I also admire most of Peter Slater's paintings - I own a few. But I'm not too
sure whether the size of a field guide should be the most significant factor
when assessing its worth or, indeed, whether there might be a Red Bishop on the
cover or a Blackbird in the text. When I arrived in Australia, I spent an hour
or two with a knowledgeable friend and a pencil, correcting and enhancing my
Slater, and this proved to be a very wise and useful thing to have done.
Ever since then I've looked at subsequent reprints and editions to see how
things have or have not evolved. So, in my local bookshop last weekend, I
turned the pages of this attractive guide to see what has happened to the
illustration of Black Currawong. This is always my first port of call. And
there it was, still with enormous white wing patches. Does anyone ever see them
like this? All the Black Currawongs that I've seen look much like the
illustration in Pizzey & Knight.
I then turned to the waders. I'm reasonably familiar with waders and find that
if they hit the spot with regard to how they're depicted, I'm usually
comfortable with the book as a whole. But I was completely distracted by the
they are now scattered all over the place. I can't remember exact details but
if you like your species to be ordered taxonomically, as I do, this is a daft
approach and would annoy me far too much for me to contemplate buying a copy.
For instance, there are something like 30 pages of ducks, ibises and other
stuff in between stints and stilts.
I put the book back on the shelf. My thoughts are now:
1. Was I suffering from a really good Friday night and seeing double?
2. Is there yet another taxonomy lurking out there that I'm unaware of?
3. Is the old approach of grouping "medium-size, brown birds that live near
water" coming back into vogue?
BTW - Thanks for all the kind comments about the wader info on my website
Cheers - Trevor.
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