Monday, November 04, 2013

Rare Birds! - Crossley ID Guide for Britain & Ireland

Blue Tit page from the new Crossley ID Guide - Britain & Ireland.
A couple a years ago I saw a promotional image of Black and White Warblers from then the new an innovative Crossley ID Guide for North America. I was hooked! Living on Fair Isle the most remote inhabited Island in the UK. I thought it might come in handy from time to time to identify birds on this legendary rare birding hot spot. Plus, I moved here from Upstate New York 7 years ago, I wasn't a Birdwatcher then, so, I thought it good to familiarize my self with American birds, the ones I took for granite for most of my life. I bought my copy on Amazon sight unseen. I wasn't disappointed, the book is like a photoshopped fantasy land for birdwatchers. I keep my copy handy and it sits often on the coffee table when I am hosting bird tours. It always raises a discussions on bird identification guides. The main debate is photography vs illustration? Like if you could only have one... Why argue, we have and need both!

 My son and I are always looking through our bird guides when we are try to learn about or ID a bird we usually look at a illustrated guide, but we find that there is nothing like a photography guide at it's side to really get the full sense of the bird. When we hear about a rare bird sighting on the Isle, we always look at our guide books first before going out to relocate the bird. What I really like is multiple bird photos in different plumages, sexes and distances shown in a appropriate landscape. My old photo guide had one photo of each bird, sometimes in both sexes if I was lucky, this isn't enough information for the type of birding we do here. Fair Isle isn't all about the rare birds though, but then again it sort of is. You might see a common bird like a Bunting, Warbler, Wader, etc. You automatically know what is, but are you sure? Look again it could be that similar rare species from Siberia or North America? And all sorts of rare birds have a habit to get extremely lost and find their way to Fair Isle. Sometimes rare birds on Fair Isle are common else where in Britain. So a good bird guide can really make a difference. 

Blue-headed Vireo & Red-eyed Vireo -
 Using my Crossley ID Guide for Eastern North America Birds.

Besides just being a nice coffee table book, I really used my Crossley ID Guide for Eastern North America Birds a few times this year... Highlights being Red-eyed Vireo - Grey Cheeked Thrush and a few North American Waders. (click birds name for blog post details on each bird.)

In Autumn 2012 I added 4 new bird ticks to my Fair Isle List presently at 272 species. I was fortunate to use my Crossley American Guide when we had a amazing visit from a Mega North American... Magnolia Warbler! The other birds were Siberian Ruby Throat and the surprisingly very rare on Fair Isle Great Tit and Blue Tit. As I said, some common birds in the UK. like Blue Tits are Fair Isle Megas! No Blue Tit had been seen on Isle since the early 1970's. We have had 5 of the 8 British records of Siberian Ruby Throat since then. It just goes to show even though the New Crossley ID Guide for birds of Britain & Ireland only details 300 of the most common birds, it's sure to come in handy for birds we don't see often. Plus it's a pleasure to look at.
linked to
I'm thrilled that they made a guide for Britian and Ireland.
I"m sure it will get plenty of use as my bird guides are the most used books in the house.

I now have all 3 Crossley ID Bird Guides in my collection,
 including the one for American Raptors

Great! innovation for Great Britain. is proud to kick off the Blog Tour.
12 days at 12 birding blogs! have a look for the posting schedule.

Enter to win 1 of 5 free copies of the new Guide: 

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