Thursday, 27 June 2013

Birds of Meirionnydd - Adar Meirionnydd

For any enthusiastic natural history recorder the chance to dip into a fresh and updated account of their home patch is always exciting, especially a patch as diverse as Meirionnydd. Birds of Meirionnydd did not disappoint. This update has been long overdue since the publication of Peter Hope Jones’s Birds of Merioneth in 1974. After the initial rush to check up on species for which one has particular affinities, and knowledge from one’s local patches, I found I could then relax into a very enjoyable publication.

Although, like all counties, Meirionnydd has been subject to widespread modifications across the landscape, its habitats are still relatively diverse, which is reflected in the richness of its avifauna. Records and trends, mostly over the last hundred years or so, are summarised concisely. Breeding birds that have declined to extinction in the county include grey partridge and corncrake. Scarce breeding birds include eider and hobby, whilst specialities include ring ouzel, red grouse and wood warbler. Being mountainous in large part and quite sparsely populated, Meirionnydd is an under-recorded county, so it feels like there are always new discoveries to add to the bank of information collated.

The author is to be congratulated on assembling information from so many different sources and for the speedy summary and publication of records up to 2012. Birds of Meirionnydd is a book I would not want to be without, and at a very reasonable £7.50 it is highly recommended. It is also a juicy appetiser for the eagerly anticipated North Wales Breeding Bird Atlas (due autumn 2013) from the same author and his team, which will delve in more detail into the breeding distribution of resident species in Meirionnydd and beyond.

Dafydd Roberts

To order a copy of this book please send a cheque for £9.50 (includes £2 P&P) payable to 'Cambrian OS' to Geoff Gibbs, Fronwen, Valley Road, Llanfairfechan LL33 0ET.

This review was first published in the summer edition of Natur Cymru

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