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I thought this would be an excellent present for my son as he is having trouble with the ladies of Glasgow, he's not quite figured out how to interact with the local talent. Wanting my bloodline to continue, I thought this guide to Scottish "birds" would help him get his beak wet. Unfortunately turned out to be a book on the wrong type of wildlife.
This is a new edition of the previous one and is almost, page by page, identical.owners of the previous edition will find very little informative advantage in purchasing the new edition as a replacement. In this case a second, practically identical book, was bought so that one would be readily available both upstairs and downstairs for immediate reference purposes. This rather specific reason is the result of living directly opposite a loch with views equally accessible from both upstairs and downstairs windows. The forest joins the rear of the property with similarly rich variety of different bird life.
Like most bird observers with an interest in identification, an accurate reference is essential. This book uses illustrations instead of photographs. As a photographer I would have expected this to be a disadvantage but in practice it has been an advantage. This is because of the high quality and revealing detailed imagery provided for each bird covering stages in development as well as male and female variations.
The text is equally informative giving plenty of information. Typically this has the following headings: Identification, Voice; Habitat; Food; Breeding; Movements and Migration; Population; Conservation. There is also a distribution map for each bird.
Such has been the dominance of this book over other much-thumbed books, that it is very likely to result in the others being removed especially as the photographic examples are fading in a way that does not apply to the illustrations in this book.
If the need if for just one comprehensive, easy and well-bound (also semi-glossy pages for hard wear) book then there is reason to suggest this.
This book provides a comprehensive survey of 252 most common birds with each given a full page description.
Each description includes several good quality illustrations, not photographs, and separate paragraphs covering identification, habits, voice, habitat, food, breeding movements & migrations, population and conservation. There is also a distribution map.
The illustrations, over 1000, generally show adult and juvenile plumage and where appropriate, male and female plumage in different seasons. There are also illustrations showing stationary and flight shapes. Not all of these are supplied for all birds.
There is a detailed and informative introductory section which explains how to use the book. It also includes a very useful illustrated bird topography section which will be invaluable to beginner bird watchers. In addition this first section gives an outline to Birds in Scotland and the RSPB in Scotland. The glossary and index at the back are comprehensive.
The soft back cover is protected against light rain damage having a plastic feel to it. The pages inside are of good paper quality to be reasonably robust as well as providing good quality printing with very clear print, sharp images and good colour. Although there are smaller dimension books available specifically designed for field work, the size of this book is still small enough to fit in a farly roomy pocket or rucksack while being big enough to be easy to access. It would also be suitable for more detailed reference at home. The price is very reasonable.
All in all a very good buy indeed and, in my opinion, well worth 5 stars.
This is not ideal for identifying tricky birds, but would do for any casual birdwatcher who lives in or visits Scotland. The maps and text are particularly useful, and geared specifically for this part of the world. The range of species is surprisingly large, with an appendix of really quite surprising birds (the sort that turns up maybe once or twice a year). Not a substitute for a serious field guide, but a good book all the same.
This guide has everything you need to know in a convenient size to carry on a walk. For use I would have preferred split into different habitats or geographical locations but as this is not a hard and fast rule for most species maybe not practical. The pictures and text are of super high quality and should last for years.
Got the book the week it came out and coincidentally at the start of 2 weeks of hiking. It was the perfect companion on our trip. The seasonal range information was a great help when trying to identify birds that were new to us.