Though LaBastille's introductory reference to her previous books (Woodswoman and others) doesn't mention Assignment: Wildlife (1980), this latest of her first-person nature adventures tells much the same story, in much the same words. In both books, she is shuttling from her Adirondacks cabin and her Ph.D. studies at Cornell to Guatemala's Lake AtitlÃ¡n, where she studies the giant grebe, a flightless bird found nowhere else and, as she discovered in 1964, fast disappearing there. Here, as in the earlier book, she establishes a refuge for the bird, aided by foundations and local allies, especially Guatemalan lover Armando, who occasions some fluttery prose. The present book takes the story into the 80's, when her chief Guatemalan ally (after the breakup with Armando) is killed in that country's guerrilla war. She officially declares the grebe extinct, while the lake, already damaged by earthquake, is badly polluted by development--but she takes satisfaction in the Guatemalan government's new conservationist measures. As before, the focus is not on the birds but on LaBastille's comings and goings; and a\s before, the whole account is drenched in banality.