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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Product Review: Best Birdwatching Sites: Norfolk (3rd edition)

Best Birdwatching Sites: Norfolk (3rd edition) by Neil Glenn
ISBN 978-0-9569876-4-8
The ground-breaking First Edition publication of Neil Glenn's NORFOLK guide in 2002 set the benchmark for providing essential information for birdwatchers when visiting this popular and very productive county for birds. For this exciting third edition, Neil has re-evaluated every site and updated or revised where relevant, as well as adding nine locations previously not featured. It thus includes details of no less than 85 different locations, giving practical information and birding tips for each, along with detailed maps and access information. It features a list of target birds for each site and gives tips on how likely it is you will see them, and analyses species' occurrences by month (Your Birding Year).
I was keen to put the book to test and checked a number of sites I was very familiar with. Individual sites were usefully indexed with an accurate grid reference and OS map number, as well as with post codes and even GPS co-ordinates. The entry for Blakeney Point was novel, giving a 90% surety for Marsh Harrier, but Mediterranean Gull a paltry 10%. Overall, Little Tern should have been the main target bird (being the best site in North Norfolk) with a 100% chance of connection from early May. Giving Taiga Bean Goose an 85% chance from Buckenham Marshes was being somewhat over-optimistic (I would say 35%), particularly as they wander so wildly, are affected by severe weather conditions and are often feeding in locations where they cannot be seen from anywhere! And Wolferton Triangle being the best site for Golden Pheasant in the country - far from it I am afraid - but certainly the best publicly accessible site, even if all the surviving males are in-bred variants. Furthermore, the entry for Honey Buzzard was interesting - 10% chance from Pensthorpe (I don't think so) - and one main site not even listed (Swanton Novers of course being abandoned by this species in recent years).
Apart from these minor quibble however, this is an invaluable guide - essential for anyone planning a trip to the county or birdwatching regularly there. Incredibly easy to use and browse and of a pocket design size, essential companionship for a day's outing and at just £17.95 a copy, a bargain.

Available now from Buckingham Press Ltd, 55 Thorpe Park Road, Peterborough, PE3 6LJ (please make cheques payable to Buckingham Press Ltd)