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  1. John Cantelo

    European Breeding Bird Atlas 2

    My copy of this monumental book (in every sense of the word) arrived this morning the day after publication (unlike 'All the Birds of the World' for which I had to wait for almost two weeks!). It is such an important work that I feel it deserves a thread of its own. My initial impressions are...
  2. John Cantelo

    Two Month Review: Swaro 10x42 NLs

    I've used 8x binoculars for 20+ years for two reasons; reduced ‘hand shake’ and the wider field of view they offer compared to 10x instruments. However, spending more time watching distant birds of prey in Spain made me reconsider my options. Having done so I had more or less decided to buy a...
  3. John Cantelo

    Weirdest binoculars on the market?

    Pentax have produced what must be one of the oddest binocular design ever produced: the Pentax VD 4x20 binoculars with a detachable barrel so that it converts into a 16x20 scope. I'm sure it's technically very clever but I struggle to see what market it's aimed at since 4x magnification is far...
  4. John Cantelo

    Swarovski 10x42 NLs – a day in the field

    A number of people have commented about these bins but nobody (I think) has described what they’re like to use actually birding in the field. As a preamble, I’d say that I’m no optics expert but I’ve been birding (with binoculars!) for 60 odd years. In that period I’ve used both 10x & 8x bins...
  5. John Cantelo

    26 Wild Project - poetry meets conservation.

    For those here who combine a love of poetry and verse with an interest in wildlife (particularly in the UK), I recommend looking at the 26 Wild Project (see https://26project.org.uk/26wild/). This is a collaborative project between the writers' group '26 letters' and the UK's Wildlife Trusts...
  6. John Cantelo

    Courtesy towards Disabled Birders - Oare, Kent

    In general I think birders are a pretty decent bunch but we all have our blind spots. One such, it seems, amongst able-bodied birders is a lack of awareness of the importance of showing consideration to those with limited mobility. I visited Oare, Kent early this morning where there's a...
  7. John Cantelo

    Review: Britain's Birds (2nd Edition)

    As what follows is a review I thought I'd make it a separate post to the one already running about this book. I've also posted a version of this review on my blog with more comparative photos of the new and old editions of the guide . Although the book still has its critics, I remain convinced...
  8. John Cantelo

    BirdLife film: Spring Hunting on Malta 2020

    I know that this sickening footage of hunters on Malta targeting Turtle Dove will come as no surprise to most but I hope that its blatancy will mean that The EU (finally) takes some serious measures against the Maltese government. https://youtu.be/vZAC2WHfn5w
  9. John Cantelo

    Short-toed Larks - Greater vs Lesser (Europe)

    Having previously amused myself with drawing & writing a short guide to Thekla's vs Crested Lark ID I've gone back to drawing board (literally) and had a go at illustrating short-toed larks. Unlike last time I've yet to compose a table to go with it which I hope to do anon ....
  10. John Cantelo

    Lesser vs Greater Short-toed Lark Photos needed

    A few years ago I wrote and illustrated a guide to the identification of Crested vs Lesser Short-toed Lark for an article in the Andalucian Bird Society's magazine & my blog. I also posted it here and people have kindly re-posted (a little to my embarrassment as there are things I'd now...
  11. John Cantelo

    Bird Guides for beginners - comprehensive vs limited coverage

    I've been discussing elsewhere which is an ideal bird guide for novice birders in the UK, a guide showing the core c300 (or more) UK species (in a good variety of plumages & poses) or one that limits itself to 150-200 species with fewer 'less confusing illustrations'. I've never been very...
  12. John Cantelo

    Birds of Paradise & Bowerbirds - an interview with Phil Gregory

    I recommend listening to Phil Gregory talking about Birds of Paradise & Bowerbirds (& his recent book on these birds) on BirdCallsRadio. It displays his deep knowledge of these two groups of birds plus has interesting asides re. conservation, local cultures, etc. It was a real privilege to go...
  13. John Cantelo

    Should professional bird tour guides use long-lens cameras?

    On a recent birding trip, the tour leader firmly expressed the opinion that, as a professional bird tour leader, he never carried a camera. He argued that people had paid him a lot of money to find and show them birds and that faffing around with a camera would only distract him and compromise...
  14. John Cantelo

    Snow's Guillemot

    I've just returned from Hokkaido, Japan, where I managed to obtain several good clear 'scope views of a Snow's Guillemot Cepphus [columba] snowii which, to my surprise, was in summer plumage. Is this somewhat early? I also saw several auks that didn't seem to fit anything in Mark Brazil's...
  15. John Cantelo

    Which sub-Alpha 10x42s?

    After years using x8 binoculars (30/32/42mm) I'm giving serious consideration to getting a pair of 10x42s since, when borrowing a friend's pair, I found them better for sea-watching, raptor & wader watching, etc than my x8s. Finances allowing, I'm looking to spend between £600 - £1000 this...
  16. John Cantelo

    Review - Field Guide to Birds of North Queensland –Phil Gregory & Jun Matsui

    Field Guide to Birds of North Queensland –Phil Gregory & Jun Matsui Pub. New Holland Dec 2019 ISBN –9781925546255 Paperback. 432Pp 150x210cm A$50. I must first make a confession and admission; I’m not a great fan of conventional photo-guides and the author is an old friend (I’m in the...
  17. John Cantelo

    How reliable is E-bird?

    I should say straight away that I’m a great fan of the E-bird concept. I’ve only relatively recently discovered it but have found it so useful (and reliable) in Spain that I’ve added links to the relevant sites to my birding guide to Cadiz province (although, shamefacedly, I have to admit that...
  18. John Cantelo

    Quickest armchair tick?

    I saw my first Cape York race of Graceful Honeyeater this Monday but on Wednesday came the news that the IOC had decided to promote it to full species rank calling it Cryptic Honeyeater. Certainly my fastest "armchair tick" but has anyone done still better?
  19. John Cantelo

    Movement of Red Kites in Sussex May 2017

    Has anyone access to reports of Red Kites from Sussex in late May? Exceptional numbers were reported from Kent on 25th and I assume they came along the chalk ridge into Kent via Sussex but numbers would help!
  20. John Cantelo

    Pallid Harrier breeds in Spain

    After a mixed Montagu'sxPallid pairing some years ago, a pair of Pallid Harriers have bred in northern Span this year. Remarkably one of the birds had rings which identified it as young from the birds that bred in the Netherlands in 2017. It remains to be seen if this is a 'one-off' or whether...