Australia is home thousands of islands. Not all of those islands are close to the mainland; some are actually closer to other countries. This is magic if you are a birdwatcher. These islands represent a diverse range of birdlife that can increase the hardcore twitchers checklist.
Birding Australia’s Islands is the first book dedicated to twitching the birds on Australias islands. Author and birdwatcher Sue Taylor recounts her adventures visiting 23 Australian islands. She shares her personal account visiting the islands and seeking out rarities.
Who is Sue Taylor?
Sue is a phenomenal birdwatcher, having seen 823 Australian birds. She is also one of Australias leading authors on bird watching. You can check out her writing at A Twitchers Tale. She has authored multiple books about birdwatching in Australia.
What Islands are visited?
Sue has visited a wide variety of islands on her birdwatching adventures. Some of them are well known, such as Christmas and Lord Howe Island. Some islands were popular for general tourism, such as Kangaroo Island and Rottnest Island.
The popularity of the islands doesn’t mean that they are always practical to visit. Many islands are a considerable distance away or can only be visited as part of a dedicated birdwatching tour.
What Islands are visited?Some of them are well known, such as Christmas and Lord Howe Island. Some islands were popular for general tourism, such as Kangaroo Island and Rottnest Island. Not all islands are practical to visit. Many islands are a considerable distance away or can only be visited as part of a dedicated birdwatching tour.
Sue Is A Brilliant Birdwatcher, But Not A Great AuthorBirding Australia’s Islands focuses more on Sues experiences instead of giving tips for exploring these islands. This would have been fine if the chapters were consistent. The exception is the first page of each chapter which has a brief overview of the island. This has led to some chapters being less useful than others. Some of the accounts rely on her notes instead of her own recollections, which detracts from the tone and made the writing feel academic. This was especially noticeable on the chapter about Cabbage Tree Island, which took more of a historical perspective. A separate chapter about Raine Island was just two pages long, part of which featured Sue’s justifications about why her plane was late.
Some Chapters Had a Negative ToneSue’s complaints turned about to be a common theme in Birding Australias Islands. Some chapters felt like she was complaining for most of the trip. Some of it was relevant to the readers, such as difficult conditions. However, there were times where she could be quite condescending about those she deemed as lesser. Some chapters focused more on what annoyed her on a specific trip instead of focusing on the actual birds she saw. I’m a casual birdwatcher and this meant that I struggled to enjoy the book. I wanted to learn more about what to expect should I visit some of these places, not about what irritated one person.
Do I recommend it?I do recommend it. At this point, there is no other comparable book. There are very few books about the twitching experience, let along one focused on the islands. The flaws are worth pushing through as the reader will pick up tips.
I’d recommend borrowing it from the library instead of buying it. It’s not worth re-reading.