A Summer of British Wildlife

by James Lowen 


A Summer of British Wildlife Guide – Travel information and tips for summer wildlife-watching, with an entry per day from mid-May to late August, covering England, Scotland and Wales. From bitterns to basking sharks, butterflies, mammals and reptiles, plus weekend options and the where, when and how to get the most out of British wildlife.

183 in stock

ISBN:  9781784770099
Published :  14th Mar 2016
Format:   Paperback
Size:  135 X 216
Edition:  1

About this book

Winner of the Travel Media Awards 'Travel Guide Book of the Year' award 2016.

This original and colourful guide to British summer wildlife experiences is packaged into daily suggestions for what, when, where and how to see the best of British summer wildlife. For both the experienced wildlife tourist and the novice, the suggestions criss-cross England, Scotland and Wales, complete with inspiring itineraries, engaging descriptions, detailed directions and tips on how to find, identify and enjoy British animals, butterflies, birds and plants. Each entry gives an informative and inspiring suggestion focusing on up to four species, with full-colour photography and a helpful box covering practicalities such as grid references, useful websites, access arrangements to specific sites, flexibility details such as flight periods for butterflies or flowering weeks for orchids, and alternative sites to make viewing possible if you don’t live near the suggested site but want to view the suggested species. From delicate orchids to gargantuan basking sharks, from seabird skyscrapers to ostentatious otters, this is the only guide of its type to offer full details of how to get the most out of British summer wildlife-watching.

About the author

James Lowen is a wildlife writer, travel guide and photographer, who is enthused by bringing nature to life for the non-specialist. This book is the result of 30-odd years of exploring Britain's wildlife-rich areas, from Scilly to Shetland and Kent to the Cairngorms. The breadth of coverage reflects James's personal evolution from a juvenile birdwatcher to a fully-fledged naturalist, from being interested only in feathered creatures to getting excited about every single dimension of British nature – be it winged or furry, whether it blooms or slithers. James is well known as the author of Bradt Travel Guides' 52 wildlife weekends: a year of British wildlife-watching breaks. He writes a monthly column for Bird Watching magazine and contributes regularly to BBC Wildlife magazine.


