Monday, August 19, 2013

Britains Butterflies by David Newland and Robert Still - Book Review

A field guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Ireland
By David Newland and Robert Still
with David Tomlinson and Andy Swash

Those that know me know I have a passion for wildlife and especially the bug kind, with a love of Butterflies, Bees and Dragonflies. I have been taking butterfly photos for many years and its almost an addiction for me to capture as many photos as possible and this year has been the best yet with literally hundreds of butterflies visiting my garden, its been really special. So I've always wanted a good Butterfly ID book.

I was lucky enough to receive the second edition of Britains Butterflies one of the Wild Guides series from the lovely people of  Princeton University press

 Please read my full photo book review after the jump.
 I have collected a few ID books over the years and I have been using these to ID all my photography. I also have several butterfly ID books but nothing compares to Britain's Butterflies which is a completely revised second edition covering the ID of all 59 species that currently breed, 4 former breeders, 9 rare immigrants and 1 species of unknown status.

 Britains Dragonflies (review coming soon)
I have one other book from the Wild guide series and that's also brilliant, both guides offer stunning well detailed and well composed images taken by obviously brilliant photographers.

Front and back

British Butterflies has to be one of the BEST Butterfly ID books I have seen. This gorgeous book takes you through Butterfly biology and lifecycle with easy to read and understand diagrams and photos. Explanations of hibernation, migration, plus a thorough introduction to finding British butterfly habitats showing named areas in Britain to travel to see certain species. A real plus for me who enjoys nothing but looking and photographing these beautiful insects.
I have to stress this isn't just an ID book its a fascinsating insight to the complete life of a butterfly, showing how each species can be quite different in so many ways to the next, this really is a fascinating read for those of us who love these stunning insects. 
 This book is so beautifully put together and you can clearly see the work and effort involved, the Author David Newland has spent since 2003 trying to photograph every species of butterfly in Britain and he has achieved this and more; including some unusual aberrations and rare species to form the most informative and user friendly field guide Ive seen yet.


The ID section on each species of British butterfly is extremely comprehensive showing
  • Adult ID and special markings a detailed explantion of both male and female forms,
  • Behaviour - where relevant,
  • Breeding habitat - Summary of habitat preferences,
  • Population and Conservation - where to find that species and/or if they need conservation,
  • Egg, caterpillar and crysallis - Brief description and measurements of each stage. 
This is on the left side of the page, the opposite page has stunning images to show you male and female forms plus different colourations, wings open and closed. So many books don't show you both, most butterflies look completely different depending on wings open or closed. The book clearly shows the differences. Its just beautiful to flick through for those that just want to ID your butterfly as well as those like me who want to know all about that species.

My own image of a Small Tortoiseshell on my Budliea over the accompanying page of the book. 
Not photoshopped, that would have been easier ;-)

Something that has been missing from most of my butterfly books is caterpillar ID's so when I found there were not just the caterpillars, but the eggs...and....the Chrysalis's too this made my day.

 Detailed Chrysalis pages.

There is also another section just on which food plants both butterfly and caterpillar enjoy so you can not only go out and try and find them; but grow the plants in your garden to attract them for next year.

 I couldn't resist trying to get the butterfly near the page, this little guy was quite obliging.

Opinion
There are so many butterfly books on the market but this has to be THE best book on British butterflies you can get in my opinion. You not only get to ID your butterfly with excellent clear images, but you get to learn about it with easy to understand well composed pages and chapters. There are some computer generated images to show the species in a better background but even these have been seamlessly done. From beginner to advanced if you love butterflies what are you waiting for, you need this book and Im sure anyone will really appreciate and enjoy the amount of information on each species.
I have used or looked at this book everyday since receiving this it; I love it as I really appreciate the work that goes into capturing these little guys on camera being a wildlife photographer myself, they are generally quite camera shy.
There are 558 stunning colour photos within this comprehensive guide but for me it was not only the gorgeous images of the butterflies but the detailed info on the eggs, caterpillars and chrysalis's that makes this guide stand way above the rest.


This gorgeous guide will be a perfect gift for the budding wildlife photographer or butterfly lover because of the depth of information. With extra information on where to go to watch or photograph certain species throughout the UK this book is light enough to take anywhere. It has excellent quality glossy pages and I was really surprised to find it has a heavy duty plastic sleeve; perfect for being out and about. Wow what a fantastic book, this is what I've been after for years!!!
All you could want in one beautifully photographed affordable guide book.

About the Author
David Newland has been a butterfly enthusiast since boyhood. He is the author of WILD Guides "Discover Butterflies" in Britain. Robert Still is WILD Guides publishing director. A qualified ecologist, he spends his time designing books and leaflets to publicize the natural world. When time allows, he travels the world in search of butterflies, cetaceans, and birds.






Published 2010
ISBN 9781903657300
224 pages,
558 colour photos,

 Get your own copy of Britains Butterflies 
By David Newland and Robert Still
Amazon
£12.21

Help save the butterflies, moths and the environment!
Buying this book supports The Butterfly Conservation



All my thanks goes to Princeton press for sending me this gorgeous book for this review. 
All my opinions and views are my own.





 Natural History Book Reviews coming soon

Another from the same Authors
Published September 2013

 Britains day Flying Authors


Plus book reviews from my own library.

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