Sunday, September 30, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
1) Marshall, Stephen A.. Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera. 2012. Firefly. Hardbound: 616 pages. Price: $125.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Meticulously researched and illustrated with more than 2000 color photographs taken by the author, Flies is a landmark reference book that will be indispensable to any naturalist, biologist or entomologist. Most photographs in this encyclopedic reference were taken in the field and show the insects in their natural environment. All of the world's fly families are included, with photographic coverage spanning the range from common deer flies and fruit flies through to deadly tsetse flies and malaria mosquitoes, with thousands of spectacular species such as exotic stalk eyed flies, giant robber flies and hedgehog flies in between.
Flies is broken up into three parts: Life Histories, Habits and Habitats of Flies; Diversity; and Identifying and Studying Flies. The 20 pages of profusely illustrated keys linked to the unprecedented photographic coverage of the world's fly families and subfamilies enable the reader to identify most flies quickly and accurately, and to readily access information about each family as well as hundreds of distinctive genera and species.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for fly fans.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
SUMMARY: How a lone man’s epic obsession led to one of America’s greatest cultural treasures: Prizewinning writer Timothy Egan tells the riveting, cinematic story behind the most famous photographs in Native American history — and the driven, brilliant man who made them.
Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.
An Indiana Jones with a camera, Curtis spent the next three decades traveling from the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the Acoma on a high mesa in New Mexico to the Salish in the rugged Northwest rain forest, documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Eventually Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.
His most powerful backer was Theodore Roosevelt, and his patron was J. P. Morgan. Despite the friends in high places, he was always broke and often disparaged as an upstart in pursuit of an impossible dream. He completed his masterwork in 1930, when he published the last of the twenty volumes. A nation in the grips of the Depression ignored it. But today rare Curtis photogravures bring high prices at auction, and he is hailed as a visionary. In the end he fulfilled his promise: He made the Indians live forever.
RECOMMENDATION: For fans of Edward Curtis and/or western USA history.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
SUMMARY: John Muir Laws’s guide to drawing birds is itself winged, soaring between a devotion not only to art but also to the lives, forms, and postures of the birds themselves. Here, artistic technique and the exquisite details of natural history intertwine, and drawing becomes the vehicle for seeing. As Laws writes, “To draw feathers, you must understand how feathers grow, overlap, and insert into the body. To create the body, you must have an understanding of the bird’s skeletal structure. To pose this skeleton, you must be able to perceive the energy, intention, and life of the bird.
This how-to guide will perfect the technique of serious arists but also, perhaps more importantly, it will provide guidance for those who insist they can’t draw. Leading the mind and hand through a series of detailed exercises, Laws delivers what he promises: that “drawing birds opens you to the beauty of the world.”
RECOMMENDATION: The foreword is by David Allen Sibley. A good introduction for those wanting to learn how to draw birds. See sample pages here.
Monday, September 24, 2012
SUMMARY: Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way we think about science— from fluids to fungi, poisons to pirates. Featuring noted authors and journalists as well as the brightest up-and-comers writing today, this collection provides a comprehensive look at the fascinating, innovative, and trailblazing scientific achievements and breakthroughs of 2011, along with elegant and thoughtprovoking new takes on favorite topics. This is the sixth anthology of online essays edited by Bora Zivkovic, the blogs editor at Scientific American, and with each new edition, Zivkovic expands his fan base and creates a surge of excitement about upcoming compilations. Now everyone’s favorite collection will reach new horizons and even more readers. Guest-edited and with an introduction by the renowned science author and blogger Jennifer Ouellette, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 marries cutting-edge science with dynamic writing that will inspire us all.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting collection of science writing.
SUMMARY: Almost daily we hear news stories, advertisements, and scientific reports that promise genetic medicine will make us live longer, enable doctors to identify and treat diseases before they start, and individualize our medical care. But surprisingly, a century ago eugenicists were making the same promises. The Science of Human Perfection traces the history of the promises of medical genetics and of the medical dimension of eugenics. The book also considers social and ethical issues that cast troublesome shadows over these fields.