1: May 15 Purple haze
Northamptonshire for Britain’s best bluebell wood, nightingale & Goldilocks buttercup
2: May 16 Cuddly fish?
Devon for common cuttlefish, spiny spider crab & Eurasian beaver
3: May 17 String of pearls
Sussex for pearl-bordered fritillary, nightingale, two-banded longhorn beetle, burnt orchid & early spider orchid
4: May 18 Metamorphosis
Oxfordshire for club-tailed dragonfly, monkey orchid & lady orchid
5: May 19 Hills & holes
Cambridgeshire for pasqueflower, man orchid, yellow meadow ant & dingy skipper
6: May 20 Black Isle bottlenose
Highland for common bottlenose dolphin, harbour seal & long-tailed skua
7: May 21 Dukes, without hazard
Gloucestershire for Duke of Burgundy, Adonis blue, sword-leaved helleborine & pasqueflower
8: May 22 The Emperor’s dawn
Suffolk for the dawn chorus, stone-curlew, woodlark & emperor moth
9: May 23 Fertility rites
Dorset for marsh fritillary, Adonis blue, Duke of Burgundy & grizzled skipper
10: May 24 The early bird…
Denbighshire, Powys & Ceredigion for black grouse, common redstart & lesser twayblade
11: May 25 Ephemera
Hampshire for mayflies, brown trout & bullhead
12: May 26 Ladies and gentlemen
Kent for lady orchid, man orchid & monkey orchid
13: May 27 Spider(crab)man and Batman
Pembrokeshire for spiny spider crab, otter, greater horseshoe bat & chough
14: May 28 Puffin without the huffin’
Northumberland for the Amble Puffin Festival & roseate tern
15: May 29 Military bearing
Buckinghamshire for military orchid, fly orchid, greater butterfly orchid & bird’s-nest orchid
16: May 30 Snowdonia, in black and white
Snowdonia for Snowdon lily, moss campion, starry saxifrage & raven
17: May 31 Ma’n Lesard goz dinerby
Cornwall for twin-headed clover, thyme broomrape, heath spotted orchid, thrift clearwing & red-veined darter
18: June 1 The Wight stuff
Isle of Wight for Glanville fritillary, small blue, common wall lizard, Dartford warbler & red squirrel
19: June 2 Does the Lady’s slipper fit?
Cumbria for lady’s slipper orchid, lily-of-the-valley, white-spotted sable & pearl-bordered fritillary
20: June 3 Beetlejuice
North Yorkshire for tansy beetle, & East Yorkshire for gannet & puffin
21: June 4 Skip, skip, skip to the Loy
Highland for chequered skipper, pearl-bordered fritillary, argent and sable, & pine marten
22: June 5 Whiteface
Highland for white-faced darter, lesser twayblade, red squirrel & osprey
23: June 6 Rain goose
Shetland for red-throated diver, red-necked phalarope & whimbrel
24: June 7 Gull able not gullible
Cumbria for lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, ‘Walney pink’, coralroot orchid & natterjack toad
25: June 8 Eype of the tiger
Dorset for cliff tiger-beetle, & Devon for wood white
26: June 9 Streaky
Cambridgeshire for black hairstreak, six-belted clearwing, glowworm & moon carrot
27: June 10 Water into wine
Suffolk for great bittern, common crane, golden-bloomed grey longhorn beetle, elephant hawkmoth & reed dagger
28: June 11 Flitting fritillaries
Essex for heath fritillary, shrill carder bee, horehound longhorn & slowworm
29: June 12 Fragrant flora
Kent for common poppy, late spider orchid, lizard orchid, black-veined moth & Rambur’s pied shieldbug
30: June 13 Frozen in time
County Durham for spring gentian, Teesdale violet, mountain pansy, shrubby cinquefoil & whiskered bat
31: June 14 Bee good to yourself
London & Hertfordshire for bee orchid, early marsh orchid, white-legged damselfly & hairy dragonfly
32: June 15 A swallow’s tale
Norfolk for swallowtail, Norfolk hawker, scarce chaser & Chinese water deer
33: June 16 Shingle sensations
Kent for Nottingham catchfly, sea pea, toadflax brocade & white-spot
34: June 17 Musky frogs
Hampshire for musk orchid, frog orchid, common juniper & bastard toadflax
35: June 18 Largin’ it
Somerset for large blue, six-belted clearwing, pyramidal orchid & ‘wasp’ orchid
36: June 19 Manxie and thrifty
Gwynedd for thrift clearwing, chough, Manx shearwater & grey seal
37: June 20 Pretty in pink
Suffolk for proliferous pink, field wormwood, Spanish catchfly, powdered grass-veneer & marbled clover
38: June 21 Small is beautiful
Powys for small white orchid, heath fragrant orchid, wood bitter vetch & small pearl-bordered fritillary
39: June 22 Seabird cityscape
Northumberland for Arctic & Sandwich terns, puffin & guillemot
40: June 23 For peat’s sake
Shropshire for white-faced darter, common hawker, large heath & common raft spider
41: June 24 Heddon on earth
Devon for high brown fritillary, dark green fritillary & silver-washed fritillary
42: June 25 Festival of fauna
Somerset for great white egret, bittern, argent and sable, & Iberian water frog
43: June 26 Gorge yourself
Somerset for for Cheddar pink, slender bedstraw, peregrine, greater horseshoe bat & water vole
44: June 27 Where there’s muck…
West Yorkshire for bittern, marsh harrier, avocet & black-necked grebe
45: June 28 The perfect meadow
Wiltshire for hay-rich flower meadows with burnt orchid, great burnet & adder’s-tongue fern
46: June 29 God’s own
North Yorkshire for large heath, wood tiger, green tiger-beetle, round-leaved sundew & keeled skimmer
47: June 30 The purple empire
Northamptonshire for purple emperor & white admiral
48: July 1 Easy, tiger!
Norfolk for dune tiger-beetle, bee-wolf & dune chafer
49: July 2 Against all odds
Perth & Kinross for mountain ringlet, black mountain moth & arctic-alpine plants
50: July 3 The Welsh tepui
Conwy for grayling, silver-studded blue, dark red helleborine, spiked speedwell & Kashmir goat
51 July 4 The living mountain
Highland for ptarmigan, dotterel, Scotch burnet & trailing azalea
52: July 5 The Devil’s goat
Cambridgeshire for lizard orchid, pasqueflower, chalkhill blue & Daubenton’s bat
