Out Next Week: Woodlands

Since its conception in 1945, the New Naturalist series has provided some of the great highlights of natural history publishing and we are very pleased to announce that this great old oak is still just as strong as ever. Next week sees the release of the 100th title in the series, Woodlands by evergreen ecologist Oliver Rackham, and it looks as though this landmark title is going to be amongst the most popular to date.

At NHBS, we are currently offering a 22% discount on hardback copies or a 28% discount on the paperback. And, with only a limited number of hardback copies available, Woodlands looks set to become an instant collectable classic, not to mention an entertaining and informative read. It’s also going to give the dispatch team here a rigorous work-out next week as we process advance orders. No wonder they’ve been looking so pale.

Next year should see 3 more titles added to the New Naturalist series: Galloway and the Borders, Garden Natural History and The Isles of Sciliy. More information on these titles will be available closer to their publication dates, so watch this space.

All the Birds of Brazil

Such was the pre-publication buzz surrounding this, the second edition of Deodato Souza’s ornithological guide, that, like many of our readers, I’ve been itching to see whether the book could justify all the fuss. To my frustration however, I have found copies of All the Birds of Brazil to be nearly as elusive as some of the rare species it documents. Only now, following a week of efforts, have I finally been able to locate a stray copy in the NHBS warehouse and sit down to flick through its pages…

And (…drum roll, please…) I’m happy to announce that it’s immediately clear to see why this book has been quite so successful: There’s no nonsense, no filler, just birds, birds and more birds. All the descriptions are as they should be, logically organised and complemented by distribution maps and detailed colour illustrations.

As the only English-language field guide dedicated to Brazilian birds, this book was always going to do well. Whilst this updated All the Birds of Brazil isn’t by any means the final word on Brazilian fieldguides, it is however the best currently available. We’re very intersted to hear the opinions of anyone who has given it the litmus test and used it in the field.

We also recommend the excellent Birds of Brazil/Aves do Brasil and the new Collins Field Guide to the Birds of South America: Non-Passerines

An introduction, long overdue

Hola! Bonjour! Buon Giorno! Konichiwa! Al Salaam A’Alaykum! God Dag! Bom Dia! and Hi!

Monday morning, a new week and the ideal time to welcome all of our readers to the NHBS Biblio-Blog. For those of you who, like me, are new to this type of thing, allow me to explain: Unlike some of the on-line shops I think we’ve all encountered, here at NHBS we love talking to our customers. It is through your comments that we are able to learn and grow. So, the purpose of the Biblio-Blog is to give you a place where you can express your opinions – not just to us, but to all of our readers. Whether you wish to write about a book, share and discuss knowledge or just say what’s on your mind, we want to hear it. Meanwhile, we’ll be using the Biblio-Blog to let you know about the books which are making waves at NHBS and also to give you the inside-line on points of interest.

We are aware of the wealth of information and experiences that our readers hold and we hope that the Biblio-Blog will offer a space for these to be shared. So, at the bottom of every blog, where you see a box saying ‘leave a comment’, please feel free to do just that. There’s no need to register and we don’t need your details, we just want to hear what you have to say.

Wishing you all a good week,

The NHBS Team 

A Diver’s Guide to Reef Life

I was looking through the pages of A Diver’s Guide to Reef Life this morning and suddenly (well, 2 hours later actually) my inbox was looking rather daunting. The underwater photography in this book is, quite simply, inspiring. I’ve suddenly got an urge to invest 2 months salary in fins, cylinders, confusing watches and a one-way flight to French Polynesia. I’m almost tempted to contact the publisher and suggest that they print a financial warning on the front cover.

