Best Fieldguide

Subject: Best Fieldguide
From: "Graham Etherington" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 17:51:51 +1000
Bob and all,
I'm afraid I can't agree. I'd like know what makes you say the
emphasis of this field guide is too much on Britain (at the expense of
the rest of Europe). Although I don't have my Collins Bird Guide to
hand, I don't recall the British birds getting more coverage in the
book than non-British birds. Of the authors/illustrators, only one is
British (Peter Grant, who has sadly passed away since publishing the
book), and the book was, as you correctly pointed out, originally
written in Swedish - hardly a good angle to capture the British
market. Also, over emphasising British birds in a field guide would
make the book less attractive to British birders, as most of them know
their birds really well and demand more information on birds that
occur infrequently in Britain, i.e. European mainland and
Middle-Eastern birds.
As far as having further information on distribution, well I suppose
that's a matter of opinion. In my view I consider this a fairly
essential attribute. For example, try sitting down and looking at
Simpson and Day. Look at the distribution plates and then ask yourself
"Do these birds really occur in my area?". There are lots of birds
given as occurring around Brisbane in the S+D distribution maps that
don't occur here, even in suitable habitat.
Anyway, that's my two cents worth.

On 7/18/06,  <> wrote:

The Collins "Bird Guide - the most complete field guide to the birds of
Britain & Europe" (ISBN 0 00 711332 3) is certainly a great field guide and
mine is much used, but I am not sure it "would serve well as a model of how
to do a guide here" as suggested by Simon Mustoe.   For me, the emphasis of
this field guide is too much on:
(1) Britain (at the expense of the rest of Europe); to be expected I guess
as it is now written in English (originally in Swedish)
(2) "where it breeds"  The layout generally starts the description of each
species with "size" then "where it breeds" then "general description",
etc.... certainly not the most appropriate layout for an Australian field

For me, Sibley's Guide to Birds & SASOL's Birds of Southern Africa, along
with the Collins Bird Guide, are all great field guides.

Bob Sothman

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