53: July 6 Boggy bonanza
Dorset for bog bush-cricket, bog orchid, brown beak-sedge, keeled skimmer & Lulworth skipper
54: July 7 Highland fling
Highland for azure hawker, northern emerald, black-throated diver & creeping lady’s-tresses
55: July 8 Bumbling through the machair
Argyll & Bute for corncrake, great yellow bumblebee, moss carder bee, machair & basking shark
56: July 9 Leaping clear
Dorset for white-beaked & common bottlenose dolphins, Balearic shearwater & basking shark
57: July 10 Primrose pilgrimage
Orkney for Scottish primrose, orca, great skua & corncrake
58: July 11 Beech bum
Surrey for narrow-lipped helleborine, broad-leaved helleborine, silver-washed fritillary, & Sussex for purple emperor
59: July 12 Down on the dunes
Merseyside for red squirrel, sand lizard, natterjack toad, northern dune tiger-beetle & dune helleborine
60: July 13 Small is beautiful
Dorset for red squirrel, Sandwich tern, yellow-legged gull & common lizard
61: July 14 Bolt from the blue
Shropshire for silver-studded blue & hobby, & Staffordshire for woodcock & nightjar
62: July 15 Heavenly heathland
Surrey for brilliant emerald, downy emerald, black darter, true lover’s knot & sand lizard
63: July 16 Bright eyes
Hampshire for burnt orchid, chalk milkwort, marsh fragrant orchid & marsh helleborine
64: July 17 Not so dinky minke 158
Northumberland for minke whale & white-beaked dolphin, & County Durham for dark red helleborine & northern brown argus
65: July 18 Badgerland 160
Dorset for badger & fox
66: July 19 Allure of the rare
Conwy for Ashworth’s rustic, Weaver’s wave, true lover’s knot & chough
67: July 20 True blue
Cornwall for blue shark, porbeagle shark & short-beaked common dolphin
68: July 21 A rough diamond
Essex for round-leaved wintergreen, green-flowered helleborine, common spotted orchid & brown-banded carder bee
69: July 22 The heath at Pooh Corner
Sussex for adder, golden-ringed dragonfly, black darter, woodlark & nightjar
70: July 23 Marvellous moths
Dorset for Jersey tiger, silver y, worm pipefish & tompot blenny
71: July 24 Sounds of summer
Hampshire for large marsh & woodland grasshoppers, bog bush-cricket, scarce blue-tailed damselfly & southern damselfly
72: July 25 Welsh dragons
Pembrokeshire for small red damselfly, scarce blue-tailed damselfly & common hawker, & Ceredigion for common bottlenose dolphin
73: July 26 The colours of summer
Essex for great green bush-cricket, white-letter hairstreak, scarce emerald damselfly, marbled white & brown-banded carder bee
74: July 27 Vision
Cambridgeshire for southern hawker, broad-bodied chaser, drinker, milk parsley & marsh pea
75: July 28 Tell ’em about the honey, mummy
North Yorkshire for honey-buzzard, nightjar, tree pipit, common lizard & adder
76: July 29 Rockpool ramble
Devon for cirl bunting, snakelocks anemone, velvet swimming crab & Cornish sucker
77: July 30 Helleborine’s angels
Oxfordshire for narrow-lipped, violet & broad-leaved helleborines, striped lychnis & yellow birdsnest
78: July 31 Drum and Bass
East Lothian for gannet, fulmar, shag & northern brown argus
79: August 1 Batfan
Dumfries & Galloway for whiskered bat, brown long-eared bat, noctule bat & Daubenton’s bat
80: August 2 The British lions
Suffolk for ant-lion, bee-wolf, painted lady, hummingbird hawkmoth & wood sandpiper
81: August 3 Get to the Point!
Norfolk for harbour seal, spoonbill, devil’s-bit scabious, chalkhill blue & clouded yellow
82: August 4 Cathedrals & castles
Sussex for peregrine & water vole
83: August 5 Rafts of gulls
Norfolk for Mediterranean gull, & Suffolk for fen raft spider
84: August 6 Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea
Devon for Lundy cabbage, Lundy cabbage-weevil, grey seal & basking shark
85: August 7 Sunfish, sea, sand
Cornwall for ocean sunfish, harbour porpoise, short-beaked common dolphin & grey seal
86: August 8 Whale of a time
North Yorkshire for minke whale, humpback whale, harbour porpoise & white-beaked dolphin
87: August 9 Black on black
Anglesey for raven, corkwing wrasse, yellow birdsnest, grass-of-Parnassus & red squirrel
88: August 10 Basking in glory
Argyll & Bute for basking shark, minke whale, harbour porpoise & white-tailed eagle
89: August 11 Cry freedom
Derbyshire for red grouse
90: August 12 Osprey!
Rutland for osprey, wood sandpiper, Roesel’s bush-cricket & violet helleborine… & the Birdfair
91: August 13 Summer’s golden days
Lincolnshire for brown hairstreak, purple hairstreak & hazel dormouse
92: August 14 The eagle has landed… again
Western Isles for white-tailed eagle, golden eagle, harbour seal & otter
93: August 15 Mini-beast magic
Essex for bryony ladybird, shrill carder bee, wasp spider, water vole & marsh frog
94: August 16 Creatures of the night
Suffolk for stone-curlew, Reeve’s muntjac & badger
95: August 17 Birds of a feather
Ceredigion for Manx shearwater, gannet & osprey
96: August 18 Pelagic wanderers
Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly for Cory’s & great shearwaters, short-beaked common dolphin, lesser white-toothed shrew & prickly stick-insect
97: August 19 A capital day
London for Aesculapian snake, autumn squill, water vole, noctule bat & wasp spider
98: August 20 Silver and gold
Surrey for silver-spotted skipper, chalkhill blue, lace border, Roman snail & autumn gentian
99: August 21 Greenham Common ladies
Berkshire for autumn lady’s-tresses, autumn gentian & grayling, & Buckinghamshire for starfruit & edible dormouse
100: August 22 Dewy damselflies
Norfolk for small red-eyed damselfly, willow emerald damselfly, clouded yellow & peregrine
Further information 244
Index of sites 246
Index of wildlife targets 250


