Sunday, 29 March 2015

Wilder Wales

An attractive book with photos by Drew Buckley and words from Julian Rollins, both of whom live in Pembrokeshire. There is a chapter for each month covering a geographic area and its most noteworthy species; January is Newborough Forest, with the spotlight on ravens and red squirrels.

The choice of the 12 areas is intentionally author-subjective - ‘a year’s worth of wildlife experiences each of which would make the average person say wow. Keen naturalists will already know a good deal about what is being described but I am sure that even they will find something new to take away.

However, I suspect the target, or most receptive audience, will be the newcomer to natural history or to what Wales has to offer. A stunning photo to catch the attention, with some well-chosen words that tell a memorable story, and specifics of what to see, where and when. Any book which helps engage people with Welsh wildlife is to be applauded.

I particularly like the reality check; wildlife does not appear on demand. When Julian goes in search of bottlenose dolphins, there are none, until he starts to walk away from the harbour. As for the spectacle of lekking black grouse, the scene described was a bit like gorillas in the mist, without the gorillas, but with the ‘bubbling, warbling trill’ of the male grouse. Drew Buckley must have taken his camera on a different day.

My only criticism is the frequency of typos; gremlins seem to have sneaked in between the final proof and the printers. But this does not stop me enjoying the book and its beautiful images.

The book is priced at £20 but subscribers to Natur Cymru can receive a 25% discount. If subscribers wish to take advantage of this offer they should order through the Graffeg website and enter the coupon code Natur25 on the cart page. 

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