I have a ever growing collection of books including a number of field guides covering a vast variety of British taxa. I live in Buckinghamshire where apart from this series of books, there isn’t any up to data specific books on the country’s wildlife. As readers of this blog will know, I love bees. Therefore in 2012 I asked for ‘Bees of Surrey’ for my Birthday. I still use this wonderful book alongside the recently published ‘Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland’, to identify and learn about bees. I now have ‘Bees of Surrey’, ‘Ants of Surrey’, ‘Butterflies of Surrey Revisited’ and the recently published ‘Soldierflies, their allies and Conopidae of Surrey’. Surrey is highly biodiverse, therefore these guides cover a huge number of species and are useful for anyone, not just people that live in Surrey. The guides are produced by experts with all proceeds going to support the next title in the Series.
I recently acquired Soldierflies, their allies and Conopidae of Surrey, admittedly this is quite a niche area, but it is one that relative beginners can get involved with and contribute to our knowledge of. They are also often very attractive!
This book covers 122 species in the following groups:
- Thick headed flies – Conopidae
- Soldierflies – Stratiomyidae
- Horseflies – Tabanidae
- Robberflies – Asilidae
- Snipeflies – Rhagionidae
- Stiletto flies – Therevidae
- Bee flies – Bombyliidae
- Hunchback flies – Acroceridae
- Water snipeflies – Athericidae
- Awl flies – Xylophagidae
- Windowflies – Scenopinidae
- Wood soldierflies – Xylomyidae
That is a lot of groups and species to cover in one book, but each one is lovingly described in a species account and over 80 are pictured in the colour plates. At the beginning of the book is an introduction to the groups, their ecology and techniques for finding them. This book doesn’t contain keys and isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to identification, but it does point out key identification features.I learnt a lot from this book and can’t wait to use it next year.
Every one of the books that I have seen so far in this series are well worth having wherever you are and I will be buying some more with my Christmas money. You can find more about the guides and purchase them here. The best thing is that all money raised from the sale of these books support the wider work of the Surrey Wildlife Atlas Project in describing the natural history of Surrey.