by Dominic Couzens
Published by New Holland Publishers
ISBN 978 1 84773 1090 8 (Hardback)
Top 100 Birding Sites of the World is a showcase of the very best birdwatching sites on the planet. These include spectacular events such as huge flocks of wintering geese in Britain and the USA, cranes in France and Japan, hordes of breeding flamingos in Kenya and penguins and other seabirds in South Georgia.
Introductory sessions give an overview of each continent or region and each of the 100 individual site accounts begins with a locator map, summary of habitat, list of key bird species and details of the best time of year to visit. The authoritative text and spectacular photographs then bring each site to life. A world locator map provides an overview of the location of each site, while the site ranking system is bound to cause a few arguments about with locations come out on top.
Sites cover a range of biodiversity hotspots with massive numbers of bird species logged at the likes of Manu in Peru, Monteverde in Costa Rica as well as places for spectacular species such as Shoebill, Great Grey Owl, Satyr Trapogan and Cock-of-the-rock.
The book will stand or fall on the places it includes and will stir up some arguments and emotions by those, as Dominic admits, appalled that their favourite places having been excluded.....and perfectly livid when they see the rankings. For there are simply thousands of places on planet earth which could, at one time or another, enthral birders and ecotourists with the spectacle or variety of birds they offer. And in the end Dominic acknowledges site selection was largely a matter of personal experience. And why not, the mix of species diversity, rarity, quality and numbers, alongside site uniqueness, geography, history and environmental and conservation value, the sheer beauty and simply ‘star value’ create a potent and page turning mix of must-see places.
If, as recession looms and the wallet tightens, you’re wondering whether you can make another birding trip next year, then open up this book and I guarantee by the end of it you’ll have another dozen locations you’ll not want to miss and your bags half-packed before the day is out. The book is truly a birders’ dream come true.
Be warned however, this isn’t a where to watch guide. There’s no coat or day-pack that can accommodate this monster of a book. In fact your book shelves may struggle as well. This is a coffee-table giant of a book, a celebration of birding that will turn heads amongst birders and non-birders alike. Buy it simply for the many hundreds of stunning images presented in a way only New Holland know best. But delve into the text also and you’ll discover both Dominic’s engaging writing-style and his commitment to detailed up-to-date research. This sumptuous book is without doubt a ‘must-buy’.
Dominic Couzens is based in Britain and has been a freelance writer and birding tour leader for more than 20 years. He has travelled widely in search of birds and is a regular contributor to and author of a wide range of natural history magazines and books. Dominic talks to surfbirds about this book - click here
You can buy Top 100 Birding Sites of the World at a significant discount through Amazon. Why would you go elsewhere?