Keeping his focus on America, science historian Nathaniel Comfort introduces the community of scientists, physicians, and public health workers who have contributed to the development of medical genetics from the nineteenth century to today. He argues that medical genetics is closely related to eugenics, and indeed the two cannot be fully understood separately. He also carefully examines how the desire to relieve suffering and to improve ourselves genetically, though noble, may be subverted. History makes clear that as patients and consumers we must take ownership of genetic medicine, using it intelligently, knowledgeably, and skeptically, lest pernicious interests trump our own.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in biomedical ethics.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
SUMMARY: Eugene S. Hunn’s classic Birding in Seattle and King County — first published in 1982 — cast attention on Seattle’s urban environs, rich shorelines, farms and fields, and the little-known wilderness of the flanking Cascade Mountains, inspiring a tsunami of birding by a new generation of skilled and passionate birders. This radically renovated edition documents 377 species, a twenty-three percent increase from the original edition, thanks to intensive exploration along the Cascade crest, dedicated scanning offshore, and frequent coverage of favored parks and open spaces. Today’s birders will find entirely new maps showing time-tested birding sites as well as recently discovered “hotspots”; a comprehensive inventory of rarities; updated seasonal bar graphs; and analyses of Christmas Bird Counts, the Breeding Bird Atlas, and recent changes in the dynamic local bird life — along with a stunning set of color photographs by leading local photographers.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding the region! The only thing I would have done differently is that I would have had a Glaucous-winged Gull photo on the cover instead of a Savannah Sparrow. This title is available from the Seattle Audubon Society here.
Friday, September 21, 2012
SUMMARY: Drawing Words and Writing Pictures is a course on comic creation – for college classes or for independent study – that centers on storytelling and concludes with making a finished comic. With chapters on lettering, story structure, and panel layout, the fifteen lessons offered – each complete with homework, extra credit activities and supplementary reading suggestions – provide a solid introduction for people interested in making their own comics. Additional resources, lessons, and after-class help are available on the accompanying website, www.dw-wp.com.
A new course of material to accompany First Second’s widely acclaimed 2008 comics textbook. In their hotly anticipated follow-up to 2008’s comics textbook Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, School of Visual Arts cartooning professors Matt Madden and Jessica Abel bring their expertise to bear on the “second semester” of a course of study for the budding cartoonist. Covering advanced topics such as story composition, coloring, and file formatting, Mastering Comics is a vital companion to the introductory content of the first volume.
RECOMMENDATION: Ever thought you could do comics? These books will get you started!
3) Brown, Lester R.. Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. 2012. W.W. Norton. Paperback: 144 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: With food supplies tightening, countries are competing for the land and water resources needed to feed their people.
With food scarcity driven by falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. “In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage. Food is the new oil,” Lester R. Brown writes.
What will the geopolitics of food look like in a new era dominated by scarcity and food nationalism? Brown outlines the political implications of land acquisitions by grain-importing countries in Africa and elsewhere as well as the world’s shrinking buffers against poor harvests. With wisdom accumulated over decades of tracking agricultural issues, Brown exposes the increasingly volatile food situation the world is facing.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the future of humanity.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
SUMMARY: American scientist and author Rachel Carson is said to have sparked the modern day environmental movement with the publication of Silent Spring in 1962. She made vivid the prospect of life without birdsong. But has her warning been heeded? Fifty years on, Conor Mark Jameson reflects on the growth of environmentalism since Silent Spring was published. His revealing and engaging tale plots milestone events in conservation, popular culture and political history in the British Isles and beyond, tracing a path through the half century since 'zero hour', 1962. Around this he weaves his own observations and touching personal experiences, seeking to answer the question: what happened to the birds, and birdsong, and why does it matter?
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting take on the post-Silent Spring era from a British perspective.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
SUMMARY: Birds of Southern California is a pocket-sized 506 page photographic guide for the birds that reside in or visit the lower half of California, an area of approximately 56,000 square miles.
The Species Account pages provide color photographs of the 350 local birds and have a companion page with key information about each bird including: description, voice, behavior, similar birds, where and when to find this bird, and a Did you know section with interesting facts. There is a space at the bottom of each page to record sightings of each bird.
The Short Index inside the back cover also gives a quick way to find birds in the guide.
The Map inside the front cover gives a good overview of the geographic area covered in this book and the location of some of the top birding spots.
