New Australian Field Guide

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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philbattley
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 2:21 pm

New Australian Field Guide

Postby philbattley » Wed May 24, 2017 11:23 am

Some of you may be aware that a long-awaited new guide to the birds of Australia is out now (The Australian Bird Guide, by Menkhorst et al.), and I just got my copy today! I'm not an impartial viewer of it as one of the authors is a long-standing research colleague, but it is comprehensive and looks brilliant. The number of illustrations is amazing, e,g, for the jaegers (the smaller skuas in our terminology) there are 47 different images portrayed. The amount and level of ID information in the guide far outstrips any other Australian field guides.

We can all discuss it at length once we've bought copies and had time to consider them, but Danny Rogers (author) informs me that they will be doing a rerun later in the year in which they can correct any small errors etc in it. Some errors in the plate labeling has evidently crept in (I found one in the godwit page) so if you find any, let CSIRO Publishing know by 17 July and it can be corrected.

So go buy a copy, enjoy it, let the forum know what you think.

Cheers, Phil
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kengeorge
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Location: Golden Bay

Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby kengeorge » Wed May 24, 2017 5:41 pm

Australia is particularly well covered with a great range of birder field guides, with the Pizzey & Knight, Simpson & Day, the backpack friendly Slater, and the Morecombe, plus the excellent Campbell/Woods/Leseberg photographic field guide. There are also many regional guides, Australia must have more good field guides for it's bio-geographic area and per bird than just about anywhere else. This new guide (Menkhorst et al) is at least as good as the others, and obviously more up to date. A feature I particularly like is the full checklist (with tick boxes) towards the back of the book- very useful and highly recommended. Only comment I would make, and this is absolutely not at all a criticism, is that it's a large and quite heavy book, suitable for home use or having in the car, if this is your first Aussie field guide and you're planning on carrying it around in the field all day, check it out in a bookshop first.
Last edited by kengeorge on Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
Matthias
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Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:50 am

Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby Matthias » Sat May 27, 2017 1:31 pm

Hi Phil,

I like the new field guide, but I have also spotted some mistakes. Do you know the address at CSIRO for sending comments?

Cheers,
Matthias
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philbattley
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Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby philbattley » Sun May 28, 2017 8:56 am

I'd try their general address:

publishing.sales@csiro.au

Cheers, Phil
Matthias
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Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:50 am

Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby Matthias » Mon May 29, 2017 9:39 am

OK, thanks!
Cheers,
Matthias
SomesBirder
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Location: Eastbourne

Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby SomesBirder » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:08 pm

The authors of the guide decided to exclude all vagrants that haven't been recorded in Australia since 1940, meaning that the upland sandpiper isn't in it, but the corncrake was excluded too, despite the fact that Australia's second corncrake record occurred in 1944.
Also, I'm surprised by how many "potential vagrant" birds there are in the book; I thought that including unrecorded/unconfirmed birds in bird guides was looked down on.

-Somes
what in god's name is a folly tomo
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RussCannings
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Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby RussCannings » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:13 am

As long as they're upfront with the unrecorded yet likely vagrants I think that's useful. My copy hasn't arrived yet so not sure how those species are presented. It becomes a problem if inexperienced birders interpret them as 'likely to occur' and therefore just as possible as the residents. But in the rare event that the species does show up, it's nice having them there instead of having to seek out an Asian or American field guide. I suppose they reckon a lot of those historical records are less likely to reoccur than some of the unrecorded ones. Would have thought Upland Sand would be a good candidate to reoccur though.

Looking forward to checking out the guide soon.

Russ
Peter Hodge
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Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 10:00 am

Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby Peter Hodge » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:44 am

I used this guide on a recent trip to Far North Queensland, and found it to be excellent. There are lots of useful features, e.g., key distinguishing features of species, and between similar looking species, are highlighted in the illustrations. It's heavy, but I still carried it around with me almost everywhere, using it in conjunction with Lloyd Neilsen's Birds of the Wet Tropics.

Peter
StuartNich
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Re: New Australian Field Guide

Postby StuartNich » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:17 pm

You had better know the current Common Names, as the Index is ordered by adjectives e.g. "Australasian Darter" is the entry entry not "Darter, Australasian". The NZr's "Spur-winged Plover" is a "Masked Lapwing" (look under M not L). The two stone curlews are under Bush Stone-curlew and Beach Stone-curlew.
Despite the index, there are three aids to guide you to the species text and illustration(s) you are probably looking for. 1) Inside the front cover is a typical picture of each group of birds, with the first main page number. 2) There is a chart on the op-Contents page, 3) There is a Checklist of species, pp 534-545 in taxonomic order with Common Name given.
Warning: Only 3-5 spp per page, so read the Introduction for the layout rationale.
Another warning: the bird dimensions given follow a different system c.f. the bill-tail measurement we are ususlly given.
The introductory pages are good reading and the section "A guide for birders to the evolution and classification of Australian birds" by Dr Leo Joseph, is excellent. It contains that wonderful chart from Jarvis et al 2014,

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