Your Wildlife Window on the World Wide Web

Amanita muscaria - Fly AgaricFratercula arctica - PuffinEpipactis atrorubens - Dark-red Helleborine

1900 illustrated articles and identification guides to wildlife, wildflowers, fungi and ecology, including 8500 pictures and fact files about plants, fungi, insects, bats, birds and other animals; maps, photos and detailed site guides to Nature Reserves in Britain, Ireland, Europe and America.

Frenetic time for Fungi Fans...

Clitocybe odora, a beautiful blue aniseed-scented mushroom

Blue is not a colour normally associated with mushrooms, but there are a few striking blue species. Pictured here is one that makes itself obvious in another way too: the Aniseed Funnel Clitocybe odora can be found by 'following your nose'! See our Sortable Fungi Index for pictures and identification details for more than 650 fascinating fungi species.

Late-blooming Beauties

Bluebell woods, west Wales

A cool summer in Britain is not without its compensations: the late-blooming wildflowers are at their very best, and Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris is a prime example. There are more than 600 species pages in our Wildflowers section, so if you come across something you can't identify there's a fair chance our online identification guide will be able to help.

If all that you are really sure of is the colour of a flower, how can you get to a shortlist of possibilities? Simple: on any desktop computer or tablet the index table of species can be sorted by dominant colours, putting all the red flowers together, all the blue ones together and so on. (You can also sort them alphabetically by scientific names, by common names, or by botanical families.)

Awesome Orchid Guide

Wild Orchids of the Algarve, by Sue Parker

Sue Parker's new book, Wild Orchids of the Algarve - how, when and where to find them, is now available from our online bookshop...

Launched in early 2015, this book has received critical acclaim from many noted authorities on terrestrial orchids. This definitive field guide will be invaluable to Algarve residents, visitors and indeed anyone with an interest in the Mediterranean region's wild orchids. If you would benefit from having detailed maps, directions and guidance on the best walks for seeing wild orchids in Portugal's famous Algarve region, you will be delighted with this book, which would also be a treasured gift for any lover of Europe's wonderful wildflowers. More details...

Other Algarve gems

If you would like to learn more about wildflowers and wildlife (including birds and butterflies) in the Algarve then see our sister website www.algarvewildlife.com - and we have produced inexpensive souvenir guides to Wildflowers in the Algarve and Wild Orchids in the Algarve.

For those whose curiosity about nature, wildlife and ecology extends to birds, mammals, insects, fungi, trees and flowers (and much more), Clive Viney and Ray Tipper have produced a superb (and bestselling) book describing and illustrating nature in the Algarve fortnight-by-fortnight through the year. See Algarve Wildlife, the natural year...

Among the Algarve's early-blooming beauties are the Paperwhite Narcissus, Narcissus papyraceus, and both Common Asphodel and Hollow-stemmed Asphodel. These and many more Mediterranean wildflowers are featured on our Wildflowers section.

Microscopy for Amateur Mycologists

It's amazing how much more you can learn about fungi if you havaccess to a microscope. Our no-jargon Beginners' Guide to Mushroom Microscopy has all the information about choosing and using a compound microscope, selecting chemical stains, preparing slides etc to help you get started.

The Orange Peel Fungus, Aleuria aurantia, is often seen on disturbed soil beside woodland paths. Look out also for the amazing but diminutive Eyelash Fungus, Sculellaria scutelata.

Asci of the Eyelash Fungus, Scutellaria scutellata

Ascomycetes are fascinating when viewed with a microscope. On the left the spores of the Eyelash Fungus Scutellaria scutellata can be seen packed in sets of eight into the asci tubes. The same image in higher magnification can be seen on our Eyelash Fungus page.

We find plenty of ascomycetous fungi, in the UK and in France and Portugal. Visitors to the Algarve region of southern Portugal have the double advantage of being able to enjoy fungi forays in the wooded uplands and in the coastal grasslands while seeing wildflowers of some kind or another all year round.

Help more people learn about and enjoy nature...

We are always pleased to receive your suggestions, pictures and help...

Latest News

Find out what else is new on the First Nature website...

In our Bookshop you will find superbly illustrated guides to some of the most beautiful wildflowers, birds, mammals, insects and fungi, including beautifully illustrated location-specific guides to Wales, The Burren and The Algarve, all at very affordable prices and just a single £2-95 first class postage charge no matter how many books you order.

