This review, by Philip E. Brown, first appeared in the RSPB's 'Bird Notes' magazine, page 172–173, Vol. XXIII, No. 5, the Autumn 1948 edition.
Bird and place names were spelt as shown. For their current status, please see our county lists.
Notes on the Birds of Warwickshire. C. A. Norris. (Cornish, 8s. 6d.).
The modest title hardly does justice to the concise thoroughness of this book. Warwickshire may not be one of the best counties in England for the bird-watcher, yet 121 species occur regularly or fairly regularly. And if one has satisfactorily identified this number of birds one can surely claim to have served one's novitiate.
Among many interesting records only a few can be noted here: eleven or twelve Fieldfares near Leamington as early as August 12th, 1944, and a very late bird at Selly Oak on June 4th, 1940; the successful breeding of the Black Redstart in Birmingham in 1943; the breeding of the Garganey in 1947 for the first time in the county, and a very old record of Bartram's Sandpiper.
The statement on page 34 regarding Swifts … “though first arrivals are noted in the first week in April in most years” … is presumably a misprint, and the last week in April is probably meant. Very occasionally the author's meanings are not quite clear, as in this passage on the status of the Hawfinch: “Since then” (1914–18) “this bird has certainly decreased and at the moment it must be counted as a rarity among us. The bird's secretive habits render it inconspicuous and it is probably far more plentiful than the very few recent records would have one believe.”
Of twentieth-century changes, the author considers that the following species have increased : Carrion-Crow; Magpie; Jay; Starling (winter only); Coal-Tit (probably); Great Spotted Woodpecker; Little Owl; Tufted Duck; Little Grebe; Curlew; Snipe and Redshank. The following birds have decreased: Linnet; Corn-Bunting; Yellow-Wagtail; Pied-Wagtail; Red-backed Shrike; Grasshopper-Warbler; Reed-Warbler; Whinchat; Redstart; Swallow; Sand-Martin; Nightjar; Wryneck; Long-eared Owl; Corncrake and Pheasant.
Mr. Norris is to be warmly congratulated on a patient and painstaking piece of work; the book will prove invaluable to the ever-growing band of enthusiasts who watch birds in the county, and we feel they will not deny him their thanks.
Bartram's Sandpiper, an American vagrant, is now known as the Upland Sandpiper.
Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.
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