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Where to Watch Birds in France (cover)

Publisher: Pelagic Publishing, Exeter

Publication Year: 2019

Binding: Softback

Page Count: 336

ISBN Number: 9781784271541

Price: £ 25.00

Where to Watch Birds in France

Having been birding in France a number of times I was intrigued to read this new guide to see how well it stands up to the sort of planning I like to make. As with many guides, this book divides up the country with clear recommendations for each region and lists which species to look out for. Following a detailed guide to the book itself, the descriptions are well set out with nice suggestions for hot spots to visit wherever in the country you might be, how long you might want to spend there and the best time of day for specific species.

Each of the fourteen regions is prefaced by highlights and useful websites before delving into specific areas with numerous locations to visit within them. The maps are clear and though not down to the footpath level this didn’t prove much of a problem as driving directions are the main bits of information I need. Simple highlighting through bold and blue text helps pick out potential sites and species quickly and calendars (both in the site text and the end of the book) show when it’s the best time of year to visit. A neat feature I haven’t made use of before is the downloadable GPS file that makes it simple to look up and get directions to all the sites in the book. I’ve tested the Google maps version which works well but the .gpx format for other devices was missing from the download (though I imagine most people will have a smart phone handy).

The only small thing I found a little tricky was the density of the text. It’s understandable that this was necessary to fit all the fantastic information they have gathered into such a portable format but it was a little off-putting upon first opening the guide! However, once you have read a little into the book and understand its benefits this can be excused.

I would highly recommend Where to Watch Birds in France as a well thought out book that collates and easily directs you to interesting bird spots that you might not have found outside of local guides or websites. The authors and contributors have definitely written something that they would want to use themselves and this certainly feels like a guide designed by bird watchers for bird watchers!

Book reviewed by Katharine Bowgen

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