Welcome to the Birdwords e-mail update.
Just a quick reminder that you can follow me on Twitter, handle is @DominicCouzens
Do please take a look around the website www.birdwords.co.uk. In particular I have been updating factsheets (part of Resources) so that there is a mini-encyclopedia for you to enjoy, with regular additions.
An example: http://www.birdwords.co.uk/free-stuff/bird-factsheets/great-crested-grebe-podiceps-cristatus/
My programme of summer trips is outlined below. The trips are open to all, but please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.
10.30am-4.00pm unless stated otherwise. £15 per person per day. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.
Thursday 7th May – Pagham Harbour, West Sussex
Lots of migrants, chance of rarity.
Friday 15th May – Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex
Nightingale song, wildfowl, waders.
Tuesday 19th May – New Forest off the Beaten Track
Redstart, Wood Warbler, Firecrest, Hawfinch maybe.
Thursday 4th June – Marsh Common, Stockbridge
Warblers abound here, Water Vole.
Friday 19th June – Selborne, Hampshire
Historical setting, variety of normal birds, butterflies.
Friday 10th July – London Wetland Centre (+ entrance fee).
If we get group rate (12+ people) entrance fee is £9.85 (no gift aid), concessions £7.34 (no gift aid), WWT members free entry.
Ducklings, chicks, coffee!
SPECIAL TEN-PERSON TRIPS
Special trips for small groups only. £25 per person.
10.30am-4.00pm. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.
Friday 1st May – Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes, Hampshire
Huge variety, often 75+ spp.
Thursday 21st May – Cheesefoot Head and Old Winchester Hill, Hampshire
Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Lesser Whitethroat.
Tuesday 14th July – “Raptor Rapture”, New Forest
Hoping for Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Hobby.
WEDNESDAY MORNINGS IN DORSET AND HAMPSHIRE
£8 per person per trip (price rise). Open to all. Please book.
15th April – Longham Lakes, Ferndown, Dorset
For migrants, perhaps Garganey, Cuckoo
22nd April – Lytchett Bay, Upton, Poole
Lots of waders, other migrants.
6th May – Hengistbury Head
Heronry, lots of migrants.
13th May – Radipole Lake, Weymouth
Bearded Tits, Cetti’s Warbler, Marsh harrier.
20th May – Dancing Ledge
Chance of Puffin, Linnets, Whitethroats.
3rd June – Tarrant Rushton Airfield
Corn Bunting, other downland stuff.
24th June – Blashford Lakes, Ringwood
Loads of warbers, waders.
1st July – Middlebere, Wareham
Waders, Dartford Warbler
8th July – Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch
Returning waders such as Whimbrel.
Tales of Remarkable Birds
Bloomsbury | 2015 | Hardback | ISBN: 9781408190234. £20 hardback
My newest book is just out. It’s a collection of my favourite bird behaviour stories from around the world, and I hope it will simply astonish you as to what birds get up to. Take the Fairywrens that literally bring flowers to their mistresses, birds that incubate their eggs using volcanic heat, swallows that have evolved shorter wings to avoid traffic, and the strange African bird that effectively stalks an unrelated species. Many of your favourites are here, such as penguins, albatrosses, hummingbirds and toucans, for example.
Here’s what reviewers say:
“Every so often I found myself saying ‘I never knew that’ over and over. Now I am pretty well travelled and have read half a library of bird books and the ‘well I never’ moments are increasingly rare.
If I learnt so much from this then most readers will and it is incredibly accessible too. I challenge any non-birder out there, perhaps some hapless spouse forced to listen to their other half drone on about birds. Take a look, read a few of the many ‘stories’ and you will not only pull out the earplugs, you will be joining your spouse on field trips!” Bo Beolens (fatbirder.com)
“It’s a great book to either read avidly from cover to cover (I admit, I did this – I couldn’t put it down!) or to dip into whenever you fancy discovering a truly amazing snippet to stun friends with. What’s more, as well as learning about less well-known birds, I guarantee you will learn about the more familiar true. As a nature-lover and fact fan, I am proud to have this on my bookshelf.” Barbara Copperthwait, (gobewild.co.uk).
More Summer Reading
People often ask me about my own favourite books and what to recommend. As an author, books are one of the delights of my life and so it is a pleasure to flag when something special comes along.
Surprisingly, the title of “World’s best bird book” is an easy one to allocate. The various volumes of Handbook of Birds of the World, published by Lynx Edicions in Barcelona, are peerless. They cover basic details of every bird in the world (with beautiful but accurate paintings), and include up to date and highly detailed accounts of every family, enlivened with top-of-the-range photographs. A great deal of stuff in my latest book has been extracted from these volumes. They are pricey, but worth every penny.
At the moment, Lynx have turned their attention to mammals, and are part way through Handbook of Mammals of the World. Their most offering (Volume 4) is a sumptuous treatise on Sea Mammals, including whales, dolphins, manatees and seals (even though
seals, as you might know, are these days considered to be modified carnivores). Every sea mammal species is painted to a high standard, with males, females and variants where appropriate, and the family sections have an incredible selection of photographs (an aerial of Humpback Whales bubble-feeding is my personal favourite). This book, and the series, is the reading equivalent of fine dining. It exudes excellence. If you have 160 euros (remember, that’s one night at a posh restaurant), that will guarantee plenty of long-lasting delight.
- Hardcover: 614 pages
- Publisher: Lynx Edicions (1 July 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 978-8496553934
On a completely different note, I want to recommend Harrap’s Wild Flowers. If ever there was a labour of love it is this exquisite field guide. Selecting the very best and most apposite photographs for identification of plants must have been very difficult, but the author has done it admirably. The book is delightfully designed and has a brief but surprisingly wide-ranging text.
I bought this book on a whim, and now can’t wait for the plant season to start properly so that I can take it out again. Great stuff.
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd (20 Jun. 2013)
- Cost: £16.99
- ISBN-13: 978-1408113608