Tag Archives: Skill

A library for naturalists…

Butterflies and Moths

I so wish I could remember the species better, there should be some hope for me with the Butterflies, there are only around 59 species, but the moths, I have to contend with over 2500 of those!

Time for a Field Guide….

The two cheap but efficient Shire publications were amongst the first I purchased from this publisher. Both Nymphalidae (1987) and Pieridae (1989) from Michael Easterbrook can be read in less than an hour yet give considerable information on these Families

The two cheap but efficient Shire publications were amongst the first I purchased from this publisher. Both Nymphalidae (1987) and Pieridae (1989) from Michael Easterbrook can be read in less than an hour yet give considerable information on these Families, but they aren’t intended as Field Guides

As usual, Collins have published cutting edge guides. I am not sure their Caterpillars volume should be taken on a dedicated nature ramble but the Butterflies guide with superlative illustrations by one of, if the the most, proficient, insect artists in the country, covers 440 species, which is just about all of those to be found in Britain & Europe.

Sample from Collins Field Guide to Butterflies, artist and illustrator has caught one of the first stand out facts I learnt on a trip out with the Kent Field Club a decade ago- the lovely male Duke of Burgundy butterfly differs from the female in that it has only four functional legs, having greatly reduced forelegs

Sample from Collins Field Guide to Butterflies. Artist and illustrator Richard Lewington has caught one of the first stand out facts I learnt on a trip out with the Kent Field Club a decade ago- the lovely male Duke of Burgundy butterfly differs from the female in that it has only four functional legs, having greatly reduced forelegs

Collins Field Guide to Caterpillars is, I believe, the only field guide that groups caterpillars by their food plant, so a little knowledge on flora is useful

Collins Field Guide to Caterpillars is, I believe, still the only field guide that groups caterpillars by their food plant, so a little knowledge on flora is useful

Field Guides are all well and good, but a book on the natural history of our beloved species is what is required to gain a greater understanding of their biology and evolution. The Field Guides are good, but with so many species to pack in, any information on each species is very limited as a result.

The first book I purchased on the natural history of butterflies was a classic in literature- number one in the New Naturalist series, E.B.Ford’s Butterflies which was first published in 1945.  OK, so a lot has been learnt since Ford and his contemporaries did their groundbreaking work, but the great majority of the information in the volume still holds up today as accessible, informative text.

Both John Feltwell and Marks Young’s volumes cover breeding, feeding, distribution and life history. I feel that the Poyser Natural History has the edge over the Facts on File book, but that befits such a large group, many of which are rarely seen as they are nocturnal. As homage to that, this is the only photograph I have taken of books from my shelves, at night. In the very garden where I have hung strips of cloth covered with home brewed pulpy mixes of sweet smelling fruit, later to venture out under cover of darkness to see what had descended on them on warm summer nights. Such great fun, why don’t I do it still?

A page from The Natural History of Moths. Read this and you will never look at a moth in the same way again, guaranteed

A page from The Natural History of Moths. Read this and you will never look at a moth in the same way again, guaranteed

Books in featured image:

The Natural History of Moths, Poyser Natural History, Mark Young. T & A D Poyser, 1997. ISBN 0 85661 103 4

The Natural History of Butterflies, John Feltwell. Facts on File, 1986. ISBN 0 8160 1561 9

Butterflies of Britain & Europe, Collins Field Guide. Tom Tolman, illustrations by Richard Lewington. Harper Collins, 1997. ISBN 0 00 219992 0

Caterpillars of Britain & Europe, Collins Field Guide. D.J. Carter, B. Hargreaves. Harper Collins, 1994 reprint with corrections. ISBN 0 00 219080 X

My first Field Guide to Butterflies was by L.G. H iggins and N.D. Riley. Good as it is, with illustrations by Brian Hargeaves, I reckon the most recent Collins guide is a big improvement

My first Field Guide to Butterflies was this 1976 guide, first published six years previous, by L.G. Higgins and N.D. Riley. Good as it is, with illustrations by Brian Hargreaves, I reckon the most recent Collins guide is a big improvement

Books on the Natural History of British Flora

A library for botanists…

The Natural History of British Flora

OK, so I may not know the name, but I can have a good grasp on the why-

Beyond a simple Field Guide, important that they are, an understanding of why plants are where they are, why they aren’t there, why they are the dominant plant, why they flourish or wither, why prostrate or stunted, any of these queries and more. That is truly asking the right questions. That is where a decent book on the natural history of plants can make time in the outdoors all the more enjoyable.

