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Flight Identification of European Passerines (cover)

Publisher: Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford

Publication Year: 2021

Binding: Softback

Page Count: 496

ISBN Number: 9780691177571

Price: £ 38.00

Flight Identification of European Passerines and Other Selected Landbirds: an Illustrated and Photographic Guide

Vis-migging, the art of watching, identifying and recording all of the birds seen flying through and over a particular watchpoint is better known as recording visible migration. The ability to accurately identify what often amount to little more than smallish dots is something that can only be gained by spending time vis-migging – lots and lots of time, learning the different flight patterns of the different families and the individual species. There is a short-cut to gaining the huge amount of knowledge and experience needed and that is to learn from someone else who has that knowledge and experience.

In this book Tomasz aims to do just that, provide the reader with a mentor and a useable toolkit to help begin to tease apart the intricacies of the flight patterns of 237 European and Turkish birds.

Each species is assigned an F-wave category (the undulating flight pattern of a bird), ranging from none - no discernible F-wave – to very distinctive, high F-wave, as seen in woodpeckers. Where it is a useful feature, the flight calls are also described phonetically and accompanied by a spectrogram of each call. At the front of the book there is a QR code that links to recordings of the flight calls described for each species, which alone is a very useful resource.

Each of the species is illustrated by the most beautiful, original artwork by the author and accompanied by several photographs showing the features that are most encountered in flight. The artwork is sublime and shows each species in great detail from above, below and in profile. Each species is also accompanied by several in flight photographs and though I am not too sure how useful these are, they do provide another point of reference.

Would I buy this book? Absolutely, it is a book I wouldn’t want to be without and I have found myself reading through it again and again, sometimes just to enjoy the wonderful illustrations.

Book reviewed by Paul Stancliffe

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