region. Every species found in the area is illustrated in every plumage in which they can be seen in the wild. The accompanying text concentrates on the specific characteristics and appearance of each species that allow identification in the field, including voice and distribution maps.
RECOMMENDATION: This one is a tough call for me! In the end I can recommend this book only for ecotourist or general naturalists. Birders will want to use another guide. The Princeton University Press version will be available on 10 October 2011.
2) Fitter, Julian and Don Merton. Collins Traveller's Guide: Birds of New Zealand. 2011. Collins. Paperback: 288 pages. Price: GBP 16.99 (about $26.44 U.S.).
SUMMARY: An easy-to-use, compact photo guide to the birds of New Zealand, including tips on where to go to make the most of your visit.
New Zealand has long been known as 'The Land of Birds', and as a popular holiday destination it is regularly visited by tourists from around the world. The country’s birdlife is remarkably rich, with much of it not just endemic, but unlike anything elsewhere.
This beautiful photographic guide is the ideal companion for travelling birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Featuring over 300 species of bird most likely to be encountered on a trip to New Zealand, it is the only guide that anyone travelling to this fascinating region of the world will need. Each bird is illustrated with a full-colour photograph along with a full species description, and key information on national parks helps readers to find the best spots to discover each bird.
The book not only helps travellers to identify birds, it also highlights the importance of conservation efforts and offers guidelines on sensible behaviour whilst travelling through the area and encountering nature at its very best.
RECOMMENDATION: Probably the best photographic guide to the birds of New Zealand currently available. Princeton University Press will be co-publishing this title in January 2012 as: "A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand " for $24.95 U.S..