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David Sewell (UK)
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Grasshoppers and Crickets (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 120)
Grasshoppers and Crickets (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 120)
by Ted Benton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 50.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grasshoppers and crickets, 5 Aug 2012
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Books on British grasshoppers seem to come along at a rate of about one a generation. There was David Ragge's 1965 book in the Wayside and Woodland series, and more recently Marshall and Haes 1988 book on the subject. So if you have one of the earlier books, and are not a New Naturalist collector, is it worth buying another volume on the subject? In a word, yes. There have been many changes in the British Orthoptera since the last book came out, many new things about them have been discovered, and the range of many species has changed. The author deals well with all these matters.

The main way in which Marshall and Haes's volume outshines this one is in the illustrations. M & H had beautiful plates to illustrate the features of the species, whereas this volume only has photographs, where sometimes important features are either hidden or not clearly shown. However, the New Naturalist series has never been primarily a field guide, so this is in keeping with earlier volumes in the series.

There is also the matter of the DVD which accompanies the book. In the Introduction the author admits that recording the species for the DVD was a steep learning curve, and this shows in the technical production. However, the DVD often shows things that are otherwise hard to include in a book, such as the songs of many of the species, and both the author and publishers are to be congratulated on this innovation for the series.

There are a few things that puzzled me, for example why is the great green bush cricket described as nocturnal (p. 256)? I am familiar with this species, and find both males and females on most afternoons when I visit my local site. In addition to this there are the usual few typos, but none of these detract from the overall authority of the book.

A worthy addition to the New Naturalist series, and also well worth buying if you have an interest in the subject.


Cronin's Key Guide to Australian Mammals
Cronin's Key Guide to Australian Mammals
by Leonard Cronin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good at what it does, 2 July 2012
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It is important to know what you are getting. If you are after a field guide Menkhorst and Knight's 'A field guide to the mammals of Australia' is more comprehensive and more succinct than this book is, and has better illustrations. Where Cronin's guide scores is in the information it gives on each species covered, going beyond the conventional field guide to give information on diet, behaviour and development of the young. Another weakness of the book is in the species covered. Introduced species such as red fox, domestic cat and rabbit have devastated Australia's mammals, but are not covered. However, if you are looking for an introductory guide to marsupials, monotremes and other native mammals you could do far worse.


The Darcys and the Bingleys (Pride & Prejudice Continues)
The Darcys and the Bingleys (Pride & Prejudice Continues)
by Marsha Altman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad treatment of familiar characters, 5 Aug 2011
It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a much-loved book must be in need of a satisfying sequel. Unfortunately, this is not it. It is true that the names of the characters are familiar ones, but they have undergone such a change of behaviour that they seem like totally different people. For example, Wickham pays a visit to Darcy and Bingley on the day of their joint wedding with the Bennet sisters. An interesting thought, but it culminates in Wickham being thrown out of a "second" storey window (which would, of course, have been first storey to Darcey and Bingley) into a pile of manure. This breaks his fall, but the reader is left wondering what such a sufficiently large pile of manure was doing up against the wall of a fine house in the first place. One also wonders at the change in Darcy's character that allows him to treat even Wickham in this way. Elsewhere we learn that the news of the pregnancy of Mrs Collins is being kept from the "Rosings crowd" . A book that purports to be a sequel to a much loved early 19th century novel needs to use the language of that period, but fails to do so far too often.


The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
by Alexander McCall Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.99

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The hunt for a good case, 30 Mar 2011
The charm of these stories lies in the lives of the central characters rather than in the cases that are solved by the detection agency. Whilst the injury of cattle is, perhaps, a more realistic case for a private detective than the murders more classic fictional detectives get to solve, the single case handled by Mma Ramotswe in this book is not sufficient. Mma Ramotswe is engaging both as a detective and as a character. Here she seems to be in search of a good case to solve.

To a certain extent I found this to be a book of two halves, with the second part featuring not only the long-awaited wedding of Mma Makutsi, but also the return of the little white van, far more satisfying than the first part.

I have been a fan of this series almost since it started. I enjoyed this one, but it is far from being the best.


Guide to the Mammals of Madagascar
Guide to the Mammals of Madagascar
by Nick Garbutt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 24.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to match it, 30 Mar 2011
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Having been lucky enough to visit Madagascar, I found this book invaluable. It covers every species of mammal found in the country, although taxonomic changes probably mean that recent "splits" are not covered. However, the book is more than adequate for use by any tourist like myself. Rather like the wildlife of Madagascar itself, there is nothing to match it.


