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Marshes: The Disappearing Edensby William Burt
Synopses & Reviews
Drawn since boyhood to the beauty and allure of marshes, naturalist William Burt has prowled them by day and night, in every season, from one edge of North America to the other. For thirty years he has hauled his large-format camera with him, seeking to capture on film the elusive birds, the wildflowers and grasses, and the unique wild beauty of the marshes. In this breathtakingly lovely book, he selects ninety of his most striking photographs. He also offers his reflections on the marshes he has visited, inviting his readers to come with him and become acquainted with this hidden world, its richness, and its vulnerability.
Burt explores marshes near and far, from Connecticut to Manitoba, the Gulf of Mexico, Californias Central Valley, the Northern Plains, and elsewhere. His photographs explore all aspects and seasons of marsh life but focus especially on such shy inhabitants as rails, bitterns, grebes, and gallinules. While the photographs tell stories of their own, Burts narrative invokes the marshes of the past and compares them to todays, with prose as picture-sharp as the photography.
No book has ever evoked the mystery and beauty of the marshes so compellingly as this by William Burt. And no reader, having accompanied the author to this secret world, will fail to appreciate the rare privilege of having been there.
"Photographer and bird lover Burt has had a love affair with marshes since childhood, and this book portrays, in words and photographs, his romantically tinged tour of North American marshlands and his take on how they've changed since the early explorer-naturalists first found them. He begins by revisiting Great Island in Connecticut, in which he wandered as a child, and finds it endangered by an invasive reed that's threatening not only this diverse ecosystem, but much of the East Coast marshland, including his next stop, Maryland's huge Elliot Island marsh. He finds the marshes of Texas 'ditched and diked and neatly edged, like so many fish farms.' Those of Louisiana are bursting with birds in the west, but trash-littered in the east. Marshes in the western U.S., described rapturously by 19th-century birders, but 'reclaimed' by agricultural development and rebuilt as square ponds to service migrating birds, are a deep disappointment, but a side trip to a pristine five-mile-wide salt marsh in New Jersey is an intriguing surprise. Burt's florid language is sometimes tiring, but his intimate portraits of birds — particularly the bittern, guarding eggs in salt hay with enormous tail feathers spread and peeking curiously through reeds, or its fluffy chicks screaming for food — show where his talents and his heart lie. 92 color photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this breathtakingly lovely book, Burt selects 90 of his most striking photographs and offers his reflections on the marshes he has visited and the beauty and allure they hold.
About the Author
William Burt is a naturalist, photographer, and writer with a passion for wild places and elusive birds. He is the author of two previous books, and his photographs and stories have appeared in Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, and other magazines. He lives in Old Lyme, CT.
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