Britain’s Mammals

britains-mammalsIt’s hard to believe that it’s been almost five years since I wrote the text for Britain’s Sea Mammals – so much has happened in the meantime, not least in the past couple of years with my writing appearing in so many more places than I hitherto had ever dreamed it might. I’ve my first small piece in BBC Wildlife magazine this month, and things are ticking along nicely on the orchid front…

Meanwhile, something else has been brewing away in the background – the creation of another book in the WildGuides series of field guides published by Princeton University Press – the long-awaited Britain’s Mammals. I’m delighted to have been asked to be involved with this and, at long last, it is now in print!

The level of detail involved in this latest field guide is phenomenal – and it’s lavishly illustrated with a wealth of brilliant photographs by a host of talented photographers from far and wide. A couple of my own photos have even snuck in there…

IMG_0667 Grey SealsMy particular interest was, broadly speaking, the cetaceans and pinnipeds – but I’ve taken a keen interest in the text as a whole. Now, with the book on my desk beside me, I’m still learning so much – not least, for example, about bat identification. We don’t get so many bats here in Shetland (Nathusius’s Pipistrelle being about the extent of our semi-regular migrants) but there are many species to be regularly found on mainland Britain. But how to tell them apart? There are ways and means – all lovingly detailed in Britain’s Mammals – some of which even involve penises. You have been warned!

150403 IMG_0451 Mountain Hare blogsizeThis is a reference book I would have loved to have had years ago – but am delighted to have on my bookshelf henceforth. I’m feeling inspired to look for mammals I haven’t seen yet, and to revisit some old favourites, not least Mountain Hares – happily un-persecuted here in Shetland, unlike in mainland Scotland – and top of my furry to-do list in the coming year…

Meanwhile, however, Britain’s Mammals is out there for everyone to share in the opportunity to learn more about our native mammal fauna – their lives, how to identify them and, not least, how and where to stand a good chance of seeing them. It’s astonishingly good value too, with an RRP of only £17.95 but currently available with a good discount from a number of outlets – though one I must particularly commend as it involves a 60p donation to a worthy conservation charity, Birdlife International – until 30th April 2017 any bought via Rare Bird Alert (for just £11.95!) will generate a donation to a great cause).

pg126-127Meanwhile, this coming Easter I have a copy available to be won by one lucky naturalist – and all you have to do is hop, Easter Bunny-like, onto Twitter, follow my account (@dunnjons) if you’re not already doing so, and re-tweet the competition tweet you’ll find pinned to the top of my Twitter feed before midnight on Easter Monday (17th April). It’s that easy! The lucky winner will drawn like a rabbit from a hat, and announced on Twitter next week.

Good luck!



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