The Andalucia Bird Society

Publications and Multimedia => Publications and Multimedia => Publications and Multimedia => Topic started by: Peter on July 07, 2009, 02:05:57 pm

Title: A Birdwatching Guide to Donana - John Butler
Post by: Peter on July 07, 2009, 02:05:57 pm
It may sound a little excessive, but I have three books covering the Donana. Actually four counting the late John Butlers latest guide to the area.

1. Portrait of a Wilderness by Guy Mountford
2. Birds of Donana by Beltra”n de Ceballos VĆ”zquez
3. Where to Watch Birds in Donana by Garzon & Chiclana
4. A Birdwatchers Guide to Donana by John Butler

The first two books were given to me by the authors, the third and fourth I couldn't resist buying at the Acebuche visitors centre in Donana. I have always been struck by the lack of acknowledgement paid to Mountford for his role in establishing the reserve that is Donana. Without his earlier promotion of the area and his dedication to raising the funding necessary to secure the area, then it is unlikely there would have been any protection given to this important wetland. There is absolutely no doubt he was THE major player in pushing for the areas protection and fund raising to establish the reserve. Yet, if you read any official park history or the above author's account of the park, then little is written of Mountford. Where he is mentioned it almost seems grudging and marginalises his work.

I have found Birds of the Donana a useful reference to the distribution of species in the park. Each species listing contains distribution and it is very helpful if you go on a quest to see particular birds. Where to Watch Birds in the Donana is pretty good at giving some prime sites around the Rio Guadalquiver.

I guess the choice of book for finding your way around so many fine birding sites rests with the quality and usefulness of the content. On first appearances, Butler's book seems stark and simple. I must admit to feeling disappointed at the lack of bird and site photographs. However, reading this book you instantly recognise the author's intimate knowledge of the best birding areas and his unselfish desire to share his knowledge with one and all. His attention to detail and descriptions on how to find these sites are far superior to other guides. He also had several years experience leading groups of us Northern Europeans around the park and learning what the visitor wanted and needed to know. So I would join the chorus and recommend any person intending to visit the Donana to buy John Butler's A Birdwatchers Guide to Donana.

Peter
Title: Re: A Birdwatching Guide to Donana - John Butler
Post by: Derek on July 07, 2009, 03:05:43 pm
I agree and have some thoughts as one who has paid far more for copies of other guides to the area!

ā€œIn an effort to produce this book so that it can be sold at the most economical price, I have not included pictures of birds or any other superfluous images. The book is all about guiding you to the sites and helping you find birds.ā€ John Butler


So if you want pretty pictures of birds and ā€˜superfluousā€™ images go pay almost 10 euros more for other guides to the area and get less site descriptions and less pages than Butlerā€™s guide to the DoƱana.

A benefit for the reader of this guide is the in depth site details and as the author says, it also includes help for those requiring details of disabled and wheelchair access. Another advantage to Butlerā€™s account of the DoƱana and its great range of important birding areas is his ability to describe not only access, but so many other important details to his readers. For instance, he deals with what facilities each site has, whether or not it is suitable for wheelchairs, if the area contains many facets he tells of those to avoid, what time of year to visit the site and what birds you are likely to encounter. The description of how to find and reach each site is far superior to other guides. In other words he gives the reader a much clearer idea of these sites than other guides to the area.

I reckon this guide is the best value and most informative of its kind for the DoƱana and would not hesitate recommending folk to go buy a copy.

Derek  ;D
Title: Re: A Birdwatching Guide to Donana - John Butler
Post by: john on July 10, 2009, 04:11:37 pm
It may sound a little excessive, but I have three books covering the DoƱana. Actually four counting the late John Butlerā€™s latest guide to the area.

1. Portrait of a Wilderness by Guy Mountford
2. Birds of DoƱana by BeltrƔn de Ceballos VƔzquez
3. Where to Watch Birds in DoƱana by GarzĆ³n & Chiclana
4. A Birdwatchers Guide to DoƱana by John Butler

I have found Birds of the DoƱana a useful reference to the distribution of species in the park. Each species listing contains distribution and it is very helpful if you go on a quest to see particular birds. Where to Watch Birds in the DoƱana is pretty good at giving some prime sites around the Rio Guadalquiver. [/b].
Peter

I too have four books on the DoƱana- the first three plus the 'Nature Guide to the Coto DoƱana' (Crossbill guides). 

