Bird Watching (UK) - - Gear -

Steve Backshall Blooms­bury, SB, £14.99, BW Book­shop £11.99

Even if you don’t know Steve Backshall, your kids will, but in fact this book will ap­peal to adults get­ting started in nat­u­ral his­tory as much as kids - its easy, ac­ces­si­ble style is never pa­tro­n­is­ing, just fo­cused on get­ting you out there and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the joys of the nat­u­ral world. As well as tak­ing you through the ba­sics of wildlife watch­ing and keep­ing records of what you see, it of­fers a habi­tat by habi­tat guide to ex­actly what you might find in Bri­tain. For me, a strength was that it ac­cords just as much im­por­tance to the less spec­tac­u­lar plea­sures – walk­ing in a wild gar­lic patch, for ex­am­ple – as it does to the head­line-grab­bers, such as finding Pere­grines or ea­gles on craggy moun­tains. Young nat­u­ral­ists will find a huge amount to in­spire them here, while even older bird­ers will come away hav­ing learned some­thing new, thanks to Backshall’s close-up in­ter­rac­tions with wildlife. Matt Merritt

This book prom­ises right from the be­gin­ning to make you look at the nat­u­ral world anew, and aimed as it is at young nat­u­ral­ists, or at least the young at heart, it suc­ceeds ad­mirably. There are ac­tiv­i­ties to try on ev­ery page, but it also en­cour­ages you to keep a com­plete record of your ad­ven­tures – take on even half of the chal­lenges and you’ll end up with a pretty packed scrap­book. At times, per­haps, there could be a few more pointers to­wards fur­ther info on some of the top­ics, be­cause the text here is nec­es­sar­ily brief, but this is a great gift for a young­ster look­ing to fill the sum­mer hol­i­days by ex­plor­ing the world around them, dis­cov­er­ing ev­ery­thing from in­sect life to cloud for­ma­tions. Matt Merritt

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