Monday, July 20, 2015

New Titles

1) Couzens, Dominic and David Nurney. Birds: ID Insights: Identifying the More Difficult Birds of Britain. 2014. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 272 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birds: ID Insights is ideal for birders of all levels. Its unique layout, which compares the plumages of similar pairs and groups of species, makes it perfect for identifying the more difficult birds found in Britain and other parts of northwestern Europe. It has more images showing how to age birds than any comparable guide, and its handy compact size makes it practical for taking out into the field.
      The book is based on a long-running series of identification features in BirdWatching magazine. Author Dominic Couzens and artist David Nurney have spent years compiling the field notes and artworks for this series, and here their efforts are drawn together and made complete in a single volume that is easy to carry into the field and practical for birders to use.
      In addition, they have expanded the species list from the magazine series and added many new birds, including the likes of Subalpine Warbler, Short-toed Lark, and Red-rumped Swallow. In total, the book covers more than 230 species, with easy-to-identify species such as Magpie and Kingfisher given minimal coverage so that the more difficult ID issues can be covered as fully as possible. 
RECOMMENDATION: I actually prefer The Helm Guide to Bird Identification, also published by Bloomsbury.
2) Oddie, Bill. Bill Oddie Unplucked: Columns, Blogs and Musings. 2015. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 224 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Bill Oddie has been the voice and face of birding broadcasting for more than three decades. In this new book, Bill has compiled and expanded a collection of his recent published musings about birds and bird-watching. Writing in his witty and inimitable style, Bill is sure to entertain and enthrall his many fans with this new book of thoughts and opinions on the world of natural history in Britain. 
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Bill Oddie's writings might enjoy this book.
3) Woods, Sarah. On a Wing and a Prayer: One Woman's Adventure into the Heart of the Rainforest. 2015. Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 272 pages. Price: $27.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: When writer and intrepid traveler Sarah Woods set about discovering the jungles of Central and South America, her quest took her into some of the most remote tangles of vine-knotted jungles on the planet. In Panama's rain-soaked Chiriquí highlands, she navigated seemingly impassable trails with a machete to reach quetzals with resplendent jewel-tone plumage.
     Sarah sought the native wisdom of the indigenous Embera, deep in the Darien Jungle, in order to encounter the world's largest and most powerful birds of prey--the elusive harpy eagle. Using razor-sharp talons to hunt and kill sloths and monkeys with deadly precision, these mammoth, winged dinosaurs hide a lesser-known, softer side: devoting great care to raising their young for the first two years of their lives. Seldom seen in the wild, Sarah struggled to demystify the fear-riddled legends and superstitions that earned the harpy eagle its name from early explorers.
     Her voyage taught her much about the rich glories and mesmerizing spectacle of the natural world and also its challenges and dangers. She met the albino 'moon children' of Kuna Yala, swam in the Panama Canal, encountered left-wing guerrillas at the heart of Colombia's five-decade conflict, and witnessed Amazonian beliefs and customs surrounding shape-shifting and the jungle afterlife. Sarah survived landslides, crash landings, mammoth floods, and culture clashes in mysterious untrodden lands, learning much about aspects of herself from the incredible wildlife and tribal peoples she encountered--arguably her biggest journey.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoy travel writing you should enjoy this book.

4) Pérez-Lorente, Félix. Dinosaur Footprints and Trackways of La Rioja. 2015. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 363 pages. Price: $85.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: During the Early Cretaceous, lakes, meandering streams, and flood plains covered the region where the current foothills of Rioja now exist. Today the area is known for its wine and for the dozens of sites where footprints and trackways of dinosaurs, amphibians, and even pterosaurs can be seen. The dinosaurs that lived here 120 million years ago left their footsteps imprinted in the mud and moist soil. Now fossilized in rock, they have turned Rioja into one of the most valuable dinosaur footprint sites in all of Europe. Félix Pérez-Lorente and his colleagues have published extensively on the region, mostly in Spanish-language journals. In this volume, Pérez-Lorente provides an up-to-date synthesis of that research in English. He offers detailed descriptions of the sites, footprints, and trackways, and explains what these prints and tracks can tell us about the animals who made them. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in Spanish paleontology.

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