Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Titles


1) Ngarachu, Catherine. 50 Top Birding Sites in Kenya. 2017. Struik Nature. Paperback: 168 pages. Price: $14.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A book that outlines the top 50 birding spots in Kenya. Each site is structured in the same way according to key headings: overview; location; visitor info; habitat; key species; where to see what at that site, and other wildlife. Color photographs of sites and species will accompany each entry. The book will appeal to local birders and tourists. For the very first time, local and international birders will have a detailed guide to Kenya’s best birding sites, which will help them to locate the key species in each area, including sought-after ‘specials’ and endemics.
    It offers:
• a map for each site with specific guidance on where to look for particular birds
• detailed information about the birds likely to be seen
• advice on when to visit
• tips for planning your trip, and
• descriptions of each site, detailing the plants and other wildlife that may be encountered.


 RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in birding Kenya.



2) Chris and Mathilde Stuart. Stuarts’ Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa. 2017. Struik Nature. Paperback: 456 pages. Price: $28.50 U.S. 
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Of the more than 5,500 mammals species worldwide, at least 1,200 occur in Africa. Stuarts’ Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa – a classic and widely acclaimed work – concentrates on the more visible and easily distinguished larger species, as well as some of the more frequently seen smaller mammals. This new edition has been extensively revised, expanded and redesigned and includes: the most recent research and taxonomy; revised distribution maps and many new images; colour-coded grouping of orders; size icons; detailed descriptions of each species, offering insight into key identification characters, typical behaviour, preferred habitat, food choice, reproduction and longevity; whales and dolphins now featured too.

RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of these mammals of Africa.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Title


1) Cranshaw, Whitney and David Shetlar. Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs (Second Edition). 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 704 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This second edition of Garden Insects of North America solidifies its place as the most comprehensive guide to the common insects, mites, and other “bugs” found in the backyards and gardens of the United States and Canada. Featuring 3,300 full-color photos and concise, detailed text, this fully revised book covers the hundreds of species of insects and mites associated with fruits and vegetables, shade trees and shrubs, flowers and ornamental plants, and turfgrass―from aphids and bumble bees to leafhoppers and mealybugs to woollybears and yellowjacket wasps―and much more. This new edition also provides a greatly expanded treatment of common pollinators and flower visitors, the natural enemies of garden pests, and the earthworms, insects, and other arthropods that help with decomposing plant matter in the garden.
     Designed to help you easily identify what you find in the garden, the book is organized by where insects are most likely to be seen―on leaves, shoots, flowers, roots, or soil. Photos are included throughout the book, next to detailed descriptions of the insects and their associated plants.
     An indispensable guide to the natural microcosm in our backyards, Garden Insects of North America continues to be the definitive resource for amateur gardeners, insect lovers, and professional entomologists.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the garden insects of North America.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

New Titles


1) Hume, Julian P.. Extinct Birds (Second Edition). 2017. Helm. Hardbound: 608 pages. Price: $90.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Covering both familiar icons of extinction as well as more obscure birds, some known from just one specimen or from traveler's tales, Extinct Birds looks at hundreds of species from the sub-fossil record--birds that disappeared without ever being recorded.
     Julian Hume recreates these lost birds in stunning detail, bringing together an up-to-date review of the literature for every species. From Great Auks, Carolina Parakeets, and Dodos to the amazing yet completely vanished bird radiations of Hawaii and New Zealand, via rafts of extinctions in the Pacific and elsewhere, this book is both a sumptuous reference and an amazing testament to humanity's impact on birds.
     A direct replacement for Greenway's seminal 1958 title Extinct and Vanishing Birds, this book will be the standard reference on the subject for generations to come.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in extinct birds.


2) Watson, Donald. The Hen Harrier. 2017 (1977). Bloomsbury. Hardbound: 416 pages. Price: $24.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: An acknowledged classic of narrative nature-writing, Donald Watson's The Hen Harrier (originally published in 1977) was the culmination of a lifetime's study of this beautiful upland bird. A gentle, warm and wonderfully written book, The Hen Harrier stems from an age of 'amateur' conservation, from the pen of a man who cared deeply about birds and their habitats, especially of the Scottish borders where he conducted much of his research and painting. The book was among the last of a dying breed; it would be thirty years or more before writing on our natural history would again reach the heights of accessibility to nature-lovers exemplified by Donald Watson and his peers.
     The book starts with Watson setting down more or less everything known about harriers – which at that time often consisted of information sent by letter to the author, rather than published in a journal – before moving on to the story of Watson's years studying nests in the south-west of Scotland.
     With a foreword by conservation champion Mark Avery, this edition of Watson's greatest work is particularly timely. The conflict between grouse-shooting interests, which has overseen the virtual extinction of the harrier as a breeding bird in England through illegal persecution, and an increasingly vocal conservationist lobby is the number one conservation issue in Britain today.
     Donald Watson's narrative soars like a sky-dancing harrier throughout this book. Read it, and be taken back to a simpler age of nature conservation by a true master of the art.
 RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the Hen Harrier.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New Title


