This lovely book came to me at just the right time, as the arrival of spring allowed me to read most of it while sitting in my garden, watching the wildlife on my own doorstep. I’d gladly buy this book for adults or older children living in rural or suburban neighbourhoods as Mark Ward’s enthusiasm is truly infectious. Mark provides helpful guidance on how to define your ‘patch’ for observing wildlife in different habitats in and around your garden, plus seasonal tips you might find useful for your own part of the UK. This could very well set you on path to become a habitual recorder of wildlife and, in time, an expert on what can be seen in your neighbourhood throughout the year.
The seasonal chapters allow you to dip in as you need, and sections which are highlighted in grey offer quick, practical tips e.g. using the weather to find spring migrants and how to grow the best plants for wildlife. I thought the extracts from Mark’s diary added immediacy to his observations of local wildlife and offered useful pointers for what you might see at that time of year, as well as what you might record in your own notes. However, I found the relatively faint and small script for these sections tricky to read.
I’m a relative beginner as a wildlife-watcher and did puzzle over some of the references, whether they were flowers, or butterflies, e.g. Silver-washed Fritillary (it’s a butterfly), so a glossary explaining these would have been helpful to me. I thought the photos were inspiring and I would have liked to have seen more examples of the species Mark writes about. However, I do understand that you can’t cover everything in one relatively short book.
Wildlife on Your Doorstep has definitely left me with an appetite to find out more.