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Crossley ID Guide: Britain & Ireland (1 Viewer)

jedigrant

Well-known member
Thanks Grant! I would be keen to see what you think. You'll probably love it!

Probably :) (although I haven't seen the book yet). But I don't have the experience with the birds like you do (having been to England just once, before I was a birder). It's tough to review field guides to places I've never been. There's still lots that I can comment intelligently on, but I won't be able to catch mistakes or issues (like your comments on some pictures looking incorrect).
 

Chris Sharpe

Well-known member
You obviously need to demand a complimentary air ticket so that you can do the required background research then ;-). UK birds are not my forté, but I do have some experience. Context matters here: if this were a guide to a less well-documented avifauna, or if it had been published in the days when bird photographs had to be purchased from specialised libraries, it would be a 'must-have'.

I just enjoyed your balanced review of The Warbler Guide, by the way. Great website - I realise that I've been unwittingly reading your reviews for several years now and hadn't made the connection.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Given the dominance of the Waterstone's bookshops in the UK, it was disappointing to be told today that the chain isn't stocking the book unless ordered and that they only have 50 copies in the warehouse - apparently because it was published by Princeton which they don't usuallu stock. Fortunately, one of the two branches locally did have a copy - almost certainly because I'd enquired about it a few days ago. If and when Santa brings me a copy I'll do a review.
 

GMS

Well-known member
Much as I have enjoyed Crossley's excellent Eastern North America guide, I find this one a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps Kenn Kaufman, Steve Howell, Stephenson & Whittle (The Warbler Guide), the Princeton WILDGuides series and Crossley himself have already set the bar too high?

My quite contrasting - and evolving - review is here: http://thecuriousnaturalist.blogspot.com/2013/10/book-review-crossley-id-guide-britain.html

Like your review. Bit disappointed with this also. Some photos not good enough and some of the manipulation is really quite lacking. Many birds standing in water just look to have their legs cut off. Not looked at all plates but photo selection could have been better,e.g. photos of firecrest are the dullest I've ever seen. Interesting approach though. Maybe it will grow on me.
 

Chris Sharpe

Well-known member
Like your review. Bit disappointed with this also. Some photos not good enough and some of the manipulation is really quite lacking. Many birds standing in water just look to have their legs cut off. Not looked at all plates but photo selection could have been better,e.g. photos of firecrest are the dullest I've ever seen. Interesting approach though. Maybe it will grow on me.

Thanks GMS. I agree with your comments. I like the approach - in fact I've been using books like this for years, notably the Kaufman and WILDGuides series - and later Crossley's American guides. Although I love good illustrations, I do think that there is a place for really well engineered photographic guides. However, for birds (it's not so critical for, say, plants), this depends upon a) really good images to start with and b) skillful manipulation of these to ensure that they show what they are meant to. I felt that this guide fell critically short on both those counts.

However, from others reviews I can see that I'm in a minority! People are enjoying the book, and find that it works for them, so it has clearly accomplished its goal. At the end of the day, choice of field guide is a personal matter and every book is a contribution to the birder's library.
 

Stephen Dunstan

Registered User
I caught up with this in Manchester Waterstones the other week, and despite the hype generated by the blog tour (or whatever it was called), I thought it was rather disappointing. Still looking forward to the new Macmillan Guide it if appears in March, as I suspect that will address the needs of the target market a lot better.

Stephen
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Had a look inside -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/06911519...ref-refURL=http://www.cornwall-birding.co.uk/

Bit surprised by the opening sentence in the preface to be honest, "I started collecting eggs as a 7 year old in Wykeham Forest, Yorks." Presume any beginner birders will assume this is thus the way to start off birding these days too! No mention that this is now illegal, and generally frowned upon as being 'a bit of a bad thing' to have been doing (albeit in all innocence at the time presumably.)

The 5 letter codes as mentioned pretty offputting too!!

But hey!
 

philip1947

Active member
This five-letter code used in the book is used primarily by the British and Irish ringing scheme, and is well known by all bird ringers and most field workers by providing a code for each species occurring in Britain and Ireland. In general, the code is formed from the first three letters of the first name and first two letters of the second name (e.g. SEDge WArbler, but there are some exceptions. It is easy to use and remember once learnt.

Anyone who doesn’t know that taking birds eggs is illegal must have been marooned on a desert island for many years. Surely Crossley is trying to make the point as to how and when his interest in birds originated many years ago, the same for many of his generation.

Do not miss the point of this book. It is aimed at beginner or inexperienced birders who need to learn and experience common birds before tackling the weird and wonderful.

Several people I know who bought the book have said to me that they like it very much and find it a useful learning tool.

Cheers

Phil
http://anotherbirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
My thinking was that if I find the 5 letter codes offputting in these previews, I'm sure beginner birdwatchers who are still struggling to find the names of birds would find it even more scary/offputting? I can't say that it would have saved space/ink to the degree that it was necessary. Learning the latin binomial would also surely be a good thing. A bit specialist knowledge for this kind of publication, or is the idea to make it more generally widespread?

Anyway not (hopefully not anyway) a beginner birdwatcher myself, would be interesting to know if any total beginners found these awkward, or thought that they were important to know for their general birding (which I believe they are not, in general terms at least?).

My point was I was surprised by these two features, which yes probably are niggles, and hopefully don't detract from the whole. Which probably is quite good! (Like most I like the concept, but as I said, I've only seen the preview inside on Amazon and various blogs)


(The egg sentence just reads clumsily to me, but like I said, hey)

;)
 
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