Britains Hoverflies; An Introduction to the Hoverflies of Britain by Stuart Ball and Roger Morris | 297 pages | Wildguides | Paperback | 2013 | ISBN: 978-0-691-15659-0 |
If you’ve ever visited my blog over the summer months you will notice that I often move away from birds and take my photography down to the macro level, I become obsessed with photographing the small creatures of the world (and especially my patch), one type of creature I find fascinating is the Hoverfly, there are hundreds of species (many can only be identified by dissection) , but I have no clue when it comes to identification.
Or rather I didn’t until I was offered this book by Wildguides to review: Britain’s Hoverflies; An Introduction to the Hoverflies of Britain. It’s part of their series including Butterflies, Dragonflies and more.
The ID Guide
What was amazing when I first opened the package containing the book was just how thick it was. And flicking through the pages the first time I was overwhelmed with the sheer number (and this book is an introduction so many less common hoverflies are not even in there!), but I was also very glad that the images used (all photographs) are amazingly detailed.
Britains Hoverflies is written by two of Britain’s leading experts in hoverflies. And the text that accompanies the, superb, images is, at the same time brief, but covers the features you need in order to identify the specific hoverfly. It also lists which other species may be confusions (a real bonus for a beginner).
There are also details of timings and the species status nationally etc to also aid in identification.
I think sensibly, the guide focuses on the species most often found and easiest to identify. There are 164 in total so this not only reduces the size of the book but also stops the inexperienced identifying something common as rare.
Personally I think this is a great book for those just starting out in hoverfly identification (like me). Covering those species most likely to be seen, which means less places to go wrong.
The photographs are great at helping you achieve your identification goals (there is much less variance in hoverflies than birds for example). And the short descriptive text will help even more if you need to compare other species.