Natural history books of the year

The following three natural history books were published during the year and deserve as much publicity and praise as they can get. If you haven't read them then I can whole-heartedly recommend each and every one. Greenery by Tim Dee is part travelogue, using the season of Spring as a framework on which to hang a series of essays covering much more than the awakening of the natural world. It is a thought-provoking book that ends with the author pondering his own life's journey, the fall into autumn being mirrored by his own bodies frailties. Powerful stuff and, as always from Mr Dee, superbly written. 

His Imperial Majesty by Matthew Oates is the author's love letter to the Purple Emperor butterfly. For a book that is dense with intrinsic information it is nothing but a joyful read. The insect’s life cycle, distribution, abundance and a site gazetteer is amalgamated into the story of all those obsessives who spend each summer in HIM's presence. 

Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan C Slaght follows the author's studies of the rare Blakiston's Fish Owl in Far Eastern Russia. You can feel the biting cold, share in the triumphs (and the failures) of the fieldwork and join him and his team in the field as they slowly build up knowledge of this enigmatic owl, with months of relentless searching of the riverine habitats. 


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