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Old Thursday 21st July 2005, 13:39   #1
Richard D
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Dragonflies: Smallshire/Swash or Brooks/Lewington

Dragonflies: Smallshire/Swash or Brooks/Lewington?

I've started a new thread from Jos's because I know he's specifically wanting a guide that covers mainland Europe whilst my requirements are more parochial. Having failed to find any UK dragonfly guides in Canterbury's bookshops I think I'll be ordering online. I'm after a beginner's guide and these two look the most promising (but I'm happy to consider others). The Smallshire/Swash has the advantage of only being 10 on Amazon compared to 18 for the Brooks/Lewington but how do the photographs compare to the Lewington illustrations?

Any thoughts appreciated (comments even more so!)

Thanks
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Old Thursday 21st July 2005, 13:42   #2
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Haven't seen the Smallshire/Swash book, so can't offer the direct comparison you're after, but the Lewington book is just brilliant, IMO. I only started looking at dragons and damsels 'properly' last summer, and it's been a superb reference to get me started - small enough to have in the field. What's more, I don't think I'll ever need a better guide as my knowledge increases.
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Old Thursday 21st July 2005, 14:08   #3
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Hi Richard,

like David, I have the lewington book, but havent had a good look at the other. The lewington book is superb, outstanding drawings, good information and distribution maps. The only problem with it now (not sure if it is the same with the other books) is that it is slightly dated in terms of new occurances in Britain. Species such as Southern Emerald, Small Red-eyed are not shown, and information on Lesser Emperor is rather brief among others.

All the best

James
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Old Thursday 21st July 2005, 14:22   #4
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I have both books. I generally use the Lewington book, but am gradually moving over to Smallshire/Swash's, it has eight pages of identification comparison charts that I find useful. A big downer for me on the Smallshire /Swash book is that it is already starting to fall apart (just like my Collins Wildlife Trust books).

I think that if were starting out again I would still by the Lewington book first.


Hugh
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Old Thursday 21st July 2005, 15:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Eaton
Hi Richard,

like David, I have the lewington book, but havent had a good look at the other. The lewington book is superb, outstanding drawings, good information and distribution maps. The only problem with it now (not sure if it is the same with the other books) is that it is slightly dated in terms of new occurances in Britain. Species such as Southern Emerald, Small Red-eyed are not shown, and information on Lesser Emperor is rather brief among others.

All the best

James
I believe the latest edition of Lewington has small red-eyed.... but well worth looking at the Dragonfly society site for details on how to ID it. It's become common round here.
I love the Lewington book (and his moth book).
Ken
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Old Thursday 21st July 2005, 16:39   #6
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Have you also considered 'A Guide to Dragonflies of G.B.' by Dan Powell, pub. Arlequin, reprinted 2001? I find it complements both the above. They all seem to have different bits of information in them such that one on its own is never enough! Steve
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Old Thursday 21st July 2005, 18:52   #7
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Only have the Lewington but with good notes of even just a small part of the critters I nearly always come up with a good ID.
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Old Friday 22nd July 2005, 10:17   #8
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The Smallshire/Swash wildguide's photo's have the advantage of showing both adult and immature specimens, and they do side views. And the side by side abdomen pages are excellent. But the binding does collapse, making it unsuitable in the field - and the problem wih photos is that you're seeing a specific individual in specific lighting conditions, and that's not always ideal. For example, their photo of the female Norfolk Hawker is much lighter than the male (either light, exposure or the individual insect). But there's a tendency to assume that this is a general difference between the sexes rather than a random variation in photos.
Personally I take the Lewington out in the field, and keep the wildguide at home for checking later.
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Old Monday 25th July 2005, 11:09   #9
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Thanks all - there are several new copies of the Smallshire/Swash wildguide on ebay for 8.99 inc P&P so that's settled it for the moment. I might get the Lewington later.

Richard
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Old Monday 25th July 2005, 17:43   #10
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Dragonfly Books

Hi,

Personally I think HarassedDad is 100% spot on with all of his comments, very rounded appraisal of both books. I have just about all the books on Dragonflies published, BUT the one book I carry all the time is the Brooks / Lewington one.

I covered with plastic self-adhesive film to prevent it look to 'dog eared' from W H Smiths (around 2 for a mtr roll).

Other than this the only other guide I refer to from time to time is Cyril Hammonds 'The Dragonflies of Great Britain and Ireland' by Harley Books (ISBN 0-946589-14-3) - I find this book very helpful because of the quality of the colour illustrations, but also because of the excellent key to larvae. Some of the text is a little heavy going, but it's still a great book and deserves to be on the shelves of any dragonfly addict.

My top three in order of preference:

1. Dragonflies and Damselflies by Steve Brooks & Richard Lewington
2. Britain's Dragonflies by Dave Smallshire & Andy Swash
3. The Dragonflies of Great Britian & Ireland by Cyril Hammond

Regards

Mark



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Old Monday 25th July 2005, 22:58   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maporter68
Hi,

Personally I think HarassedDad is 100% spot on with all of his comments, very rounded appraisal of both books. I have just about all the books on Dragonflies published, BUT the one book I carry all the time is the Brooks / Lewington one.

I covered with plastic self-adhesive film to prevent it look to 'dog eared' from W H Smiths (around 2 for a mtr roll).

Other than this the only other guide I refer to from time to time is Cyril Hammonds 'The Dragonflies of Great Britain and Ireland' by Harley Books (ISBN 0-946589-14-3) - I find this book very helpful because of the quality of the colour illustrations, but also because of the excellent key to larvae. Some of the text is a little heavy going, but it's still a great book and deserves to be on the shelves of any dragonfly addict.

My top three in order of preference:

1. Dragonflies and Damselflies by Steve Brooks & Richard Lewington
2. Britain's Dragonflies by Dave Smallshire & Andy Swash
3. The Dragonflies of Great Britian & Ireland by Cyril Hammond

Regards

Mark
I would agree, all these books are very good and if you can afford it all are worth having. Ignore all the distribution maps and data, this is invariably out of date before the publication of the book. Most Dragonfly species are expanding their range northwards. The Britains Dragonflies by Dave Smallshire and Andy Swash book is available at a bargain 'buy it now' price on Ebay at 8.99 inc postage. I bought one myself. The seller has about half a dozen copies left. See:-

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...321179965&rd=1

I would get in quickly if you want a copy, it will save you about a fiver over local bookshop prices.

Harry
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Old Thursday 28th July 2005, 21:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D
Dragonflies: Smallshire/Swash or Brooks/Lewington?

I've started a new thread from Jos's because I know he's specifically wanting a guide that covers mainland Europe whilst my requirements are more parochial. Having failed to find any UK dragonfly guides in Canterbury's bookshops I think I'll be ordering online. I'm after a beginner's guide and these two look the most promising (but I'm happy to consider others). The Smallshire/Swash has the advantage of only being 10 on Amazon compared to 18 for the Brooks/Lewington but how do the photographs compare to the Lewington illustrations?

Any thoughts appreciated (comments even more so!)

Thanks
Although not mentioned elsewhere in the thread (I think!) the one thing I always take in the field is the FSC's Guide to dragonflies and damselflies of Britain - a waterproof foldout guide which costs only 3.25 and weighs next to nothing. It has the advantage of being able to see all the species without turning a page. It doesn't have Small Red-eyed Damselfly though. For A summer's day walk I take this, Brooks/Lewington + 4 photocopies (the 4 A4 sheets of the ID tables) from Smallshire/Swash + the FSC's Butterfly guide and there's hardly any additional weight to the rucksack.

The fsc's website is
http://www.field-studies-council.org...s/foldout.aspx.

Paul
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