Book review: Common and Spotted Sandpipers by Phil Holland

Common and Spotted Sandpipers by Phil Holland

A book for bird enthusiasts, especially those specialising in waders. 160 pages of facts and figures covering probably every aspect of the lives of these two specialist shorebirds. Phil Holland depicts their similarities and differences, in particular the contrasting methods of their breeding behaviour. He explores their migration before and after breeding, their preferences for nesting territories and the various factors which affect their nesting success.

The book is brim-full of photographs, sketches and graphs illustrating the points being made by the author, which make it a much more informative read. He even looks at why some birds have evolved to be polyandrous and the advantages to the spotted sandpiper of this unusual method of reproduction. I found the reasons fascinating as to how the female spotted sandpiper decides on the best male or males to whom she can entrust a clutch of eggs.

The author has crammed 40 years’ experience of studying the lives of these birds into a book which will undoubtedly give pleasure and knowledge to most birders. I’ve never yet seen a spotted sandpiper but will watch common sandpipers now with much more interest and increased awareness.

Whittles Publishing Ltd, Dunbeath, Caithness, KW6 6EG. £18.99

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