The Common Local Birds pages show photographs of Southern California's most common birds.
There are a number of sections of the book designed for beginning birders:
*Identifying Birds (how to tell one bird from another)
*Observing Birds (how to be successful in seeing more birds)
*Bird Habitats (describes the 12 types of habitat in Southern California and some of the birds in each habitat)
*Helpful Resources (where to get more information)
*Index/Checklist (use this checklist to record bird sightings)
RECOMMENDATION: This book is best for beginning/novice birders of the region.
SUMMARY: One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular--and notoriously reclusive--author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens.
A mysterious and beguiling love story with elements of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Greek mythology, drawn in moody black-and-white charcoal, Sailor Twain is a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense.
RECOMMENDATION: This graphic novel isn't for children due to nudity and language, but it's an interesting story!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
1) Rasmussen, Pamela C. and John C. Anderton. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide (2 volumes, Second Edition). 2012. Lynx Edicions/MSU/Smithsonian. Paperbacks: Volume 1: 378 pages, Volume 2: 684 pages. Price: 55 EUR, 49.99 GBP, $71.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The most complete and up-to-date guide to the birds of the region. Revised and updated with the newest findings on vocalizations and taxonomy, including several taxa newly recorded for the region, species whose voice was previously unknown, and additional newly recognised species. Species lists follow familiar Peters order except where changes are well-corroborated by recent research.
Vol. 1 (Field Guide):
*Now more user-friendly than ever, including vocalization descriptions for almost every species
*Covers all South Asian birds (including Afghanistan and Chagos).
*Over 3400 illustrations appear in 180 plates painted especially for this book by expert artists. These depict all known regional species and most distinctive subspecies and plumages.
*Over 1450 colour maps, based primarily on verified records, represent the ranges of each regularly occurring species and many distinctive races, and distinguish migratory routes from winter ranges.
*Maps are annotated as to geographic variation, status and habitat.
*Concise texts give key identification features of each species.
*To assist in locating groups within the text, illustrated plate keys are provided in the endpapers
Vol. 2 (Attributes and Status):
*Contains much new information and many revised taxonomic treatments.
*Alternative names are listed and taxonomic issues are summarized.
*Specimen measurements specially taken for this book are presented for each species.
*Complete data about identification, variation, status and distribution, voice, and habits are provided for each species.
*Problematic records are discussed.
*Vocalizations are described from recordings, and there are over 1000 sonograms, now with English name labels.
*Appendices include the region's first hypothetical species list, a gazetteer, brief ornithological histories, and lists of taxonomic changes, regional specimen holdings, and threatened species.
*A comprehensive index allows users to find whatever names are most familiar to them.
*Maps indicate geopolitical names, topography, habitats, and bird species diversity and endemism.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in the birds of the region! This title is available in the USA from BUTEO BOOKS here.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
1) Dunne, Pete, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton. Hawks in Flight (Second Edition). 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 335 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Among the world's most popular birds, hawks can be some of the most difficult birds to identify. They're most often seen flying high above and at a distance.
In the first edition of Hawks in Flight, Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton presented a holistic method of hawk identification, using general body shape, the way they move, and the places they are most likely to be seen.
The new edition of the book that Roger Tory Peterson called a "landmark" integrates an array of carefully selected photographs, David Sibley's superb illustrations, and a clear, information-packed text and takes raptor identification to a higher level. This edition covers all of the raptors that breed in North America, including those with limited ranges in Florida, the Southwest, and Texas.
Picking up where its predecessor ended by including two decades of raptor identification refinement, Hawks in Flight summarizes and places in users’ hands an identification skill set that used to take years to master. The unique alchemy of Dunne, Sibley, and Sutton—including their collective experience of more than one hundred years watching hawks—make this book a singular achievement and a must-have for anyone interested in hawks.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for raptor people, even if you own the first edition!
1) Haag, Wendell R.. North American Freshwater Mussels: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation. 2012. Cambridge University Press. Hardbound: 505 pages. Price: $140.00 U.S./ £85.00.
