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Birds of the Cotswolds: A New Breeding Atlas

Distribution Atlas

By: Iain Main, Dave Pearce and Tim Hutton

234 pages, 100 colour photos and 280 colour maps

Liverpool University Press

Hardback | Jun 2009 | #180301 | ISBN-13: 9781846312106
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $31/€29 approx

About this book

This book is a must have for visitors to Cotswold natural history. It presents the results of a five year survey across the Cotswolds. It includes maps, full species accounts and distribution information for all species found in the region.

This beautifully illustrated and extensively researched book is the culmination of five years field work spanning across the entire Cotswolds. "Birds of the Cotswolds" is thus likely to be of interest to ornithologists but also the thousands of visitors to the area each year. The survey data identifies changes that have occurred in the breeding distributions of each species found in the region and through maps and illustrations provides accessible summaries of increases or decreases. Reliable identification of these changes is of vital importance for conservation in this area of outstanding natural beauty but also contributes to a bigger picture nationally.

This is superb book which demons what a relatively small but dedicated group of observers can achieve in their local area. The North Cotswold Ornithological Society was founded in 1983 by Martin Wright. NCOS identified an area of twelve 10km squares which was surveyed for breeding birds in 1990. The present volume presents the results of a repeat survey carried out during 2003-07. The opening chapters include descriptions of the characteristic landscape and bird habitats of the Cotswolds well illustrated with clear coloured diagrams and an excellent selection of photographs of a variety of habitats. An outline of the methodology follows, including a comparison with the earlier survey. The species accounts then take up over 80% of the book. Each of the 91 most widespread species has its own double page spread, consisting of text, a colour photograph, summary table comparing data from the two atlases, a large coloured map showing, the 2003-07 tetrad distribution and two smaller maps showing the 1983-87 results and changes. A further 26 highly localised species have a brief summary at the end. The change maps are the most Interesting aspect of the book. There is a surprisingly high number of green dots {indicating presence in the second but not the first survey) on many of the maps. This mostly reflects greater survey effort in 2003*07, but discussion in the text highlights evidence for real expansion in species such as Common Buzzard, Barn Owl, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Goldfinch and Linnet. Not surprisingly. Common Buzzard had the largest increase, with breeding confirmed in 94 tetrads, up from 11 in 1983-87. Yellow Wagtail appears to buck the current national trend; the text reveals a shift from river valleys in the east of the area to higher arable farmland in the west, a trend also evident in the recently published Birds of Wiltshire. Raven was not recorded in the first survey but, following colonisation in 1 998, breedmg was confirmed in 21 tetrads. The list of species with clear declines reads like a typical list of farmland and woodland birds in trouble across the whole of Britain - eg Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Tit and Starling. This is an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the area. I would also recommend it highly to collectors of British avifaunas and atlases as it is an attractive, up-to-date and authoritative work which represents good value for money at the price. Birding World 23 (2); 87-88 2010 This is an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the area. I would also recommend it highly to collectors of British avifaunas and atlases as it is an attractive, up-to-date and authoritative work which represents good value for money at the price. Birding World 23 (2); 87-88 2010 Liverpool University Press has published this glossy, 234-pages, GBP25 hardback that details the numbers and distribution patterns of the various species of birds in the Cotswolds. Cotswold Journal 200907 County and regional bird atlases are a really underrated tool for any birdwatcher, and this is a very fine example. For any birder in this outstandingly beautiful area, this is a must, for leisurely browsing as well as more systematic fact-checking. Birdwatching Magazine Recent local atlases have all tended to be of a very high quality, but this one stands out for the sheer level of professionalism and clarity. A beautifully presented atlas covering a beautiful part of the country. BTO News ...a model to which other local avifaunas should aspire. British Birds The book is pleasantly designed, with coloured maps; photographs replace the drawings of the earlier work. British Ornithologists' Union 2009


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