Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Guiana gem

The late Jan Lindblad was a Swedish explorer, bird imitator and performer (his whistling version of “Shenandoah” has been ripped on Youtube). He was something of a celebrity during my childhood.

“Guayana: Ett tropisk vildmarksrike”, published in 1975, is an account of Lindblad's journeys across the so-called Guiana Shield (which includes the Guiana Highlands), a region in South America spanning Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, the eastern portion of Venezuela and the northernmost parts of Brazil. In Swedish, this region is known as Guayana, hence the title of the book! Most of it is tropical rainforest, but there are also more savannah-like portions.

Lindblad's book is a popularized introduction to Guiana's wildlife, with many fine photos (all in color). Animals featured include the jaguar, the cougar, the peculiar “bush dog”, the tamandua, howler monkeys, oilbirds, the pre-historical looking bird known as hoatzin, and the scarlet ibis (unless I'm mistaken, Lindblad later published an entire book just about those). The author has a tendency to wax romantic about the jungle and its wildlife, but perhaps that's inevitable. “Guayana” was published with the support of the WWF.

The text is in Swedish, but due to the quality of the photos, the book could be a good collector's item even for those who don't understand a word of it! I'm glad I found this little gem when doing some “spring cleaning” the other day. It was something of a favorite of mine during my childhood.
Five stars!

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