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Robert K. Furrer "Swissboy" (Sempach, Switzerland)

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Opticron T3 Trailfinder 8x25 Green Compact Binocular
Opticron T3 Trailfinder 8x25 Green Compact Binocular
Offered by OptixMania
Price: £65.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb for the price. Actually hard to believe!, 23 Oct. 2014
This is probably the best I have ever come across in the price range below the top shots. Thus, there is a clear fine and bright view. A very smooth focus, and a surprisingly close focus as well. So much better than the Adventurer offered from the same company. And if one needs to wear glasses while using binoculars, one still gets pretty much the full field of view here. The only limitation I can see comes for those with a narrow setting of their eyes. In that case, the two tubes may not fold together sufficiently. So in case of doubt, it would be good to try before you buy. Otherwise just go ahead and you certainly won't regret it. Whether green or black, it is the same fine model.


Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles and the Comoros (Chamberlain)
Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles and the Comoros (Chamberlain)
by Ian Sinclair
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top field guide for the region!, 23 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is essentially a completely new book despite the fact that it is called 3rd edition. It is a classical field guide with the range maps and text facing the plates. By far the most convenient way to do it. The plates, all in full colour, are superb, the range maps clear and the texts are concise and most informative. Definitely a top field guide, and well worth buying even if one has no immediate intention to ever visit the area.


Opticron Compact Binocular Rainguard
Opticron Compact Binocular Rainguard
Price: £8.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars These are very handy raingards for compact binoculars. I ..., 23 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are very handy raingards for compact binoculars. I only wonder why they are made bulkier than they need to be for the purpose. I cut off the protrusions on the bridge. They are a nuisance when folding the binoculars.
Similarly, the major part of the rim along the left side can be cut off with a sharp knife. One only needs the part that corresponds to the strap attachment on the binoculars.As not all binoculars have their strap attachment in the same position, the rainguard needs to be made with this adjustable version. That is a very clever way, though it first looks a bit odd.


Opticron Adventurer WP 8x25 DCF.GA Compact Binoculars - Black
Opticron Adventurer WP 8x25 DCF.GA Compact Binoculars - Black
Offered by Carmarthen Cameras
Price: £54.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Beware if you wear glasses, 23 Oct. 2014
I bought the green model of these, but except for the color they are the same. Thus, after seeing so many five-star reviews, I feel a bit of warning is appropriate. I had bought mine mainly because they can be folded up well, and thus can be used by kids with narrow space between their eyes. However, if that is not a requirement, one is way better served with an Opticron Trailfinder 3WP, also 8x25. That model is lighter, and it has a much closer minimum focus. And the focus is smoother on that model as well. A major problem with the Adventurer is that anyone who needs to keep their glasses on while viewing will only get a very restricted field of view. Additionally, the Adventurer provides a darker picture than the Trailfinder despite the fact that both have a 8x25 specification. I'd give it two stars only if it were not for the sturdy construction.


Opticron Adventurer WP 8x25 Green Compact Binocular
Opticron Adventurer WP 8x25 Green Compact Binocular

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No good if you wear glasses, 23 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these mainly because they can be folded up well, and thus can be used by kids with narrow space between their eyes. However, if that is not a requirement, one is way better served with an Opticron Trailfinder 3WP, also 8x25. That model is lighter, and it has a much closer minimum focus. A major problem with the Adventurer is that anyone who needs to keep their glasses on while viewing will only get a very restricted field of view. Additionally, the Adventurer provides a darker picture than the Trailfinder despite the fact that both have a 8x25 specification.


Polar Bears
Polar Bears
by Stirling Ian
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best I have seen so far, 29 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Polar Bears (Paperback)
This is not the customary coffee table book with lots of neat photos of one of my favourite mammals. Rather, it also shows the blood, hunger and death by starvation that are all part of this species' life history. It has the broadest approach to this species I have ever come across, including such chapter titles as "the Origin of Polar Bears" (from Grizzlies, and still being able to cross breed), "Polar Bears and Humans", "What makes a Polar Bear Tick", "How do you study Polar Bears", "Some Highlights of Conservation, Past and Present", "The Future..." to just name a few.

The author Ian Stirling has been studying the species over four decades. Apparently, this is an expanded and updated version of a previous edition of 1998, but it definitely comes across as a new book to me.

Essentially, this book is dealing with the arctic habitat in general, and polar bears in particular. Thus highly recommended for a much wider readership than just polar bear enthusiasts.


Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Princeton Field Guides)
Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Princeton Field Guides)
by Raffael Ayé
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new field guide, 27 Dec. 2012
This is the same book, just a different edition as the one issued by Helm. Thus the books basically just differ by their cover.

