Basil Ede's Birds. Basil Ede and Robert Dougall, Severn House (1980), pp 128, £ 9.95. Lambert's Birds of Shore and Estuary. Terence Lambert and Alan Mitchell, Collins (1979), pp 128, £ 6.95. These two books are celebrations of artistic talent. They are both lavishly produced, with glorious full-colour reproductions of paintings which show birds flying, sitting, feeding and swimming. There are interesting contrasts in style both in paintings and text. Basil Ede's paintings are detailed, colourful, romantic and even sentimental. They were clearly intended to be framed, or reproduced as posters, birthday cards and Christmas cards. Mr Ede's birds always strike decorative poses; often they are statuesque, and sometimes they look almost petrified. His paintings are full of the incidental detail of the commercial artist flowers, leaves, berries, soft fruit, lichens and bark. Robert Dougall's commentaries on the individual bird species are chatty, informative, and punctuated with snippets of poetry and plugs for the RSPB. Terence Lambert's birds are painted with a loving eye for detail, and they actually look as if they are alive. He captures the movement of his subjects beautifully, and he also portrays the serenity and the characteristic poses of birds at rest. His subjects almost always stand out in their full glory against a white background with a minimum of rocks, foliage and nest materials. They are perfect book illustrations, and the publishers have chosen imaginative double-page designs which enhance their quality. Alan Mitchells' simple yet perceptive text is just right for this book; like Mr Lambert's paintings his notes are sparse and very much to the point. Both of these books will grace the bird-watcher's coffee table but to my mind Messrs. Lambert and Mitchell provide much better value for money. B.S.J. All the Birds of the Air. Francesca Greenoak, Andr6 Deutsch (1980), pp 350, £ 6.95. The misleadingly poetic title of this work conceals not only a wealth of research into the derivations of the common English names of birds and the fanciful descriptive names by which each species is known in various localities, but also a mine of information on habits, distribution, etc. The Nightjar, for example, has 27 vernacular names, indicative of its call, nocturnal habits, or folk tore. An invaluable 21 page index lists every name variation referred to (although, curiously, 14 vernacular names locate the Goosander in the index, its common name is omitted). Sources range from Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) to 'The Birds of the Western Palearctic (1977). Exceptionally wide page margins result in a volume of 350 pages, but they carry attractive black and white sketches of birds, and enable the reader to annotate the results of his own researches into folk lore. E.B. In the Country. Peter Crawford, Macmillan (1980), pp 202, £ 7.95. "Books of TV programmes" are very much in vogue and are as diverse in their literary merit as the quality of programme they represent. If you, like me, enjoy the rural mixture presented by Angela Rippon, then you will enjoy this book of short articles written by regular contributors to the programme. A book to be read whilst waiting for the days to lengthen, it introduces us, in the words of the first chapter, to "The Armchair Countryside". F.M.S.