All of the Nethersole-Thompson family contribute in some measure to this book but it is Dr Desmond Nethersole-Thompson's life-long interest in waders which gives the work its exceptional quality and authority. For well over fifty years the study of waders and their behaviour has been his passion, and his great knowledge and experience are internationally recognised. There is a bonus, too, for the reader in the particular freshness and style of his writing which conveys not only his closely observed, patient study but also the joy and satisfaction he has known in watching such intriguing and beautiful birds, mainly in their Scottish habitats. The core of the book is the comprehensive accounts of the biology and behaviour of 18 species of waders in their breeding haunts (see Contents list). In addition there are chapters on waders generally, wader spacing and dispersion, the wader watchers of past and recent times, and two final chapters on new or returning waders and those pipe-dream species that, not too fancifully, may yet breed one day in these islands.
Voice is one of the headings within the species accounts but there is also an appendix of sonagrams of wader songs and calls; there are tables of data and an extensive, selected bibliography. Donald Watson has provided more than a hundred drawings to complement and embellish the text and there are 32 photographs. Jacket paintings by Donald Watson