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What's your favourite field guide?

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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 12:52   #1
timtagel
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What's your favourite field guide?

An old chestnut, but what the heck.

I have loads of bird books, but it's not easy finding one small enough and comprehensive enough to use when out in the field - ie one that easily slips in the coat pocket.

Of course, the Collins Bird Guide is arguably the best, but it's too big for my pockets anyway, so I use the Collins Pocket Guide and the diminutive but excellent Kingfisher Birds of Britain (Gooders) - don't laugh it's not a junior edition. I love the clear layout and text. The drawings are ok - not up there with Collins.

Which title is in your pocket when out on a bird watch.

Please, no snobby remarks from birders who are above carrying books with them ;-)
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 13:00   #2
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Kaufman's is the one I use the most. It is convenient in size and although it is not as detailed as Sibley's it seems to point out markings and descriptions that are helpful.I also like the look of the digitally enhanced photos over the washed out water color sketch look. Once I'm done with the kaufman I might later look at SIbley's and Petersons for more info.
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 13:01   #3
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My Collins Guide is always in the car. I carry with me the Birdwatcher's Pocket Guide. Slim and light, easy to carry.

D
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 15:48   #4
Darrell Clegg
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Kightley & Madge,

Birds of North West Europe,

Small - pocket sized, and very, very good.

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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 16:22   #5
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Talking

Collins - just get a field jacket with big pockets
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 16:43   #6
Karl J
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Collins ... i'd really recommend one of those plastic sleeve covers as well ... my copy is looking a bit worse for wear now though as its been rained on & sellotaped up a few times & has loads of odd notes / id stuff from BF / scraps of paper taped into it

but still serves its purpose as well as ever
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 17:27   #7
paulwfromtheden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl J
Collins ... i'd really recommend one of those plastic sleeve covers as well ... my copy is looking a bit worse for wear now though as its been rained on & sellotaped up a few times & has loads of odd notes / id stuff from BF / scraps of paper taped into it

but still serves its purpose as well as ever
I have the bog-standard RSPB pocket book. It is very good BUT it should be exclusively British Birds. Am I likely to attempt to identify an Egyptian Vulture in Croydon? Also it does not have a 'and can be confused with...' box where it shows you similar species and differences, willow warblers and chiff-chaff is an excellent example of it's use. It also lists it's size in feet and inches, what you really want is a comparison against a robin/mallard/swan etc.
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 18:31   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulwfromtheden
I have the bog-standard RSPB pocket book. It is very good BUT it should be exclusively British Birds. Am I likely to attempt to identify an Egyptian Vulture in Croydon? Also it does not have a 'and can be confused with...' box where it shows you similar species and differences, willow warblers and chiff-chaff is an excellent example of it's use. It also lists it's size in feet and inches, what you really want is a comparison against a robin/mallard/swan etc.
Exactly. I'm surprised that Collins haven't done a slimmed down version with just those birds likely to be seen in Britain, they have all the illustrations already just need to include those regularly seen and have the text in larger format I'm sure would be a big seller in a more filed guide friendly format.
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 18:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvn600
Kaufman's is the one I use the most. It is convenient in size and although it is not as detailed as Sibley's it seems to point out markings and descriptions that are helpful.I also like the look of the digitally enhanced photos over the washed out water color sketch look. Once I'm done with the kaufman I might later look at SIbley's and Petersons for more info.
I've got 'em all but carry Kaufman's for the same reason, it fits in almost any back pocket and is a decent field guide. I also use Sibley's but normally not Petersons as I think National Geographic is much better and even sometimes carry National Geographic when on extended, out of state birding trips.

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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 19:22   #10
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The small & large Collins is a shear joy.

One day this book will be bettered...but when and by whom?

John.
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 19:52   #11
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I seem to be using my Beaman and Madge more than ever lately,a great book
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 19:53   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john barclay
The small & large Collins is a shear joy.

One day this book will be bettered...but when and by whom?

John.
Good question John, but first by themselves.

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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 20:18   #13
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The Collins in fantastic. The pictures are incredibly accurate not only in plumage details, but in the stance and structure of the birds- something that a lot of other guides don't seem to quite get right.

I always carry it in a big plastic wallet, so its still in quite good nick.

