Birds of the Cotswolds

BookBirds of the Cotswolds

Birds of the Cotswolds

A New Breeding Atlas

2009

June 15th, 2009

£25.00

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Since the 1980s the bird life of the Cotswolds has seen significant changes, many of them subtle but some spectacular. This beautifully illustrated and extensively researched book, the product of five years’ field work exposes these changes with the aid of simple and clear colour maps which give not only a detailed but easily understood picture of the breeding distributions of bird species in the area today, but also a comparison with 20 years ago. The maps are accompanied by descriptive accounts for each species, often containing fascinating local information. The book discusses the relative difficulties of surveying the different species, which will be of help to others undertaking the same task elsewhere. It is richly illustrated by colour photographs of the birds and their habitats. Its easy style and clarity will make this book of great interest not only to ornithologists, but to everyone with a concern for the natural environment of the Cotswolds, and to anyone planning a visit to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This is superb book which demons what a relatively small but dedicated group of observers can achieve in their local area. The North Cotswold Ornithological Society was founded in 1983 by Martin Wright. NCOS identified an area of twelve 10km squares which was surveyed for breeding birds in 1990. The present volume presents the results of a repeat survey carried out during 2003-07. The opening chapters include descriptions of the characteristic landscape and bird habitats of the Cotswolds well illustrated with clear coloured diagrams and an excellent selection of photographs of a variety of habitats. An outline of the method¬ology follows, including a comparison with the earlier survey. The species accounts then take up over 80% of the book. Each of the 91 most widespread species has its own double page spread, consisting of text, a colour photograph, summary table comparing data from the two atlases, a large coloured map showing, the 2003-07 tetrad distribution and two smaller maps showing the 1983-87 results and changes. A further 26 highly localised species have a brief summary at the end. The change maps are the most Interesting aspect of the book. There is a surprisingly high number of green dots {indicating presence in the second but not the first survey) on many of the maps. This mostly reflects greater survey effort in 2003•07, but discussion in the text highlights evidence for real expan¬sion in species such as Common Buzzard, Barn Owl, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Goldfinch and Linnet. Not surprisingly. Common Buzzard had the largest increase, with breeding confirmed in 94 tetrads, up from 11 in 1983-87. Yellow Wagtail appears to buck the current national trend; the text reveals a shift from river valleys in the east of the area to higher arable farm¬land in the west, a trend also evident in the recently published Birds of Wiltshire. Raven was not recorded in the first survey but, following colonisation in 1 998, breedmg was confirmed in 21 tetrads. The list of species with clear declines reads like a typical list of farmland and woodland birds in trouble across the whole of Britain – eg Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Tit and Starling. This is an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the area. I would also recommend it highly to collectors of British avifaunas and atlases as it is an attractive, up-to-date and authoritative work which represents good value for money at the price.

Birding World 23 (2); 87-88

This is an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the area. I would also recommend it highly to collectors of British avifaunas and atlases as it is an attractive, up-to-date and authoritative work which represents good value for money at the price.

Birding World 23 (2); 87-88

Liverpool University Press has published this glossy, 234-pages, £25 hardback that details the numbers and distribution patterns of the various species of birds in the Cotswolds.

Cotswold Journal

County and regional bird atlases are a really underrated tool for any birdwatcher, and this is a very fine example. For any birder in this outstandingly beautiful area, this is a must, for leisurely browsing as well as more systematic fact-checking.

Birdwatching Magazine

Recent local atlases have all tended to be of a very high quality, but this one stands out for the sheer level of professionalism and clarity. A beautifully presented atlas covering a beautiful part of the country.

BTO News

...a model to which other local avifaunas should aspire.

British Birds

The book is pleasantly designed, with coloured maps; photographs replace the drawings of the earlier work.

British Ornithologists' Union

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/9781846312106?cc=us

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