Monday, December 20, 2010


1) Duivendijk, Nils van. Advanced Bird ID Guide: The Western Palearctic. 2010. New Holland. Paperback: 304 pages. Price: 14.99 GBP (about $23.30 U.S.).

SUMMARY: This innovative guide will be an essential addition to the library of any serious birder. It accurately describes every key detail of every plumage of all 1,000 species that have ever occurred in Britain, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East - the region known to all keen birdwatchers as the Western Palearctic. Its level of detail is unprecedented for a book of this size, and it will be sought after by all bird enthusiasts.
     A large number of existing bird field guides cover Europe and the Western Palearctic. This, however, is a guide with a difference. It has no colour plates or illustrations, but instead its unique selling point is that for every species the detailed text lists the key characters of each recognizable plumage, including male, female, immature, juvenile, all subspecies and all other variations. This level of detail includes, for example, all eleven forms of 'Canada goose' and all nine forms of 'yellow wagtail' known in the region. In the past such in-depth detail has only been available in huge multi-volume tomes such as Birds of the Western Palearctic. The Advanced Bird ID Guide enables birders to take this information into the field for the first time.
RECOMMENDATION: Advanced birders in the Western Palearctic will want this book! It is not for beginning birders though! I wonder if a similar book would work here in North America?

2) Gooddie, Chris. The Jewel Hunter. 2010. Wild Guides. Paperback: 344 pages. Price: 17.99 GBP (about $27.97 U.S.).
SUMMARY: A tale of one man’s obsession with rainforest jewels, this is the story of an impossible dream: a quest to see every one of the world’s most elusive avian gems – a group of birds known as pittas – in a single year.
     Insightful, compelling and laugh-out-loud funny, this is more than a book about birds. It's a true story detailing the lengths to which a man will go to escape his mid-life crisis. A travelogue with a difference, it follows a journey from the suburban straitjacket of High Wycombe to the steamy, leech-infested rainforests of remotest Asia, Africa and Australia.
     Dangerous situations, personal traumas and logistical nightmares threaten The Jewel Hunter's progress. Will venomous snakes or razor-clawed bears intervene? Or will running out of fuel mid-Pacific ultimately sink the mission? The race is on...
     If you’ve ever yearned to escape your day job, wondered what makes men tick, or simply puzzled over how to make a truly world-class cup of tea, this is a book for you.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed reading The Big Year and The Biggest Twitch you will enjoy this book! You can visit the author's website here:

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