By Mike Dilger | Bloomsbury | Hardback | May 2016 | 368 Pages | B&W Illustrations| ISBN: 9781472915351
The Publisher’s View: Have you ever wondered what ‘our’ birds get up to when they’re not pinching our peanuts, pilfering our pyracantha berries or nesting under the eaves of our homes? The One Show‘s natural history star Mike Dilger tells us the answers in Nightingales in November.
This brilliant almanac tells the very different personal and annual stories of twelve well-known birds we deign to call ‘British’. Through a lyrical narrative, Nightingales in November.showcases amazing avian facts gleaned over decades by birdwatchers, ringers, nest recorders and migration recorders. The perfect ‘dip-into’ book, any enquiring naturalist will be able to find out such facts as where British-breeding swallows spend Christmas Day, when to look out for juvenile tawny owls, or when is the best date in the calendar to listen out for nightingales.
By using a combination of cutting-edge satellite technology and millions of ringing records, Nightingales in November.reveals the mysteries of migration, tracking the regular movements of, for example, cuckoos for the eight months they’re not in the UK, or divulging why not all robins are the ‘stay-at-home’ territorial types we once imagined.
Illustrated throughout by Darren Woodhead, the birds featured include a rich mix of resident birds, summer visitors, winter visitors and passage migrants. Nightingales in November.is a great read for anyone with a fondness for British birds.
The Author: Mike Dilger is one of wildlife TVs best-known presenters, in his role as resident wildlife reporter on BBC One’s primetime current affairs show, The One Show, since 2007. As well as being an experienced TV presenter, Mike has travelled widely in South America and Southeast Asia on ecological expeditions, sometimes in front of the camera, sometimes behind. He’s also game: he held (briefly) the Guinness World Record for ‘The most snails on the face in one minute’ (37), which was set on live TV, and having spent many years overseas in remote places he picked up the tag of ‘Britain’s most diseased man’, having caught malaria, bilharzia and leishmaniasis.
Fatbirder View: I love Mike, he hides an enormous knowledge of wildlife and the environment under his playful personality. He’s game for anything that gets the public more interested in the wild world and his regular appearances on The One Show always bring a smile to your face. It is an extremely clever way of educating a mass audience – he is a one off!So is this book; it’s a very novel idea as it breaks down the birding year uniquely by following a number of species and thereby what is happening to nature all year at home but also covering the other lives our familiar species live in their winter or summer homes away from these shores.The writing style is as engaging as the man himself and every page reveals the depth of his knowledge and passion.Having said that this ‘dip into’ book is not always easy to follow. When you give it a chance it is like a classic Russian novel wherein every one of the huge cast has five different names depending on who they are engaged with at the time. War and Peace take some effort, but once you make that effort it’s one of the world’s truly great novels. Mike’s idea here isn’t always easy to follow but once you settle into it it’s a most enjoyable and informative read… this review will cost him a pint at the next British Bird Fair!
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