Comments on Storm-petrels & Bulwer's Petrel

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John Wall, NY, USA
Read John's brief review on the World Twitch website here.

Peter Harrison, WA, USA (Zegrahm Expeditions)
Firstly, my apologies for not thanking you for the truly excellent Multimedia Identification Guide to Storm-petrels and Bulwer’s Petrel. I have been traveling so much this last eighteen months that only this morning did I eventually open the package. I was going to take just a quick look but soon found myself jumping from species to species and the clock somehow advancing two hours as I turned over pages and played the video sections. This is a great leap forward and I would like to extend hearty congratulations to both you and Ashley and of course the fine illustrations by Ian Lewington who clearly shows in this guide why he is regarded as one of the top bird artists of present times. This guide will set a new standard in sea birding publications and is surely destined to find wide use by sea birding enthusiasts. The approach is novel, the text succinct and the illustrations superb. Add to that the video clips which show the various species in their environment, performing different tasks under differing conditions and you have a one of a kind book for both expert and novice alike.Very best regards and the best of luck with your latest publication.

Derek May, UK
I recently ordered your two published books on Petrels, (and look forward to further publications) and have to say was amazed at the brilliance of the whole endeavour. The whole multimedia concept works really well. On first reading the books, I was a touch dismayed that the text was to a degree on a parallel with the narration on the DVDs (I had to see the vids before reading a single word...). It took a while for it to dawn upon me (being a touch slow!) that the pictures and the video are all part of the same thing, namely: identifying the birds, and that any repetition was only making things clearer in my head. Hence! I have seen a few Petrels whilst seawatching over the years. I had dictated notes on the said birds but that hasn't given rise to a positive ID, at least until now! Thanks to the simple and yet deep treatment of these birds that you give, and my scant notes on skipping, floating, shearing, dangling, hoping, dancing, ballerina like antics... etc that I have made over the years, the hitherto unknown birds are rendered as pretty certain IDs. Many thanks for such a great insight into birds that occupy such a rarefied place, the like of which we will never know. 

Many thanks

Angus Wilson, NY, USA (
To read Angus's review published in the April 2012 edition of Birdwatch Magazine Click here

Martin Brooks, UK
Simply brilliant, and I think destined to become a classic! Keep up the good work!

Keith Mueller, CT, USA (a more in-depth review can be found on Keith's blog)
I was reading your book again last night and it truly is a wonderful book. Without question, this is the seabirders bible. The book is complete with beautifully articulated text and descriptions, anatomy and specimen comparisons, beautiful images, the DVD footage, etc., and (being that I am a professional avian artist) stunning drawings! I am like everyone else - we can't wait for the subsequent volumes!

John Martin, UK (former British Birds Rarities Committee member)
To read John's review published in Seabird 24 Click here

Dan Singer, CA, USA
Just a brief note to let you know I really love your multimedia guides. Well done! Over time as I use them more I will compile a list of thoughts/suggestions, but in the meantime, at least want you to know I find them superb and I'm looking forward to the next one. Any plans to cover geographic regions beyond the North Atlantic? 

Douglas B. Koch, NY, USA
Just wanted to let you know how terrific I think the new book on Seabirds is and that I am looking forward to the future subjects. I think without question it is the best book on Storm-petrel identification ever written. I am an active seabirder and photographer in the U.S. and have been out with Brian Patteson, Debbie Shearwater, Steve Howell, Carlos Pedro out of Rhode Island and the BBC out of Hyannis on many, many pelagic trips. Am just starting to expand my horizons a bit since I have some more time and was in Newfoundland for three weeks in July on all the seabird colonies and in Bermuda with Dr. Wingate looking at Bermuda Petrel last November. If you are organizing any trips to unusual destinations and have room for an extra hand I would be very interested. I can pay all my own expenses and have considerable field experience. Congratulations on the new book.

Brian Patteson, NC, USA (
I am very impressed with the quality and the depth of coverage.

Alan Doidge, GBR
An excellent work, on a difficult genus, not only for the beginner going forward, but also for reference for the more advanced watcher. The inclusion of  video reinforcing the detailed text.
congratulations to all involved in excellent work. A must for anyone's library.