This is definitely a very interesting addition to my field guide library. One particularly interesting aspect of this new book is the fact that it provides info for an area that - to me - constitutes somewhat of a no man's land and at the same time the transition between familiar Europe and less well known Asia, with Siberian migrants mixed in. Of course, one could glean this info from the now complete 16 volume series of the Handbook of the Birds of the World. But it is much more convenient and exciting to have a compilation of the avifauna of this little known region.

The basic layout follows the by now traditional - and thus most welcome - pattern with the plates on the right side of a page spread, and the text with a fine, informative range map on the left page. Up front, there is an interesting chapter on the various habitats of the area, and some info on the countries. Though one would need to do a fair bit of research if trying to visit the area on one's own, I think.

The species texts are concise, yet fairly detailed within the constraints of such a book, regarding identification info. A most welcome feature is the highlighting of the most important distinguishing features. There are brief notes on voice and habitat as well.

There is a bit of getting used to the variety of the plates. I think the number of illustrators has been a bit too large, or else the quality of their illustrations is too variable. And some colors have been overdone by quite a margin. At least, I have yet to see such a bright red on a Curlew Sandpiper, and some of the pigeons I'm familiar with look much more exciting than what I'm used to. I don't presume that this is a matter of geographical variation. So I wonder how the other pigeons really look like, the ones I am not familiar with.

Over all however, the book has lots of excellent plates, and many species shown make me eager to visit the area. I'd definitely love to visit the eastern parts of Kyrgyzstan and the south-east of Kazakhstan from what I have gleaned from this fine book.

It would seem that this book is not intended for local users, as it would need the addition of local names for that purpose. But it's definitely a good start from which such local editions would be possible.


Birds of Central Asia (Helm Field Guides)
Birds of Central Asia (Helm Field Guides)
by Manuel Schweizer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £35.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new field guide, 27 Dec. 2012
This is definitely a very interesting addition to my field guide library. One particularly interesting aspect of this new book is the fact that it provides info for an area that - to me - constitutes somewhat of a no man's land and at the same time the transition between familiar Europe and less well known Asia, with Siberian migrants mixed in. Of course, one could glean this info from the now complete 16 volume series of the Handbook of the Birds of the World. But it is much more convenient and exciting to have a compilation of the avifauna of this little known region.

The basic layout follows the by now traditional - and thus most welcome - pattern with the plates on the right side of a page spread, and the text with a fine, informative range map on the left page. Up front, there is an interesting chapter on the various habitats of the area, and some info on the countries. Though one would need to do a fair bit of research if trying to visit the area on one's own, I think.

The species texts are concise, yet fairly detailed within the constraints of such a book, regarding identification info. A most welcome feature is the highlighting of the most important distinguishing features. There are brief notes on voice and habitat as well.

There is a bit of getting used to the variety of the plates. I think the number of illustrators has been a bit too large, or else the quality of their illustrations is too variable. And some colors have been overdone by quite a margin. At least, I have yet to see such a bright red on a Curlew Sandpiper, and some of the pigeons I'm familiar with look much more exciting than what I'm used to. I don't presume that this is a matter of geographical variation. So I wonder how the other pigeons really look like, the ones I am not familiar with.

Over all however, the book has lots of excellent plates, and many species shown make me eager to visit the area. I'd definitely love to visit the eastern parts of Kyrgyzstan and the south-east of Kazakhstan from what I have gleaned from this fine book.

It would seem that this book is not intended for local users, as it would need the addition of local names for that purpose. But it's definitely a good start from which such local editions would be possible.


Field Guide to the Birds of Ghana (Helm Field Guides)
Field Guide to the Birds of Ghana (Helm Field Guides)
by Nik Borrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great compact field guide for a single country, 31 Aug. 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.


The Americas: Where to Go When: Consultant Editor: Craig Doyle (Eyewitness Travel)
The Americas: Where to Go When: Consultant Editor: Craig Doyle (Eyewitness Travel)
by Craig Doyle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very attractive compilation, 13 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a typical DK book in that it comes with lots of attractive pictures. It should fulfill the main goal splendidly if one wants a seasonal travel compilation. On the down side, it is rather brief for each destination or topic, a double-page spread has got to do even for a cross-continent train trip. On first sight, it is a bit confusing to find a rather wide mix of places literally well mixed all through the book. But then, its emphasis is on when to best go where. There is no info on other times of the year for the same place, when actually many locations could very well be visited at other times. But over all, one does get a decent overview of when it is probably optimal for a particular purpose. There are some minor faults, like a wrong placement of Denali NP on the maps of the inside covers, and it's not correct either, though less so, on the map of the Denali page-spread.


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