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cheap books on Natural History

Discussion in 'TV, Movies, Books about Zoos & Wildlife' started by Chlidonias, 3 Oct 2012.

  1. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    As much as I'd like to, the only full sets are well over $100. However, it's certainly something I'll look forward to getting in the future, along with HMW and HBW, though those are going to take a while.
     
  2. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Pretend it's really four books, then you can afford it.
     
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  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I was going to suggest Delacour's set too, but thought jayjads2 might like a more recent work. Note too that Scott's Coloured Key is pretty much just that - there's no real duscussion in it about the species (from memory - all my books are in storage so I haven't seen it for a few years).
     
  4. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    This being the main reason - along with the fact that jayjds2 said he didn't want a pure ID guide - why I did not suggest this book, excellent though it is.
     
  5. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    I decided an ID guide would be fine (help me sort out a few old ones) and paired it with the extremely cheap ($6) Ducks of the World for learning more.
     
  6. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    So going back to page 5/6 where I brought up The Australian Bird Guide, I did order the book on NHBS and I have got it now. The illustrations look very good and a good size. The maps are not too small either, and the text seems quite good. The weird grouping into 'Marine and Coastal', 'Freshwater', and 'Land' birds is not as weird as I thought it would be because the sections are broad enough that it is usually obvious where the birds would be and within the sections they seem to be in normal taxonomic order. Jacanas being grouped under 'Marine and Coastal' seems odd though.

    As for the weight, I think it is a reasonable weight to carry in a suitcase when travelling and to carry around when doing things such as birding from a hide or anything where you are mostly in one place (sea watching, watching waders, staking out an area for something, etc.). I think it's a little too big and heavy to carry around when walking a longer distance to go birding or anything like that, but you could conceivably carry it, particularly if you don't have too much equipment like cameras etc.
     
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  7. dean

    dean Well-Known Member

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    There where some copies of Delacour's volumes on eBay a few months back, may be that would be some where to look
     
  8. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    for LaughingDove and zooboy28 (and anyone else who has a copy or has looked through it well), I just found out that there will be a new run of the field guide put out later this year and any of the minor errors (labelling mistakes etc) can be corrected. So if you have found any, you can let CSIRO Publishing know before 17 July.
     
  9. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't got a copy yet, although perhaps I should hold off. If anyone does find any errors but can't be bothered contacting the publishers, you can let me know and I will pass info on to the authors (or at least the author whose office is one floor below mine :))
     
  10. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    My (autographed) copy should be arriving on Friday. Along with HANZAB 7.

    :p

    Hix
     
  11. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    My copy arrived today, and from flipping through it this afternoon here is my view of the previous comments, and a comparison with Pizzey & Knight (the only other Australian field guide I have with me):

    Size: 25cm x 17.5cm x 3.25cm (which is about 1.5cm x 2cm larger than Pizzey - same thickness).
    Weight: 1.443kg (Pizzey is 1.228kg)

    So overall a little larger and a little heavier than Pizzey. It is a bit heavy to go lugging around in the field with you, but for me that's irrelevant as I don't carry a field guide around with - I leave it in the car. And this book would be fine for the car.

    There are several introductory sections:
    • Constructing the Guide: how it was put together and how to use it; the legends/colours/symbols used for the maps; information listed; sequence of species etc. In other books would be termed 'How to use this guide' (7 pages)
    • Identifying Birds: discusses Judging Size; Bird Topography; quite a bit on Feathers & Moulting and Plumage Sequences & Ageing Birds; Geographic Variation & Subspecies (9 pages)
    • Birding In Australia: When to Go Birding; Migration; Equipment (with paragraphs on binoculars, scopes, cameras, spotlights and sound recording); Ethical Birding; Documenting Your Records (6 pages)
    • The Evolution and Classification of Australian Birds (7 pages)

    The rest of the book is the guide itself, prefaced by a page listing abbreviations and symbols.

