Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Great compact field guide for a single country
on 31 August 2012
This book is based on the books by the same author/illustrator team that cover all of western Africa. And while most of the illustrations are the same, there is also the same limitation in quality. However, I'm more interested in having accurate illustrations for the local species than for some visiting European migrants. Having a European field guide for those species makes much more sense, as there are highest quality books for the somewhat tricky groups.
Thus, it would seem to me that the previous reviewer has been way too harsh in the star rating. Sure, I agree with the reasoning, but I also think that this book is such a fine compact field guide that it will fulfill its main goals very well.
There is the traditional layout, with a clear and concise text and clear large range maps on the left, and the color illustrations on the right of the same spread. Flight illustrations are rare for passerines (except the swallows), thus following the earlier books.
My main "gripe" is concerning the problem that it's not always easy at first glance to say which name or illustrations belong together. This could have been facilitated by using - at times - a somewhat reduced illustration. But being an advocate of decently large pictures, I prefer drawing a few separation lines myself. No big thing for me, and thus I still think the book deserves at least close to five stars.
There is also a listing of local names in three widespread local languages where such names are known at all. This should help spreading some interest among the native people as well. As it is, we tend to consider it convenient to have such a book when visiting the area. And Ghana is small enough, and it has a wide diversity of habitats, to make it attractive for visiting birdwatchers. But the book's stated purpose is also to further local interests and understanding, and thus to help contributing to the protection of our European birds on their wintering grounds. And for that purpose, it's not that critical to distinguish all the difficult warblers.
While concentrating on Ghana, the book also includes the few additional species known to occur in neighbouring Togo.
As more people spend more time in the field, there will certainly have to be some revisions. It's important to collect such data, hopefully by a local organization such as the Ghana Wildlife Society to which the book was donated on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Ala, the Swiss Society for the Study and Conservation of Birds.