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Book Review of 'A Summer of British Wildlife'

Posted: Friday 3rd June 2016 by Book-Reviews

A summer of British wildlifeA summer of British wildlife

A Summer of British Wildlife by James Lowen Published by Bradt at £15.99. Subtitled “100 great days out watching wildlife”, this book certainly does that. Covering just the summer months, May to August, there are 100 short articles which tell you what to look for on a particular day of the summer throughout the UK. So for example on May 22nd, the author suggest you head for Suffolk to see stone curlews and woodlarks and to hear the dawn chorus. On June 29th you’re whisked off to North Yorkshire to see various insects. On July 25th, you’re off to see dragonflies and dolphins in Pembrokeshire. He suggests exact locations to visit and also some alternatives in other parts of the country. The book is lavishly illustrated, easy to read and to find your way around. Sadly, he only advocates a single day in Derbyshire, August 11th, to see red grouse. He is well aware that the following day sees the start of the grouse shooting season and goes on to mention the problems with hen harrier and other raptor persecution. He mentions the grouse’s characteristic ‘go back, go back’ calls and ends by saying; “in the knowledge of what tomorrow will bring, these avian serenades now feel somewhat melancholy”. The majority of the sites he picks are in the south or east of England, with a dozen or so each in Scotland and Wales. In the Midlands there is a noticeable gaping hole. If you are at the stage of your wildlife watching where you’ve seen the local specialities and want to venture further afield, this book will be very useful in directing you to all parts of the country to see a wide range of species, not just birds but plants, rockpool life and much more. Nick Brown

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