Book Review: Birds of Argyll

Published by the Argyll Bird Club, 2007, 424 pages, £45.00 (available from The Celtic House, Bowmore, and other outlets on the island. Also: at www.argyllbirdclub.org. The last book which dealt with the birds of Argyll was published over a century ago, in 1892! The Argyll Bird Club, an organisation with less than 200 members, deserves great praise for taking on the very considerable challenge of producing a modern, up-to-date, avifauna of the county. The book had been produced an editorial team of six people who, between them, came up with the original concept, obtained the necessary funding to cover the printing costs, and then buckled down to the hard work of writing the introductory chapters and well over half the species accounts, drawing the maps, finding photographers and artists, and at the end laying out the whole work prior to sending it to the printers. I should declare an interest at this point, as I wrote a ten of the species accounts (not surprisingly concentrating on the geese and ducks), but despite that involvement I was tremendously impressed when I received my copy of the book. It has been written, illustrated and published to the highest standards. Continue reading.....After a comprehensive introduction to Argyll, detailing the many different habitats in the county and their importance to birds, including changes that have occurred both to the detriment and to the benefit of different species, some of Argyll’s best birdwatching localities are listed in a gazetteer, over 20% of the 75 places being (deservedly) on Islay. There are individual species accounts for no less than 343 species, varying in length from a few lines for a single occurrence of a vagrant to two pages with a map, and sometimes tables and charts, for the commoner species. High quality colour photographs and black-and-white line drawings are spread throughout this large-format book, making it a pleasure both to read and to look through. The book concludes with a gazetteer of all the place-names mentioned in the text and a comprehensive bibliography. I unreservedly recommend it as the standard work on the birds of Argyll, if not for as long as a century at any rate for very many years to come. Well done, the Argyll Bird Club. Malcolm Ogilvie

This story was published with kind permission from the Ileach local newspaper.

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