Plant Communities

Plant Communities was the fourth in a series of nature hardbacks released by Penguin in June 1978, it is a translation of an original Danish publication- Plantesamfund, published in 1977. The last in the series, number 13, was published in 1980

One simple and very accessible introduction to plant communities and their habitat is the Penguin Nature Guide- Plant Communities. The basics of soil and weather conditions and how these two are intimately linked with the plants to be found in any habitat, are explained in a series of short chapters. The whole book can be read in an hour or two and no walk would be the same afterward as a result. As an example of how authoritative this book is, it was edited and adapted by Francis Rose.

Peter Marren has served on the Nature Conservancy Council in various capacities and joined Plantlife’s advisory council in 1997. He has authored many scientific papers and books and made a personal study of rare plants and their world. His book Britain’s Rare Flowers was the first to provide both an accessible account of their conservation and an explanation as to why they are actually rare.

Plant Life and English Nature sponsored the writing of Britain's Rare Flowers. While authorative, it is written in an easy and accessible style. The author includes many personal anecdotes that both illuminate the story and engage the reader

Plant Life and English Nature sponsored the writing of Britain’s Rare Flowers. While authoritative, it is written in an easy and accessible style. The author includes many personal anecdotes that both illuminate the story and engage the reader

So, to finish off with a heavyweight from my bookshelves. Tipping my scales at 2348g, this is a both heavy in weight and in content. I have a number of books by Richard Mabey- Food for Free (1972), The Roadside Wildlife Book (1974), Street Flowers (1976) and Plants with a Purpose (1977) have all made my walks in the countryside more informed and have frequently provided interest out of the barest patch of vegetation. But with Flora Britannica, Richard Mabey has produced a quite amazing piece of work, to give over to an extract from the dust cover blurb, with which I cannot argue:

“It covers the native and naturalised plants of England, Scotland and Wales, and, while full of fascinating history, is topical and modern. Indeed, Flora Britannica is the definitive contemporary flora, an encyclopaedia of living folklore, a register- a sort of Domesday Book- for the end of the twentieth century”

A page from Flora Britannica. I defy anyone to not find such detail fascinating

A page from Flora Britannica. I defy anyone to not find such detail fascinating

 

Books in featured image:

Plant Communities, a Pengin Nature Guide, Anne Bülow-Olsen, Illustrated: by Susanne Larsen. Penguin Books Ltd. 1978. ISBN 0 14 063004 X

Britain’s Rare Flowers, Peter Marren. T & A D Poyser, 1999. ISBN 0 85661 114 X

Flora Britannica, Richard Mabey. Sinclair Stevenson, 1996. ISBN 1 85619 377 2

Poyser

A library for ornithologists…

T & A D Poyser

I have written before on the terrific volumes published by T & A D Poyser. I have probably an uncomfortable number of their volumes sitting on my book shelves. The ‘bird monographs’ cover both species and facets of bird behaviour or associated science. If you want good, authoritative, readable treatment of avian evolution, biology, reproduction, feeding, distribution and identification, then these are the volumes to look at.

Norman Elkins succeeded in bringing together the relationship between birds, flight and weather in his book Weather and Bird Behaviour. This sample page looks at Orography- the enforced ascent of air over high ground

Norman Elkins succeeded in bringing together the relationship between birds, flight and weather in his book Weather and Bird Behaviour. This sample page looks at Orography- the enforced ascent of air over high ground

Hmm, not at this price these days

Hmm, not at this price these days

Trevor and Anna Poyser founded their publishing company in 1973, specialising in books on ornithology. The volumes now published have expanded to cover a wide range of natural history subjects on a global basis. They sold their business to Academic Press in 1990. Various takeovers followed. Today, A & C Black continue to use the T & A D Poyser imprint. New volumes continue to be published to this day. As to the earlier volumes, you will often see them for sale, if you see one at the right price, snap it up.

