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.

NHBS Orchids Selection

According to a recent article by Richard Mabey in BBC Wildlife Magazine ‘It’s orchid time again.’ In the article, Mabey asks, ‘What is it about the orchid tribe that casts such spells over us?’ Mabey also questions why we consider orchids sexy. ‘Certainly,’ he writes, ‘orchid’s uncanny and often suggestive resemblances (they were named orchis for their tubers’ likeness to testicles) are part of their glamour.’

Do you have an enthusiasm for orchids? If so, you must check out some of the latest orchid titles available from NHBS! Below are two intriguing examples of orchid books available, along with a couple of orchid brainteasers:

An Enthusiasm for Orchids
John Alcock

The male thynnine wasp’s extreme sexual enthusiasm is crucial to reproduction of hammer orchids in the wild. While pollinating orchids is a waste of time, and thus a maladaptive activity for a wasp, his mistake comes about because he must react quickly whenever he senses a possible mate nearby.

for insects, he who hesitates is lost, although perhaps it would be better to say that he who hesitates often loses a chance to pass on his genes. –John Alcock

Question: How have Hammer orchids co-evolved to trick the thynnine wasp?

Orchids of Mexico
Eric Hagsater et al

This stunning book presents the great diversity of form and colour adopted by the species of family Orchidaceae in Mexico.

Question: The Mexican orchids include over a) 120 species b) 520 species c) 1200 species?

To discover the secrets of the Hammer orchids and to view other superb orchid titles available at NHBS please click here.

Now in Stock: The Birds of the State of Kuwait

George Gregory’s complete review of bird records for Kuwait is the first of its kind.

Kuwait is one of the few remaining countries in this region that until now did not have a readily available book containing an up-to-date bird list.

Useful for ornithologists and bird watchers alike, this book also gives handy information about the best bird-watching sites in the state.

Exclusively distributed by NHBS, and now available for £15.00

Raptors: A Field Guide to Survey and Monitoring

We are in ‘raptors’ about this exciting forthcoming title: Raptors: A Field Guide to Survey and Monitoring, and we hope that you will seize this opportunity (you can place an order in advance to receive your copy in early July hot off the press!) to get your talons on it.

Written and edited by members of the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Group, this book draws on the knowledge and experience of over 300 raptor specialists and has been funded by Scottish Natural Heritage with assistance from the other Statutory Conservation Agencies in Britain and Ireland, as well as non-government bodies concerned with birds of prey. It includes a CD-ROM containing raptor calls, and sets out to promote best practice for the survey and monitoring of raptors. It is hoped that it will provide a starting point for anyone wanting to begin a raptor study, and indeed to encourage a new generation of raptor ecologists.

Fantastico Sur

Fantástico Sur?

Calling all Naturalists, Birdwatchers and Photographers! Have you heard of Fantástico Sur? (No, it is not a Roald Dahl character with red pointy ears and a penchant for fooling farmers!) Fantástico Sur is an entirely Chilean enterprise that sets up expeditions for naturalists and birdwatchers visiting southern South America.

Fantástico Sur is also involved in the authorship and publication of a growing number of wildlife books. Below are four fascinating photographic journey books in English and Spanish by Enrique Couve and Claudio F Vidal from Fantastico Sur distributed by NHBS:


Atacama Desert

Torres del Paine

Antarctic Peninsula

ps. So, ‘Fantástico Sur’ basically means ‘Fantastic’? or ‘Fantastic South’? Right?