Book re­views

A se­lec­tion of this month’s lat­est re­leases

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Lat­est bird­ing books

THE BIRD­WATCHER’S YEAR­BOOK CALLUNA BOOKS £20

This is a dif­fi­cult book to re­view. Not be­cause there’s any­thing wrong with it – there re­ally is very lit­tle to quib­ble with – but be­cause each suc­ces­sive edi­tion ba­si­cally re­pro­duces the win­ning for­mula from the year be­fore. But, as­sum­ing you’ve not come across it be­fore, it con­tains full check­lists for Bri­tish birds, drag­on­flies and but­ter­flies, a bird­ing diary with monthly bird note sec­tions, a quick ref­er­ence sec­tion, an up­dated guide to 370 Bri­tish na­ture re­serves, a bird­ing events

diary for 2019, tide ta­ble in­for­ma­tion, and di­rec­to­ries of county and na­tional bird­ing groups, pho­tog­ra­phers, lec­tur­ers, artists and more. That makes it a hugely use­ful book on a prac­ti­cal level, well worth keep­ing in your bird­ing ruck­sack or your car’s glove-box at all times. But there’s also much to en­joy in

the spe­cial fea­tures. There’s a good news round-up, and as al­ways Bird Watch­ing’s own Gor­don Ham­lett pro­vides his se­lec­tion of the best bird books of the year. In ad­di­tion, the ar­ti­cles on the Rut­land Os­prey Project, Watchtree Na­ture Re­serve, and the use of Hookpods to re­duce seabird deaths are informative and in­ter­est­ing read­ing dur­ing quiet mo­ments in the hide. So, as es­sen­tial as ever. And maybe it wasn’t so hard to re­view af­ter all.

Matt Mer­ritt

FIELD GUIDE TO THE LA­DY­BIRDS OF GREAT BRI­TAIN HE­LEN ROY & PETER BROWN BLOOMS­BURY £25

If you’re only just get­ting into bug-watch­ing, then this book is a must, be­cause like me you’ll prob­a­bly im­me­di­ately start mar­vel­ling at just how many la­dy­bird

species there are out there – 47, to be ex­act. If you al­ready have fa­mil­iar­ity with the sub­ject, it’s still a must, be­cause the ex­cel­lence of Richard Lew­ing­ton’s art­work and the pho­to­graphs matches the au­thor­i­ta­tive text, mak­ing it a near-per­fect field guide. Buy it, and you’ll have no ex­cuse for not iden­ti­fy­ing ev­ery la­dy­bird you see.

Matt Mer­ritt

A TABLOID HISTORY OF BIRD­WATCH­ING PAUL THOMAS PAULTHOMASCARTOONS.CO.UK £12.99 PLUS P&P

The text is a lit­tle bit hit or miss at times, but that re­ally doesn’t mat­ter too much as the car­toons are what matters, and they take an ir­rev­er­ent look at bird­ing through the ages. One to re­mind you that bird­watch­ing is al­ways there to be en­joyed, along­side all the good that it can do.

Matt Mer­ritt

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