| Ray Tipper | John Beaufoy Publishing | Edition 2 | 2021 | Paperback | 176 Pages | 300 colour photos, 2 colour maps | ISBN: 9781913679088 | £12.99p
The Publisher’s View:
Language: English with English, Chinese and scientific nomenclature
A fully updated second edition of this introductory identification guide to the 279 bird species most likely to be seen in Hong Kong, including every species classified as Abundant, Common or Uncommon in the Hong Kong Bird Report. High-quality photographs from the region’s top photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers geography and climate, vegetation, opportunities for naturalists and the main sites for viewing the listed species. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the birds of Hong Kong, encompassing, for each species, its common, Chinese and scientific name, and its current IUCN status.
The Author: Ray Tipper, ARPS, is a life-long birdwatcher who left his native Britain in 1973 and spent most of the next 22 years engaged in Hong Kong. He became a trustee of WWF and it was here that he turned to bird photography which quickly became his major interest. His photographs are regularly published in journals and books all over the world. He is also a regular tour leader for Avian Adventures.
My verdict is that this is an OK and inexpensive volume spot on for the birder passing through for a day or two who has limited time to bird there. Hong Kong is still a transport hub and a lot of business traffic stops here and it’s a great and interesting city.
My experience is that there are some common birds even in the most busy inner city areas – Tree Sparrows, Black Kites, Japanese White-eye and Common Koel to name a few seen on a wooded median strip in a busy tourist hotel area.
I was lucky enough to get out to Mai Po and, no doubt, this book would have covered much that is on offer there. However, it’s not the sort of field guide I’d want on a more extensive visit or if getting further afield. I think I would struggle with ID from some of the harder to tell apart warblers for example. Photographs from different sides, angles, light conditions etc would not inspire confidence with LBJs.
Having said that, it is put together by locals and I’m sure the choices made of what to illustrate will follow logic even if only half of the species that occur there are covered.