Birds in Counties, published in 2000, is an ornithological bibliography for the counties of England, Wales and Scotland, and for the Isle of Man. The first supplement contained corrections and additions, and a new section on the Channel Islands. The second supplement added further corrections and updates to the end of 2008, and extended coverage to the counties of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
This third supplement makes further additions, and provides a full indec to authors and local journals throughout the work.
The original book, with its supplements, is an essential reference work for libraries and collectors, and for all those interested in the rich diversity of local ornithology in the United Kingdom and in Ireland.
The book Birds in Counties was published in 2000 and gave details of the ornithological literature of every county in England, Wales and Scotland (and the Isle of Man), but not Ireland. First and Second Supplements appeared in 2001 and 2009, and contained corrections and updates and the latter included information on Ireland.
This Third (and final) Supplement adds yet more references published up to November 2014, and includes many amendments to information in the previous volumes. The Supplement is restricted to just 100 signed copies, and as might be expected from the previous works it is meticulous in its detail. The author has taken great care to include as much information as possible about each reference, with the result that abbreviations have been used rather extensively. There is in fact a three page guide to the abbreviations – but despite this I still found myself checking a few Latin abbreviations!
An interesting and useful element of this Supplement is a 42-page alphabetical index to the 5300 authors whose works are covered in the original volume and the three supplements. This enables rapid checking of sources, but also reveals that the author only catalogues papers and publications which report on all of the birds of an area – whether a small wood or the entire county. So you will not find references to papers on the status of a single species or family, although (as in the main book) exceptions have again been made for waders and wildfowl – which are included.
Those still wanting to buy a copy of the original book and the First Index can obtain these for £25.00 and £15.00 respectively (from Isabelline Books, 6 Bellevue, Enys, Penryan, Cornwall TR10 9LB). The Second Supplement is now out of print, but the author is willing to copy specific references for a small charge.
As David Ballance has firmly stated that he is not publishing further updates, the challenge is there for someone to carry on this work. Ideally such an effort should be made available online, and perhaps include papers on all aspects of county and local ornithology.
David Ballance was born in Hertfordshire in 1934. He was educated at Oundle School and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Where he read English and was President of the Bird Club. From 1959 to 1996 he taught at Chigwell School, in Essex, where he was Head of English from 1976. Since 1945 he has had a base in Somerset, and he has lived at Minehead since his retirement.
He is a Past President of the Somerset Ornithological Society, and has been an Editor of its report, Somerset Birds, since 1963. He has written extensively on the ornithology of the county, including A History of the Birds of Somerset (2006), and is one of the authors of the recent Somerset Bird Atlas. He has also written a history of Chigwell School. Since 1996, he has made twenty voyages in search of seabirds throughout the world.
For many years he has collected county and local omithologies, an interest which led him to compile Birds in Counties.