 

P J Grant looked at 31 species of gulls and their identification in his 352 page book on Gulls. This can be a difficult group to age and identify due to the complexities in immature plumage. This book went some way to addressing the difficulty

P J Grant looked at 31 species of gulls and their identification in his 352 page book on Gulls. This can be a difficult group to age and identify due to the complexities in immature plumage. This book went some way to addressing the difficulty

Unlike some reference works, most of the Poyser mongraphs can be read cover to cover as each author not only has a passion for his or her subject, but have also been carefully selected for their ability in conveying sometimes quite ‘difficult’ subjects. While I purchased my volumes for the information inside, these classic books, with their distinctive dust jackets have become quite collectable for others. I have only shown a select minority of my Poyser volumes, specifically those I enjoy most or find the most informative. So many books, so little time, so little money…

The wonderful paintings used on the white dust jackets of most Poyser bird monographs are a joy

The wonderful paintings used on the white dust jackets of most Poyser bird monographs are a joy

 

Books in featured image:

Birds in Scotland, Valerie Thom. T & A D Poyser, 1986. ISBN 0 85661 040 2

Birds in Wales, Roger Lovegrove, Graham Williams, Iolo Williams. T & A D Poyser, 1994. ISBN 0 85661 069 0

The Historical Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland, 1875-1900, Simon Holloway. T & A D Poyser, 1996. ISBN 0 85661 094 1

Birds and Forestry, Mark Avery and Roderick Leslie. T & A D Poyser, 1990. ISBN 0 85661 058 5

Man and WILDFOWL, Janet Kear. T & A D Poyser, 1990. ISBN 0 85661 055 0

The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland, Peter Lack. T & A D Poyser, 1986. ISBN 0 85661 043 7

The Ruff, Johan G. Van Rhijn. T & A D Poyser, 1991. ISBN 0 85661 062 3

Weather and Bird Behaviour, Norman Elkins. T & A D Poyser, second edition, 1988. ISBN 0 85661 051 8

Waders, their breedings, haunts and watchers, Desmond and Maimie Nethersole-Thompson. T & A D Poyser, 1986. ISBN 0 85661 042 9

Bird Habitats in Britain, R J Fuller. T & A D Poyser, 1982. ISBN 0 85661 031 3

The Status of Seabirds in Britain and Ireland, Clare Lloyd, Mark L Tasker, Ken Partridge. T & A D Poyser, 1981. ISBN 0 85661 061 5

Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar, Clive Finlayson. T & A D Poyser, 1992. ISBN 0 85661 066 6

Gulls, a guide to identification, P. J. Grant. T & A D Poyser, second edition, 1989 reprint. ISBN 0 85661 044 5

The Gannet, Bryan Nelson. T & A D Poyser, 1987. ISBN 0 85661 021 6

Estuary Birds, A J Prater. T & A D Poyser, 1981. ISBN 0 85661 029 1

In Search of Sparrows, Denis Summers-Smith. T & A D Poyser, 1992. ISBN 0 85661 073 9

 

Published in 1974, this volume is a bit of an oddity in the Poyser stable. More about a man than birds themselves, it tells the story of birdwatching, birdwatchers and birds through the life of one man- H.G. Alexander, who began birdwatching in ernest in 1898

Published in 1974, this volume is a bit of an oddity in the Poyser stable. More about a man than birds themselves, it tells the story of birdwatching, birdwatchers and birds through the life of one man- H.G. Alexander, who began birdwatching in earnest in 1898 aged eight. He wrote his conclusion to this book seventy-six years later, aged eighty-four, “still watching and listening, day by day, for the first insectivorous birds returning from the south”

The complete set of pictorial walking guides to the Lakeland Fells

A library for those who hike in the shadow of giants…

Alfred Wainwright

Alfred Wainwright has arguably done more to popularise walking in the English Lake District than any other author. Some might feel that this is nothing to be lauded, preferring that numbers were reduced and the inevitable environmental damage from thousands of feet discontinued. Others might think his pictorial guides terribly outdated and of little help on the ground. However I give thanks to his legacy. Many is the evening my family have huddled around one of his books in the confines of a tent, or in one of those wonderful Inns with which the Lakes abound, together, we would plan our next days adventure.

Ill Bell and Kentmere are shown on the cover of 'The Far Eastern Fells' guide

Ill Bell and Kentmere are shown on the cover of ‘The Far Eastern Fells’ guide

Alfred Wainwright MBE (1907-1991) was a fellwalker, author and artist. His careful drawings and diagrams of the mountains and routes that he walked are scattered like confetti throughout his many books. He produced far more work than those that sit on the shelves of Three Points of the Compass, but it is the seven guides, shown at the head of this post, originally published between 1955 and 1966 (since updated) that have added much to my family’s enjoyment of the wonderful Lake District to which we returned for many years.

