The Norfolk Bird Atlas: Summer and Winter Distributions 1999-2007 by Moss Taylor and John H Marchant 528 pages, colour photos, distribution maps, tables Hardcover | 2011 | BTO | ISBN 1906204829

Norfolk is a birder’s paradise. During the writing of The Birds of Norfolk in the late 1990s, it was very apparent that little detailed information was available on the distribution and, in particular, abundance of many of Norfolk’s commoner birds. While The Norfolk Bird Atlas by Geoffrey Kelly, published in 1986, had provided data at a tetrad level on the breeding birds of the county, the only wintering survey was that undertaken for the 1981-84 atlas of Britain and Ireland, and that had been based on 10-km squares. By the end of 1999, a team of local organisers and an enthusiastic band of observers had started fieldwork on a new county tetrad atlas, which would survey not only the breeding and wintering birds of Norfolk, but also attempt to assess the abundance of each species. By the end of the summer of 2007, well over 300 observers had contributed, and every tetrad in the county had been visited in both summer and winter.

The results of this undertaking are presented in this book, which brings together the distribution and abundance of all the species recorded during the survey, as well as highlighting the changes since previous atlases.

There is a double page spread for each bird, covering over 270 species found in Norfolk, and shows summer, winter, and change maps. Superbly illustrated by local artists and photographers.The Fatbirder View

I’d like to award this book ‘First in Class’ as it is seminal – all birding atlases should look and learn. Information may be the same everywhere but how it is presented is the difference between accessible and impenetrable – this one wins as super accessible. Each two page spread had a terrific drawing, a good photo, well-written text and easy to understand large maps. At a glance it is easy to see what birds hold their own, which are in decline and which have expanded. Moreover, you can see patterns of change where urbanization or farming methods etc are effecting distribution as birds are lost in one area and gained in another. This book took many years and the efforts of over 300 volunteers and then seems to have been lovingly collated and edited. Every Norfolk birder will want this and many a county recorder elsewhere will be in awe.


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