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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review #4

Putting down Kaufman's Advanced Birding is practically impossible - even now my eyes are super glued to the pages making this post rather difficult to create. Kaufman goes all out in this epic book describing the most common ID dilemmas and then turning two feathered peas in a pod (say a Black-capped and Carolina Chickadees) into a pear and a cranberry (say a Glaucous Gull and a flamingo).

The book is illustrated with black and white pen drawings by Kaufman, which just at a glance shed light on the questions of the universe most namely "was that a Franklin's Gull...?" But what I really like about this book is the text which radiates identification information. Who ever knew that an immature Blackpoll Warbler may have dark legs but a Bay-breasted never has light?

As noted earlier this guide (part of the Peterson Field Guide Series) discusses only the more common problems that one might happen upon in the field. So, if you were hoping to identify a juvenile Lesser from a juvenile Greater White-fronted Goose (not that you're likely to even be considering the possibility of a "code 5" Lesser White-front) then you're out of luck. But if you're trying to identify an Empidonax Flycatcher or a (nonbreeding plumage) Spizella Sparrow then you need look no further than the pages of this book.

The first chapter of the 35 chapters in this paperback titled "The Challenges in Birding and How to Approach Them" talks about...well I guess it talks about exactly what the title says its about. In the front of the book is a spread depicting, on the left, a shorebird and a songbird pointing out the different feather types, and on the right, some drawings of bills. Luckily the bills are not the paper kind for they would be very off topic and quite boring ("Ooh look its a five dollar bill! Cool!"). This right hand page shows the beaks of birds that are useful or essential for identification of the species.

The Thumbs Up
Everything is good about this guide!

The Thumbs Down
Nothing in this guide I in any way dislike.

Here's a list of the enlightening chapters in this book (just a note: this book is not a field guide, but more a bedside delight):
The Challenges in Birding and How to Approach Them
The Winter Loons
The Western Grebes
Medium-sized White Herons
The Dark Ibises
The Scaup
Brief Notes on Other Ducks
The Accipiters
Basics of Shorebird Identification
The Dowitchers
Sharp-tailed and Pectoral Sandpipers (okay, I guess some rarities are discussed in this book)
Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers
The Jaegers
Basics of Learning the Gulls
Franklin's and Laughing Gulls
The Thayer's Gull Complex
The Medium-sized Terns
Brief Notes on Other Terns
The Screech-Owls
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Complex
The Wood-Pewees
The Empidonax Flycatchers
The Chickadees
Bendire's Thrasher
The Philadelphia Vireo Complex
Tips for Identifying Fall Warblers
The Blackpoll Trio
The Waterthrushes
Notes on Other Warblers
Identifying Sparrows: The Generic Approach
Cassin's and Botteri's Sparrows
The Spizella Sparrows
The Carpodacus Finches

Definitely not a bad list. You won't find yourself saying "Was that an Arctic Tern?" ever again! Now that in itself is worth the price of this book!

On the 20th at Colt State Park in Bristol I had three Ruddy Turnstone and a Snow Bunting
(a year bird).
Snow Bunting

Ruddy Turnstone

We have been unable to go for any nice walks since Ben tore the cartilage in his knee. Now the gorilla can be found patrolling our backyard (dirt) jungle on a shiny pair of crutches. We are practically under house arrest with him for the next 4 to 6 weeks.

Good job to anyone who identified the Marsh Wren in the last photo quiz. Here's your next quiz!
This photo was taken at RISD Beach on the 4th of October

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you about the book. I am a young birder from Mississippi. My blog is at Sorry I can't do a link. It wouldn't work, for some reason.