| Birds of the Canary Islands | By Eduardo García-del-Rey | illustrated by Chris Orgill & Anthony Disley | Christopher Helm | Paperback | February 2018 | 192 Pages | 73 plates with colour illustrations and photos | ISBN: 9781472941558 | £19.99p |
The Publisher’s View:
The Canary Islands is a popular destination for birders and travellers with an interest in wildlife and nature, and one of the best places in the world to see several scarce species such as the Houbara Bustard. They also hold a number of endemic birds that occur nowhere else, such as the emblematic Blue Chaffinch.
This beautifully illustrated guide covers all the birds found in the islands, providing concise descriptions for easy identification, though no distribution maps, and plates for easy identification of all species. It’s the perfect guide for any visitor to these sun-kissed islands.
Eduardo García-del-Rey was born in Tenerife; after degrees and doctorates at the University of Arizona and at the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, University of Oxford, he founded the Canarian Ornithological Society (SOC) and the Macaronesian Institute of Field Ornithology, a private research centre. Eduardo is the author of more than 40 scientific papers on Macaronesian birds and several books.
Let me first declare a prejudice… I’ve long been a fan of Tony Disley’s illustrations. That aside I came to it with no preconceptions. In a nutshell, it is what it is… a guide to the birds you might well see on a trip to these islands. There are times when I think publishers try to create demand for things on the wrong scale, cut down guides of the ‘the common birds of’, type that are neither desired nor much use. This is NOT one of those. Given that there are island variations, different subspecies and gaps in avifauna it is an ideal level. Given that the number of species is limited it makes for a very portable book with plenty of room for detail and larger illustrations, not over crowded plates.
I recommend this as the ideal companion next time you jet off for a winter break with the family sneak this into the bag. I sat by the pool in a villa in Lanzarote not too many seasons ago with Autumn migration in full swing. The winds turned a tad making the island an unexpected diversion for flocks and suddenly a new flycatcher or warbler joined me in the palms every few minutes and an early morning stroll had me lapping up redstarts among the stone curlews.