Matt Garvey, MA, USA
I've just had time to scratch the surface, but I'm incredibly impressed!  I feel especially with seabirds, jizz is so important to ID that video, and especially comparative shots of similar species or same bird in different wind/behavioral settings, is the best way to study at home.  So your guide is ingenous and invaluable! I've been trying to film (with a cheap camcorder) on boat trips myself, so I have some sense for the tremendous work that went into this. Thank you!

Les Etheridge, GBR
Your two DVDs and book are excellent. As you mention working from an unstable boat deck has to be one of the most challenging tasks of all wildlife filming. You have performed brilliantly giving us a sense of being there in person. I had to research some of the terminolgy but the book stands on its own as a source of reference. Together they are unbeatable and far in advance of anything yet available. I was particularly impressed with your personal memory aids to help with identification. Can't wait for your next release.

Steven McConnell, AL, USA
Overall an EXCELLENT product!  I am thoroughly pleased.  I'm really overwhelmed with the amount of information contained in this small package and it will take me quite a while to digest it all. I've found myself several times longing for a slow-motion mode for the videos to really let the key points sink in.  I haven't tried the pause button much yet so maybe that will help, however, stopping the action completely doesn't seem like it would be as effective as just slowing it down. The videos are certainly realistic for what can be viewed in real time on most pelagics! 
Here's looking forward to your next product.

Jack Holloway, AZ, USA
Just to let you know, the book and DVDs arrived safely yesterday, 01 Sep 2011.  In the short time I've had to examine the book -- and to watch the entire first DVD -- I am quite impressed.  The photos, illustrations, and plethora of content on each species easily makes this book/DVD a benchmark for future species-specific works for other authors to emulate. I look forward to watching the second DVD and to sift through all the material in greater detail.  I will endeavor to write a review to post on my website and blog. Although I am in the midst of writing others, your book motivates me to move it to the top of the list.  I know others will want to know about this work. With equal enthusiam, I look forward to your upcoming works.

John Shemilt, NY, USA
...what a great resource.

Keith Davies, GBR
I would describe your multimedia guide as superb. The quality is very high and I marvel at the amount of research that you have put into this project. I don't get lots of opportunities for pelagic trips and when I do I want to be in a position to have a stab at identification. Preparation with video footage is ideal for this as no amount of reading or looking at stills can position you for recognizing jizz and this for me is the key essential. Your video footage is really excellent and no doubt as video technology develops this medium will get better and better. Congratulations on this pioneering work and I look forward to future publications.

Glenn Overington, GBR
...It really is a very special product - wonderful design and quality and an absolute 'dream' for us seabird enthusiasts. I cannot think of a better combination of tools for highlighting and educating birders on this amazing group of birds. I look forward immensely (and impatiently ;-)) for the remainder of the series and to using the knowledge in the field...

Gordon Beck, GBR
Sorry for taking so long to come back to you with feedback on the multimedia guide, I had no problems with the DVDs in that they both played without a hitch on my computer so thats a good start, the multimedia approach to bird identification is without doubt a very good way to gain knowledge on this complex group of seabirds and goes way beyond a standard fieldguide. If one has studied properly and thoroughly all this rich vein of information then without doubt one is well and truly armed to confidently ID any petrel species one should encounter in the North Atlantic, so its a thumbs up from me.

Will Miles, GBR
Recieved copy of Storm-petrels and Bulwer's Petrel - am speachless! (Almost!)  - It is utterly brilliant, fabulous, and I feel really proud to have made even a tiny contribution to it. The book, the DVDs, are both an absolute joy - it is my new favourite book over Petrels night & day! Many, many thanks, an awesome guide - fantastic! 

