Birds of Bhutan & Eastern Himalayas (cover)

Birds of Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayas

Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp & Sherub
Helm, London 2019 (2019)
ISBN: 9781472941886

The original Birds of Bhutan published by Helm in 1999 was the first field guide to the avifauna of this Himalayan nation; the new work however, is not simply just a second edition but has been extended to include the neighbouring Indian states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, and also adds the renowned Bhutanese bird expert Sherub as a fourth author.

Britain's Day Flying Moths (cover)

Britain's Day-Flying Moths: a Field Guide to the Day-flying Moths of Great Britain and Ireland

David Newland, Robert Still & Andy Swash
Princeton University Press, Princeton (NJ) & Oxford 2019 (2019)
ISBN: 9780691197289

Mention of a day-flying moth to many people will receive a reaction akin to ‘Don’t you mean a butterfly?’ However, as mentioned in WildGuide’s Britain’s Day-flying Moths the number of moth species which are most active in the day (158 covered in the book) comfortably doubles the number of our butterflies (71 species including migrants). The differences between moths and butterflies are included here, along with the book’s definition of day-flying which encompasses those species which are easily disturbed in the day and are likely to be encountered in flight.  

The Consequences of Finding Daniel Morgan (cover)

The Consequences of Finding Daniel Morgan

Peter J Robinson
Matador, Kibworth Beauchamp 2019
ISBN: 9781838590536

A thriller surrounding illegal wildlife trade, focusing on tropical birds and remote locations, is certainly a new find in the ornithological section of the library. Robinson’s crime novel is a welcome new genre, and I was excited to get tucked into what was bound to be an exciting read.

Eagle Owl (cover)

The Eagle Owl

Vincenzo Penteriani & María del Mar Delgado
T & AD Poyser, London 2019
ISBN: 9781472900661

For clarity, the subject here is the Eurasian Eagle-Owl Bubo bubo. The authors have studied this bird for more than 30 years in Finland, France, Spain and Italy and are exceptionally qualified to give it the Poyser-style treatment.

Finding Birds in Eastern Bulgaria (cover)

Finding Birds in Eastern Bulgaria

Dave Gosney
Easybirder, Sheffield 2019
ISBN: 9781907316593

If you’ve used a ‘Gosney guide’ in the past, then you will be familiar with the format. There is a general introduction to the area but the book is a site guide. The site is described on the left page, and there is a beautifully hand-drawn map on the right. At first glance, you think the maps make no sense at all, but when you are at the site, and read in conjunction with the text, it all makes sense! This guide was published in August, just before I went on a family holiday to Eastern Bulgaria in late August, staying near Cape Kaliakra.

Madeira (cover)

Madeira, Portugal

Dirk Hilbers & Kees Woutersen
Crossbill Guides Foundation, Arnhem 2019
ISBN: 9789491648175

To those familiar with Crossbill Guides, the appealing and accessible layout of the Madeira edition will come as no surprise. It is packed with information that is clearly presented, and complimented with well-chosen and often eye-catching images of the island’s scenery and wildlife. Although it is nearly 20 years since my wife and I visited Madeira on our honeymoon, this guide instantly transported me back to vertiginous levada walks, lush valleys, a seabird-filled ferry crossing to Porto Santo and some memorable observations of the endemic birds.

Wintering: A Season with Geese (cover)

Wintering: a Season with Geese

Stephen Rutt
Elliott and Thompson, London 2019
ISBN: 9781783964543

This is not a long book, but its conciseness is its strength. By the end, you have spent time with each of our native wintering geese species, but a short enough period to be left with the essence of each.

One chapter is dedicated to each of our wintering species (or two, in the case of the most recent taxonomic wrangling of the Bean Geese). Each chapter deftly combines facts with personal anecdote. I learned something new about geese in every one.

Bird Photographer of the Year 4 (cover)

Bird Photographer of the Year: Collection 4

Rob Read & Paul Sterry (editors); Foreword by Chris Packham
William Collins, London 2019
ISBN: 9780008336196

If a picture paints a thousand words, what can a brief review of a book with 248 beautiful and creatively diverse photos hope to achieve? Happily for all concerned, I am under no illusion that I should try accurately describe each one! I simply aim, using only slightly more than one word per photo that, to convince you that if you like to look at photographs of birds, this book will bring you huge enjoyment.

