I had a brilliant day's birding today along the coast at Musselburgh. I saw loads of birds including four lifers: snow buntings, velvet scoters, a purple sandpiper and a gadwall.
I write about birds a lot on this blog and I write about books a lot, but so far I've never written about bird identification guides! So here are my favourites:
1) Collins Wild Guide Birds - this is a basic, pocket sized guide to British birds. Each species has a page to itself with a photo and a couple of drawings, a brief description and some important facts, such as size and flight pattern. There is a little grid showing which months the bird is in the UK and a distribution map. This is the book I carry with me when I'm out birding or leading a birdwatching class.
2) Birds of Europe by Lars Jonsson, published by Helm. This is a big thick book that covers the birds of Europe. It's beautifully illustrated and contains a good amount of information on each species. There's a good introduction about topics such as feathers, behaviour and migration. It's a great reference book but can be quite confusing (or envy inspiring) as there are many birds here that never (or only very rarely) come to the UK.
3) Identifying Birds by Behaviour by Dominic Couzens published by Collins. This is a fascinating book covering interesting behaviour in British and European birds, giving detailed comparisons between similar species. It is beautifully illustrated and very interesting. Some of the descriptions are delightful, such as the common gull walking with 'dainty, free moving footsteps'.
4) The MacMillan Field Guide to Bird Identification by Alan Harris, Laurel Tucker and Keith Vinicombe. This is similar to 3 above except there is more text and fewer illustrations. It goes into a lot of detail, which can be overwhelming but is very useful and interesting!
Do you have a favourite bird guide?
This post doesn't really quality as a book review! But you can read my latest review for Brighton Blogger's Reading Challenge 2012 over on Over Forty Shades here.
I'm delighted to have a guest post about Vegetarian Food in Scotland here.
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.