Whilst in north Norfolk, England, for Christmas and New Year, I met up with many local birding and conservation friends including Duncan Macdonald who runs Wildsounds and Books. Last year, Duncan was kind enough to donate a selection of books for young birders in Beijing, including copies of the MacKinnon Guide, Birds of East Asia and the Collins Bird Guide. This year, Duncan was again very generous by giving me eight copies of the Collins Bird Guide to take back (requiring a little jiggery-pokery with my luggage!).
Whilst focused on Britain and Europe, the Collins Bird Guide is of enormous value to birders in China. For example, the avifauna of Xinjiang Province, in the far northwest of China, has a distinctly European feel with species such as European Bee-eater, Collared Pratincole, Red-footed Falcon and Red-backed Shrike, to name a few. And, of course, vagrants to East Asia from Europe – such as the recent European Robin – do not feature in traditional bird guides for China. In addition, the plates and text for difficult-to-identify species such as Yellow-browed and Hume’s Warblers, Red-breasted and Red-throated Flycatchers and Desert and Isabelline Wheatears are far superior in Collins when compared with local literature.
On return to Beijing, not surprisingly, there was strong demand for these books among local birders. I’m delighted to say that all copies went to enthusiastic young birders: Zhang Lin (Shanghai), Huang Chenjing, Liu Chunhong, Lu Wei, Wang Cui, Xing Chao, Zhang Qianyi and Zhu Haoqiang (all Beijing). Some photos of the happy birders are below.
Huge thanks to Duncan and WildSounds and Books!