Followers

Monday, 18 January 2021

Book Review - Britain's Butterflies - Princeton University Press (WILDGuides of Britain & Europe)

 

        
     One might be forgiven for thinking that WILDGuides have been around forever, and I would suspect that a survey of naturalists would reveal that many, if not most, have used one title or another at some stage in their lives. For many of us, old editions are dog-eared and battered, having served us well in the field, and continue to do so to this day.
     It is hard to believe that this is the fourth edition of the butterfly guide, and it is more complete than ever, filled with a stunning array of coloured photographs of every species known to occur in the British Isles.
     It is significant that the book was produced in cooperation with Butterfly Conservation, the leading UK organization involved in such matters. Such a synergistic relationship can only enhance the prospects for a serious attempt to restore endangered populations.
     This guide is really well done. It serves as an excellent reference for neophytes but fits equally well into the library of seasoned entomologists.
     The entire sequence of the butterfly life cycle is covered, with a remarkable collection of photographs depicting every stage from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. 
     A section is devoted to butterfly habitats with a series of pleasing images that represent typical landscapes where different species may most easily be found. Further, the foodplants of the various species receive serious attention, and I can't think of a better way to enhance one's chances of finding a target species than to know where and upon what it might be feeding.
     The glossary is well done, and the range maps that accompany each species account are easily understood, with an accompanying diagrammatic key to the period of the year when the different stages in the organism's life cycle may be observed.
     Links to further reading and to important internet sites are given, and there are notes on butterfly conservation and legislation.
     No guide today would be complete without a comment on the potential effects of climate change (some of which are already evident) and such is the case in Britain's Butterflies. One must hope that in the next edition one does not read of a litany of extinctions and species in peril. Surely we can come to our senses and embark on the long journey to reverse the deadly forces we have set in motion.
     One of the beneficial effects of restrictions on "normal" activities brought about by COVID-19 has been an increased awareness of nature. People confined to their backyards have begun to notice creatures they had formerly paid no attention to, chief among them gloriously coloured butterflies, floating like ephemeral fairies on a bright summer's day. Planting for wildlife is on the increase and suburbia is becoming ever more critter-friendly. 
     You too can make your garden friendly for butterflies. The authors hope you will.

Britain's Butterflies - Princeton University Press (WILDGuides)
Authors: David Newland, Robert Still, Andy Swash, David Tomlinson
Paperback - US$24.95 - £17.99 - ISBN: 9780691205441
Published: 3 November 2020
256 pages - 600+ colour photographs - 10 line illustrations
5.88" x 8.25"
    
     

33 comments:

  1. "You too can make your garden friendly for butterflies. The authors hope you will."

    Thank you for highlighting this book.

    I definitely think that more and more people are becoming aware of how they can make their gardens more butterfly friendly.
    In a nearby town they have planted out wildflower areas that have been successful in attracting more.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ironically, I think that COVID-19 has inspired a greater awareness of nature and perhaps more plantings of this nature will take place.

      Delete
  2. Wow, un libro maravilloso. Querido David este es un libro para conseguir, me encantan las mariposas. Bueno la verdad es que me encantan los insectos. Muchas gracias. Un fuerte abrazo para ti y para Miriam y mucha salud.

    ReplyDelete
  3. love butterflies, wish there were more of them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hari OM
    There was a definite increase in butterfly observations in my father's garden last summer and I put that down to the C-effect. YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. You will be shocked and surprised (not) to learn that I am a big fan of butterflies (and moths). Ephemeral magic.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The world of butterflies deserves a book!

    ReplyDelete
  7. There is much awareness here for butterfly -and insect-friendly gardens. Every effort helps!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like a great book.I am always happy when butterflies visit my balcony. Have a great day, stay safe, hugs, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesante este libro, me encanta todo lo que tiene que ver con la naturaleza y las mariposas son maravillosas. Abrazos querido amigo.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for bringing us this review, David. Hitherto, I'd not been aware of this book, but it is immediately going on my 'must have' list.

    I never thought that I'd find myself taking issue with your writing, David, but there is one word that invasriably makes me cringe and that is "critter". To me it's a horrible USA corruption of the word "creature" - a word that conjures up visions of a thing of beauty.

    Best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know what, Richard, you are one hundred percent correct, and I will refrain from its use henceforth. Not only is it a degenerative use of the word "creature" but it generally implies distaste for creatures, as in "Keep those critters away from me!" As far as I know, I have not used it before, so why I slid into sloppiness this time is a little puzzling. Thanks for pointing it out.

      Delete
  11. Omg they are so pretty! <3

    www.pimentamaisdoce.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful book of butterflies David. 🦋

    ReplyDelete
  13. The butterflies ... when I see one, I think it's a messenger from my mom ... Thanks for reminding me of butterflies in the middle of winter ... you see! A message from my mom!
    Your review is very good! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think I need this book. I have a guide but it's getting rather elderly and I've noticed recently that the ranges of some species are changing rapidly as our summers get warmer. Most of these would seem to be extending their range, though that might be just a subjective view - it's much easier to notice butterflies that are there, than ones that are not.
    Looking on the internet I find that it's available in the UK at £14.99 from specialist wildlife booksellers. Done deal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello John: I am glad that you found a better price. I receive a press release with the book for review, and the prices I show are taken from that.

      Delete
  15. I have definitely been more aware of nature since COVID. I love seeing butterflies but most of all the many dragonflies.

    ReplyDelete
  16. We've come such a long way with guides! And photography, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The digital camera has revolutionized field guides in so many ways.

      Delete
  17. Buenas tardes apreciado amigo David, tus buenas y expertas explicaciones nos sacan de cualquier duda. Por lo que nos cuentas, es una maravillosa edición para cualquier neófito en la materia. Intentaré indagar por si está traducido al español. No cabe duda que es un gran libro de consulta.
    Un fuerte abrazo mi querido amigo y compadre David.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Butterflies are very pretty to see. I've only seen a few here in the last year, hopefully this year will be a better year for seeing them. Nice review, David and thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi David - we do have wonderful butterflies here ... and I hope sometime to spend some time studying them. The birds are just staggering in lockdown ... lots of birdsong, while we walk, and oddly listening to people broadcast from their homes ... the birdsong comes over. I've seen mozzies ... but yet to see butterflies - sadly masses of rain and storms on the way - so I hope they haven't hatched yet, but it is very warm. Stay safe and enjoy reading and perusing your reference books ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mozzies in January. If that's not an indicator of climate change, Hilary, I don't know what is!

      Delete
  20. I think I need a butterfly guide.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Not a field guide David but have you checked out this superb book, it's my favourite by a country mile. https://www.amazon.com/Butterflies-Britain-Ireland-Jeremy-Thomas/dp/1472967194
    Sorry it's an ad but has all the details.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for this, Brian. It looks quite exceptional and you can't have too much reference material. Great to hear from you.

      Delete
  22. David, thank you for visiting! You gave me the opportunity to discover your blog, one of the most adorable and precious blogs I've seen so far. I love birds and stories about family life, just as I love books, which I found in full on your blog. I'll be back!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Now this is a book I would like, but sad it is not Europe as well. My English books always run short when I find something different here! Best wishes Diane

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi friend David,
    a book by and about butterflies is really indispensable. I also have a number of books about butterflies and this one that you show is also a very nice and valuable addition.
    A big kiss xo

    ReplyDelete
  25. Now this looks like a fantastic book to read! (Unlike the spiders book. ;-)

    ReplyDelete