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About this book
About this book
This innovative new title from Bradt is the first of its type to focus specifically on the vast array of wildlife-watching opportunities in Europe. Written by expert James Lowen, this unique guide is packaged into 52 weekend-sized breaks highlighting the best of European wildlife – mammals, reptiles, amphibians, flora, butterflies, dragonflies and birds.
We may think of snow-covered Antarctica, South American jungles or African savannas as holding the world's most plenteous and special wildlife, yet Europe heaves with wildlife wonders year-round, many of which can be seen in a simple weekend break. What would be your optimum way to spend it if you wished to travel across Europe, delighting in the continent's wildlife splendours? 52 European Wildlife Weekends suggests one wildlife-watching break, somewhere in Europe, for every week of the year. Want to see bears? Make for Finland or Romania. Fancy a crack at wolves? Hop on a flight to northern Spain or Poland. If whales float your boat, a long weekend in Iceland, Ireland or the Bay of Biscay would suit. Orchid-lovers can head to Italy, Crete or the Costa del Sol at different points in the spring. Birdwatchers flock to see migrating raptors in Gibraltar, great gatherings of cranes in mid-France, or the breeding owls of Sweden's northern forests.
Stretching from the Arctic to its boundaries with Africa and Asia, Europe has enough exciting living creatures amidst jaw-dropping landscapes to fill an entire lifetime of wildlife-watching. Ideal for both the experienced wildlife tourist and the novice, and packed with stunning colour photos, Bradt's 52 European Wildlife Weekends shows when, where and how to see the most exciting wildlife – complete with inspiring itineraries, engaging descriptions, detailed directions and tips on how to find, identify and enjoy animals and plants. Each entry gives details on species of interest and the landscapes they inhabit, plus suggestions about extending your quick break into a longer visit. An 'at a glance' box summarizes details with a thumbnail map.
Customer Reviews (1)
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
21 Jan 2021
Written for Paperback
This book should come with a travel warning. If you read this book, you might think there is no reason to travel beyond Europe. If you have been a regular reader of BBC Wildlife magazine or a regular attendee at the Bird Fair in Rutland, you are probably only too aware that Europe has its fair share of spectacular wildlife from wolves and brown bears to minke whales and seabird colonies. But not everybody knows how rich Europe is for wildlife and the strange and mysterious creatures that inhabit it. I have a friend who thought the wolverine was a fictional creature, known only from the films in which Hugh Jackman had a lead role.
Even for those in the know, this book is packed with wildlife watching insights, conveniently within the covers of a single book. Oh for sure, you can search on the internet for information. But as I know only too well, a key pointer like which boat operator is best for going out to look for dolphins or seabirds can make the difference between a special trip or one where opportunities were missed. Not everyone can attend something like the Bird Fair and meet tour operators who will help you to see Iberian Lynx in Spain or Orcas in Norway. This is where a book like this with suggested itineraries, tips on who to go with and where to stay and the URLs of relevant websites makes a difference.
Action movies have a reputation for a thrill-a-minute, fast pace. James Lowen in his characteristic style brings into nature writing a similarly fast pace which makes you drink in his accounts. You can almost feel the tension of waiting for a brown bear to come and inspect the log cabin you are holed up in or smell the sea being exhaled as a whale surfaces next to your boat. This book is trademark Lowen; an enjoyable cocktail of nature essays rich in detail melded into a practical and useful where-to-see wildlife guide, all packaged into a pleasingly designed book.
The 52 essays are arranged by month so that you can look for inspiration by season. But they are also indexed by type of activity (birds, mammals, butterflies and moths, dragonflies, flowers, city breaks, etc). Twenty-one countries are featured in an area bounded by Iceland in the North, Ireland and the UK on the West, Estonia and Finland to the Northeast and Greece and Bulgaria to the South-East. I certainly see myself using this book to plan optimally my European wildlife watching trips and to save myself hours of online research. The challenge is to decide what is next. Would it be Siberian Flying Squirrel in Estonia, Great Bustards in Portugal’s steppes, walrus in Norway, beaked whales in Biscay or goshawks in Berlin? There are so many tantalising possibilities once one awakens to the idea that Europe is, yes, exciting for wildlife. For those who want their holidays organised, key details of operators and accommodation are sprinkled throughout the book. The end pages include in addition, some useful advertisements from country specialists.
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James Lowen has been immersed in all aspects of natural history since he was able to walk, encouraging him to become a fully fledged wildlife writer, editor, guide and photographer. Over three decades, James has travelled widely across Europe in search of its most special, rare and iconic wildlife. He is never happier than when seeking dragonflies in the Danube Delta, polar bears on Svalbard, or orchids in Crete. He has written five books about wildlife or wildlife travel, including three for Bradt Travel Guides (52 Wildlife Weekends: A Year of British Wildlife-Watching Breaks, A Summer of British Wildlife: 100 Great Days Out with British Wildlife, and Pantanal Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide to Brazil's Great Wetland). A member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, James writes regularly about European wildlife for magazines such as BBC Wildlife, The Countryman and Bird Watching.