Three Points of the Compass hiking in the Lake District, invariably following one of the routes in a Wainwright pictorial guide

Three Points of the Compass hiking in the Lake District, invariably following one of the routes in a Wainwright pictorial guide

Evening planning of tomorrow's adventure, Lake District, 2017

Evening planning of tomorrow’s adventure, Lake District, 2015

The original guides remained un-revised for decades and welcome updates and revision were carried out by Chris Jesty between 2005-2009. I am not generally a fan of the use of sketch maps for walking guides, preferring the mighty Ordnance Survey maps instead. But Wainwright was such a proficient observer and artist that his detailed routes and descriptions can be transferred to a map with ease, preferably over a pint the previous night.

Two of Wainwright's routes (subsequently revised by Chris Jesty) to the summit of Haystacks. The fell on which his ashes were scattered

Two of Wainwright’s routes (subsequently revised by Chris Jesty) to the summit of Haystacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fine day on the fells is a wonderful thing indeed, just as frequent is a wet day! I cannot blame Wainwright for that, he always advises a cautionary note where required. On such days I have leafed through his guides and taken his advice, perhaps amended a day, taking in a lower top, or seeking one of his ‘easier’ paths to the summit or the descent and return to the car. It is possible, just possible, that on a day such as that, my family have cursed his books as much as I have praised them….

There have been various products made over the years that featured the drawings and work produced by Alfred Wainwright. Our family purchased the two Walkers Log Books, these were a great way of encouraging Three Points of the Compass's daughter to think on her day, the route we had taken and record her and our experiences

There have been various products made over the years that featured the drawings and work produced by Alfred Wainwright. Our family purchased the two Walkers Log Books, these were a great way of encouraging Three Points of the Compass’s daughter to reflect on her day, the route we had taken and record her and our experiences

Books in featured image:

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book One, The Eastern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2007. ISBN 978 0 7112 2465 0

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Two, The Far Eastern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2007. ISBN 978 0 7112 2466 7

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Three, The Central Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2007. ISBN 978 0 7112 2414 2

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Four, The Southern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2008. ISBN 978 0 7112 2658 6

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Five, The Northern Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2008. ISBN 978 0 7112 2667 8

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Six, The North Western Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2008. ISBN 978 0 7112 2712 5

A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Seven, The Western Fells. Alfred Wainwright. Second edition, revised by Chris Jesty. Francis Lincoln, 2009. ISBN 978 0 7112 2199 4

Another wet day! Three Points of the Compass and family setting off on a 'Wainwright Walk' in the Lake District, August 2008

Another wet day! Three Points of the Compass and family setting off on a ‘Wainwright Walk’ in the Lake District, August 2008

Alfred Wainwright's pictorial guide to the Western Fells. Buttermere with Haystacks beyond. His ashes were scattered on its summit

Alfred Wainwright’s pictorial guide to the Western Fells. The covers shows Buttermere with Haystacks beyond. Wainwright’s ashes were scattered on its summit

 

Philip's Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils

A library for geologists…

Philip’s Guide to Minerals, Rocks & Fossils

A.C. Bishop, A.R. Woolley, W.R. Hamilton

Have you ever picked up a rock, rolled it through the fingers, felt its weight and roughness and wondered just what it was, where it had come from, how old it was, what it was made of. Then ignored the weight and stuffed it into your pack to sit later on your desk as a record of that trip. Then this book may help provide answers to some of those questions.

Rocks and other found objects sit on the bookshelves of Three Points of the Compass, each prompts a memory

Rocks and other found objects sit on the bookshelves of Three Points of the Compass, each prompts a memory

The 336 page Philip’s Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils is a classic handbook describing and illustrating over 600 specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils. It is up to date with current thinking and classification regarding mineral names, meteorites and tektites, more recent advances in geological sciences are also reflected. Brian Rosen from the Natural History Museum has helped update the section on fossils, building on the work of Roger Hamilton who had prepared that section for the first edition but who subsequently died in 1979.

The opening pages from Philip's Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils that covers Igneous rocks, beginning with Granite

The opening pages from Philip’s Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils that cover Igneous rocks, beginning with Granite

Reasonably priced as the Philip’s guide is, there have been many reprints and several foreign language reprints since the guide was first published in 1974 when it was titled The Hamlyn Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils. If you are only after the basic information, can face up to some lack of more current scientific knowledge or interpretation, then a cheaper, earlier edition will more than suffice if you happen across one. My 1980 edition that sits on my shelf beside the more recent version has very obvious similarities. This is to take nothing away from the Philip’s update which contains 17 new plates and improved drawings.

