Rare Birds, Where and When: An analysis of status and distribution in Britain and Ireland is the most detailed interpretation of passerine and near-passerine rare bird records in Britain and Ireland ever undertaken.
This is now the essential reference for anyone seeking knowledge of the status, distribution and vagrancy patterns of rare species and subspecies in Britain and Ireland.
Of course, the task of documenting and unfolding species specific occurrence patterns has been attempted by a series of industrious authors in the past. Many a birder will have given pride of place in their birding library to Rare Birds in Britain and Ireland (Dymond, Fraser and Gantlett, 1989), the Photographic Handbook to the Rare Birds of Britain and Europe (Mitchell and Young, 1999) and others. But Russell Slack, a new Witherby of our generation, has produced this mighty and near definitive guide.
More than 220 species accounts are covered within this volume, many of which are accompanied by histograms detailing annual and weekly occurrence patterns all featuring a detailed interpretation of records at a national level.
The weaving of personal accounts of birders’ finds alongside the importance of each species occurrence provides an entertaining yet stimulating education. Read the account of the 1968-69 Spotted Nutcracker invasion or the attempt to introduce American Robin into the UK to discover just two ornithological insights amongst the near 500 pages of this tremendous book. Understand the reasons for the increasing rarity status of Yellow-breasted Buntings in the UK to appreciate the depth of Russell’s painstaking research. And reflect on a superb chapter on vagrancy mechanisms by guest authors Alex Lees and James Gilroy.
This book will stand as the definitive reference work on rare birds for years to come. This is a must buy book for any serious British birder. Volume 2 is now eagerly awaited.
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