Sterry, P., 1997
Complete British Wildlife
A deservedly best-selling photographic field guide to 1500 terrestrial, freshwater and seashore species. Inevitably it gives prominence to the more popular groups (mammals, birds, butterflies and flowering plants - especially orchids). Of course most groups are better covered in other guides, but that's missing the point. The aim was to provide a portable guide covering most of the species which the beginner naturalist is likely to notice on his/her rambles and in this it succeeds: the species are well chosen and the photographs generally excellent.
The species notes are necessarily brief and often lack the necessary detail to confirm the identification (but anyway the target audience will only look at the pictures!) The notes are generic rather than relating to the photograph, and in some cases clarification would have helped (eg P320: the horsetails - fertile fronds illustrated for E. arvense, sterile for E. sylvatica. P341, Placynthium nigrum - the target audience would see the yellow Caloplaca rather than the black Placynthium - but maybe that's just a bad picture.)
|Comments and Corrigenda
||A very few photos are incorrectly identified:
Canadian Pondweed (p321) is Curly Waterweed (Lagarosiphon major).
Lactarius pyrogalus (p353) looks more like one of the dark species whose milk turns pink.
||Far from "complete", the book illustrates about 1,500 of the commonest, largest or more significant British species.
||Colour photographs throughout.