Edited by David Cromack
Now in its 33rd year BYB goes from strength to strength. 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 at Spurn, who gets the record? Easy, just flick to page 267 and I have everything I need.
As usual BYB packs a lot on its 328 pages starting with the features and this year there is a look at The Great Fen project… an area where so far there have been two wintering Great Grey Shrikes already. I’m also looking forward to more sites for Norfolk Hawker there in the future after their discovery at nearby Paxton Pits. We also get a summary of the BTO’s latest Atlas. A project I’m sure many of you participated in 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.
One question that people do ask is ‘but is the directory updated?’ The answer is most definitely, yes. I was fortunate enough this year to be asked to check and comment on two new birding sites for Leicestershire. Say hello to Watermead Country Park and Swithland Reservoir.
All-in-all, I cannot praise the Birdwatcher’s Yearbook highly enough – long may it reign!
For a chance to win a pair of Swarovski CL 8×30 Binoculars worth £800 order your copy before 31 December 2013… you’ll also save £2.