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Dragonflight: In Search of Britain's Dragonflies and Damselflies Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd (6 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408164868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408164860
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.8 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A charming new book by Marianne Taylor, that charts her two-year quest to see all 40 British dragons and damsels. She got within three - thwarted by last year's wettest summer on record. Along the way she met badgers, foxes, hares, ospreys and butterflies galore and showed that this densely populated island still has plenty of magical wild places.The stars are the dragons and their bizarre lifestyle. -- John Ingham The Daily Express A splendid search for all of Britain's dragonflies and damselflies -- Simon Barnes The Times The book is an account of of the author's travels in search of dragons and damsels...the reader is soon captivated by her thoughts and there were sections I could not put down. Highland News Group Dragonflight is more than mere clinical descriptions of handsome insects, it is a series of warm verbal paintings of some of our most charismatic wildlife. BBC Countryfile The combination of aquatic gargoyle nymphs and masterful aeronaut adults provides Taylor with a wealth of narrative and we are let through various watery landscapes, from lowland river and East Anglian Broad to moor mountain and coastal shingle in search of the adult flies . Dragonflight is more than mere clinical descriptions of handsome insects, it is a series of warm verbal paintings of some of our most charismatic wildlife. -- Richard Jones BBC Wildlife

About the Author

Marianne Taylor is a former editor at Christopher Helm and former sub-editor of (and regular writer for) Birdwatch magazine, now working freelance as a writer, editor, illustrator and photographer. An obsessive birder since childhood, her interest in other wildlife groups has grown steadily, and a new passion for dragonflies and damselflies has dominated her summers for the last three years. Her other books include RSPB British Birds of Prey (Bloomsbury); The Nature Book (Michael O'Mara); Photographing Garden Wildlife (New Holland) and Where to Discover Nature (Bloomsbury).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By GrahamC57 on 10 Nov 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want a delightful, pleasant slow stroll through the pages of a book about dragons and damsels then this is the book for you.

The author takes you with her on a sometimes difficult, sometimes wonderful jaunt to the far corners of the UK in search for our odonata. Along the way we celebrate her successes and failures. Frustration and disappointment are tempered with highlights and ultimately a fulfilling and rewarding journey of self-discovery.

There are some fascinating insights - for example, did you know that there are 56 species on the British List? Or that nymphs need the temperature of the water to be around 15 degrees before they will hatch?

You will not only learn all about the different types; their life-cycle and the making of a dragon but also the author's evolving obsession and passion for all things odonata. If you don't know your Lestidae from your Corduliidae then this is the book for you.

The photos are fabulous as are all the little sketches.

If you are only just starting out on your own personal voyage of discovery or have been interested in these wonderful creatures for years, either way, then this is a must-read book to add to your wildlife library.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sharpener on 31 Oct 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have an interest in wildlife or dragonflies at any level, you'll almost certainly enjoy this book as much as I did. I bought it because I have an interest in these incredible creatures, but the book turned out to be more than just the usual species guide.
It's predominantly about the author's enthusiastic quest to see and photograph all the species of Dragonflies and Damselflies to be found in the UK. But the accounts of the search for each of them reveal stories not just of the dragons and damsels, but lots of other interesting wildlife and human life too, as well as the trials and tribulations that were encountered along the way. Fascinating and entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rob Sawyer on 26 Oct 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Firstly let me say that I did enjoy this book, in fact after the first 30 or so pages I thought I might give it 5 stars - I liked the pace and I particularly liked the style of Marianne Taylor's writing, amusing and as if you were in the pub post dragonfly twitching with her. However I am afraid that after a while it became obvious to me that this was a series of essays (she is a blogger, perhaps they are blogs) which someone thought would be a good idea to stitch together to make a book........without bothering to edit it. So there is an enormous amount of repetition e.g. how many times are we told how dragonflies mate? And there is a bit of jumping around in terms of the timing of the visits, and clearly at the end of the book someone spotted this so reference is made to retrospective chapters (which is a bit odd).

There are some errors e,g. the chapter on the Keeled Skimmer (the name of my band coincidentally) - initially I thought here we go again more repetition, as she had already seen this species before, but in fact the chapter is about the Southern Damselfly in the New Forest. Oh and by the way you cannot turn off the A31 to get to the Ornamental Drive (well not unless you make an enormous detour, I think it's the A35 she meant).

With better editing this would have been a much better book in my opinion, bit of a shame.

Despite these comments I certainly recommend the book and I must say it has made me think that I must make a bit more of an effort to go where there be dragons.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Marjot on 30 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dragonflight is full of information. But it's also well written, easy to read, and fully of stories that flesh out the dragonflies and damselflies and place them in their context. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it; it extended my limited knowledge of the insects a hundred-fold, and it gave me lots of ideas for the kinds of places where I might find them. I had no idea there were so many different species and genera in the U.K.

I've already bought this for a friend. I'm keeping my own copy: it's on the shelf next to Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard) - that's about as high praise as I can give. Even if you're not (yet) intrigued by dragons and damsels, get this book. You soon will be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Vine on 2 Nov 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautifully produced and eminently readable book. The mix of science and personal observation, combined with the author's quest to see all the native species, makes this book suitable for a wide readership. The personal anecdotes and the trials and tribulations involved lighten the book very nicely - as do the illustrations in the margins. Although available for the Kindle, the quality of the hardback leads me to recommending you go for that format.

Disclaimer: I do know the author, however, I really do think this is an excellent book!
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