This is the second in what is going to prove to be an absolutely ground breaking series. I was impressed by the first in the Series ( Autumn ) but am even more impressed by this edition.....it's superb! I had the pleasure, and privilege , of listening to Martin Garner launch the latest edition at the BirdFair. Whilst he is the author and editor he also generously pays tribute to the many "team members" associated with individual species. At another level the illustrations by Ray Scally also transport us into what I personally feel to be another medium. So, yes, I'm a bit of a fan!
Living where I do ( the Isle of Islay, Scottish Hebrides ) I'm enthused already by the section on Redpolls and shall be certainly looking out for particular "types" this autumn. But I'll also be exploring a bit of a personal hobby horse I've suspected for a long time, but not pursued very actively. I believe we can receive migration "streams" of both Scandinavian and Icelandic Redwings on Islay within the same period in autumn. The first are moving directly south-east and appear where I live on the western coast of Islay, the others are migrants that I believe move south west down the Great Glen and can be encountered in the south east of Islay before they tend to move on into the Argyll mainland and beyond. The approaches advocated by Martin Garner have enthused me already.....what about you?
As I've already said, the illustrations are tremendous and I can't stop returning to examine some which I deem to be without precedence. Just look at the sections on Snow Buntings, Redpolls, Buff-bellied Pipit and Water Pipits ( in fact , all of them ! ) and be prepared to be enthused. The technical information is similarly without precedence and there are persons better equipped than I who can comment on the information provided. My only "editorial comment" arises within the Siberian Pipit section.... is there a slight confusion between the quoted dates of November, 2013 and that for 2014?
For me the main underlying message throughout the whole book , but set out by Martin Garner in his presentation at the BirdFair, and also in the "How to use this book " section, is a series of messages that both enthuse and call for action. We are now in a different era, have improved equipment, sources, guidance and need to be prepared to accept new challenges and move the situation on still further compared to that , say, ten years ago. Martin Garner sets out a list of comments ( a "recipe" ) we can all adopt to make our birding and our own expertise much better and more satisfying. When presented by him personally at the BirdFair this came across as a very motivating array of advice that I believe can benefit all of us. Read the list, try the approach, take on board the points as I'm sure much can arise from such a new, fresh approach to our birding.
And if you can't remember the specific advice, simply embrace a more curious, inquiring approach and take on board "Martin's ( M and M ) Message" which the following image will help you remember ( I hope Martin doesn't take offence!! ).
LET'S GET OUT AND FIND THEM