By David Simpson and Frank Jouandoudet
It’s almost fifty years since my brother David and I used to kick off the (very) occasional parties at our home in Cheltenham with our favourite track: “The Hawaiian Goose or Ne-Ne”, from Peter Scott’s little-known EP Wildfowl Calling. Peter Scott, TV presenter, writer, artist, son of Scott of the Antarctic, was best known to us back then as the director of the Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) based at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. Listen here for a flavour of those evenings.
Since those heady days my own interest in ornithology has ratcheted down one or two pegs, but David’s has been on an ever-increasing upward spiral. After investigating ecosystems at university, he launched himself into a career surveying flora and fauna at numerous reserves around the country: Ravenglass in Cumbria, the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast, and several others which remain in my memory only as accumulations of rock and grass.
David now lives in France, in the Dordogne region, and is a resident specialist on the birds and butterflies of the area. Several years ago, he published an introductory Birding Dordogne with bird checklists, where-to-watch-birds maps, and a host of other features. This time he’s gone several steps better with the Crossbill Guide to Dordogne, and he and local French naturalist Frank Jouandoudet have produced the authoritative guide to the birds and wildlife of Dordogne, beautifully illustrated and with an engagingly informative text. Whether you’re planning a holiday to the centre of France, or just interested in the ecology of the region, you’ll need a copy of this: order from Crossbill, NHBS or Amazon.