Daniel López, SPA (Spanish Rarities Committee member)
I got my copy of the Multimedia Guide today and just had a quick look at it. I simply want to express my most sincere congratulations for the book. It´s simply amazing!! Perhaps because it deals with one of my favourite groups, and also because of the ammount of information on several species which aren´t usually fully covered on most reference books (Fregetta storm petrels and Swinhoe´s/Matsudaira´s amongst others) as well as for the number of very good at-sea pictures,  I think this book is a master piece, really. I would have written you to tell you so even if we hadn´t met in Madeira, for sure. I hope to read it carefully over the next week, and will try to watch all the video footage soon, but my first impression was that it´s very, very good. It has really exceeded my expectations! I also hope you can find enough money for publishing the next volumes, as they will be, for sure,ground-breaking books too (and, amongst other things, new information with colour photos of skuas is long overdue!)
Lorenzo Starnini, ITA
Your book about pelagic birds is wonderfull, accurate, in a word: precious! I am a bird artist, and a great admirer of Ian Lewington, I consider the greatest of the masters in this discipline. Thanks for the beautiful work you have made together. I hope to visit the places where these extraordinary birds live.

Stephen Menzie (Birdguides), GBR
It's great; better than I thought it would be... and I already had high expectations for it!

Jean-Philippe Siblet, FRA
What a great job ! Wonderful footages, incredible pictures. Very instructive comments. This guide is a must for every keen seawatcher. I am waiting eagerly for the next issue on Pterodromas.

Alan Duff, GBR
I haven't looked at the DVDs yet but the book is certainly an impressive piece of work on its own so I'm looking forward to looking at the footage too. This is a fantastic resource and really well put together. I'll certainly be buying all the other volumes as they come out and I'm particularly keen to see the Shearwater one. Good luck with this project - it definitely deserves to succeed and will hopefully encourage others to produce similar field guides. Thanks for putting this stuff together and putting it on the market. It's inspired me to look into coming down to the Scillies for a trip too!

Ian Evans, GBR
I am very pleased with it, in particular the DVD's which give a whole new dimension to help with identification. The book is superbly laid out with some excellent text and photographs and Ian Lewington's illustrations are superb as usual. I look foreward to the next in the series.

Julian Francis, GBR
I've enjoyed the book a lot and it is an excellent ID guide based on my experience at sea and on land looking at these difficult to ID birds.  It brought back memories of standing on top of Selvagem Grande at night watching various seabirds coming back to their nests, particularly the WFSPs who bounced up and down vertically over their nests as if they were tied to pieces of elastic.

Kirk Zufelt, CAN
I received the multi-media guide and it is excellent. I have been through he first DVD and it really delivers a very life like experience especially on my big Mac monitor. This is a huge advance for seabird identification. The entire package is very professional and overall this is the best ID resource I have ever seen. Great work!!

Jeff Davis, USA
Thanks for your email and fabulous multimedia guide.  I have not had a chance to watch the DVDs yet, and I have only skimmed the text.  Based on my cursory review, all I can say is wow!  There is nothing like it anywhere.  You and Ashley obviously did your homework – and fieldwork!  I have done seabird surveys from small planes and helicopters for the past 16 years.  This guide will be useful for my line of work, and I will refer to it often.

Colin Selway, GBR
I have read the book from cover to cover and watched both DVDs. I would say that your Multimedia Guide (format & content) of this difficult group is nothing short of brilliant, it succeeds  in bringing to life, not only the different  Petrel species but also the many remote and inaccessible locations we dream about, as an identification tool I consider it to be Compact, ground breaking and indispensible. I recently published my only two extremely poor images of an all dark Petrel in travelling mode off Rumps Point, Cornwall on Bird forum, unfortunately both poor images gave a strong impression of Common Swift, although there was no doubt in my mind that I had watched an all dark Petrel in very rough sea conditions that day it was very reassuring to be able to freeze your video clips of ‘Bulwer’s And All-Dark Petrels’ and effectively reproduce some similar images. Many Thanks! To Bob, Ashley and Ian for sharing this Brilliant and enjoyable Identification Guide.

Amine Flitti, French rarities committee, FRA

It is a great book, and the videos are very interesting. I hope that future books are soon available!

Tim Cole, GBR
 I have watched the first DVD but only had time to scan the book at present.  I'm very pleased with it and will set about reading it properly.  I hope there are more to come in respect of other seabirds, in due course.

