My opinions and insights about the products and services I've used may save you time and trouble before you make your next purchase or help you find that book, hotel or gadget that you've been hoping to find.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crossley ID Guide review

I like to go bird watching whether it is in my own backyard, at one of the many birding destinations in New England or even further afield. Consequently, a great many of my reviews will be related to this hobby that i enjoy with my family. We have a great many filed guides and birding ID books to help us make positive identifications of birds with which we are not particulalry familiar. Most of them include one or two up close photos of each bird showing the details of the plumage and body shape.

That's great if you happen to get a good look at the bird and it turns to present a profile similar to those shown in the book, usually that doesn't happen. The Crossley ID Guide takes a different and better approach. It uses composite photo plates that include dozens of photos of each bird at various ages and seasons digitally placed in a landscape in which they would typically be found. The photos show the bird at various distances, at many angles, in flight, on the ground, and in almost every posture in which you might see the bird in the wild.

This makes it much easier to positively identify birds seen in the wild.

Read my complete review of the book here, including some sample photo plates that really show the difference between the Crossley ID Guide and ordinary bird watching field guides.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Krups F203 Spice and Coffee Grinder Review

This device makes it easy to grind spices and herbs grown in one's own garden. It also does a great job grinding small batches of coffee. I use it quite often all summer as I harvest and dry herbs from the garden.

Read my full review of the Krups F203 Grinder at this link.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: David Archer's 'The Global Carbon Cycle'

David Archer's new book, "The Global Carbon Cycle," one of the Princeton Primers in Climate, is a detailed, but readable look at the science behind the way the Earth reacts to carbon and other factors that relate to global climate. He discusses changes in the Earth's temperature throughout history and the reasons behind. Such factors as the gradual warming of the sun and changes in the Earth's orbit are examined.

Without some understanding of the science that goes beyond parroting what we hear in the form of sound bites on the evening news, we cannot have an informed discussion regardless of which side of the issue we choose to debate. For those with an interest in the facts and real science behind global warming, The Global Carbon Cycle wil arm you with facts, observable and measurable.

The Global Carbon Cycle is also available for the Kindle.

Click to read my full review of the book...

Material connection disclosure:
"The Global Carbon Cycle" was provided to me free of charge for review by The Princeton University Press.

Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend: Event Review

The annual Cape Ann Birding Weekend is a fantastic family event for those interested in birdwatching or just spending a day together in the great outdoors learning about nature from friendly and knowledgeable experts. The event takes place in early February along the coast of Massachusetts, so definitely bundle up and be prepared for the New England winter, but Cape Ann is one of the premiere birding locations in the northeast.

"Cape Ann is very well-known for its winter birding," says Chris Leahy, one of the event's founders. "Many very rare species are easy to see here in winter." The purple sandpiper is a good example. In summer it resides in Greenland and the extreme north of Canada; during the winter, however, coastal birders are almost guaranteed to spot them on the rocky coasts of Cape Ann.

In addition to the bus tours, the event featured a number of bird-related vendor displays, and slideshow presentations of the birds and wildlife of the Svarlbad, Belize and Cape Ann. The Sunday morning bird watching ocean cruise that had been planned for the Cape Ann Birding Weekend had to be cancelled this year because of poor weather conditions forecast for the day.

Click to read my full event recap and review at Yahoo! News...

Easy Reach Plant Pulley Review, As Seen on TV

Very few things make me happier than to see a clever solution to a common problem. That is the very nature of invention and technological progress. The Easy Reach Plant Pulley distributed by Allstar Products Group fits
that category.

I first saw the Easy Reach Plant Pulley as I was walking past an "As Seen on TV" display at a local discount store. My first thought was "Why didn't I think of that?" My second thought was "I'm buying this," if for no other reason than to reward whoever thought of it and brought it to market.

Click to read my complete review...

Book Review: 'Antarctic Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide' by James Lowen

Taking a cruise to Antarctica is definitely something that's on my very lengthy list of things that I'd like to do someday. If and when that happens, I am certainly bringing along James Lowen's "Antarctic Wildlife, A Visitors' Guide. This combination travel guide and wildlife field guide not only gives the options for different types of cruises and departure ports, but also details just about every animal you're likely to see along the trip.

The wildlife species accounts are separated by region, so that you can narrow the search by just those that are found in particular parts of your Antarctic voyage. Photo plates are large and clear, offering several views of each animal as it is likely to be seen in the wild. The book also includes a brief, but interesting "talking point" about most of the animals and plants listed. These talking points can help make you look an expert filled with information or simply add some richness to your understanding of what you're seeing on the cruise.

If you're not travelling to the Antarctic, the book offers a detailed view of the plants and animals that live there along with some of the ecological pressure the region faces today. IA must have for the Antarctic traveller, and recommended for anyone curious about what the loneliest continent on Earth.

Read my full review by clicking here...
Material Connection Disclosure:
The book "Antarctic Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide" by James Lowen was provided to me free of charge by Princeton University Press for review.