SUMMARY: This well-illustrated book highlights freshwater mussels' fabulous diversity, amazing array of often bizarre ecological adaptations and their dire conservation plight. Summarizing and synthesizing historical and contemporary information as well as original research and analysis, the book describes the diverse array of mussel life history strategies and builds a cohesive narrative culminating in the development of explicit frameworks to explain pervasive patterns in mussel ecology. The fascinating and colorful role of mussels in human society is also described in detail, including the little-known pearl button industry of the early 1900s and the wild and often violent shell harvest of the 1990s. The final chapter details humans' efforts to save these fascinating animals and gives a prognosis for the future of the North American fauna. The book provides the first comprehensive review of mussel ecology and conservation for scientists, natural resource professionals, students and natural history enthusiasts.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a technical interest in North American freshwater mussels.
2) Pizzey, Graham and Frank Knight. The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Ninth Edition, edited by Sarah Pizzey). 2012. Harper Collins. Flexibound: 608 pages. Price: $45.00 AUD/ £56.99 / $95.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The definitive and most respected guide to Australian bird identification, this book is a must for both experts and amateurs.
First published in 1980, Graham Pizzey′s Field Guide to the Birds of Australia combines a depth and breadth of knowledge with beautiful, full-colour illustrations by Frank Knight.
Comprehensive and fully updated, this 9th edition of the Guide is more user-friendly than ever before. Species entries have been re-ordered and updated to reflect the new taxonomy, and the book has been expanded to include eighteen new species as well as a new section on vagrant species. It also features new information on bird family groups, more than 750 distribution maps based on the most recent bird atlas data, as well as a new Quick Find Index, to assist with quick identification of birds in the field.
This is the essential reference for every bird enthusiast.
RECOMMENDATION: The page count has increased from 580 (8th edition) to 608 (9th edition). A must have for those with an interest in the birds of Australia! This title is available from BUTEO BOOKS here.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Saturday, September 8, 2012
1) Lewis, Celia. The Illustrated Guide to Ducks and Geese and Other Domestic Fowl. 2012. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 160 pages. Price: GBP 16.99/$20.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: With just a little land and available water, you can raise a variety of domestic fowl, from friendly ducks and characterful geese to guineafowl, dainty quail, placid turkeys or even peafowl. Illustrated with the author's charming watercolour paintings, this book is packed with practical tips on keeping domestic fowl and selecting the right breed for your circumstances.
Covering 65 domestic breeds of ducks, geese, guineafowl, quail, turkeys and peafowl, the book gives an insight into the individual personalities and attributes of each kind of bird. The breed profiles are written in engaging text and include the history and place of origin, colour combinations, differences between male and female birds, the appearance of hatchlings and the numbers of eggs to expect.
As well as selecting an appropriate breed, you need to consider your neighbours, the kinds of bird you can and should keep, whether you want them for eggs or as pets, and whether you want to breed them. The book offers helpful advice on all these issues and also on housing, the provision of water, feeding and the noise and impact your birds will have, as well as preventing and treating common ailments.
Whether you are starting out as a smallholder, are interested in raising a few ducks or geese in a suburban or rural setting, or are simply a devotee of domestic fowl there is plenty to captivate you in this book.
RECOMMENDATION: Bird keepers will enjoy this book!
2) Taylor, Marianne. RSPB British Birdfinder. 2012. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 288 pages. Price: GBP12.99/about $20.82 U.S. SUMMARY: Most bird books are designed to help you identify the birds that you've seen. This book is different. It is a species-by-species guide that shows you how to find and watch more than 250 species of birds that can be seen in Britain. Some are common; others are rare migrants or scarce breeding birds, but this book will tell you the best places to see and watch all of them. Readers will be able to see their most coveted species but also enjoy rewarding watching experiences that will enhance their understanding of the species, of bird behaviour and of key fieldcraft techniques.
- How to find including the best time of day, how to search the habitat and behavioural signs
- Watching tips including ways to get close to the bird without disturbing it and how to attract it to your garden.
- Super sites includes a short list of some of the best places to see the species.
RECOMMENDATION: Best for casual or beginning birders.
Friday, September 7, 2012
1) Attenborough, David and Errol Fuller. Drawn From Paradise: The Discovery, Art & Natural History of the Birds of Paradise. 2012. Collins. Hardbound: 256 pages. Price: GBP 30/ $45.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Drawn from Paradise is David Attenborough’s journey through the cultural history of the birds of paradise, one of the most exquisite and extravagant, colourful and intriguing families of birds.
