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Oceanic Birds of the World (1 Viewer)

yaffle27

Member
Has anyone got the above text by Steve Howell? I’m trying to get into seawatching and think something with a little more depth/information may complement my trusty Collins guide well. Do you think this book fits the bill?

Many thanks!
 

DMW

Well-known member
Assuming you mean seawatching locally to where you live, probably not. You are most likely only going to see a very small range of species, and having a book with dozens of confusingly similar species that have either never occurred or are extreme vagrants to British waters, is likely to produce more confusion than enlightenment.

Starting out, a combination of Collins and google should see you through to the point where you either become addicted to seawatching or realise that it's a mug's game!
 

yaffle27

Member
Assuming you mean seawatching locally to where you live, probably not. You are most likely only going to see a very small range of species, and having a book with dozens of confusingly similar species that have either never occurred or are extreme vagrants to British waters, is likely to produce more confusion than enlightenment.

Starting out, a combination of Collins and google should see you through to the point where you either become addicted to seawatching or realise that it's a mug's game!

Thanks DMW, I should add I’m hoping to get on a pelagic (Scillonian) in the autumn if I can, but maybe it’s still a bit too much info? I guess where I find the Collins is a bit limited is for in-flight ID. Though that could well be due to my inexperience!
 

njlarsen

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Something covering a smaller region might be better initially. I do not know if there is one covering the Atlantic from a UK perspective; otherwise another Howell book on Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America might be worth while.

Niels
 

Stephen Dunstan

Registered User
Has anyone got the above text by Steve Howell? I’m trying to get into seawatching and think something with a little more depth/information may complement my trusty Collins guide well. Do you think this book fits the bill?

Many thanks!

Flight Identification Of European Seabirds might be a good starting point.
 

DMW

Well-known member
Thanks DMW, I should add I’m hoping to get on a pelagic (Scillonian) in the autumn if I can, but maybe it’s still a bit too much info? I guess where I find the Collins is a bit limited is for in-flight ID. Though that could well be due to my inexperience!

I've never been on a Scillonian pelagic, but I assume there will be experienced birders on board who will be more than happy to help you out, although obviously a good idea to be as prepared as possible.

One of the vagaries of seawatching is that views can be distant and brief, and identification is often based on overall impression, especially flight action, as much as details of plumage. You only really become competent at this by putting in the hours staring out at sea.

I think you might learn more from looking for Youtube videos of common species you are likely to see (e.g. Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, various ages of Gannets and gulls, auks etc). There are some decent videos of birds in flight.
 

Andy Adcock

Fractious Member of ill repute
England
I've never been on a Scillonian pelagic, but I assume there will be experienced birders on board who will be more than happy to help you out, although obviously a good idea to be as prepared as possible.

One of the vagaries of seawatching is that views can be distant and brief, and identification is often based on overall impression, especially flight action, as much as details of plumage. You only really become competent at this by putting in the hours staring out at sea.

I think you might learn more from looking for Youtube videos of common species you are likely to see (e.g. Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, various ages of Gannets and gulls, auks etc). There are some decent videos of birds in flight.

Not the best vessel to be on for sea watching, too big with too many people and you can gurantee that if a shout goes up, you'll be on the wrong side of the ship!
 

yaffle27

Member
Thanks chaps I shall have a look at that book instead. Any recommendations for Pelagics in the SW great fully received too!
 

Swissboy

Well-known member
Has anyone got the above text by Steve Howell? I’m trying to get into seawatching and think something with a little more depth/information may complement my trusty Collins guide well. Do you think this book fits the bill?

Many thanks!

There is already another thread about this book:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=387644

As others have said, it is not the book to start out with. But it is the one to provide the best overview once one has made it past the beginners stage.
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
Thanks chaps I shall have a look at that book instead. Any recommendations for Pelagics in the SW great fully received too!

Not sure what you mean by a Scillonian pelagic earlier in the thread - all the Scillonian does these days is Penzance to St Mary's and back on the normal ferry runs. It is a long time since the proper 'Scillonian pelagics' way beyond the Scillies.

The best pelagics by far are the ones operated by Bob Flood and Joe Pender, going out from St Mary's. Very popular and with limited capacity, Look for 'Scilly Pelagics'.

Logistically easier trips run from Penzance and do turn up shearwaters and Wilson's Petrels when the conditions are right. The boat is the Mermaid.

Steve
 

yaffle27

Member
There is already another thread about this book:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=387644

As others have said, it is not the book to start out with. But it is the one to provide the best overview once one has made it past the beginners stage.

Thank you for the link and review, I did a search but didn’t find that thread.

Not sure what you mean by a Scillonian pelagic earlier in the thread - all the Scillonian does these days is Penzance to St Mary's and back on the normal ferry runs. It is a long time since the proper 'Scillonian pelagics' way beyond the Scillies.

The best pelagics by far are the ones operated by Bob Flood and Joe Pender, going out from St Mary's. Very popular and with limited capacity, Look for 'Scilly Pelagics'.

Logistically easier trips run from Penzance and do turn up shearwaters and Wilson's Petrels when the conditions are right. The boat is the Mermaid.

Steve

I’ve been reading a few historic blogs and books as lockdown entertainment, so may well have picked up Scillonian Pelagics from there. I’ll have a look at both of those, thank you!
 

yaffle27

Member
Hi Yaffle. Have a look at this thread:

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=362570

We had a great trip BUT my understanding is that the Scillies trips are far more consistent.

Rich

Hi Rich,

Many thanks for highlighting that thread - it sounds like a great trip! I'll have a look at Mermaid as it'll be considerably more straightforward than arranging a trip to the Scillies for my first pelagic.

Many thanks and best wishes.
 

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