by Paul Cormacain
IN an era of more and cheaper flights, in an era when more and more of us can and do travel almost everywhere, I hear of more and more folk heading off to foreign parts to view wildlife.
Friends have gone on safari to Africa, others have gone to the Central Americas, and one intrepid pair headed off to the Gallapagos Islands.
All these folk were interested in travelling, enjoyed their wildlife, liked fresh adventures and shared these interests in common.
What they also had in common was a need for books about the wildlife they might encounter on their travels.
When we ourselves set out to visit kin in Denver, Colorado, we were on the lookout for a bird book that covered that part of America.
When I headed off for Guatamala and Cuba, I had to acquire a book on the birds of these lands. This year we needed a wildlife book for Sardegna, last year it was China.
So folk frequently ask me where do they acquire wildlife books when they are travelling somewhere off the beaten track? So here is the commercial!
A crowd in England, Subbuteo Natural History Books, are without doubt the best people to get in touch with.
Apart from being a customer with Subbuteo from time to time, I have no other connection with them.
So this information is for the benefit of readers, and will not get me any commission! If you are going to St Agnes on the Isles of Scilly, and would be interested in finding out what lepidoptera are to be seen in the vicinity, you can get a book to tell you. Want to find out about wild flowers in a Shropshire Parish at the turn of the millenium, you can get a book to tell you.
Interested in the butterflies of India? Or what about the bees of Essex? I did not think much of the book that tells you about the woodlice in Ireland, and I cannot see it ever being on my Christmas shopping list, but someone somewhere must love woodlice.
But the Insects of the British Cow-Dung Community? Phew!
If it is birds you are primarily interested in, then Subbuteo has 247 different books on European birds.
This is a huge range, and should suffice the most enthusiastic bird watcher.
If you are heading for America, and want to get some advance knowledge of the birds of that mighty country, then Subbuteo has 127 different books on American birds. Are you impressed?
I would suggest that you call Subbuteo on 0870 010 9700 and ask them to send on their latest list of books.
Then, if you are planning some travel, or just want to read about some foreign wildlife, you can order up a book or two at your leisure.
As well as books, Subbuteo are now in the CD, DVD-ROM world. Well, they have to keep up with modern progress like everyone else.
I love to read about wildlife, and like most folk I love watching wildlife on television, so you could always browse through the list of video guides.
You could have a thoroughly decadent January reading wildlife books, and watching wildlife videos.
Saturday 18 January - Sample the beauties of Upper Lough Erne, 11 am, where the Fermanagh RSPB is sharing with the Fermanagh Ramblers. Contact 6632 66,54 for details.
Monday 27 January - Lisburn RSPB is going to hear about Arctic Wildlife from Noel Mitchell in Friends Meeting House at 7.30, contact number 4062 6125.
Tuesday 28 January - Fermanagh RSPB will hear about Yellow-Eyed Penguins from Brad Robson at 7.30 in St Macartin's Hall in Enniskillen. Contact number 6632 6654
Sunday 2 February - Celebrate World Wetlands Day, by getting your feet wet, or alternately go bird watching at Oxford Island. Or enjoy a wetlands day meal. Details from 3832 2205