Like many men and women these days, I carry a bag. I carry a bag when I’m in the field. I carry a bag when I’m running errands around town. I carry a bag more or less whenever I leave the house for anything more than to walk the dog or take my evening stroll. Ideally, so that I need not worry about being without some item of my essential kit as a result of switching between different bags for different activities, I very much prefer the bag I carry for all these diverse purposes to be the same bag. Consequently, if you see me out in public toting a bag the chances that I have given the selection of that particular bag a great deal of consideration are extraordinarily high. Which is why my time putting the Filson Camera Field Bag through its proverbial paces has been so satisfying; it has demonstrated that it would well serve any purpose to which I would wish to put it. Keep reading…
Recent Book Reviews
You likely already knew that the national bird of the United States is the American Bald Eagle, and – if you know a bit about birds – you could probably have guessed that the national bird of Guatemala is the Resplendent Quetzal, but what is the national bird of Estonia? How about Israel? Jamaica? If you don’t know, don’t feel bad; I didn’t either – at least until I read Ron Toft’s new book National Birds of the World. Keep reading…
If ever a book embodied the truth behind the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words it is Errol Fuller’s new Lost Animals; Extinction and the Photographic Record, for while somewhat sparing in text, the photographs it includes speak volumes. Indeed, it might even be said that the light touch given to the amount of text included allows the stories of the animals to be told all the more effectively by the photographs themselves. Keep reading…
Newly Noted Books
When you hear names of bird species such as Cetti’s Warbler, Townsend’s Solitaire, or MacGillivray’s Fairy-wren, do you ever stop and give thought to who Cetti, Townsend, or MacGillivray were? And for that matter, was MacGillivray the same MacGillivray of the MacGillivray’s Warbler?
When I first thumbed through the new Britain’s Habitats: A Guide to the Wildlife Habitats of Britain and Ireland, I was not only taken by how helpful it could be to a naturalist seeking to acquire or refine an understanding of those nations’ multifaceted countrysides, I was also struck by how useful the book could be to someone studying English literature.
For those who are either presently in New Guinea, planning a trip there, or – like me – just fond of fantasizing about all the natural wonders to be found there, news of the recent publication by Princeton University Press of the second edition Pratt and Beehler’s “Birds of New Guinea” should be very welcome indeed.
When I first heard about it, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Christine Kenneally’s recently published book The Invisible History of the Human Race. However now that I’ve read through the first few chapters I must admit that while I’m still not entirely sure where her narrative will ultimately lead, the journey in itself is proving to be one rich in very interesting details.
When one is a reviewer of books, each trip to the post office is a potential path to discovery. For example, just the other day a package arrived containing a new book from Oregon State University Press: A Hunger for High Country; One Woman’s Journey to the Wild in Yellowstone Country by Susan Marsh.
The last time a New Naturalist series volume was wholly devoted to the subject of nature in an urban area was Richard Fitter’s famous 1945 work London’s Natural History (New Naturalist #3). Now, David Goode once again takes up the subject.
For those who might not know it, my first and still true scholarly love is not in fact natural history but rather the classics. Indeed, I took up the study of religion at university due to the fact that it was the department in which I could study Greek. However, life being what it is, I “chose a different path” after my undergraduate studies and for some years have neglected my studies in that area. Realizing this and determining to rectify this neglect, I have recently returned to my reading again this subject area.
The Well-equipped Naturalist
Smaller than a conventional full sized binocular but larger than both compact and the increasingly ubiquitous 32mm objective “mid-sized” models, the BGA Classic 7x36mm breaks from both the magnification and objective diameter conventions to provide a highly versatile binocular that is well-suited as both a primary a well as a “sidekick” model.
Helen Macdonald, Tim Dee, and James Macdonald Lockhart recently gathered to discuss birds at the London Review Bookshop. Fortunately, for those unable to attend, it was recorded and can now be heard via podcast.
“I got into bird watching because I discovered I could be on a murder scene and there’d be birds. So I got these little binoculars I’d carry in my pocket because I had to have some connection to the natural world – or the sane world – if I was going to do this.”