I’ve only ever been scuba-diving once before and I should probably confess that I was in a swimming pool – so it doesn’t really count. I certainly didn’t see any angelfish and, even if I had done, I wouldn’t have known that they were angelfish. Now, however, I can tell you the difference between 1200 different species of reef fauna. If you want to know, for example, how to distinguish all the species of grouper from one another, or just the difference between parrotfish and pipefish, you really can’t go far wrong with this book. It’s certainly on my itinerary, just above a waterproof housing for my camera. Right then, I’m off to talk to the boss about getting that advance on my wages…

Whales, Dolphins and Seals

Most people who are lucky enough to have seen a marine mammal in the flesh would certainly class their experience as memorable. Some have even been known to consider it life-changing. Certainly, the intelligently playful nature of dolphins and the majestic grace of whales makes such species both compelling and endearing to observers. However, due to pollution and hunting, the place of marine mammals in our waters is becoming increasingly fragile.

Whales, Dolphins and Seals is not only a first-rate field guide but its accessible style of writing and eye-catching presentation will have any casual reader lost amidst its pages, dreaming of first-hand encounters. If you get a chance to check this book out, I highly recommend it. I also recommend doing whatever it takes to witness as many marine mammals in the wild when and wherever you possibly can. Personally, I’m lucky enough to have surfed with a seal on the South Devon coast a couple of years ago – that was a fantastic but all-too-brief event. Please post your stories below, I love hearing interesting accounts of wildlife encounters from our readers

No Nettles Required

Have you ever felt depressed at the sight of a ‘legoland lawn’? You know the kind of garden I mean? One of those perfectly trimmed and lifeless looking rectangles of grass completely free of insect, frog or bird? A lawn you walk beside, instead of on, in case you ruffle it? You might even have a legoland lawn outside your door. I do. But that’s only because I’ve just moved into a new house. What I’d really like to see is something wild inside my garden fence – a hedgehog or a butterfly…

No Nettles Required is a guidebook for for anyone with the lego-lawn blues. It shows us how easy it is to fill our gardens with everything from foxes, frogs and mice to butterflies, ladybirds and literally thousands of fascinating creepy-crawlies. Why should we? Because we’ll be promoting the biodiversity of the UK, we’ll be reconnecting with nature, getting more from our gardens, and we’ll be doing our plants a favour.

“‘Fantastic science writing for a lay audience, with sentences such as, “Hoverfly larvae look like lumps of animated snot…but they look far worse if you’re an aphid.”‘ – From a review by Steve Head in the New Scientist


Big Cat Week (Big Cat Diary Series 1 and 2) A BBC series profiling the lives of Africa’s big cats over a two-year period in the Masai Mara, Kenya. Series One follows the Marsh Pride of lions that rely on Simba to defend them when two young males from another territory threaten them. Also features Kike the cheetah and Bella the leopard. Series Two follows the unlikely pairing of Cheza and Sala and re-visits Kike and Bella. Now in Stock!

Speaking of Big Cats…lets talk about the ‘Queen’ of the Mara! This orphaned star of BBC TV’s Big Cat Diary with the unlikely name of ‘Petal’ took her ‘foster-father’ David Drummond on an incredible wild adventure. Imagine suddenly becoming the foster parent of not only Petal, but four more orphaned little cheetahs: Hopeless, Hackles, Whispers and Prickles, in the heart of the great Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. You can read about David and Petal’s fascinating story is this beautiful new hardback book filled with subtle humour, personal reminiscence and high-quality colour photography. Now also in stock at NHBS.

Now in stock: The Beetles of the Galapagos Islands

The Beetles of the Galapagos Islands, by Stewart B. Peck
This major study on the evolution of beetles is the result of extensive recent field studies. 486 species of beetles are now known from the Galapagos archipelago. This book offers an annotated catalogue of all Galapagos Beetle Species arranged by families, as well as chapters on origin and arrival of the beetle fauna, evolution, ecology and distribution, beetle assemblages and habitat types.

This important work will serve entomologists, island ecologists, evolutionary biologists and conservation scientists.

Published by the National Research Council of Canada, this title is distributed in the UK by NHBS Environment Bookstore.