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The Birds and Mammals Of
Robert Innes Shearer's contributions
to the natural history of Caithness, 1859 - 1867
Compiled and edited by
Hugh Clark & Robin M. Sellers
Hugh Clark and Robin Sellers have done an excellent service to bird and animal lovers by drawing together this wonderful set of articles by Robert Innes Shearer. In addition they have added updates to the original articles that were written between 1859 and 1867 and mainly published in the John O'Groat Journal. four articles appeared in other publications - three in The Field and one in Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh.
book presents a series of essays describing the birds and mammals of
Caithness. When they were written very little had been published on
the wildlife of the county. Shearer and his contemporary Henry Osborne
were quickly recognised at the time as authorities on the birds of the
area, but with in a decade they had been forgotten. Hugh Clark and
Robin Sellers rediscovered the articles in 2003 and found a treasure trove
of detail from a period when what was already available was scant.
The editors and compilers of the book are themselves no slouches in bird watching with many years of experience both in Caithness and elsewhere in recording and photographing birds and wildlife. They have used their own extensive knowledge supplemented by several other local sources to add new material at the end of each article to let the reader know the current position on the particular bird or animal.
Whilst not an A - Z of birds or mammals of Caithness the essays are highly readable with each one standing on its own merits as the story of a particular species in its Caithness habitat. In addition the book includes pen pictures of different aspects of Shearer's interests as naturalist and archaeologist as well as on him personally. Also included are Shearer's letters to the John O'Groat Journal on various birds and mammals that are in reality shorter essays written to the same standard as his main essays but shorter in length.
Each Essay and letter has small line drawing of the subject. This book is certain to be a fine addition to anyone wanting to ensure they have this topic covered in their bookshelf and is certain to be snapped up by bird watchers and naturalists. But it is the readability of each essay that will make sure it finds its way to anyone who is fond of Caithness in all its aspects.
Artwork is by another local man Julian Smith.
The book is obtainable from local
bookshops in Caithness or directly from
Or purchase online from Amazon
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