1) Gustafson, Mark. A Naturalist's Guide to the Texas Hill Country. 2015. Texas A&M University Press. Flexibound: 350 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In this guide, biologist Mark Gustafson introduces residents and visitors to the history, geology, water resources, plants, and animals found in the nineteen counties occupying the eastern part of the Edwards Plateau, the heart of the Hill Country.
He profiles three hundred of the most common and unique species from all of the major groups of plants and animals: trees, shrubs, wildflowers, cacti, vines, grasses, ferns, fungi, lichens, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates. Color photographs are included for each species along with a brief description.
He closes with a chapter on significant state parks and natural areas in the region as an invitation to visit and explore the Texas Hill Country.
As large metropolitan areas continue to encroach on the Hill Country, newcomers are moving in and more people are flocking to its many attractions. This guidebook will enrich the appreciation of the region’s rich and unique biodiversity and encourage conservation of the natural world encountered.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In their second guide to birding in New Mexico, Judy Liddell and Barbara Hussey share their experiences and intimate knowledge of the best places to find birds in and around Santa Fe and other areas in northern New Mexico.
Following the same format as their book on the Albuquerque area, the authors describe 32 sites organized by geographic regions. Along with a general description of each area, the authors list target birds; explain where and when to look for them; give driving directions; provide information about public transportation, parking, fees, restrooms, food, and lodging; and give tips on availability of water and picnic facilities and on the presence of hazards such as poison ivy, rattlesnakes, and bears. Maps and photographs provide trail diagrams and images of some of the target birds and their environments.
A “helpful information” section covering weather, altitude, safety, transportation, and other local birding resources is included along with an annotated checklist of 276 bird species seen with some regularity in and around Santa Fe.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for birders with an interest in the region.
Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 352 pages. Price: $ 85.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A common sight around the more northerly shores of the British Isles, the Common Eider is the largest duck in the northern hemisphere. The eider is particularly well adapted to cold-water environments; the insulating properties of eider down are iconic. The species is taxonomically interesting, with a range of well-marked subspecies reflecting the patterns of ice coverage during ancient glaciations, and these ducks have also provided the focus for a number of important behavioural studies, especially on feeding ecology and energy budgets.
Eiders have a long association with humans, and have deep cultural significance in many societies. However, modern lifestyles are exposing these ducks to a wide range of new pressures.
This monograph provides a comprehensive portrait of the Common Eider; authors Chris Waltho and John Coulson bring together an extensive and diverse international literature, with sections on taxonomy, habitats, breeding biology, population dynamics, diet and foraging, dispersal and migration, and conservation.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with a serious interest in this species.