New Forest
 - Explorers
New Forest
Explorers Guide
Wildlife composite image
Pony near Hampton Ridge
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
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Bird Field Guides

Access to a good field guide is often essential if small brown birds - such as this lesser redpoll - are to be confidently identified
Access to a good field guide is often essential
if small brown birds - such as this lesser redpoll -
are to be confidently identified

Bird Field Guides are designed to help readers identify the birds they see, and are an essential early purchase for anybody who wants to get to know the birds around them. They are designed for use in the field, and are usually of a size that enables them to fit in a coat pocket.

Detailed identification information is provided, and so are brief details of habitat preferences, abundance, seasonal occurrence, behaviour and distribution. All the Bird Field Guides contain illustrations of the species covered, and where it’s relevant, many separately show male, female, juvenile and seasonal plumage variations.

Numerous examples are available, usually at relatively modest cost. It’s worth remembering, though, that the geographical distribution of some birds has changed rapidly in recent years, partially, at least, as a result of men's actions and also as a result of climate changes, and distribution maps consequently rapidly become outdated.

Which field guide, then, is the most appropriate to buy?

Well, for the relative novice, a book of British birds is probably more suitable than one that includes all the species found in Europe. Then for the more seasoned birdwatcher who can already recognise most of the British species, the best buy is likely to be a book that includes the birds of mainland Europe and, maybe, those of even further afield. Personal preferences also play a part. Some people, for example, may prefer illustrations produced by a particular artist, whilst others might like photographic illustrations.

But despite the impressively high standards, none of the guides are perfect. All plumage variations are rarely included, nor is every quirk of posture, flight or behaviour that at times can be such a help when identifying difficult species. It’s always helpful, then, to have access to more than one guide.

In addition to field guides, many other books are, of course, available, books that deal with far more than identification. All, though, are too large and heavy to carry in the field. Similarly, an extensive range of CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs is also available.

Help me to help you (please)
Many field guides are available through the Amazon website, where can also be found customer reviews. Prices are usually extremely competitive, the ordering process is quick and easy, and delivery is typically fast.

Furthermore - important from my perspective - purchasing anything from Amazon via this link results in the receipt of a modest contribution towards the cost of developing and maintaining this free-to-use New Forest website which, unlike some other similar sites, is not funded by the local Council, the National Park Authority or through any other form of public taxation. (In essence, purchasing via this link costs you nothing and helps ensure that this site will be improved and maintained in the future.)

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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
The New Forest
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a small but disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Sadly, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cows, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.

(Forty-three accidents occurred in daylight, 15 at twilight and 101 in the dark. Twenty-seven accidents were not reported by the driver involved).

Here's just one horrific example - Three donkeys killed in collision with van at notorious New Forest blackspot (Advertiser and Times)
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley