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Online Catalogue | Natural History | Natural History: General Interest
Join renowned naturalist Peter Marren on an exciting quest to see every species of wild plant native to Britain.The mysterious Ghost Orchid blooms in near darkness among rotting leaves on the forest floor. It blends into the background to the point of invisibility, yet glows, pale and ghostly. The ultimate grail of flower hunters, it has been spotted only once in the past twenty-five years. Its few flowers have a deathly pallor and are said to smell of over-ripe bananas. Peter Marren has been a devoted flower finder all his life. While the Ghost Orchid offers the toughest challenge of any wild plant, there were fifty more British species Peter had yet to see, having ticked off the first 1,400 rummaging in hedges, slipping down gullies and peering in peat bogs. But he set himself the goal of finding the remaining fifty in a single summer. As it turned out, the wettest summer in years. This expert and emotional journey takes Peter the length and the breadth of the British Isles, from the dripping ancient woods of the New Forest to the storm-lashed cliffs of Sutherland. He paddles in lakes, clambers up cliffs in mist and rain, and walks several hundred miles, but does he manage to find them all? Partly about plants, partly autobiography, Chasing the Ghost is also a reminder that to engage with wild flowers, all we need to do is look around us and enjoy what we see.
This first guide to British wildlife experiences packaged into 52 weekend-sized breaks highlights the best of British wildlife - from tiny silver-spotted skippers to gargantuan basking sharks, from seabird skyscrapers to autumn fungi. For both the experienced wildlife tourist and the novice, the suggestions criss-cross England, Scotland and Wales. With stunning colour photos the author shows when, where and how to see Britain's most exciting wildlife - complete with inspiring itineraries, engaging descriptions, detailed directions and tips on how to find, identify and enjoy British animals and plants. Each entry gives details on species of interest, the landscapes they inhabit and on how to plan the weekend. An 'at a glance' box summarizes details with a thumbnail map. Each entry suggests accommodation.
The Pond. Nothing in the countryside is more humble or more valuable. Its the moorhens reedy home, the frogs ancient breeding place, the kill zone of the beautiful dragonfly. More than a hundred rare and threatened fauna and flora depend on it. Written in gorgeous prose, Still Water tells the seasonal story of the wild animals and plants that live in and around the pond, from the mayfly larvae in the mud to the patrolling bats in the night sky above. It reflects an era before the water was polluted with chemicals and the land built on for housing, a time when ponds shone everywhere like eyes in the land, sustaining life for all, from fish to carthorse. Still Water is a loving biography of the pond, and an alarm call on behalf of this precious but overlooked habitat. Above all, John Lewis-Stempel takes us on a remarkable journey deep, deep down into the nature of still water.
Author and travel writer Dixe Wills likes to champion the underdog. In this new book, he celebrates 70 living things from the world of nature that are unfairly maligned by humans and yet manage to beat the odds in some inspiring or uplifting way. From bacteria and bluebottles, to puddles and wasps, there's so much we can learn from the curious creatures and the natural world around us. Take the slug, for example: "Slugs, like us, yearn to be the object of a little human love and sympathy. Unlike slugs, you have a chance of this dream coming true. Also, beer will not kill you. Not immediately, anyway." Written in Dixe's inimitable style, this charming book is sure to delight his many fans and gain him new readers with an interest in the natural world.
Written in diary format, The Wood is the story of English woodlands as they change with the seasons. Lyrical and informative, steeped in poetry and folklore, The Wood inhabits the mind and touches the soul.For four years John Lewis-Stempel managed Cockshutt wood, a particular wood - three and half acres of mixed woodland in south west Herefordshire - that stands as exemplar for all the small woods of England. John coppiced the trees and raised cows and pigs who roamed free there. This is the diary of the last year, by which time he had come to know it from the bottom of its beech roots to the tip of its oaks, and to know all the animals that lived there - the fox, the pheasants, the wood mice, the tawny owl - and where the best bluebells grew. For many fauna and flora, woods like Cockshutt are the last refuge. It proves a sanctuary for John too. To read The Wood is to be amongst its trees as the seasons change, following an easy path until, suddenly the view is broken by a screen of leaves, or your foot catches on a root, or a bird startles overhead. This is a wood you will never want to leave.
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