Book Review of…

Challenge Series: WINTER

by Anthony McGeehan

From MG: Well of course I want folk to buy the book. I hope people are inspired and encouraged in their birding; maybe even take on a  new perspective. I wish today that new little discoveries are made. But I do get a little overawed sometimes. Such is the nature of book reviews and especially with ‘WINTER’ which seems to have been particularly well received. So aware of some reticence on my part but grateful for positive input, here is one of several reviews of the new book.

The review is by Anthony McGeehan. You can find more of Anthony’s work and discoveries on his  Facebook Page

“I had only BF challenge series cover onlyone problem with this book. Setting out to review it, I could not find my copy. I searched the stack beside my bed and the rows on various shelves. In what I interpreted as a moment of divine inspiration, I ransacked the car. The next move was to accuse an innocent other of moving it inadvertently. A day passed. Next morning I picked up my rucksack and something clicked in my memory. I unzipped a pouch and remembered. I had forgotten that I had decided to keep the book with me in the field at all times. That is how relevant it is: too good to be left behind indoors.

Martin has a unique approach to promoting bird identification. He produces collections of material that serve both as a primer and reliable reference. His enthusiasm is messianic. Although interested in everything ornithological, his mission is to delve into identification topics that are either knotty or have not drawn previous attention. He loves minefields. The book concentrates on 15 topics. Some are groups of look-alike species, such as redpolls, or constituent subspecies that are unified under a single species banner, for example Icelandic and European Redwings or Arctic Peregrine and Peregrine. Rather than being, like the rest of us, fazed by the uncertainty of distinguishing (my words) sub-genre from sub-genre, Martin sets to work and then lays out the evidence. The book, therefore, is an assembly of text and photographs with artwork by Irish artist Ray Scally, who is fast becoming as perceptive with a paintbrush as Martin is with words. New-fangled, the book uses QR codes than can be scanned with a smart phone or tablet, transporting the reader to dedicated web pages.

The danger of not just specialising in identification challenges but also putting the aspiration in lights, is that the going will be heavy. Far from it. Martin has a deft touch, a skill that is hard to acquire and says everything about what makes him tick. From cover to cover, you sense that he really wants you to follow where he leads and is trying to keep hold of your hand every step of the way. Why does he want to crack the hard stuff? I do not know. His ideas and presentations are the raw material of future reference books. He is born pioneer. It is as though he was gifted some kind of metaphysical insight and he is determined to share it for the common good. I have been with him more than once when he noticed identification features that I failed to see but that he, through explaining his perception, brought into existence. Almost literally, he can make the blind see.”

To buy a copy go HERE

The review is by Anthony McGeehan. You can find more of Anthony’s work and discoveries on his Facebook Page

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