Is there scope for a combined Australian-New Zealand field guide?

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Is there scope for a combined Australian-New Zealand field guide?
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2010 08:20:09 +1000
I was Aotearoa last week for a geography conference and acquired a NZ field guide before setting out. This proved to be a bit depressing as the NZ guide only included about 60 endemic/native/vagrant species that weren't in P&K. (This included 18 passerines and 8 shags.) The remaining species not found in P&K were exotic introductions.

This made me wonder if there might be scope for a combined ANZ field guide. After all, Morecombe includes supplements for Christmas Island, Macquarie Is etc, (and it is quite possible that Australia and New Zealand will form some sort of political union at some stage down the track). If the supplement were done on a compressed basis, as is the case for Morecombe, it might only require half a dozen colour plates to cover the additional birds.

For the record, the conference was in Christchurch, and the diversity of birdlife on the Canterbury Plain was rather limited. Other than the usual "Australian birds", I saw 2 native ducks and 1 native fantail. I used the NZ field guide more to ID the European passerines. Things were a bit better in the Alps - I saw Keas and 2 native passerines around Arthurs Pass.

On the subject of the traditional owners of Arthurs Pass, I found that the Keas had become even more of a hand full than they were 20 years ago. Now, when you stop at a lookout at the pass itself, they will be pulling things off your car while you are standing beside it. If you try to shoo them from one side of the car, they will just hop over to the other side where you can't reach them (or they will walk under the car and get to work there).

I had a far more productive time on a boat off Kaikoura (a bit over 2 hours drive to the north Christchurch) but that is the subject for another post.


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