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Collins Traveller's Guide: Birds of New Zealand

…judge for yourselves

Collins Traveller's Guide: Birds of New Zealand By Julian Fitter and Don Merton | 288 pages | 500 colour photos | colour maps | Harper Collins | Softcover | 2011 | ISBN-13: 9780007354757

What the Publisher Says:

An easy-to-use, compact photoguide to the birds of New Zealand, including tips on where to go to make the most of your visit. New Zealand has long been known as 'The Land of Birds', and as a popular holiday destination it is regularly visited by tourists from around the world. The country's birdlife is remarkably rich, with much of it not just endemic, but unlike anything elsewhere.

This beautiful photographic guide is the ideal companion for travelling birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Featuring over 300 species of bird most likely to be encountered on a trip to New Zealand, it is the only guide that anyone travelling to this fascinating region of the world will need. Each bird is illustrated with a full-colour photograph along with a full species description, and key information on national parks helps readers to find the best spots to discover each bird. The book not only helps travellers to identify birds, it also highlights the importance of conservation efforts and offers guidelines on sensible behaviour whilst travelling through the area and encountering nature at its very best.Fatbirder View

Any regular reader will know that I simply do not like photographic guides. I’m not going to rant on about why but will say that in this case some effort has been made to show species in very similar poses… but many are still not easy to compare. Maybe if this was a coffee table book with full page photos, rather than pages full of photographs, I could agree that it is a beautiful book but putting half a dozen photographs on a page means they will be small and, for the most part, dark and lacking the crispness that conveys detail. Photographs range from superb to appaling – just take a look at the page of curlews… one is a dark blob, one a nice crisp image showing plumage detail, one is a distant blurred image, another appears to have been taken at dusk and the last is another crisp image facing in the opposite direction to all the rest. Would I be able to separate the species using these illustrations – a resounding NO! I have no quibbles about the text except for its brevity but the maps are also very small and the abbreviations not obvious. Before the name is a box with several divisions and I still have found no explanation of what its for or what information it conveys.Moreover, the few pages devoted to national parks, history etc are also too few to justify calling this a traveller’s guide – it is a photographic fieldguide.

I hate to slam a book published shortly after the death of one of the authors, especially one of the giants of conservation who has been very important to the survival of a number of iconic species, but the book is just not up to the mark. This is a personal view so do what I do – take it with a pinch of salt and judge for yourselves.

Fatbirder

Buy this book from www.nhbs.com