As I sit at home writing this review, the Spurn Migration Festival is in full flow. BTO’s Andy Clements is there and news has just emerged that he has just found a Kentish Plover! This coastal species of continental Europe has ended up at Spurn but was presumably on its way to southern Europe or Africa for the winter. A quick glance in The Birds of Spurn and I am soon able put the species into context: it is the 17th record for Spurn and the 3rd recorded in autumn; this is just one of the 388 bird species covered.
Spurn is a well-known migration hotspot with its peninsula acting as a funnel for birds moving south along the east coast of Britain and often one of the first rest-stops for birds migrating over from the continent.
This book covers everything of an ornithological nature about the Spurn recording area, including Easington: all species recorded up to and including 2014 along with ringing information, a history of the ornithology of Spurn, site introduction with maps and information on the activities of the Observatory – from bird ringing to monitoring migration - a mammoth undertaking by author, Andy Roadhouse, and a fantastic 700 page resource!
Depending on what information is relevant for each species; the species accounts cover details such as Earliest and Latest date ranges, maximum counts, ‘bird-days’ and ringing details. One other really nice touch, and probably a personal favourite of the book, are the rarity finders’ accounts - painting a picture of the moment a rare bird is found and the events that surrounded it – something to inspire any birder!
Chris Gaughans design work has somehow allowed such a large volume of information to be shared and displayed in an easy to read format. The book has a real air of quality about it and the stunning images, artwork and design make for a really beautiful book.
This book is specifically about the Spurn area and no doubt already on the bookshelves of the Spurn regulars, but is a must have for anyone interested in bird migration, Bird Observatories, long-term bird monitoring or simply planning a visit to this very special place.