Birds, Beasts and Fishes of the Norfolk Broadland

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AFTER reading the severe criticisms passed on the works of several eminent British ornithologists— especially as regards illustrations—in the introductory chapter to the volume before us, we hoped we were going to be rewarded by finding something that would eclipse all previous efforts, both in the way of letter-press and plates. But we do not hesitate to say that in both respects we are disappointed. After all the writing about the “caricatures” of Bewick, and the “monstrous and gaudy decorations” of Selby, Gould, and Dresser, we find only a series of very ordinary photographs, many of which have evidently been done from mounted specimens, and, what is more, from badly mounted ones, As to the text, we fail to see the reason for interlarding it with a provokingly numerous series of provincialisms, which, although no doubt familiar enough to the dwellers in East Norfolk, are certainly not household words in other parts of Her Majesty's dominions. To Norfolk people the names of “Herring-Spink,” “Reed-Pheasant,” “Spinex,” and “Draw-Water,” doubtless have a meaning, but we should be somewhat surprised if all our readers are aware that they respectively indicate the gold-crest, bearded tit, chaffinch, and goldfinch. It is true that in most cases the author does introduce a better-known name in the course of his notices, but this is not so with the “reed-pheasant.” In omitting all scientific names, we are by no means sure that Mr. Emerson is not right, seeing that these are constantly being changed, while English names are permanent; but then let us have English names, and not Norfolk ones.

Birds, Beasts and Fishes of the Norfolk Broadland.

By P. H. Emerson. 8vo, pp. 396, illustrated. (London: David Nutt, 1895.)

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LYDEKKER, R. Birds, Beasts and Fishes of the Norfolk Broadland. Nature 52, 195–196 (1895) doi:10.1038/052195a0

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