Practical Statistics for Field Biology (Life Sciences)
Practical Statistics for Field Biology (Life Sciences)
by Jim Fowler
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look after this book carefully!, 30 Mar 2011
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I first used this book as an undergraduate in 2003. A PhD and two post doc posts later I still find myself referring to it when dealing with less familiar methods. I also use it when I want to check the theory that underlies some of the statistical software available.

I have recommended this book to many others, including a colleague in Vietnam who was so impressed that he "forgot" to return it after borrowing it. No problem, I had full value out of my first copy, and expect to get the same out of the replacement I have just ordered.


Nikon AF-S VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
Nikon AF-S VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
Offered by vaioo cast
Price: 414.00

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great travel lens, 14 Dec 2010
I'll be upfront, unlike at least one other reviewer of this lens, I do have the heavyweight, expensive f2.8 version, and I wouldn't swap that lens for this one. However, it is difficult to take a heavy lens on an airplane. Even if you can find the baggage allowance for a heavy lens, you still have to lug the thing around with you when you get to your destination. I therefore bought this relatively lightlens for a recent holiday, when I knew that I would be out on foot for 5-6 hours at a time. Did I miss the two extra f-stops at the top end? Frankly yes, I did, but having said that the lens performed beautifully and did everything I could reasonably (and unreasonably!) ask of it. The colour balance is great, the lens is sharp (except possibly in the corners), the VR works fine, and, most importantly when travelling, the weight is light. All in all a great lens for an active holiday.

Downsides are that the focusing ring can be difficult to find when the camera is up to your eye, the maximum aperture is too small to use an extender with it (I shoot mainly wildlife at 300mm-600mm), and the lens coating comes off a little too easily in the jungle - be sure to buy a UV filter to go with it. That last one is not a weakness of this particular lens, it applies to any lens you buy.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, every time.


Petzl Duo headlamp Led 5 yellow/black headlamp
Petzl Duo headlamp Led 5 yellow/black headlamp
Offered by AllBatteries
Price: 70.80

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expensive, but worth it, 28 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is far from being the cheapest head torch in the market, but it is certainly one of the best. The weight is reasonable, not as light as some modern head torches, but incomparably better than the sort of thing we were using 10 years ago, which took four type D batteries and ran out in a few minutes. If you use the LED option on this one it will last for ages.

It is supposed to be waterproof to 5 metres. I haven't tested this, but I do know that it keeps going in the rain, and can certainly withstand a few minutes immersion in a pond if you accidentally drop it.

If your work, like mine, sometimes involves being out at night and you want something you can rely on, and which leaves both hands free, then I recommend this torch wholeheartedly. If you only want a head torch for casual use something cheaper will probably do the job.


Badger (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 114)
Badger (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 114)
by Tim Roper
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 40.00

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, that does not avoid controversy, 30 Jun 2010
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It is 14 years since the last comparable book on badgers (Neal and Cheeseman, 1996) was published, and that this one is considerably larger reflects the great amount of research that has been carried out since that time. The book is divided into ten chapters, plus an appendix on how to survey for the species. The issue of badger culling is not avoided, indeed badgers and bovine TB gets a whole chapter to itself. The author manages to explain the pros and cons of the various approaches. For example, innoculating cows is obviously easier than innoculating badgers, but available vaccines are more effective on badgers than they are on cows.

Many years ago the New Naturalist series included a second series of monographs on single species. A book on badgers was the first of the monographs, just as the species is the first to get a book to itself in the main series. If further books on a single species can keep up this high standard I am sure that 'Badger' will not be the last time the publishers take this approach.


Collins New Naturalist Library (113) - Bird Migration
Collins New Naturalist Library (113) - Bird Migration
by Ian Newton
Edition: Hardcover

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and authorative, 6 May 2010
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In some respects this book appears similar to the author's earlier Migration Ecology of Birds, but written for a less specialist audience and with greater emphasis on Europe and the British Isles. Having said that, it is in no way "dumbed down" and is an enjoyable and authoritative read, from which I came away feeling that I had learned a great deal more about the subject.

Niggles are very minor. The Editor's preface refers to Gilbert White's Natural history of Selbourne as published in the late 19th century, whereas this famous work was first published in 1789, and in some places there is a continual change backwards and forwards between passerines/songbirds and shorebirds/waders. I would rather they had chosen to go with one name or the other throughout in both cases.

Collins have abandoned the annoying "double reference" systems of recent New Naturalists, which makes it much quicker to look up items of interest.

This is an excellent addition to the New Naturalist series and worthy of a place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in birds. The dramatic cover by Robert Gillmor is the icing on the cake.


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