Book Review

The Birdwatcher’s Yearbook 2015

Edited by David Cromack

Buckingham Press

ISBN  978-0-95698-768-1



Now in its 35th year BYB continues to go from strength-to-strength. In today’s climate of e-books and smart phones I still find it has a place… and that is not on the bookshelf but in the car. If I’m out in Norolk and want to know the tide times for a wader roost at Snettisham you can bet I can’t get a 3G signal on my phone, I can barely get a signal most of the time so checking tide times is impossible. Not so if I use BYB, a few quick calculations and I know exactly when to be in place. This is the beauty of BYB.

As usual BYB packs a lot on its 328 pages Starting with the features and this year there is a great feature on the NGB or Next Generation Birders. These young people are going to produce the next Martin Garner and Killian Mullarney and their story is heartening. Birding does have a bright future. There are short articles on topics such as saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and advances in tagging that reveals new information about migration. Wildlife artist Michael Demain (whose fabulous Black Grouse painting graces the cover) discusses the future of the Hen Harrier in England and story that has proved very popular this year and has divided a lot of opinion. 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 and this year the Butterfly list gets a long wished for update and includes all the regular and rare 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 and though limited is very up-to-date and fact checked (I know because I’ve fact-checked some of the Leicestershire sites)

All-in-all, I cannot praise the Birdwatcher’s Yearbook highly enough – long may it reign!

John Hague


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