Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hawks At A Distance

A sequel to a birding guide? Jerry Liguori follows “Hawks From Every Angle” with “Hawks At A Distance”. An intriguing concept – take a few hundred of the most distant, silhouetted, weird angle photos and combine them into a field guide… not exactly what most readers would expect or desire but very useful to raptor enthusiasts and hawk counters! Less than 200 pages, light and compact – makes me wonder why the whole thing was not included as a subsection in “Hawks From Every Angle”, especially since the two combined make a stronger reference. Part of the compactness comes from only dealing with common species (29 species covered and may of these relegated to an afterthought). Nonetheless, this book does have advantage of being about the right size to throw into a WIDE coat pocket while you sit at a raptor count… and those images are useful in such a situation! Mostly this book is just hundred s of small photos with even smaller subject matter (take a look at these two two-page spreads of Sharp-shinned Hawk)

It is not hard to see how useful those images might be when you get a partial view, brief view or distant view of a raptor… and the text has some useful suggestions to remember in such circumstances. Definitely a step away from the concept of conveying the “beauty” of a given species in favour of practicality. It seems we are seeing a bit of a trend in this regard, although, personally, I still greatly prefer the Birds of Europe type approach that seems to portray both the close up detail and the distant GISS so well in amazingly little space. But hey, it is raptor counting season, so I will give this little book a try as soon as I find time to get to the bridge or the valley…

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