Sunday, March 11, 2012

Middle East Birding Resources

Hannah & I are now in the final stages of preparation for our trip to Israel. Needless to say we are really looking forward to it.

There are some really great resources out there for birders travelling to the Middle East two of which I wanted to share.

The field guide I decided to go with was Birds of the Middle East by Richard Porter and Simon Aspinall (available from Chapters online or Amazon). It was really the only sensible option in my opinion, given that the second edition was recently updated in 2010, that it is scoped appropriately for the region, its portability, and its layout is user friendly in the field. Some of the illustrations leave a bit to be desired (e.g. the gulls) but overall I think it is the best choice for our needs.

Another resource that birders might be interested in is the .mp3 audio compilation entitled The Bird Songs of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.  This specialty item is a bit more difficult to obtain, but we purchased it online from Buteo Books and paid the duty to import it from the US. It was worth every penny! This comprehensive collection really blew me away and as far as I know it is unrivalled in the marketplace. One complication is that the file names are in German followed by English. That makes it somewhat difficult to create playlists for those not fluent in German. So I had to invest some time editing the file names, but this was actually a good learning exercise so I didn't mind doing it.