Neil Glenn and John Miles’ book ‘Best Birdwatching Sites: Yorkshire’ is a fine piece of work and one that should be of use to all Yorkshire birders, especially those keen on county listing or exploring Yorkshire’s best birding sites. The book provides information on 88 sites, five of which are in the York Recording Area (Askham Bog, North Duffield Carrs, Skipwith Common, Strensall Common and Wheldrake Ings). Most sites are allocated a double page spread, but larger, more complex sites such as Spurn are given eight pages, enabling the authors to convey lots of useful detail.
Much of the information on Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and RSPB sites is available elsewhere (on their websites for instance) but what this book offers is a review of the sites purely from a birders perspective, which is useful. The information for each site is up to date – although things change rapidly of course – and includes birding tips to get the best from your visit, detailed site maps which is a great help for finding and enjoying the site, information about disabled access, what birds you might see in each month or season and what the public transport options are. For patch workers there will be undoubtedly be improvements that could be suggested, but as a general birders guide it is an impressive piece of work and an essential handbook.
The book also provides suggested itineraries for birding month by month, with key avian highlights mentioned, and finishes with an annotated Yorkshire bird list, which includes rarities such as the Siberian Accentor from 2016 and recent taxonomic changes, such as the lumping of Common/Mealy and Lesser Redpolls.
The only downside of this book is that there are a few errors in site names and other typos plus inconsistencies around site ownership, issues that should have been picked up by the proof reader. These things do not detract from what is a comprehensive review of Yorkshire’s top 88 birding sites and the authors have done a fine job. I am sure this book will find a place in many Yorkshire birders car glove boxes and book shelves and will be used for many years to come.
Visit http://www.buckinghampress.co.uk/best-birdwatching-sites-yorkshire1.html for details of how to purchase the book. The cost is £19.95 (inc. p&p).
Jono Leadley, York Area Recorder