14 November 2008

Where is Europe?

This month's Birding World appeared on the mat today. Having wrestled it from the jaws of the dog, I settled down to read it cover to cover (as is my wont). There are about 40 pages in a regular edition, so I usually allocate about 40 seconds for a read through: first I skip over the UK and WP photos/records sections (it's all been on the net for weeks by the time I see it in print); then I eagerly turn to the 'How I found the [enter rare bird here]' section and read the first paragraph or two of each article, the ones that cover the finder's moment of panic/euphoria; and, finally, I sometimes glance at whatever other random article has made it into the mag (often linked to whichever country Mr. Gantlett has just got back from). I then give it back to the dog to 'play' with. Well worth the money I think you'll agree (the mutt certainly thinks so).

This month's perusal was different mind, firstly I couldn't help but notice the editorial team had decided Corvo was far too quiet this year, so had randomly added all kinds of birds to our tally. One Common Nighthawk had become two, two Yellowthroats were boosted to five(!), the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker had found a friend, and likewise the Yellow-throated Vireo had also doubled in number. They have also reported that five REVs were present, it was probably, a slightly less impressive two. God knows who was to blame but, if you want a better idea of the status of yanks on the Azores, click here and check out the pretty darn accurate database.

As if the burgeoning of Corvo's rarity tally wasn't enough, I noticed that Birding World (presumably in an effort to make flipping rare birds sound even flipping rarer), are reporting the Little Blue Heron as "a new European bird". As if being a fourth for the WP isn't good enough! Of course, this now begs the question, where are the boundaries of Europe? The Azores are obviously excluded (that's where the last three LBHs have turned up), is Iceland? What about Scandinavia or Cyprus? I'm guessing Turkey is way out. I need to know,... in fact, I demand to know! Oh, wait up,... no,... I've just realised, I couldn't give a toss.

By the way, Ian Lewington's Goshawk cover and Amur/Red-footed Falcon plate are superb, is he the greatest bird illustrator of all time? Discuss.

5 comments:

Peter Alfrey said...

Yes Ian lewington is the greatest bird illustrator of all time- end of discussion

Ian said...

Remember that 'Europe' means something while the 'WP' is just fabricated bollocks for those who like to frequent islands that clearly support a nearctic avifauna and claim a surprise when they find a REV. Ahem. ;-)

Agree with the Lewington announcement though. However when I saw the Gos front cover I wondered which average muppet they had rolled in this time. I choked a little when i checked inside the cover.....

Darryl said...

Which of the following do you exclude from Europe? Azores, Turkey, Iceland, Madeira, Lesvos, Canary Islands, Spitzbergen, Cyprus, Isle of Man, Switzerland or the UK. And where do you draw the line in Russia? All categories are fabricated bollocks.

PS. A REV (or five) barely raises any eyebrow.
PPS. You shouldn't knock John Gale,... heretic!

Harry said...

Birding World, of course, was a fine journal once upon a time, with regular identification articles, some of which were even based on proper research, rather than on what spurious form they wanted to be a tick that month.
Unfortunately, it has been ever so slightly naff, as alluded to in your post, for some time, and I left my sub lapse in summer 2007...it sounds like I haven't missed much since.
As for bird artists, Ian Lewington is amazing, as is Lars Jonsson (the master...no, not the Master out of Doctor Who, that would be bizarre casting), my fellow Irishman Killian Mullarney, and more that I can't think of right now...

Darryl said...

We were talking about journals whilst in the Azores. I think the consensus was that WP birding journal nirvana would be an amalgamation of Birding World and Dutch Birding with a retention of the standards of the best articles in DB. There just isn't enough to write about each month to fill two mags, particularly if you were to reduce the pages dedicated to stuff which has been on the net weeks in advance of the mag arriving. It would probably require a big old buy out though, perhaps we need a sugar daddy, I wonder whether Lynx Edicions would be interested in doing a journal post HBW?

On the artist front, Killian is excellent and I do like Dan Zetterström's stuff.