Bird book of high standard

The Orkney Book of Birds by Tim Dean, illustrated by Tracy Hall. Published by The Orcadian, £24.90

ANOTHER bird book is on sale in bookshops and this time it is the Orkney Book of Birds by ornithologist Tim Dean, illustrated by international award-winning artist Tracy Hall.

Although not an identification guide as such the book concentrates on almost 200 birds that are most likely to be seen in the islands.

Three to five species, set in an island habitat and chosen by Dean, are illustrated in each of the 50 superb plates painted by Hall. Illustrating birds is no easy task and the odd illustration or two is slightly off the mark, but that is nothing to worry about considering almost 200 have been tackled.

Opposite the illustrations the excellent text gives a detailed commentary of each bird, which habitat they are likely to be found in, as well as time of year and whether or not they are difficult to find.

Dean has chosen not to use species names recommended by the British Ornithological Union Records Committee. He has used the older names familiar to most people, such as dunnock rather than hedge accentor, and kestrel rather than common kestrel. Where relevant Orkney or Scots names are also included.

This publication is very easy to read and browse through and is produced to a very high standard. So whether you are a beginner or a seasoned birdwatcher this book would not be out of place in your home, bearing in mind that most Orkney birds can be seen in Shetland.

With Christmas just around the corner The Orkney Book of Birds could solve your present-buying dilemma.

Jim Nicolson


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