Posted by: atowhee | June 30, 2017

THE MANY UNIQUE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA

Here is my friend, Peter Enticknap, in Australia…birds in hand, birds in bush.  Those are Crimson Rosella in hand, and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos on the ground.  The latter has a reputation for being louder than a chain saw or landing jet plane.Melbourne AU

Review of  “The Australian Bird Guide” by Peter Menkhorst, et al. 560 pages. Over 240 color plates. Princeton University Press.  paperback. 2017.  $39.95.

Long separated from the nearest major continent, Australia has many endemic species and is a birder’s wonderland for all the lifers awaiting you there.  I have never been but my good friend and fellow bird-nut, John Bullock and his wife Stephanie visit there often.  Their son lives there with his family.   So here is a review of Princeton latest guide to Aussie birds, by guest reviewer, John Bullock:

Australia Bird Guide Review
If you’re an Australian birder, with the challenge of over 900 species to
identify, your choice of guidebooks has recently been expanded by the
production of The Australian Bird Guide, a stunning and very complete work of
art and science, the making of which has consumed over ten years, involving
over 200 citizen contributors (think eBird on a small scale).
The impetus for a fresh guide to Australian avifauna was initiated by the
head of the Australian Scientific Research Organization, who secured the services
of Jeff Davies, one of the country’s pre-eminent bird illustrators. Jeff was joined
by five additional authors and illustrators.
Historically, avian artists have depended on museum skins for their
guidebook renderings. Enter digital photography, and a large number of birders
eager to capture pixels of every species in every imaginable pose, in all of their
plumages. For Davies and his partners, this turned out to be a bonanza of over
half a million images.
There are 56 species of Honey Eaters in Australia, many of them very
similar. The digital images have resulted in more accurate illustrations: an
improvement much appreciated by the more determined birder faced with a
Honey Eater, that at first sighting, could be one of ten or twelve similar species.
The guide, in addition to being an amazingly brilliant and vibrantly
detailed collection of illustrations, retains the essential elements of proper
ornithological and taxonomic protocol, as well as the valuable information on
where and when to find Australian birds.
Australia is a unique continent, noted not only for its flora and fauna, but
also for its people. Visitors are always impressed by the friendly open-ness of
Aussies. Having had the fortune to spend part of the past five years there, I can
vouch for this impression, and enlarge it by noting that Australians are very
proud of their relatively young culture and eager to learn about and protect their
environmental heritage. The Australian Bird Guide fits this picture perfectly. Its
a fresh and compelling addition to Australian birding literature, and I look
forward to using it during my upcoming annual sojourn.
–John Bullock
Here are two kingfishers that Peter photographed in Australia:aus-kfAbove: Buff-breasted or Paradise Kingfisher. I believe the one below is the song-famous Laughing Kookaburra.aus-kf2
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