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Old Saturday 1st April 2006, 01:57   #14
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaeger01
I've got 'em all but carry Kaufman's for the same reason, it fits in almost any back pocket and is a decent field guide. I also use Sibley's but normally not Petersons as I think National Geographic is much better and even sometimes carry National Geographic when on extended, out of state birding trips.
Jaeger near Chicago
I picked up The National audubon Sibley's version but found out later that it was the National Geographic that someone had suggested I get.-Never even looked at National Geographic-I'll have to check it out. Peterson's sometimes points things out that none of the other guides do although I use it the least.
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Old Saturday 1st April 2006, 02:32   #15
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I carry the Nat'l Geographic Field Guide. . . I actually own 3: 1 for my pack, 1 for my car and one to give to the next newbie I meet.

Borders (US bookstore chain) has the hardbacks on clearance/bargain bookshelf for $7.99. The cover price is 3 times that, and in the same store the paperback version sells for $21.99. I even bought one to put in the local library in honor of my mentors.
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Old Tuesday 4th April 2006, 16:44   #16
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Is there a small UK checklist available?
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Old Monday 10th April 2006, 21:32   #17
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I think the collins guide is easy enough to use in the field. OK its not pocket sized but its still small enough to carry.
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Old Monday 10th April 2006, 22:05   #18
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Before Collins I had a little RSPB book and The MacMillan Guide to Bird Identification (Harris, Tucker & Vinnicombe). I only ever saw this book on sale once, when I bought it. It just has confusion species likely to be seen in Britain and has a lot of text on how to distinguish them plus annotated illustrations. I still take it with me, for a second opinion.
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Old Tuesday 11th April 2006, 09:18   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cspratt
Is there a small UK checklist available?
You might find it here, called 'The Britsih List....', not sure if it's on sale anywhere else :

http://www.bou.org.uk/index.htm

On these - regularly updated - pages, you will also find a complete listing of all UK species
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Old Tuesday 11th April 2006, 20:37   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulwfromtheden
I have the bog-standard RSPB pocket book. It is very good BUT it should be exclusively British Birds. Am I likely to attempt to identify an Egyptian Vulture in Croydon? Also it does not have a 'and can be confused with...' box where it shows you similar species and differences, willow warblers and chiff-chaff is an excellent example of it's use. It also lists it's size in feet and inches, what you really want is a comparison against a robin/mallard/swan etc.
The problem is, how does one define a British bird? How many times does it have to have been recorded to count? So any book trying to be exclusively British would have to make a lot of totally arbitrary decisions. Do you let in the Hoopoe? The Nutcracker? Where does one draw the line?
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Old Thursday 20th April 2006, 09:32   #21
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Kingfisher guide for me too. It has one species per page and a brief text with key i.d. points and similar species. Inc line drawings etc. Not exactly pocket-sized but more thumbed than my Collins guides.

Probably better used as it has more relevant i.e. British species in it.
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Old Thursday 20th April 2006, 21:16   #22
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I got a new one, A field guide to the birds of Wallacea.

Yes its out of date, the illustrations could be way better, could illustrate more races than just the nominate (rarely illustrate any other races) and it could have more general info about the region.

But its the species factsheets which have got me stuck in it, so much to read.
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Old Sunday 23rd April 2006, 10:49   #23
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The Collins guide is great, but when you can't be arsed or don't have room to carry it, 'the new birdwatchers pocket guide to Britain & Europe' by Peter Hayman & Rob Hume does it for me - is a great field guide anyway, & just as good as Collins in some respects. Plus my other half can even fit it in her bum bag!
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Old Sunday 23rd April 2006, 12:46   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence H
Before Collins I had a little RSPB book and The MacMillan Guide to Bird Identification (Harris, Tucker & Vinnicombe). I only ever saw this book on sale once, when I bought it. It just has confusion species likely to be seen in Britain and has a lot of text on how to distinguish them plus annotated illustrations. I still take it with me, for a second opinion.
I have this one as well see pic
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Old Sunday 23rd April 2006, 15:48   #25
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i have a copy of a popular handbook of british birds by p.a.d. hallom the first published in 1952. it was giving to me by a good friend in september 1988 he signed by mr ted kerruish .who was a leading animal and bird expert on the isle of man until his death in the early 1990,s.
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