Friday, May 13, 2011
1) Barber, Lynn E.. Extreme Birder: One Woman's Big Year. 2011. Texas A&M University Press. Flexibound: 283 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: One woman . . . one year . . . 723 species of birds. . .
In 2008, Lynn Barber's passion for birding led her to drive, fly, sail, walk, stalk, and sit in search of birds in twenty-five states and three provinces. Traveling more than 175,000 miles, she set a twenty-first century record at the time, second to only one other person in history.
Over 272 days, Barber observed 723 species of birds in North America north of Mexico, recording a remarkable 333 new species in January but, with the dwindling returns typical to Big Year birding, only eight in December, a month that found her crisscrossing the continent from Texas to Newfoundland, from Washington to Ontario. In the months between, she felt every extreme of climate, well-being, and emotion. But, whether finally spotting an elusive Blue Bunting or seeing three species of eiders in a single day, she was also challenged, inspired, and rewarded by nearly every experience.
Barber's journal from her American Birding Association-sanctioned Big Year covers the highlights of her treks to forests, canyons, mountain ranges, deserts, oceans, lakes, and numerous spots in between. Written in the informal style of a diary, it captures the detail, humor, challenges, and fun of a good adventure travelogue and also conveys the remarkable diversity of North American birds and habitat. For actual or would-be “travel birders,” Lynn Barber’s Extreme Birder provides a fascinating, binoculars-eye view of one of the best-loved pastimes of nature lovers everywhere.
RECOMMENDATION: The author's artwork and photography highlight this book. Birders should enjoy this big year narrative.