Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Wrens and Warblers of Australia, narrative by John Douglas Pringle.

The Wrens and Warblers of Australia, narrative by John Douglas Pringle. (The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife series) Hardcover book published by Angus & Robertson 1982, 343 pages with colour photographs, some 2 colour maps and 2 black and white illustrations.

Published in association with the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife of the Australian Museum, The Wrens and Warblers of Australia is a major work covering the 85 species generally referred to as wrens and warblers. It is the first in a series of books planned to cover all species of Australian birdlife and to resemble John Gould’s acclaimed nineteenth- century work The Birds of Australia through its appeal both to the intellect and to the eye. By presenting a readable yet authoritative text and superb colour illustrations, this attractive volume amply fulfils its aim.”

I feel like i've grown up with Wrens. Sort of like Tarzan and his apes, except less apes... and maybe even less Wrens... and, no I don't eat worms. My father had a sort of interest in them (Wrens not worms) and was even known to take a few fairly poorly executed photographs of any unsuspecting Wren that he thought was close enough for him to snap. His action plan was always to leave a few cake crumbs lying close by and then whilst eating the rest of the cake and drinking a strong black coffee he would wait. Conversation was conducted at a regular volume and would only be interrupted by my fathers picking up of his camera and snap, snap, some more blurry blobs somewhere in the distance of a regular sized photo.

I haven't thought about my fathers wildlife photography for a long time. I'm impressed that he was interested enough in these birds to do what he did and i'm even wondering what happened to all those photographs. One thing i'm sure about is that his photographs didn't make into this book.

Some of my fathers cake eating friends.

Bird books are are an interesting flock. Some are very desirable and some are less desirable. I've never seen this title before finding this copy and by all accounts, it and others in the series, are all worth a bit. When I found this and a few other titles in the series, I was a bit excited. A new (…new to me) bird book can only be a good thing as birds are a popular subject. Whether this series is as desirable as I would like it to be remains to be seen, but I feel fairly confident that before too long it will have flown the coop.

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