I must confess that, although I like some aspects of the work, I find BeltrĆ”n de Ceballos VĆ”zquez's book annoying.  I dislike the divison of birds by habitat which, as always, frequently breaksdown since birds obviously don't go 'by the book'.  It is perhaps understandable that Iberian Chiffchaff is omitted, but so is Pallid Swift (!).  However, Moustached Warbler is said to be a 'resident' in small numbers - something ringers in the arae have vehemently denied claiming instead that it's a rarity.  I don't know for certain which is the more accurate, but the text doesn't suggest it's view is at all controversial (which it clearly is!).  This has made me distrust the maps (which do not distinguish between winter/summer/resident.  I'm sure too that  several of the "wheel diagrams" indicating breeding/seasonal abundance  are wrong.  A pity since having met him briefly at the Bird Fair (where he tried to give me a copy, but I insisted on buying one!) the author is obviously a very pleasant chap. 

Since neither of the big online bird bookshops or 'Amazon' know anything about John Butler's book can anyone give me the email/web  address of the retailer which I've mislaid.  I need this book if only to tell Peter I've now got five volumes to his four!

John

Title: Re: A Birdwatching Guide to Donana - John Butler
Post by: Derek on July 11, 2009, 11:26:46 am
It may sound a little excessive, but I have three books covering the DoƱana. Actually four counting the late John Butlerā€™s latest guide to the area.

1. Portrait of a Wilderness by Guy Mountford
2. Birds of DoƱana by BeltrƔn de Ceballos VƔzquez
3. Where to Watch Birds in DoƱana by GarzĆ³n & Chiclana
4. A Birdwatchers Guide to DoƱana by John Butler

I have found Birds of the DoƱana a useful reference to the distribution of species in the park. Each species listing contains distribution and it is very helpful if you go on a quest to see particular birds. Where to Watch Birds in the DoƱana is pretty good at giving some prime sites around the Rio Guadalquiver. [/b].
Peter

I too have four books on the DoƱana- the first three plus the 'Nature Guide to the Coto DoƱana' (Crossbill guides). 

I must confess that, although I like some aspects of the work, I find BeltrĆ”n de Ceballos VĆ”zquez's book annoying.  I dislike the divison of birds by habitat which, as always, frequently breaksdown since birds obviously don't go 'by the book'.  It is perhaps understandable that Iberian Chiffchaff is omitted, but so is Pallid Swift (!).  However, Moustached Warbler is said to be a 'resident' in small numbers - something ringers in the area have vehemently denied claiming instead that it's a rarity.  I don't know for certain which is the more accurate, but the text doesn't suggest it's view is at all controversial (which it clearly is!).  This has made me distrust the maps (which do not distinguish between winter/summer/resident.  I'm sure too that  several of the "wheel diagrams" indicating breeding/seasonal abundance  are wrong.  A pity since having met him briefly at the Bird Fair (where he tried to give me a copy, but I insisted on buying one!) the author is obviously a very pleasant chap. 

Since neither of the big online bird bookshops or 'Amazon' know anything about John Butler's book can anyone give me the email/web  address of the retailer which I've mislaid.  I need this book if only to tell Peter I've now got five volumes to his four!

John

Hi John,

Feel inadequate I only have 2 books! Having said that I could have done without Where to Watch Birds in DoƱana by GarzĆ³n & Chiclana since buying Butlers.

If it helps the publisher is Trafford Publishing www.trafford.com and the ISBN is 978-1-4251-2192-1

Derek
Title: Re: A Birdwatching Guide to Donana - John Butler
Post by: john on July 12, 2009, 12:40:48 am
Thanks Derek.  If it's better than Chiclana et al then I really must get it!

John
Title: Re: A Birdwatching Guide to Donana - John Butler
Post by: Peter on July 12, 2009, 01:15:28 pm
Thanks Derek.  If it's better than Chiclana et al then I really must get it!

John

I think Derek is being a bit severe. Where to Watch Birds in DoƱana by GarzĆ³n & Chiclana has its uses, but I would agree Butler's is so much more informative and easy to follow. There are no photographs, which does give a bland feeling to the book, but the maps are clear and if I recall correctly there very many more sites described. For value for money I recommend it.

Peter