Fulvio Fraticelli, ITA

I have not yet had time to read the entire book, but the text of “my” species, the graphics, drawings and films are truly excellent.I’m looking forward to your other publications. A beautiful and important work, congratulations.

Edward Soldaat, NLD
Haven't had the time to study the book and DVD thoroughly, but the first impression of the book is very good. I don't work a lot with Storm Petrels so I can't comment on the scientific quality at this moment, but I'm looking forward to the issue with the shearwaters. I like this approach with the DVD's showing flight behaviour very much. A great help for me, because I'm very much interested in the osteological aspects in relation to flight and diving behaviour. Good moving pictures of this helps me in understanding the morphological characteristics of the skeleton.

The DVD with the Fulmarines is great! Would have loved a book as well.
Cornelius Foley, SGP
... I have had time to watch just the first DVD of the storm petrels.  I must say I am very impressed with the huge of amount of effort and knowledge that went into producing this guide.  I’m sure it will be very useful.

Mike O'Keeffe, IRL
Recieved the book and DVD's yesterday and just want to say congratulations and thanks for such an excellent piece of work!!!

Andrea Corso, ITA
...the guide has arrived safely and indeed is one of the most sexy bird books of the last years ;-)))  Fantatsic.

Tony Davison, GBR
I must compliment you and Bob for your new book. I bought a copy at the Bird Fair. Really excellent - you both must be well pleased.

Aaron Ofner, AUT
I received my copy of "Storm-petrels & Bulwer's Petrel" today, and even though you already got rave reviews from the authorities, I thought you would appreciate comments from your average customers. Coming from landlocked austria, seabirds hold a special fascination for me, and I am always looking forward to new books about them. But not since the Sound Approach guide have I been this happy with a new bird book! Thanks a lot and keep it up!

David R. Smith, GBR
An incredible piece of work - well done! If only other ID guides could be like this! I read the book from cover-to-cover and was totally absorbed by the contentent and more than a little impressed - the amount of info is remarkable and must have taken you a long time to assemble. I read and re-read the Confusion Pairs section - in a word, brilliant! I love Ian Lewington's illustrations! I have just finished watching the DVDs and am almost speechless - I was not expecting them  to contain such good footage. It made me want to get on a pelagic trip instantly! I especially liked the way the voice-over/content followed the book and how this really helps you visualise/understand  points made in the book. I'm sure my proficiency in storm-petrel ID has taken a massive leap (or should this be foot-patter!?) forward. Thank you!

Linda & Scott Terrill, USA
Watching (and thoroughly enjoying) your North Atlantic Seabirds (Storm-petrels & Bulwer's Petrel) as I type.  Fantastic!  The guide is really great and we'll definitely recommed it widely. The flight and jizz info is fantastic!
Paul Willoughby, GBR
I received my DVD over the weekend whilst at the Birdfair, and watched it eagerly when I got home last night. All I can say is fantastic! A DVD that I will watch over and over again. Can't wait to get back on a boat to put it to use. P.S. I love the Swinhoe's footage.

Aidan Moore, IRL
The Guide arrived yesterday (22nd Aug). Honestly, it's better than I thought possible. Congratulations, you really have achieved something special.
Richard Leonard, GBR is an absolutely amazing work, and Disc 1 is easily the most exciting birding DVD I've ever seen!

John Gale, Bird Illustrator, GBR
It's wonderful. Contains a vast amount of information and sets a new standard. Well done!

Chris Miller, GBR
The Guide is incredible! It may be small, but it is certainly mighty - the depth of information is remarkable. There are two things that really make this guide stand out for me: firstly, the text is beautifully written and easy to understand - in some identification guides, it can be hard to digest the information, but not here; it is a real pleasure to read. I was particularly surprised by the amount of information that was new to me, even in the species I thought I knew well. Secondly, the DVDs - WOW! I wasn't quite prepared for the breadth and quality of footage in the 2 disks - it has to be seen to be believed! When I watched the White-faced Storm-petrel clip at the beginning of disk 2, I nearly choked! And that is only the beginning! This guide is worth getting for the disks alone! Brilliant – when is the guide on pterodromas coming out? I can’t wait!


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