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Britain's Dragonflies

A Field Guide to the Damselflies & Dragonflies of Britain & Ireland

Britain's Dragonflies: A Field Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of Britain and Ireland

By Dave Smallshire and Andy Swash | WILDGuides | Softcover | Edition 2 | 2010 | £17.95 | 208 pages | 64 col plates | Distribution Maps | Tables | ISBN 1903657296

At this time of year when its pretty ‘quiet’ in birding terms in the northern hemisphere many birder’s look for another focus for their outings to bird reserves and other parts of the countryside. Over the last few years several insect groups have fit the bill, butterflies and moths, bumblebees and Odonata – dragonflies and damselflies. Most birders are like me, they might not chase up and down the country to twitch rare bugs, but they like to know what they have seen. For some years I’ve kept a butterfly chart in the car and have some bumblee cards in my study so I can identify the fluttering and buzzing visitors to the garden… but had not found a similar aid for those prehistoric marvels that I was so used to seeing when fishing.

I think the gap has been filled! This is an excellent and comprehensive photographic guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of Britain and Ireland. The completely revised second edition covers in detail the identification of all 56 species that have been recorded, as well as seven potential vagrants. It aims to help the Dragonfly-watcher - beginner or expert - to identify any species they encounter. Its remarkable full colour photographic plates show all you need to identify the adults. There are sections on larval identification, biology, habitats, recording and conservation. The text covers the key identification features of each species during the egg, larval and adult stages, emphasising the differences between similar species, and includes information on behaviour, breeding habitat, population and conservation. Colour distribution maps and charts showing flight period accompany the text for each species. ID is not easy but the way this book deconstructs these beasties is excellent, a feature some birding fieldguides could learn a thing or two from! Moreover, the species accounts have some really useful sections on ‘where to look’, ‘observation tips’ and ‘lookalikes’ that really ought to become standard in birdguides – Collins, Helm, Sibley et al please note!

I am embarrassed to admit that just reading the introductory pages massively multiplied my knowledge of these summer beauties!

Fully updated, the second edition contains many new photographs and a comprehensive guide to identifying larvae so its worth the money even if you have the first edition.


Buy this book from www.nhbs.com