Wild Orchids and Fungi are two of our major specialities, but we hope you will also enjoy the rest of the website. (Check for occasional updates to our Fungi Blog... )

Our online Identification Guides, accessed from the tabs at the top of each page, contain:

> 630 Wildflower pages with pictures, identification tips and advice on the best locations

> 550 Fungi pages, with illustrated identification guides, fact files and habitat information, sort by spore colour etc

> 60 British Birds, plus a selection of beautiful birds from other parts of the world

> 50 native British Trees, plus a selection of beautiful flowering trees from other countries

> 150 Insects, including beautiful butterflies and moths, as well as dragonflies and and other aquatic insects

> 50 Fish species found in Britain's rivers, lakes and coastal waters

> All of Britain's Reptiles and Amphibians plus some interesting frogs, toads, newts and lizards from elsewhere

> A large selection of Mammals - plus a special photo gallery and guide to 13 of Britain's Bat species.

Frazzle, a novel by Pat O'Reilly

The battiest of bats - a book for readers and writers

Something to cheer you up during the dreary weather of winter: Pat O'Reilly's latest novel, Frazzle, is now available in paperback or as a Kindle e-book from Amazon (UK and worldwide).

Full details and a free sample the beginning of the book are now on Amazon... Or...

Find out more here about the fantasy parallel universes of Pat's hilariously unique new book...

Fascinated by Fungi? Here's a great book... and a helpful price discount too

Fascinated by Fungi, an amazing new book by Pat O'Reilly - available online here

Get so much more out of your woodland and grassland walks with the bestselling, comprehensive introduction to mushrooms, toadstools, puffballs, brackets and other fungi. It includes a superbly-illustrated beginners' field guide to the 400 most common, beautiful, esteemed or feared types of fungi. All you need in one authoritative, clearly explained and entertaining volume.

440 pages; more than1000 colour photographs; a new insight into the quirkiest kingdom of Life on Earth. "Its fantastic! Everything I wanted in a fungus book is there." Read more reviews...

SAVE £3-25: Author signed copies at just £21-75 + £4-90 Postage and Packing. Extracts and reviews - full details here...


Online Guide to the Nature Reserves of Wales

A comprehensive, illustrated guide with detailed directions, zoomable maps and access advice on each one of Wales's National Nature Reserves plus many Local Nature Reserves, RSPB, Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust and other Wildlife Reserves in Wales is online here and via www.waleswildlife.com

This resource can also be accessed via the Wild Wales tab on the First Nature website, (www.first-nature.com/waleswildlife)

There is also guidance on which wildlife reserves and other wildlife sites are best for birds, wildflowers, butterflies, bats, fungi and lichens etc; details of what you are likely to find at each nature reserve; and advice on the best times to visit to maximise the opportunities for enjoying your particular wildflower, wildlife and countryside interests.

At last... an Authoritative, Illustrated Book to help you find and enjoy Algarve Wildlife

A 164-page full-colour book Algarve Wildlife - the natural year, by Clive Viney and Ray Tipper, is now available at our online bookshop...

(This bestselling book can also be obtained on Amazon and via good bookshops in the UK and southern Portugal.)

A remarkable Souvenir Guide to an amazing Wildflower Paradise...

Visiting Southern Portugal? Take our inexpensive illustrated guide to Wildflowers in the Algarve with you. Available from our online bookshop... (Also from Amazon and other online booksellers and bookshops in the UK and Portugal).

> Great sites for seeing wildflowers in the Algarve...

Note on terminology

We use the term wildflowers where some people still write wild flowers as two words; however, whether you prefer wildflowers or wild flowers we are sure you will find many flower species of interest in our wildflower pages. Similarly with fungi: some people call all edible fungi mushrooms, using the term toadstools to denote inedible of poisonous fungi. Others reserve the term mushroom for Agaricus species such as field mushrooms. We use the term mushroom to describe any cap-and-stem fungi, whereas brackets, crusts, puffballs and other non-mushroom-shaped types of fungi are referred to simply as fungi. To many people, wildlife means animals such as birds, mammals and insects. Are wildflowers (or wild flowers) wildlife? They are living things, and part of Nature; we therefore use wildlife to imply all living creatures, whether animals (including mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fishes etc), plants such as wildflowers, trees, mosses and other 'lower plants' as well as fungi, lichens and slime moulds.

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