    As has been mentioned, the book is dived into three sections: Coastal and Marine Birds, Freshwater Birds, and Land Birds. Within each section the birds are listed taxonomically. Like Pizzey & Knight, the inside cover has illustrations of the various bird groups and the corresponding page number, but in this case Coastal & Marine, Freshwater and Land Birds are in their own separate boxes. The inside back cover has large map illustrating the part of the globe covered by this book, with external territories (Christmas, Cocos Keeling, Macquarie, Lord Howe, Norfolk, McDonald and Heard Islands) circled. Every species either resident, migratory, or vagrant since 1940 is recorded in the book, as opposed to other books which tend to concentrate on the mainland and Tasmania. Unfortunately, the 1940 cut-off means the Paradise Parrot is not included.

    The main body of the book is similar to most field guides: text on the left page, illustrations on the right. At the start of each new family there is a box providing information on the family. The layout for the species is pretty standard - text on the left page and illustrations on the right. For each double page there is usually only 3 or 4 species described. For many species there are several illustrations detailing different plumages, ages and subspecies. However, the drawings are smaller than in Pizzey & Knight, in order to fit them all on the same page (for instance, Crimson Rosella has twelve drawings of males and females in profile, and another six of birds in flight, illustrating the differences between adults and immatures/juveniles of 5 subspecies and one intergrade.

    The different species illustrations are separated by a straight line, something missing in some field guides which can lead to confusion when two drawings of similar species are close together. And there are arrows and text highlighting the key identification features for each species.

    There is quite a bit of text for each species, a bit more than I'm used to seeing in a field guide, even though there are only three sections: a detailed description of the species and any subspecies, a bit on the voice and bit titles Notes which covers anything else of interest.

    At the bottom of the page are the distribution maps. They are exactly the same size as in Pizzey and Knight, but where the latter uses a map of Australia for every species, The Australian Bird Guide will use enlarged maps instead, for example of South-western WA or Tasmania, for species that are endemic to that part of the country. However, for those maps showing the whole continent it can be hard to read clearly when there are several subspecies each represented by a different colour (and the very small print identifying which colour represents which subspecies is impossible to read without some form of magnification). Vagrant species don't have a map, but the Notes detail the sightings.

    And beside the name of each species is a circle, which may be solid, or empty, of partly filled. This givens a birder an indication of how likely they are to see this species if they are in the right habitat in the right season.

    One other thing - it comes with a built-in ribbon, to save the page you were looking at like a bookmark.

    Overall, I'm happy with the purchase and I'm sure it will get a lot of use over the coming years.

    :p

    Hix
     
    Last edited: 26 May 2017
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  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    a bump to the thread for anyone with some money to spend :)

    NHBS | Browse Book Clearance

    There's a lot of very "niche" titles in the NHBS clearance stock ("African Waterfowl Census 1996" as an example), which will make it a fun treasure-hunt for probably everyone who reads this thread.

    I did see a 2014 book on there called "The Invisible Ark: in defense of captivity" for £2.25 - has anyone seen that before?
     
  13. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  14. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, by definition, probably not... :D:p
     
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  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    and another one: Special Offers | Subbuteo

    I promise I didn't specifically search that one out - I was looking for a mammal guide for Iran and came across it through sheer fortuity. Loads of bargains on there, many around half-price. I think it'd be best for UK buyers as it is free shipping with orders over £25.
     
  16. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    Up to Sunday you can get up to 40% discount on books from Bloomsbury publishing (including my Helm field guides): Bloomsbury - Birds
     
  17. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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  18. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tip: I bought Primates of the World and Mammals of China, both of which have been on my wishlist for a longtime. I also bought Notebooks from New Guinea and The Stick Book, as being cheap and interesting.

    Best of all, their postage rates to China are insanely cheap!
     
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  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  20. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    According to Amazon I added this book to my wishlist in 2016, I'm sure at the time it was supposed to come out in '17, so presumably this is the paperback release. Another one that I'll definitely buy down the road.

    I think NHBS should really add some functionality to sort by price; going through 3000 books looking for the stuff that is only of interest because it's dirt cheap is quite a pain.