The Birds of the Island of Helgoland
A suggestion from me of something different to ‘ask for’ this Christmas. Certainly one of the coolest books I have seen this autumn:
Helgoland. It is the mother of all bird observatories. A remarkable history includes the island once belonging to the British and the attempt to blow the island up- by the British. The book showcases amazing historical records like Eastern Crowned Warbler and fascinating modern records of great interest to other North Sea facing birding locations, such as Grey-necked Bunting, Moltoni’s Warbler and Hornemann’s Redpoll. Even American passerines that must have passed close to or through Britain such as Black-throated Green Warbler and Yellow-throated Vireo. One of the most sumptuous books I have seen in a while. More than enough to keep an ‘English only’ reader happy.
The book can be bought at one of the cheapest prices direct from the OAG Helgoland website.
Steve Gantlett’s pithy review covers it well:
“This is a mammoth work on the world’s most famous bird observatory island (in the North Sea, off the coast of Germany, of course), with an illustrious history going back to the days of Heinrich Gatke (Heligoland as an Ornithological Observatory: the result of fifty year’s experience, Gatke 1895). This is in every way a worthy successor to that seminal work. The main text is in German, but that should not prevent non German readers from both enjoying the book and finding it extremely useful on the subject of migratory birds in Europe. There are brief English summaries to each of the species accounts and there are maps and histograms of occurrence for most species which require no language to understand. There are high quality colour photographs throughout and the book has been produced to an extremely high standard. As well as the comprehensive species accounts (which include details of the many rarities recorded, as well as photographs), fascinating introductory chapters covering Habitats, History, Breeding birds, Migration, Rarities and Methods are each well-served with English summaries too, while the many colour photographs throughout these chapters have short but interesting captions in English. This book is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in bird migration.”
Steve Gantlett, Birding World 24(10), November 2011
I certainly plan on going back as soon as I can!