The Birdwatcher’s Yearbook 2013
Edited by David Cromack
Now in its 32nd year is there any future for BYB in 2013? If I really had to ask that question I wouldn’t be having the privilege of reviewing the latest edition. The internet may well have revolutionised birding but it hasn’t replaced to have all the information you need at your fingertips and in one convenient place. I hope I’m not old but I am firmly in the pro-book camp. e-books are all well and good and I have a few fieldguides in this format that are very useful but when I’m ever lucky enough to find a rarity using the guide what do I do regarding submission of the record? Well if I’m at home it’s easy but if the bird was in Devon, who get the record? Easy, just flick to page 241 and I have everything I need.
As usual BYB packs a lot on its 328 pages Starting with the features and our very own Mr Birdfair – Tim Appleton kicks things off with a look back at 24 years of Birdfair. We also get a summary on the BTO’s Cuckoo tracking programme and a look at the birding news headlines. There then follows a quick run through of 2012’s best bird books and a look at what’s hot on the internet.
Next follows the Diary, something I find extremely useful as I can quickly add species to a day, i.e. my first Swallow of the summer or a peak date for the emergence of the Hornet Moth which save me time looking for key dates to get out and about. The log sheets are similarly useful as you can build up a picture of what you see and more importantly when. There are up-to-date list for birds, the latest BOU update is included, and dragonflies but once again the butterfly list is woefully inadequate for anything other than the most regular of migrants.
The bulk of the book is made up of the directory, which includes details of just about every local national bird group/club in the UK as well as many international organisations, details of speakers, photographers, and equipment dealers – the works. Of great use are the tide and sunrise/sunset tables so you’ll never miss that killer photo of waders against a setting sun ever again. There is also a chapter on selected bird reserves but I guess this is by the nature of the book somewhat limited and the bit I use least.
All-in-all, I cannot praise the Birdwatcher’s Yearbook highly enough – long may it reign!