From the moment they were introduced to the European mind in the early sixteenth century, their unique beauty was recognised and commemorated in the first name that they were given – birds so beautiful must be birds from paradise.
In this unique exploration of a truly awe-inspiring family of birds which to this day is still shrouded in mystery, David Attenborough and Errol Fuller trace the natural history of these enigmatic birds through their depiction in western works of art throughout the centuries, featuring beautiful illustrations by such luminary artists as Jacques Barraband, William Hart, John Gould, Rubens and Breughel, to name but a few. Experienced ornithologists and general nature and art enthusiasts alike will delight in this journey of discovery of the world’s most beautiful and mysterious birds.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the Birds of Paradise and/or ornithological history.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
1) Burton, Robert & John Croxall. A Field Guide to the Wildlife of South Georgia. 2012. Princeton University Press/WILDGuides. Paperback: 200 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: South Georgia is rich in wildlife and spectacular scenery, and it is a prime destination spot on most Antarctic tours. This beautifully illustrated field guide depicts the birds, mammals, insects, flowering plants, and other vegetation found in this unique part of the world. It features 368 full-color photographs of more than 180 species, including 65 species of birds, 20 species of sea mammals, nearly 60 species of insects, and more than 40 species of flowering and nonflowering plants. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, with information on status, behavior, threats, and distribution. This one-of-a-kind photographic guide also includes introductory chapters on South Georgia's geography, climate, ecology, and conservation.
This book includes:
*Features 368 photos of more than 180 species
*Covers birds, sea mammals, insects, and plants
*Provides detailed species accounts
*Includes chapters on geography, climate, ecology, and conservation
*The only photographic field guide to focus specifically on South Georgia
RECOMMENDATION: Visitors to the region will find this guide very useful!
2) Gehrman, Elizabeth. Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction. 2012. Beacon Press. Hardbound: 256 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The inspiring story of David Wingate, a living legend among birders, who brought the Bermuda petrel back from presumed extinction
David Wingate is known in Bermuda as the birdman and in the international conservation community as a living legend for single-handedly bringing back the cahow, or Bermuda Petrel-a seabird that flies up to 82,000 miles a year, drinking seawater and sleeping on the wing. For millennia, the birds came ashore every November to breed on this tiny North Atlantic island. But less than a decade after Bermuda's 1612 settlement, the cahows had vanished. Or so it was thought until the early 1900s, when tantalizing hints of their continued existence began to emerge. In 1951, two scientists invited fifteen-year-old Wingate along on a bare-bones expedition to find the bird. The team stunned the world by locating seven nesting pairs, and Wingate knew his life had changed forever. He would spend the next fifty years battling natural and man-made disasters, bureaucracy, and personal tragedy with single-minded devotion and antiestablishment outspokenness. In April 2009, Wingate saw his dream fulfilled, as the birds returned to Nonsuch, an island habitat that he had hand-restored, plant-by-plant, giving the Bermuda petrels the chance they needed in their centuries-long fight for survival.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in endangered species.
1) Black, Jeremy. London: A History. 2009. Carnegie. Hardbound: 440 pages. Price: GBP 25.00/ $31.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Everyone thinks they know London. Its landmarks have been used in a hundred films, its skyline and riverscape instantly recognizable. For London has been at the centre of the nation’s and even the world’s attention, on and off, for two thousand years.
Yet familiarity does not necessarily bring enlightenment. The very size and bedeviling complexity of the city have the power to obscure and to mesmerize; the unparalleled tangle of experience over such a long period of time can seem impossible to unravel.
What, then, was London? It was a capital city, a major port, an economic powerhouse, a magnet for talent and ambition. It was wealthy, populous, central to the nation, cosmopolitan yet self-absorbed and inward-looking. People have always migrated to London, from elsewhere in Britain as well as overseas, either to work or to seek a better life. London was the first modern city, with the world’s highest wages and the best standard of living for those in work. Yet London could just as easily be portrayed as a sink of depravity, a seething snakepit of avarice, prostitution and vice, with high death rates and pockets of great poverty and despair. In fact, of course, we cannot really talk of one London at all. Properly speaking, the City - the ancient walled city rather than the financiers’ Square Mile of today - is the true London, with its City wards, aldermen, sheriffs and lord mayor, city walls and Tower. But when we think of London now, we casually and understandably include much else besides, including the separate City of Westminster and the no less ancient Borough of Southwark.