The opening pages in the Hamlyn Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils that deal with Igneous rocks

The opening pages in the Hamlyn Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils that deal with Igneous rocks

The Hamlyn Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils. First published 1974, this is the 1980 reprint. 320pp

The Hamlyn Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils. First published in 1974, this is the 1980 reprint. 320pp

Book in featured image:

Philip’s Guide to Minerals, Rocks & Fossils. A.C. Bishop, A.R. Woolley, W.R. Hamilton. (Philip’s) Octopus Publishing Group, revised 2003 reprint of 2001 print. ISBN 0 540 07429 2

Churches

A library for historians…

Churches

Separate, wooden clad, bell tower at 13th C. Church of St. Augustine, Brookland

Cross the British landscape on any walk and you don’t have to go too far before you either pass a church, or spot the spire of one above the trees in the distance. Countless times I have rested on a seat just outside the church. Invariably, if the church is open, I find time to pop in for a wander round. It is always helpful to have just a little knowledge of church history, design and their features to enjoy them all the more.

Three Points of the Compass resting awhile at the 'Pilgrim's Church' on the North Downs Way. 19th C. St. Martha-on-the-Hill has 12th C. features and is offers great views

Three Points of the Compass resting awhile at the ‘Pilgrim’s Church’ on the North Downs Way. 19th C. St. Martha-on-the-Hill has 12th C. features and offers great views across the Weald

The quiet little Church of St. Thomas. Harty, Isle of Sheppy has undergone considerable changes in its 900 year history. These are two of the four windows depicting the four seasons

The quiet little Church of St. Thomas. Harty, Isle of Sheppy has undergone considerable changes in its 900 year history. These are two of the four windows depicting the four seasons and the wildlife of the island

Bench end carving. Chester Cathedral

Bench end carving. Chester Cathedral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, Shire come to the rescue of the curious with two very informative volumes. The 96 page on Medieval Church Architecture by Jon Cannon looks at the three great Gothic styles: Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular. He also includes some slight mention of other great buildings that have incorporated elements of church architecture in their design. Roger Boswell includes a hundred photographs in his volume, Stained Glass, and looks at glass windows from Anglo-Saxon (AD 700-1066) to the present day.

Author Jon Cannon has aimed at enabling beginners to identify essential styles as they appear in England

Author Jon Cannon has aimed at enabling beginners to identify essential styles as they appear in England

Three Points of the Compass on day four of the Ridgeway, another church offers a brief respite from the trail

Three Points of the Compass on day four of the Ridgeway, another church offers a brief respite from the trail

Two pages from Geoffrey R. Sharpe's Historic English Churches. The author had forty yeras expericne in managing and caring for historic buildings leading up to the publication of this excellent book

Two pages from Geoffrey R. Sharpe’s Historic English Churches. The author had forty years experience in managing and caring for historic buildings leading up to the publication of this excellent book

My other two featured book s are far more indepth. Geoffrey R. Sharpes work is a stand alone effort that is brimming with detail. Sadly, far more than I am ever going to be able to retain in memory. While the definitive Companion to the English Parish Church is just the ticket to quickly leaf through and get the information- Ah, that’s what it is!

Three Points of the Compass left the London Countryway briefly to enjoy the cool interior of the candle lit 13th C. 'Bargees Church'- St. Mary Magdalene, Bovery

Three Points of the Compass left the London Countryway briefly to enjoy the cool interior of the simple, candle lit 13th C. ‘Bargees Church’- St. Mary Magdalene, Bovery

Mrs Three Points of the Compass takes a break on the Wealdway while the 'expedition leader' explores the interior of St. Mary the Virgin, Speldhurst

Mrs Three Points of the Compass takes a break on The Wealdway while the ‘expedition leader’ explores the interior of 14th C to 19th C. St. Mary the Virgin, Speldhurst, this church is famous for its stained glass by Burne-Jones and William Morris

Books in featured image:

The Companion to the English Parish Church, Stephen Friar. Chancellor Press, 1996, ISBN 0 75370 330 0

Historic English Churches, a Guide to their Construction, Design and Features, Geoffrey R. Sharpe. I.B. Tauris, 2011. ISBN 978 1 84885 189 4

Stained Glass, Roger Rosewell. Shire Publications, 2016, first printed 2012. ISBN 13 978 0 74781 147 3

Medieval Church Architecture, Jon Cannon. Shire Publications, 2016, first printed 2014. ISBN 13 978 0 74781 212 8

Sometimes, a church just provides a little shelter. Three Points of the Compass and his family took shelter from the heavy rain in a church porch while completing the Two Moors Way in 2012

Though sometimes, a church just provides sanctuary. Three Points of the Compass and his family took shelter from the heavy rain in the porch of late 19th C St. Peter, Washford Pyne while completing the Two Moors Way in 2012

A library for naturalists…

Fungi

There are any number of books on fungi, the ones shown here are a good selection and you could do far worse than these. There are also a number of guides that are truly, unbelievably awful, with poor drawings or photographs, useless descriptions and even potentially dangerous distinction.

