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Wild Hares and Hummingbirds: The Natural History of an English Village [Paperback]

Stephen Moss
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

2 Aug 2012

The village of Mark on the Somerset Levels is a watery wonderland, rich in wildlife: rooks and roe deer; sparrows and snowdrops; buzzards, badgers and butterflies; the iconic brown hare and the spectacular hummingbird hawk-moth.

As the year unfolds, Stephen Moss witnesses the landscape as it passes from deep snow to spring blossom, through the heat haze of summer to the chill winds of autumn; from the first hazel catkins to the swallows returning from Africa; from the sounds of the dawn chorus to the nocturnal mysteries of moths.

Wild Hares and Hummingbirds is both the story of a small corner of the West Country and a celebration of the natural world.

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Frequently Bought Together

Wild Hares and Hummingbirds: The Natural History of an English Village + The Green Road Into The Trees + Meadowland: the private life of an English field
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099552469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099552468
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Delightful, soothing and informative " (Daily Mail)

"An enchanting book, Wild Hares and Hummingbirds is a combination of celebration for what is and regret for what is passing. It is elegiac" (Daily Express)

"An enchanting month-by-month guide to "the natural history of an English village". As richly evocative of January as of June, Moss captures the flora and the fauna of his Somerset home with a grace and charm to warm the coldest winter night" (Independent)

"[A] charmingly produced book…readers are in the hands of an expert" (Steven Barfiel The Lady)

"This engaging account…should spark interest in country-dwellers and provide a transporting read for townies. In his placid style, Moss is profoundly informative" (Christopher Hirst Independent)

Book Description

A Natural History of Selbourne for a new generation - nature-writing at its finest, expressed through the natural history of one very special place.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The nature lovers diary 4 Nov 2011
This is a wonderful book for any keen or budding naturalist. Stephen Moss is well known to many for his distinguished career with the BBC Natural History unit and the ideal author of a nature diary. Here he follows in Gilbert White's footsteps, with a 305 page, one year nature diary about his home village of Mark, in the Somerset Levels. Having moved from London for a better quality of life in rural surroundings "the best thing we ever did", most folks in Mark must own a copy of the book. However, it is for any nature lover in the UK or abroad, the style of writing will inspire and inform. Even the most avid naturalist will learn new snippets of information on animals, insects, birds and plants. Hares and Hummingbird Hawkmoths are just two of the village inhabitants featured. There are no photos in this book, but there is an attractive cover and several scraperboard illustrations. Do not let this put you off buying this book, but let us hope that, like Gilbert White's book, illustrated version(s) appear in future!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful water world 1 Feb 2012
By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wild Hares and Hummingbirds is a rather wonderful book that draws inspiration from the classic The Natural History of Selborne (Penguin English Library)

Wild Hares takes us through a calendar year in the Somerset village of Mark. With the Mendips in the background, Exmoor just over the horizon and waters of the Bristol Channel washing at its feet, Mark in a village on the Somerset Levels. In many ways it is - to quote Piglet - entirely surrounded in water.

The Levels are a manufactured landscape, but for all of that they are rich in wildlife. This book is a beautiful introduction to the rhythms of this landscape and its wildlife. While not being a book only about birds, they are heavily featured in the book - but given their importance as markers of the turning of this year this is hardly a surprise.

The book is a gentle walk through a special part of the UK - and the use of the term "gentle" here is not a criticism. The writing clearly shows the affection the author has developed for his adopted home county.

For all that enjoyed the book I did notice I few sentences that I think are worthy of comment. The author poses the question that if we lose species that our grandparent took for granted can we still call anywhere the countryside? Well, I would say the answer is clearly `yes'. It's a different countryside, one that needs protection and help, but its countryside none the less. It's true that most of the changes that have occurred since the end of WWII have damaged it from an ecological point of view - but it is still a wonderful and precious place.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! 27 Jan 2012
I am seventy years of age and absolutely loved this book. It brought back many memories from my own childhood, having been brought up on my parents farm on the outskirts of a small village. Superbly written book! Thank you Stephen Moss!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Hares and Humming Birds 5 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A most delightful book which will appeal to all lovers of the countryside and wildlife. It is beautifully written both from the point of view of the countryside and wildlife but also describes graphically the joys of family life in a west country village
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild hares and humming birds 14 Feb 2012
By md
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Highly interesting, a worthy read. I have learnt many new facts regarding nature.
I would recommend this book to anyone who are especially interested in the British countryside.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Hares & Hummingbirds 6 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I chose this rating to show everyone who likes wildlife and nature what an extremely interesting and enjoyable book this is.

No dislikes as yet. I like the way, Stephen Moss, (the author) presents the book as a story of country life and His wonderful way of discribing events, such as bird migration or the reason for the demise of the Elm tree. I read a trial of this book in the Daily Mail a few weeks ago and found that I was so enjoying the narrative, that I had to buy the book. The Somerset Levels is surely a place where not too many people venture and for this reason has kept most of the country ways and wildlife, which seems to be fast disappearing in built up area's.

I would recommend this book to all and anyone who enjoys the true countryside of Great Britain.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Hares 6 Feb 2013
By sjbaker
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A month by month diary of a village natural history. Interesting to read, and informative, particularly if you have an ordnance survey map and bird or wildflower guide handy, to check out the references within. The illustrations are good but would have been better in colour.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming nature diary 28 Sep 2011
Taking his inspiration from Gilbert White's landmark 1789 book The Natural History of Selborne, Stephen Moss spends a year watching the wildlife in one particular country parish -- in this case, centred on his home village of Marsh, in the Somerset Marches. "By looking in depth at what happens here", Moss writes, "I hope to reveal a broader truth about the current fortunes of our countryside, its people, and its wildlife." His knowledge of, and sympathetic understanding of, the countryside and the natural world suffuses every page of this charming nature diary.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars So lovely and nostalgic
My father loved this as we are from that area and he could really relate to the whole book? Wonderful.
Published 2 months ago by Sandra May
4.0 out of 5 stars First-division natural history writing, but not premier league
Ostensibly I bought this book as a present for my hare-loving wife. When it arrived and I had a chance to take a closer look I changed my mind - only a brief mention of hares, and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dr James D Champion
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic book
by Stephen Moss. Sumptuous engravings by Harry Brockway. The detail observed by the author enhanced my vision, my senses and sensitivity and never failed to confirm just how much... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jo Elvery
2.0 out of 5 stars Going to Oxfam
I seem to be at odds with all the other reviewers here. I quite enjoyed the book at first but it became more and more repetitive and when, in July, Moss anticipated the forthcoming... Read more
Published 14 months ago by funnyjaybird
5.0 out of 5 stars Great combination of the subject I love and in an area I know well
Interestingly put together with good description of wildlife and portrayed in a great part of Somerset. Although sold as secondhand, the condition was as new.
Published 15 months ago by Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully crafted book.
This is a wonderful companion to the unique countryside of the Somerset levels which is accessible and beautifully illustrated. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Inky
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
I love this book, I dip into it all the time ( easy with my Kindle) I am always flipping from book to book, just like a hummingbird !! ( not the moth variety)
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read.
This is a fantastic book if you love wildlife, particularly the two creature who feature in the title. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Wendy McFarlane
5.0 out of 5 stars book worm
Bought this book for my Husband after seeing the article in the Dail Mail by Stephen Moss, my Husbands (late Aunt) lived inthis area and he spent many happy childhoods there, nice... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Ann Carol Langford
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
Really enjoyed this book. For any one interested in the countryside this is a book full of interest.Very enjoyable read.
Published 21 months ago by M. J. Mills
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