A guide to Observation, Understanding and Conservation by Scott Leslie, Key Porter Books
If you were to stretch out every shore of every island, bay, inlet and cove of the coast of North America into a straight line, it would be hundreds of thousands of miles long. Along each of these miles, at some time of the year, you are bound to find birds. Whether itís a New Jersey beach covered with 10,000 migrating dunlins in May, a cliff on Devon Island in the high Arctic where the midnight sun slants into a colony of a hundred thousand nesting black guillemots, or in the crashing surf along the coast of British Colombia where a raft of harlequin ducks is tossed in a winter storm, there is hardly a spot along the continentís coasts that isnít host to its own unique assemblage of avian inhabitants.
In this guide, naturalist and photographer Scott Leslie covers some 50 species that make coastal areas and oceans their home. Each species account provides details of appearance, behaviour, migration strategies, habitat, all important conservation concerns and range maps plus other useful information. The book also contains some 100 images from Scott. The book features essays on present and future challenges facing seabirds along with selected seabird sites in North America and Canada.
Scott Leslie is an award-winning photographer, naturalist and writer who lives in Nova Scotia. Sea and Coastal Birds of North America is the third in a series that already includes his earlier works; Wetland Birds of North America and Woodland birds in North America (click here for review)
Birders wanting to familiarise themselves with the sea and coastal birds of North America will appreciate the publication of Scottís third book.
The challenge now facing all marine species is the speed at which changes appear to be occurring in the ocean. The timescale for global change that was once of the order of millennia or longer has been replaced by one of much shorter duration, on the scale of decades. On top of global warming we are removing fish from the oceans at an unprecedented rate Ė fish that are an integral part of many of the same ecosystems that birds rely on. We also add enormous amounts of pollutants to the oceans. There is certainly no shortage of challenges facing seabirds. As with Scottís other guides he is to be applauded for bringing us face-face with these concerns in such an accessible way.
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Review by Martin Birch