Sunday, 23 December 2012

Books of the Year

This little beauty found its way to me as a recent birthday present - Mushrooms by Peter Marren. The author is one of my favourite wildlife writers, as he possesses a deft touch with words which marries authority, accessibility and humour to the effect that his copy is an intelligent and entertaining read. What is even more exciting about this particular book is that it is the first of a series to be published by British Wildlife Publishing, the same people that have given us so many cracking field guides recently (particularly the micro moths guide back in the summer). This new series will hopefully be a more colourful (in more than one sense) version of the long established New Naturalists series. I've yet to read it, but flicking through it has already won me over.

This book has made it onto my 2012 'Favourite Natural History Books' list. The others are:

Moths of Great Britain and Ireland by Sean Clancy
Do we need another moth book? Well, I find myself constantly referring to this book, not only for the new images (of live and set specimens) but also for the clear identification pointers. It is expensive, but I feel worth it for adding knowledge to my entomological arsenal.

Field Guide to the Micro Moths of GB and Ireland by Sterling, Parsons and Lewington
The first proper field guide that has attempted to bring together those neglected moths to enable most species to be identified with some certainty. It is clear in its limitations, as 'gen det' is a necessity for many species to be confidently identified and this book will help you get close (at least to family level). As a starting point to help de-mistify micros, it is nothing but a success. My copy is already well worn.

Collins Fungi Guide by Buczacki, Shield and Ovenden
There are quite a few field guides to fungi, but they show a small and varying number of species. This is the Daddy of them all, with almost 2,500 species. The illustrations are a joy to look at and, like the micro moth guide, the book does not hide from the fact that not all species of fungi are identifiable in the field.

Insects of the New Forest by Paul Brock
Part social history, part site guide, part photographic identification guide, this soft-back is a delightful thing to browse through, whether to drool over the images of longhorn beetles or to plan trips this coming summer.

Smaller Moths of Surrey by Palmer, Porter and Collins
The Surrey Wildlife Trust excel again with the latest in a long line of Surrey-themed family atlases. A large group of eager recorders (including myself) can now refer to up-to-date distribution maps of all micros recorded in the county. The more specialised (or rarer) get specific record treatment. Next year will see me checking my putative identifications of micros in the garden against this fine book.

4 comments:

  1. The Mushrooms one is on my Christmas List, fingers crossed!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Collins Fungi guide is indeed excellent, as is the Sterling et al Micro Guide. However I was really disappointed with the Clancy Macro guide; in fact so disappointed that after having had a good flick through and realising that a lot of the photos were fairly poor and the write-ups didn't really add much I flogged it on e-bay (for a good price as well).
    Book I'm most looking forward to will be a comprehensive and updated Lepidoptera checklist - murmurs and rumblings of one in progress.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Stewart: if Father Christmas rewards good kids, then you'll surely get it.

    Skev: this book hasn't gone down particularly well I know, but, as I've posted, I like it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yep I'm hoping for one or two of these Steve - hopefully I've given enough hints. Have a great Christmas!

    ReplyDelete