Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Butterflies of Britain and Ireland

Well I've just looked out the window and it's snowing again, and the last thing I thought I'd be thinking about would be butterflies.  But I am, prompted by what looks to be an excellent programme on BBC2 tomorrow evening (Natural World, 20:00) and also because I've recently received a copy of 'Butterflies of Britain and Ireland.  A Field and Site Guide' written by Ditton resident Mike Easterbrook.  Mike also happens to be the Kent County Recorder for Butterflies, a semi-retired entomologist at East Malling Research, the author of a number of wildlife/walking books and scientific papers and fellow Midlander.  Just looking through it the last few days has lifted my spirits no end - the anticipation of summer to come when the harshness of winter surrounds me I guess.  Most of these little critters will still be eggs, or otherwise curled up as a chrysalid or caterpillar or even as a adult tucked up in a dry garden shed, waiting, just waiting, for those first heart-lifting rays of warm Spring sunshine.  Then starts the amazing transformation to some of the most beautiful and dainty, but also most vulnerable creatures we have on these Isles.  And of course I can't wait for that day.  The short flight periods of most of the species make them all the more alluring, a bastion of seasonality in a world that fights to overcome the natural rhythms of nature.

So the book, well I can't fault it, except perhaps the use of a Grayling as the cover photo if I was being picky but this is quickly forgiven when you discover the plethora of wonderful, vibrant photos that lie within.  The layout is easy on the eye, simple in style but concise and basically tells you want you want to know about the species; description, habitat, flight period, history, conservation, distribution life cycle, behaviour, how to find it and places to see it.  A collection of sites by county are described at the back of the book and a comparative flight period chart is also very useful.

Some sample page images can be found on the NHBS website.

If you just need me a pick-me-up, a guide to make your plans for the summer or a Christmas present I can highly recommend it.  Amazon seems to be the cheapest place to get it online.


Butterfly Wall Stickers said...

One of my mom's favorite book!

Warren Baker said...

Just off to watch now Adam :-)

Paul said...

Hi Adam, Interesting about the Butterflies Book. I spent some time photographing various butterflies at Clare Park lake this year(right next to your patch)Back in the summer, myself and my young son walked from the East Malling church, right the way through to Hermitage Lane and back again too. If you find a spare couple of minutes, could you please view my new blog, cheers Paul.