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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The nature lovers diary
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...
Published on 4 Nov 2011 by Paul Brock

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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 Autumn decline, I lost patience. July is high summer, there is so much to enjoy; why would you view it with a pessimistic eye? It was increasingly obvious that Moss preferred Spring to any...
Published 16 months ago by funnyjaybird


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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
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Stewart M (Victoria, Australia) - See all my reviews
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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. The presence of egrets on the Levels may be a sign of problems yet to come - but they would have never been seen by our grandparents. And are they not a remarkable thing in their own right?

For all the concerns the author raises, near the end of the book he concludes that he will "never get bored with what I see, hear and find in this country parish". I many, many ways this is a sentiment I could apply to this book.

Highly recommended.

I think it is only fair to see that this review may have been influenced by the fact that as migrant from the UK I found the description of my home county to be wonderfully accurate. The landscape in the book was as familiar as the one I explored and fished in for many years - I may be biased - but at least I'm honest!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!, 27 Jan 2012
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read., 30 April 2013
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This is a fantastic book if you love wildlife, particularly the two creature who feature in the title. It takes you through each month, through the changing seasons in a typical English village and the stories are told with charm and wit and an incredible knowledge of the natural world. A must for wildlife lovers, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully crafted book., 4 July 2013
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This is a wonderful companion to the unique countryside of the Somerset levels which is accessible and beautifully illustrated. It is packed with interesting information about local wildlife, history and people. It is a book which I will keep by my bedside.
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