Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top quality Field Guide, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Birds of Costa Rica (Helm Field Guides) (Paperback)
I actually bought this book from Amazon a couple of years or so ago.
With a trip to Costa Rica imminent and as a serious "hobbyist" birder, I wanted a guide that would be similar to my trusty Collins Bird Guide to serve me on my first venture to exotic birding climes!
A quick "Look Inside" suggested that this might be an appropriate choice.
Now, two trips to Costa Rica later, I can say I made absolutely the right choice and it has served me well.
I have given the book 5 stars, because it suited my requirements perfectly, and if you are a non-professional, it probably will yours.
It's about the same size as the Collins Bird Guide, and so is manageable when you are out on your birding travels fitting into a good sized pocket.
There are generally about 6 species descriptions to a page placed opposite illustrations showing, more often than not, male and female where sufficiently distinct. Juveniles, colour morphs and occasional sub-species are shown again where these can be identified in the field.
The illustrations themselves I found to be generally excellent and very useful in the field.
But a couple of compromises have been made that very serious birders might consider a shortcoming.
The guide does not cover most pelagics - Gulls particularly are omitted - but near-shore species such as Brown Pelican and Magnificent Frigatebird are included. This was a deliberate attempt to reduce the size of the book.
The maps are also simply distribution maps and make no attempt to represent seasonality. For most species that you find in a country barely 9 degrees from the equator, this is of no great concern, but seasonal migrants from both north and south are indicated only in the text.
The text itself is concise and stripped down to the bare minimum, but there is enough there to aid identification where the illustrations were not in themselves sufficient.
All in all, I found this to be an extremely good book and for somewhere short of 20 quid, you are really getting value for money.
Recommended.
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