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Old Wednesday 5th January 2011, 19:25   #28
Right way up again
colonelboris's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Back in the UK for the duration
Posts: 4,235
Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
I found grappling with an entirely new avifaua extremely difficult on my visit to Oz. I'd managed fine when I first visited America (and subsequently), but then many groups there are fairly familiar to we Europeans. In Australia was extremely lucky to have the very best field guide of all, my old school friend and birding companion, Phil Gregory, at hand. Instant real time ID of all those puzzling squawks, squeeks and whistles (many of which weren't even avian in origin). Prompts given when needed and instant IDs when time was of the essence. A reference point for what should be where in yet another new habitat. All of which made a paper fieldguide (rather than an animated human one) a bit supurflous at times.

Once 'grounded' by a basic understanding gleaned from Phil using the guides and to sort out the birds became a lot easier. I also found it infinitely easier to learn the birds from real field experience than any amount of time staring at illustrations (however good). The point I'm struggling towards is that whilst not everyone might relish going on an organised trip, even experienced birds (unless they're preternaturally talented) will find a few days on arrival with a good local birder will help enormously
I managed to pick up a copy of the UK edition of P&K a few months before moving out, which helped no end when I got to Australia. I must have read it cover to cover three times before I got out here.
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