Birds of Thailand (cover)

Birds of Thailand

Uthai Treesucon & Wich'yanan Limparungpattanakij
Lynx Edicions, Barcelona 2018
ISBN: 9788416728091

I visited Thailand in the 90s and the guide I took with me was the newly published Lekagul and Round, at the time the best available. Nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see, new families and new species were a daily challenge and although Lekagul and Round provided me with an aid to identification for most, for some it was rather lacking.

Ospreys (cover)

Ospreys (RSPB Spotlight)

Tim Mackrill
Bloomsbury, London 2019
ISBN: 9781472956033

RSPB’s new addition to their Spotlight series, this time on Ospreys, written by Tim Mackrill of Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, provides a science-driven, yet enjoyably written read on this stunning species of bird of prey.

Wildlife and Wind Farms: Conflicts and solutions, Volume 3 (cover)

Wildlife and Wind Farms: Conflicts and solutions, Volume 3 - Offshore: Potential Effects

Martin R. Perrow
Pelagic Publishing, Exeter 2019
ISBN: 9781784271275

As a relative newcomer to the offshore wind industry, I found this book incredibly useful for explaining the underlying principles of the major elements of the industry, and for getting a good overview of how the sector works. Excellent diagrams, tables, figures and case studies are used throughout to support the clear explanations of, sometimes complicated, processes. The chapter layout flows well, so that each new chapter builds on knowledge from previous ones, such that there is an accumulation of understanding as you move through the book, with little room left for confusion.

Europe's Sea Mammals (cover)

Europe's Sea Mammals: A Field Guide to the Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises and Seals (WildGuides)

Robert Still, Hugh Harrop, Tim Stenton & Luis Dias
Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 2019
ISBN: 9780691182162

This is a detailed identification guide to Europe’s sea mammals, covering 41 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises and nine species of seals. This comprehensive field guide covers the eastern Atlantic from Iceland to Macaronesia, the Mediterranean, Caspian and Baltic Seas, south to Cape Verde and north to Svalbard.

A Sparrow's Life's As Sweet As Ours (cover)

A Sparrow's Life's as Sweet as Ours: in Praise of Birds and Seasons

Carry Akroyd & John McEwen
Bloomsbury, London 2019
ISBN: 9781472967145

This book is a pleasure to read and to look at. The beautiful screenprint illustrations by Carry Akroyd match perfectly John McEwen’s informative and entertaining one-page accounts. A collection of the authors’ pieces for the Bird of the Month column in The Oldie, this book covers 66 species, from passerines to seabirds, from common to rarer ones, divided between the four seasons.

Birds of the West Indies (cover)

Birds of the West Indies

Guy M. Kirwan, Anthony Levesque, Mark W. Oberle & Christopher J. Sharpe
Lynx Edicions, Barcelona 2019
ISBN: 9788416728183

Having recently been to the West Indies bird watching and bird ringing, I was disappointed at the selection of bird guides available for the region with them all appearing to be reprints of older books, which while serviceable, are definitely in need of updating. Therefore, it’s good to see a new, modern guide for the region come out, even if it’s a few weeks too late for me to make use of personally, at least for now!

British Birds: A Pocket Guide (cover)

British Birds: A Pocket Guide (WILDGuides)

Rob Hume, Robert Still, Andy Swash, Hugh Harrop & David Tipling
Princeton University Press, Princeton (NJ) & Oxford 2019
ISBN: 9780691181677

Throughout my birding life I have never been a fan of photographic guides. The images in most of these early guides were of poor quality and often only featured one or two plumages per species. Back in 2016 that changed after seeing a copy of the WILDGuides' Britain's Birds: An Identification Guide to the Birds of Britain and Ireland in the accommodation I was renting on Shetland. This book was packed with high-quality photos by various photographers, including Hugh Harrop and David Tipling, and each species had a whole suite of photos showing the various ages and plumages.