“This handsome volume is the successor to Kelly’s The Norfolk Bird Atlas (1986). The famous county has 1459 tetrads, and this new work is a triumph of organization, including as it does the contributions of over 400 observers, the number and quality of whom few counties could hope to equal. Illustrations are lavish, although the lovely photographs, mostly by David Tipling, sometimes overwhelm the maps and drawings. Indeed, the last, which can be useful for providing landscape background, can seem redundant.
The authors have aimed for a much more detailed treatment than any previous county Atlas. They follow the current county boundaries and have even excluded sections of border tetrads which are outside Norfolk. Any reader involved in the current national Atlas will immediately notice four features: November and July are excluded, the summer and winter periods being sub-divided at 15 May and 15 January; no time limit is set to tetrad visits, which average 3-4 hours; the summer counting units are ‘breeding pairs’ (which may be single adults or families!), their totals being shown by the size of the coloured dots on the maps; and no distinction is generally drawn between confirmed and probable breeding, both of which are defined as ‘likely’ and are represented by shading. For most species there are also maps showing changes since Kelly’s period. The authors are frank about possible dangers in their radical changes to what have become traditional systems, but they are surely right in their advocacy of such methods for local Atlases, which must aim for the fullest possible coverage rather than for mere sampling.
There are two important additions to the main Atlas text: P. W. Lambley’s section on habitats; and Marchant’s ‘Overview of Norfolk’s Birds’.”