Here is a book to inspire any birdwatcher. It covers many subjects at the cutting edge of what is being discovered about birds, written by Martin Garner and a team of British birdwatchers who enthuse us about their own efforts to push forward the boundaries of what we know and implore the rest of us to join in.
The contributions include:
Ken Shaw on how, where and when to find your own rarities
Stuart Rivers' gripping tale of how he and a few mates proved that the island of Barra is a magnet for exciting migrants
Dave Farrow's account of the joys of sound-recording
Keith Clarkson's reminder that, wherever you live, you can observe and count passing migrants that are probably going unnoticed
Jimmy Steele on the excitement of working a local patch, not knowing what might turn up next.
But the meat of the book is Martin Garner's chapters on cutting-edge identification problems. These not only explain what is currently known, they also point out that surely we must be overlooking birds such as female White-winged Scoter, female Green-winged Teal, Pacific Fulmar, Yelkouan Shearwater and Moorhens, Eiders, Merlins and Hen Harriers of the American races. These birds must be out there. Armed with this book, you have a chance of finding them.
This book makes a significant step towards reminding us of what has recently been discovered but more than that it points out that there are many things that are still unknown. The pioneering birders who have contributed to this book have reminded us that there are many frontiers left to explore.