Cheap Collins Flower Guide

Am coming over all public-spirited here – having just got myself a copy of the Collins Flower Guide for a bargain price from Amazon, I thought I should make a bit of a fuss about it on two fronts. For starters, it’s bloody good, and am looking forward to getting out and about this weekend and coming to terms with some flowers I’ve not yet learnt. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more of a fanfare for this field guide. It’s terrific.

collins flower cover

And secondly, the current price on Amazon of £19.50 is good value for such a well-illustrated and comprehensive book. Especially one that’s meant to be thirty quid. So while I’m all for people supporting their local bookshops (ha! if you can find a natural history section in them…), I’m even more for encouraging people to buy an affordable book, get out there in the field, and look at some plants.

And on the subject of getting out in the  field, I did just that last night. A scan from the house revealed a wader picking around on the far shore of North Loch, so I took the dingos for a walk to get a closer look. Result – my first non-flyover Greenshank for the area. Suitably inspired, I took some dingy photos of it. And then some golfers came over the hill behind it and started firing balls at the 18th green, so it opted for the lesser of disturbance evils and went to hang out with the mob of Oystercatchers on the side of the loch furthest from the golf course. Personally, I’d have stuck with the golfers. The sound of Oystercatchers en masse is right up there with massed fiddles for me.

Q – what’s the best thing you can do with some fiddles?

Greenshank doing standing

Greenshank doing being flushed

A – use them as kindling for an accordion fire.

Also a Dunlin there – completely fearless, and actually flew across the loch to get a better look at me. They’re mad little fellas, Dunlins; they seem so sure of themselves.


come and have a go if you think you're hard enough


3 Responses

  1. I don’t normally go for Hardbacks, but at 1900 species I don’t suppose this was ever going to be a field guide.

    They should be paying you for this kind of advertising though! Have you ever considered one of those Amazon ‘Associate account’ thingies?

  2. I’m tempted by the flower guide, but it annoys the hell out of me that they can’t just publish these things straight into paperback. I think hardbacks are a fundamentally worse product anyway, even for novels and suchlike — heavier, bulkier and more expensive — but surely for a field guide, portability is the whole damn point?

    I’d rather buy a paperback and replace it after a few years when it gets a bit battered than buy a hardback and then not use it.

    • I know what you mean Harry, but I have zero patience when waiting for these things. Have bought the hardback with the intention of writing it off in the field rather than keeping it pristine on the bookshelf!

      The bookshelf copy will probably be the large format edition due out later this year. 😉

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