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back to Book Reviews

A Year in Nature Notes
by Derwent May - Published by Harper Collins
ISBN 0-00-718190-6

For those of us who regularly walk the fells and valleys of Cumbria, one thing that we notice most of all are the changes in nature. Whether this be the budding of leaves in the spring, the call of the cuckoo, the flight of the swallow or maybe even the eagle if one is up on the Mardale fells; the golden tints of the trees in autumn, particularly in the valleys, or the frozen waterfalls in winter – one cannot help but fail to be awestruck by some of the beauties that nature reveals to us.

One man who has made his living from studying nature is Derwent May who contributes "Nature Notes" to The Times every day. He has been a keen naturalist since he was a schoolboy, when he was writing for magazines such as British Birds and Ibis. This, his most recent book, reveals the secret lives of the wildlife around us and takes us on a journey through the year, based on his contributions to The Times and covering a wide range of subjects from nesting birds to the new season's growth of shoots and buds.

This day-by-day account of British wildlife records the comings and goings of the swallows and swifts, the first appearance of the bluebells and primroses, and sightings of March hares and Egyptian geese, to reveal the changing sights and sounds of our cities and countryside throughout the year. Brilliantly observed and elegantly written, it is the perfect bedside book for any nature lover.

reviewed by John Burland - Member No. 2