This new narrative history of London pulls together all of these varied themes - and many others - with great skill, perspective and clarity. Fully illustrated, it gives the most complete and accessible insight into London’s 2,000 years of history currently available.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in British history.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
SUMMARY: This book will tell you how to get good, then better, then even better at identifying birds in the field-and have fun doing it . It's a straightforward approach from Pete Dunne, one of the country's top birders and birding instructors, written in his distinctive style. This book includes descriptive information for 75 bird groups to help get the ID process off on the right foot. It contains practical, expert advice and entertaining in-the-field examples of birding successes and common mistakes.
RECOMMENDATION: Beginning birders should find this book useful!
2) Latta, Steven C. and Kate J. Wallace. Ruta Barrancoli: A Bird-finding Guide to the Dominican Republic. 2012. National Aviary. Paperback: 241 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S. SUMMARY: In this book the two authors combine their expertise to present a guide to 44 premier birdwatching sites in the Dominican Republic. Grouped in five regional "birding trails," each site account includes descriptions of habitat, directions for reaching the site and navigating within the site, lists of special target species, and nearby food, accommodations and cultural attractions.This book includes 33 maps, 8 check-lists, and original plates of all 32 endemic species. RECOMMENDATION: This book is a must have for those birding the Dominican Republic. Contact Steven Latta to order this title: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
SUMMARY: California and the Western States are rich in abundant and diverse species of mushrooms. Amateur mushroom collectors and mycologists alike will find over 300 species of the region’s most common, distinctive, and ecologically important mushrooms profiled in this comprehensive field guide. It provides the most up-to-date science on the role of fungi in the natural world, methods to identify species, and locations of mushroom habitats. With excellent color illustrations showing top and side views of mushrooms of the Western States and a user-friendly text, it is informative but still light enough to be carried into the woods. When used to identify mushrooms, keys bring the reader to individual species, with a descriptive text providing cues for identifying additional species. Mushrooms common in urban landscapes are included, which is especially useful for the casual encounter with backyard fungi. The guide also provides a table of both old and new species names, and information on edibility and look-alikes, both dangerous and benign.
A section on mushroom arts and crafts features mushroom photography, painting, philately, spore prints, dyes, and cultivation. The guide also offers a comprehensive list of resources including national field guides, general mushroom books and periodicals, club and society contact information, and web sites.
This book includes:
· Primary descriptions and illustrations of 300 species of mushrooms plus text descriptions of many more.
· Latest word in mushroom taxonomy and nomenclature. Clear discussion of DNA sequencing and new classifications.
· Especially good coverage of southern California and Southwestern mushrooms often neglected in other field guides.
RECOMMENDATION: Mushroomers should find this book useful.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Saturday, September 1, 2012
1) Bart, Jonathan and Victoria Johnston (editors). Arctic Shorebirds in North America: A Decade of Monitoring (Studies in Avian Biology monograph # 44). 2012. University of California Press. Hardbound: 302 pages. Price: $80.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Each year shorebirds from North and South America migrate thousands of miles to spend the summer in the Arctic. There they feed in shoreline marshes and estuaries along some of the most productive and pristine coasts anywhere. With so much available food they are able to reproduce almost explosively; and as winter approaches, they retreat south along with their offspring, to return to the Arctic the following spring. This remarkable pattern of movement and activity has been the object of intensive study by an international team of ornithologists who have spent a decade counting, surveying, and observing these shorebirds. In this important synthetic work, they address multiple questions about these migratory bird populations. How many birds occupy Arctic ecosystems each summer? How long do visiting shorebirds linger before heading south? How fecund are these birds? Where exactly do they migrate and where exactly do they return? Are their populations growing or shrinking? The results of this study are crucial for better understanding how environmental policies will influence Arctic habitats as well as the far-ranging winter habitats used by migratory shorebirds.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in shorebird surveys.