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.

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