Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where not to watch birds at Galley

Got my hands on the Galley Head section of the newly revised "Where to watch birds in Ireland" book yesterday and have to say it appears to be a bit crap! The original book was written by Clive Hutchinson a good while ago, and while the blurb claims that "the book has been extensively revised" it doesn't seem to be the case for the Galley Head section at least!

 Perhaps the strangest bit of text in the section is the news that "Dirk Bay and the gardens at Galley Head may well be productive in spring, but they have never been watched at this season!" How bizarre! I've been thrashing Galley every spring since 2004, and I'm certainly not the only one! And I wasn't the first either! And there's even been some good birds found in spring e.g. hoopoes in March & April 2005, male woodchat shrike in April 2005,  male red-backed shrike in May 2010, wryneck and alpine swift in May 2011, to list but a few. And who found the black-winged stilt at Kilkeran Lake in May 2005 if it wasn't birders doing Galley in the spring? Actually, spring 2005 was pretty fecking good looking back on it, and should surely have got a mention in the book!

The autumn round up is patchy to say the least, with the ancient 1985 but still amayzing haul of american redstart and philadelphia vireo getting dragged out again, but no mention of two pallas's warblers together in November 2003, the cracking swainson's thrush in October 2008 (Ireland's 5th) or the black-headed bunting from September 2009. All in all, it would appear that there has been little in the way of revision in this section at least, and the directions and maps are pretty scanty on detail. If this is typical of the book, then I'd advise potential buyers to get a copy of Eric Dempsey's "Finding Birds in Ireland" instead - its a better researched and more up-to-date book, IMHO. (And it mentions and maps Shite Lane too - bonus!)

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Dempsey's book is certainly the higher quality. I suspect the 2nd edition of the "Where to watch" may have been a very rushed, zero researched piece of "work" which came off the back of Eric's publication.

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