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Best bird guides by region...Australasia? (1 Viewer)

michalb

Well-known member
Poland
Fantastic news! I can't wait to know a bit more about the Indonesian guide and surely hope it's going to be top quality. But even if not exactly top, it will still be indispensable on any trip to the archipelago :)
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
Fantastic news! I can't wait to know a bit more about the Indonesian guide and surely hope it's going to be top quality. But even if not exactly top, it will still be indispensable on any trip to the archipelago :)

They have a pre-publication offer that ends tomorrow! So anybody who wants to get it anyway, should hurry up!
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I'm curious about the price, a fair bit more expensive from my usual supplier who is usually very competitive?


Hardback £69.95 offered post free at £62.95


Andy
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
I'm curious about the price, a fair bit more expensive from my usual supplier who is usually very competitive?


Hardback £69.95 offered post free at £62.95


Andy

You would probably have to order directly from Lynx at this point. They list the special price as £49.79. And that includes free shipping as well.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
A first FG covering all of Indonesia (with the exception of New Guinea) is about to be published:
http://www.lynxeds.com/product/birds-indonesian-archipelago

And for New Guinea, there will be a second FG later on in 2017:
http://www.lynxeds.com/product/birds-new-guinea-2

Thus, while the latter book is not going to break new ground, the first one certainly will. Looking forward to read first reviews soon.

Whilst clearly not so groundbreaking as the Indonesian guide, the PNG guide includes the Bougainville & the Bismark archipelago (which aren't covered in Pratt & Beehler). Having had the privilege of reading and commenting on early drafts of the text and the final manuscript, I can say with some confidence that the author's done a great job in compressing a lot of useful information into a reasonably sized package. Hopefully, you shouldn't have to wait too long into 2017 to see if I'm right!
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I wonder if the price of 'Coates and Bishop' will drop drastically after the publication of this? It's been hugely overpriced for years, there are two crappy ones on ebay right now at £80 and £100 respectively.

I'm quite pleased with myself having just picked up 'Birds of New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago' for £20 incl postage, a third of the usual, cheapest asking price.



A
 

RobHynson

Well-known member
Latest release date for the CSIRO guide is early May 2017.

I've spoke with one of the authors last year and have seen several plates and its looking very good. There will even be illustrations and text concerning a soon to be described species.

Will post more once I get my copy.

Cheers.

Rob
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
Fantastic news! I can't wait to know a bit more about the Indonesian guide and surely hope it's going to be top quality. But even if not exactly top, it will still be indispensable on any trip to the archipelago :)

The only major shortcoming is the book's index. It is far from user-friendly. See discussion here: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=342509

And one can find a Quick-find Index there that helps to alleviate some of the problems.

Another review is found here: http://www.10000birds.com/birds-of-...ing_wp_cron=1491778184.1855149269104003906250

With similar complaints about the lousy index in an otherwise great book.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
I've reviewed the new Australian Bird Guide, including an interview with one of the authors, Rohan Clarke.

https://www.chriswatson.com.au/blog/the-australian-bird-guide

Cheers,

Chris Watson

A nice review with some interesting background information. It's certainly a terrific book. However, I must cavil at your description of it as a 'field guide'. Any book weighing in at 1448g and measuring 17.5cm X 25cm X 3.3cm and (so not pocketable even in the most generous cargo pocket) is no field guide! The Collins Bird Guide may not cover every single vagrant (and thus I'd agree that the ABG has the edge here) but, vitally, it's still small enough to be classed as a field guide (the text & illustrations have the edge too ;) ).
 

Murray Lord

Well-known member
A fair point about the size - but with so many field guides available as phone apps now, one could argue that where saving weight is a priority that's the solution, and therefore the issue is less important than it was a decade ago.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
A fair point about the size - but with so many field guides available as phone apps now, one could argue that where saving weight is a priority that's the solution, and therefore the issue is less important than it was a decade ago.

Agreed. A phone app would be very helpful but then again given it's for Oz I'd rather have a handy book than squint at a screen in the bright sunshine.
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
Finally a sensible species sequence for a FG

Got my copy of this long-awaited book (The Australian Bird Guide, by Peter Menkhorst et al.) and I'm elated to see a species sequence that works for field guides worldwide! Now, if only the rest of the publishing world would adopt what seems like an intuitive way to handle the problem that allows instant insight even for new users. Sure, there have been many earlier attempts worldwide, but as far as I know, none of the modern all-encompassing FGs have the species arranged like this book does.

It's a great book in many other respects as well. But, as others have said before, it is not without its own flaws. For a FG it is definitely larger than desirable. I think it could easily be reduced in size to about the size of a Pizzey/Knight 7th /8th edition. Illustrations are sufficiently large that they could be reduced a bit. And texts are often a bit "wordy", thus a slight reduction should be easy enough to accomplish.

Illustrations are generally of top quality, though one can tell that they come from several illustrators. But they are sufficiently similar in style that one does not stumble over great inconsistencies. My copy suffers from some printing inconsistencies, however! Some pages did not get enough yellow, and thus the respective range maps or bird illustrations definitely suffer from comparability. This is not the same error as reported by Chris Watson (https://www.chriswatson.com.au/blog/the-australian-bird-guide). The pages he found erroneous are fine in my copy. In my copy, pages 188 and 189 are typical examples for lacking sufficient yellow. But there are quite a few more, at least in the first half of the book.

It has already been mentioned elsewhere that the index is of the mostly useless kind for common names. As with recent volumes issued by Lynx, the publishers took the easy route and list the species strictly by their first names. That's fine for having all the Christmas Island species together, but simply useless for sandpipers or honeyeaters, to name just two. Fortunately, there is a partial remedy that can be found up front on page vi: The rather elaborate "Alphabetical quick-reference to bird groups". Its only problem is that it is not placed conveniently. Thus, copying it and gluing it opposite of the title page would be what I recommend. In fact, I copied the list with higher contrast in order to allow for better readability of the small font with my old eyes.

One final minor "gripe": The species names on the plates are placed on the left side, and the more I get to the back of the book in my copy, they get closer and closer to the crease. Thus, even for a quick look, one really has to open the book fully in order to quickly scan through the names. It should be easy enough to move these names to the right by at least about 2 or 3 centimeters. Usually, there is more than ample space to do that.

Going by all the points mentioned, I still think the Svensson/Collins FG is the one all others need to strive for. But in most respects the new Australian book has reached the same level.

And to end with an unrestricted positive note; I very much love the comprehensive approach and the inclusion of the birds of the outlying Australian islands that one can commonly visit. Great job, indeed!

Edit: I just noticed that my copy is a Princeton UP version. But as it also says "Printed in China", I presume the problems listed above are not unique to the Princeton edition.
 
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