In common with his other photographic guides, the Roger Phillips book on mushrooms is a stunner. I have been on many a fungus foray and this book has proved invaluable when identifying them at home.

Roger Phillips illustrates 914 species in his book. These were al the species that he and a large number of mycologists were able to find and identify over five years

Roger Phillips illustrates 914 species in his book. These were all the species that he and a large number of mycologists were able to find and identify over five years

Many zoned Polypore (Coriolus versicolor) on the North Downs Way

Many-zoned Polypore (Coriolus versicolor) passed by Three Points of the Compass on the North Downs Way

There are over three thousand larger fungi to be found in the British Isles but it is impossible to find all, many are extremely rare. For example Phillips includes a photograph of Lentaria delicata, that had not been collected since first described in 1821. He also found a small mushroom near Wisley that proved to be new to science and was named in his honour. There is an updated edition from Phillips but I don’t see the need to replace the one I have.

The New Guide to Mushrooms is another photographic guide but less formal in layout. It also includes a number of ‘in habitat’ photographs. Less species are included but they are the most likely to be encountered. With the other information included, it makes a pretty good, one stop shop. though it is certainly not the ‘Ultimate’ guide it is purported to be in its title.

Peter Jordan includes just the necessary detail, a requirement in such a large format, user friendly volume

Peter Jordan includes just the necessary detail, a requirement in such a large format, user friendly volume

If you want a traditional field guide, with drawings, that is pocket sized, then the two volume set in the Penguin Nature Guides series is fine. I reckon the drawings are better than those in the Collins field guide that was released some thirty five years later! Originally published in Sweden (in Swedish) by Wahlström & Widstrand in 1977, they were translated and republished a year later by Penguin.

Two pages from volume 2 of the Penguin Nature Guides for Fungi.

Two pages from volume 2 of the Penguin Nature Guides for Fungi

Needless to say, Roger Phillips has produced a handy little pocket volume for Fungi I.D. This is also a useful complement to his larger volume as it includes location photography as well

Needless to say, Roger Phillips has produced a handy little pocket volume for Fungi I.D. This is also a useful accompaniment to his larger volume as it includes location photography as well

The New Naturalist series has been published since 1945. John Ramsbottom's volume- Number 7 in the series- Mushrooms and Toadstools, is a classic first published in 1953, mine is a reprint from 1969. The information in this book has never, to my knowledge, been repeated in any other book on the subject. Obviously some nomenclature has changed in the intervening years but the 'whys' and genus detail is accessible and really puts these fascinating species into context, including detail from when first collected and described

The New Naturalist series has been published since 1945.  John Ramsbottom’s volume- Number 7 in the series- Mushrooms and Toadstools, is a classic, first published in 1953, mine is a reprint from 1969. The information in this book has never, to my knowledge, been repeated in any other book on the subject. Certainly not in such readable manner. Obviously some nomenclature has changed in the intervening years but the ‘whys’ and genus detail is accessible and really puts this fascinating natural history subject into context, including detail from when first collected and described

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is great fun to be had with fungi. While they may be encountered throughout the year, they are especially prevalent in the autumn, when less flowers are to be seen, so do much to restore interest in the forest floor.

It is some years since I last upended a fungi to make a spore print at home, but enjoyed those times immensely. I now content myself with the odd encounter with their various forms, striking colours and wild shapes as I pass them on my path.

 

 

Books in featured image:

Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain & Europe, Roger Phillips. Pan Books, 1981. ISBN 0 330 26441 9

The New Guide to Mushrooms, Peter Jordan. Sebastian Kelly, 1997. ISBN 1 901688 26 7

Penguin Nature Guides:

  • Fungi of Northern Europe 1 Larger Fungi (excluding gill-fungi), Sven Nilsson and Olle Persson, illustrated by Bo Mossberg. Penguin Books, 1978
  • Fungi of Northern Europe 2 Gill-fungi, Sven Nilsson and Olle Persson, illustrated by Bo Mossberg. Penguin Books, 1978