Winner of the Travel Media Awards 'Travel Guide Book of the Year' award 2016.

'Lowen maintains a lovely tone, necessarily practical but also occasionally poetic — a friendly, encouraging and knowledgeable companion… an ideal addition to any family bookshelf, though it should also spend plenty of time over the years in your backpack or glove compartment.'
BBC Wildlife Magazine

'A beautiful, full-colour guide packed with suggestions, sites and authoritative advice about our sunniest season'
Eastern Daily Press

'Lavishly illustrated, easy to read and to find your way around.'
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

'The perfect practical companion for anyone planning to spend the summer trying to get a bit closer to nature.'
Bird Watching Magazine

'Successful at capturing the imagination and whisking you away with him on a glorious, enriching summer day out.'
BiOME Ecology Magazine

'What impressed me the most was the sheer amount of information so well presented and so full of ideas. I just wish I had this book when I first visited the Highlands.'
Ray Collier, Highland News

'100 very well proposed and laidout suggestions of where you should go and what you should see in a British summer. A brilliant idea.'
Chris Packham, Springwatch Unsprung

'For anybody wishing to take delight in a few simple trips looking at a breadth of incredible British wildlife this summer, A Summer of British Wildlife will lend inspiration and, together with the necessary identification knowledge or handbooks, all the information you will need. In particular, anyone with children will surely find it a delightful and invaluable aid to enjoying the outdoors with them and passing on a precious affection for the natural world.'
David Campbell, www.birdguides.com

The pages are decorated with lovely photographs and illustrations, depicting many of the target species you might be looking for that day and together with the lovely descriptive flow that James Lowen pens to the pages, it’s a real pleasure to read, even if you have no real intention to visit the area.
Graham Etherington, www.rarebirdalert.co.uk

"Each day out is brought alive through Lowen's recollections, drawing the reader into his world and lighting a spark for futuree exploration… A very practical, as well as visually engaging, summer guide."
Butterfly Conservation Magazine

'A delightful book.'
This England



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