1) Reinking, Dan L.. Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas. 2017. University of Oklahoma Press. Paperback: 538 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Beautifully illustrated with color photographs, maps, graphs, and tables, the Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas offers ornithologists and amateur birders alike a wealth of easy-to-read information about the status of bird species in Oklahoma. A companion to the Oklahoma Breeding Bird Atlas, this landmark volume by biologist Dan L. Reinking provides a detailed portrait of more than 250 species, from the oft-spotted Red-tailed Hawk, Dark-eyed Junco, and Northern Flicker to the rarely seen Blue-headed Vireo, Cassin’s Finch, and Verdin.
     The atlas—one of the first of its kind for winter birds—uses a combination of species accounts, grouped by scientific order, and illustrations to provide a systematic inventory of winter bird distribution across Oklahoma’s counties. Each species account includes a photograph of the featured bird in winter plumage, along with a brief description outlining the times of year it appears in the state, its habitat, its distribution across the state’s counties, and its behavior. Maps indicate surveyed locations in which the species was spotted, while charts and tables further describe the bird's abundance.
     The data compiled in this volume represent the work of more than 75 volunteers who conducted bird counts in both early and late winter for the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center. The data span five winters, 2003 to 2008, and 577 blocks of land. Comprehensively researched and thoughtfully presented, the Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas will prove an invaluable resource for evaluating trends in bird populations that change over time due to such factors as urban expansion, rural development, and climate change.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in Oklahoman birds.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Title


1) Chandler, Richard. Shorebirds in Action. 2017. Whittles Publishing. Paperback: 248 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Shorebirds, or waders, are a large group of small to medium-sized birds that occur worldwide, in a wide range of predominantly coastal or wetland habitats. Some species are largely sedentary whilst others are amongst the world’s most migratory bird species, travelling thousands of kilometres in a few days.
     In addition to describing physical behavioural traits such as feeding, breeding, migration, and particular physiological adaptations, Shorebirds in Action also covers territorial behaviour both when feeding and breeding. There is detailed discussion of the range of species and their different lifestyles together with feeding strategies, flocking, roosting and the avoidance of predators. The seasonal features of shorebirds’ lives are included, such as the various plumages that they have when breeding, or not breeding, together with the intervening periods of moult, during which the birds change from one plumage to the next. 
     Shorebirds in Action is in two parts – firstly basic behavioural information and then a photographic section that explains the specific behaviour being illustrated for that particular shorebird at the time the photo was taken. Consequently, the book can be read as a general text, split into chapters that provide the basic behavioural information and also by reference to the extended photograph captions which explain the details of the particular behaviour shown. 
     The book contains excellent photographs of about 180 shorebird species – over three-quarters of the world’s total – and therefore provides a general reference for the identification of shorebird species and the recognition of their various plumages. It will be relevant to readers worldwide, including Europe, North America and Australasia. This comprehensive work can be read as a general text and also the photographs can be enjoyed separately in their own right. Detailed references to source material are provided.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the biology of shorebirds.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

New Titles


1) Miller, Marli B. and Darrel S. Cowan. Roadside Geology of Washington, 2nd Edition. 2017. Mountain Press. Paperback: 378 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Washington is alive with geologic activity: It’s home to the most active volcanoes in the lower 48, earthquakes regularly rattle the populated Puget Sound region, the potential of landslides increases with each soaking rain, and tsunami evacuation routes alert tourists in Olympic National Park to the active plate boundary just off the coast. The only geologic hazard Washingtonians need not fear, at least not with the continued trend of global warming, is another Ice Age flood. More than forty of the biggest floods known in the history of Earth scoured the Channeled Scabland of eastern Washington, the most recent only about 15,000 years ago.
     Since the first edition of Roadside Geology of Washington appeared on the book shelves in 1984, several generations of geologists have studied the wild assortment of rocks in the Evergreen State, from 45-million-year-old sandstone exposed in sea cliffs at Cape Flattery to 1.4-billion-year-old sandstone near Spokane. In between are the rugged granitic and metamorphic peaks of the North Cascades, the volcanic flows of Mt. Rainier and the other active volcanoes of the Cascade magmatic arc, and the 2-mile-thick flood basalts of the Columbia Basin. With the help of this brand new, completely updated second edition, you can appreciate spectacular geologic features along more than forty of Washington’s highways.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the geology of Washington State!



2) Browne, Janet. The Quotable Darwin. 2017. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 348 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Here is Charles Darwin in his own words―the naturalist, traveler, scientific thinker, and controversial author of On the Origin of Species, the book that shook the Victorian world. Featuring hundreds of quotations carefully selected by world-renowned Darwin biographer Janet Browne, The Quotable Darwin draws from Darwin’s writings, letters to friends and family, autobiographical reminiscences, and private scientific notebooks. It offers a multifaceted portrait that takes readers through his youth, the famous voyage of the Beagle, the development of his thoughts about evolution, his gradual loss of religious faith, and the time spent turning his ideas into a well-articulated theory about the natural origin of all living beings―a theory that dangerously included the origin of humans.
     The Quotable Darwin also includes many of the key responses to Darwin’s ideas from figures across the social spectrum, scientists and nonscientists alike―and criticism too. We see Darwin as an innovative botanist and geologist, an affectionate husband and father, and a lively correspondent who once told his cousin that he liked to play billiards because “it drives the horrid species out of my head.” This book gives us an intimate look at Darwin at work, at home, as a public figure, and on his travels.
     Complete with a chronology of Darwin’s life by Browne, The Quotable Darwin provides an engagingly fresh perspective on a remarkable man who was always thinking deeply about the natural world.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's other works on Darwin, you should enjoy this one.



Friday, November 3, 2017

New Title


1) Johnson, Erik I. and Jared D. Wolfe. Molt in Neotropical Birds: Life History and Aging Criteria (Studies in Avian Biology). 2017. CRC Press. Hardbound: 400 pages. Price: $179.94 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Molt is an important avian life history event in which feathers are shed and replaced. The timing, duration, seasonality, extent and pattern of molt follows certain strategies and this book reviews and describes these strategies for nearly 190 species based on information gathered from a 30-year study of Central Amazonian birds. Most species accounts are illustrated with several color photos focusing on wing and tail feather molt, molt limits, and how to use these patterns to accurately age birds. The book will be a rich source of life history information for ornithologists working on tropical birds.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with a technical interest in bird molt.