Birding Babylon: A Soldier’s Journal from Iraq by Jonathan Trouern-Trend. First published 2006.
Subtitled A Soldier’s Journal from Iraq, Birding Babylon began life as a natural history and birding blog by a deployed National Guardsman in Iraq. The book is formatted as journal, from the faux handmade paper cover to the short, dated entries of no more than two pages for each date. At just under 80 pages this is a quick read. A year of birding and observing wildlife in various spots in Iraq is covered, beginning in February 2004.
While the observations are interesting and the surroundings are at times riveting, I found the writing a bit dry and would hope for a bit more fluid text when the online journal was turned into a book. Trouern-Trend’s blog, birdingbabylon.blogspot.com, is still active, and it seems he has recently returned to the Middle East once again. I will be following the blog to see what other interesting Mideast specialties are found in his day to day routine. Meanwhile I give Birding Babylon 3 Goldfinches out of 5.