Britain's Dragonflies: A field guide to the damselflies and dragonflies of Britain and Ireland
Third Edition, 2014
Dave Smallshire and Andy Swash
Published by Princeton University Press, Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
Production and design by WILDGuides Ltd., Old Basing, Hampshire.
I was extremely pleased to receive my review copy of this latest, third edition, of Britain's Dragonflies: A field guide to the damselflies and dragonflies of Britain and Ireland. The Odonata are a group that I have personally not had a great deal of experience but one that I have tentatively been meaning to investigate further. My initial reaction, is that this extremely well planned, comprehensive guide, may well be the excuse I have been waiting for.
The book clearly focuses on the ‘key features’ identification of 63 different species – and this it appears to do well. This includes 56 resident, migrant and former breeding species and, a touch I particularly liked, the inclusion of 7 potential vagrants. Detailed species profiles, complete with stunning images and useable identification charts, deliver concise information on identification, behavior, breeding habitats, population and conservation. I particularly liked, as a newbie to the world of dragons and damsels, the brief ‘where to look’, ‘look-alikes’, and ‘observation tips’ section at the bottom of each page. For those already with more experience, or wishing to probe deeper into their fascinating aquatic world, a section on the identification of larvae and exuviae is also included.
As a desktop reference guide it is clear and concise. As a ‘use in the field’ reference guide it is portable and perfectly designed. My copy came with a protective plastic cover, though I’m not sure if this is standard on all copies but a nice touch nevertheless. A5 in format it conveniently fits the pocket.
Recommended? Absolutely; I can’t wait to go and try it out …