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Turaco Country: Reminiscences of East African Birding

Biography / Memoir
This hefty tome is Zimmerman's definitive account of a lifetime spent roaming Africa looking at birds

By: Dale A Zimmerman (Author), Narca Moore-Craig (Editor)

783 pages, 937 colour photos, 2 colour maps

Sky Island Press

Hardback | Sep 2015 | #223652 | ISBN-13: 9780982321706
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £77.99 $95/€88 approx

About this book

Dale Zimmerman's singular memoir details a half-century of ornithological investigations in East Africa, at a time when Africa's fabled wildlife and wild habitats flourished beneath the snows of Kilimanjaro. Set against the political backdrop of the shift from colonial to African rule, Turaco Country documents a field ornithologist's quintessentially African experience, capturing the sights, scents and sounds of a vanishing world.

In 1961, Dale Zimmerman set off for Africa, armed with a degree in Botany, years of study of African avifauna, and a keen passion for wild nature. Thus began an adventure that would span a half-century. In the ensuing years, while Dr. Zimmerman was Professor of Biology at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, he continued to explore birdlife on all continents, but always returned to Africa. An acclaimed artist as well as scientist, he co-authored and co-illustrated two field guides, Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania and Birds of New Guinea.

Zimmerman's first step into Africa led to immersion in the misty Kakamega Forest, where he unraveled mysteries surrounding its little-investigated birdlife. Often with his wife Marian (also an ornithologist and a botanist) and young son Allan (later himself a fine naturalist), he found adventure aplenty among the lions, elephants, hornbills, and exquisite turacos.

Generously spiced with photographs taken by the Zimmermans and their friends, Turaco Country sparkles with a life that is uniquely African.

"[...] I for one am delighted that Dale Zimmerman has provided us with this fascinating account of his long love affair with an East Africa that we may never see again."
– Nigel Redman, Bulletin of the African Bird Club, Volume 23(2)

"Dale Zimmerman leads us on an intimate, intensely personal journey of ornithological discovery, brimming with the eager enthusiasm and obvious passion of an ardent birder and naturalist, yet interwoven throughout with the scholarly insights of a distinguished biologist [...] This book will appeal to birders and naturalists of all stripes, and should leave even the most sedentary of armchair travelers looking to book the next flight to Africa!"
–  Kevin J. Zimmer

"Dale Zimmerman [...] [is] one of the most knowledgeable naturalists ever to study this region. The more than 930 photographs [...] are of the very highest quality and interest. This is a memoir that one will read and reread endlessly for its vivid images of a disappearing Africa and for the joy in nature it so beautifully expresses."
–  Noel F. R. Snyder


Introduction   14

Chapter 1: The First Journey   19
   Arrival   19
   Safari Diary   41
   Serengeti   116
   The "Pearl of Africa"   219

Chapter 2: The Return   255
   Marian Comes to Africa   284
   Checking in at Kakamega   376
   Nairobi Interludes   383
   A Morning near Ulu   390
   To Tsavo and the Coast   399
   The Captivating Sokoke   451

Chapter 3: Forest Odyssey – Counting Kakamegas Birds   479

Chapter 4: Mau Interlude   523
   At Home at Kivulini   523
   Samburu   564
   Farewell to Kivulini   614

Chapter 5: Family Life at Kakamega   619
   Return to the Forest   640

Chapter 6: Butterfly Digression   663

Chapter 7: Birding with Binford   711

Chapter 8: Kenya Birdwatch, 1986   725

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