I got myself 3 new bird-related books this past week:
Fifty Uncommon Birds of the Upper Midwest by Nancy Overcott (with watercolor illustrations by Dana Gardner). Nancy is a really nice lady and very knowledgeable about birds. I met and talked with her several times while I was working at Wild Birds Unlimited. The other neat thing about her books is that she lives in SE Minnesota and most of her stories reflect her birding experiences in the Fillmore County area where I also grew up. It's neat to read her stories about places and people I know. I haven't had a chance to sit down and read this book yet, but in glancing through it I saw she wrote about birding with John Hockema.
I know John, in fact, John and his brother Chris were the guys who helped positively ID the rare Clay-Colored Sparrow in my yard last winter. John is a really good birder and he's also the person who recommended A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors (another new book shown above). I've been using Hawks & Owls of the Great Lakes Region & Eastern North America (which is still a very good field guide, in my opinion), but the "Raptors" is much more comprehensive and has lots of photos of raptors: perched, flying, front & back, etc. to give me better chances at a positive ID.
My last book is Owls of the North by David Benson. This is a really neat little book featuring some of the most amazing pictures of owls you've ever seen. The other reason I got this book is that David Benson is the Friday night speaker at the Sax-Zim Bog Festival of the Birds that I'm registered for in February, and I'm taking this book along so I can have David sign it for me.
In fact, all of these new books are going along with me on the trip.....I think Lynne will enjoy reading them too (and Mom, I'll bring them down to your house after we get back from the trip!)