Your Wildlife Window on the World Wide Web

Rana temporaria - Common FrogBarbastella barbastellus - Barbastelle BatFratercula arctica - PuffinRutilis rutilis - RoachAmanita muscaria - Fly AgaricRattus norvegicus - Brown RatLacerta agilis - Sand LizardCrataegus monogyna - HawthornEpipactis atrorubens - Dark-red Helleborine

> 1800 illustrated articles, photo galleries and identification guides to wildlife, wildflowers, fungi and ecology
> 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.

Fabulous Fungi Finds

Clitocybe odora, a beautiful blue aniseed-scented mushroom

Blue is not a colour that many people associate with mushrooms, but there are a few striking blue species and, pictured on the left, is one that makes itself obvious in another way too. The Aniseed Funnel Clitocybe odora can be found by 'following your nose'!

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.

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.

If you want detailed maps, directions and guidance on the best walks for seeing wildflowers and wildlife (including birds and butterflies) in the Algarve then see our sister website - and we have produced inexpensive books about Wildflowers in the Algarve, Wild Orchids in the Algarve and Algarve Wildlife through the natural year.

The Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria, is plentiful this autumn

The beautiful Fly Agaric

In recent years the autumn fungi season provided great opportunities for seeing that most enigmatic of woodland mushrooms, the Fly Agaric. Amanita muscaria, to give it its scientific name, is a mysterious fairytale fungus, appearing in abundance some years and playing hard to get in others. In early July we saw our first Fly Agaric of 2013 so do keep an eye out for them, and in the meantime see more lovely pictures and learn all about this terrific toadstool...

Gypsy mushroom (Cortinarius caperatus) - have you seen this rare species?

A webcap with a solid partial veil and a membranous stem ring rather than a filamentous web, this rare mushroom seems to have been much more abundant than usual in recent years. Our Fungi section has a lot more details... and plenty of other fascinating fungi to look out for in summertime too.

Help more people learn about and enjoy nature...

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

Clathrus ruber, the Red Cage fungus

The Lattice or Red Cage fungus heads north towards Scotland. To see if these rare (in Britain, at least) members of the Stinkhorn family have reached your part of the world, just follow your nose, or check for pictures and more details on our Fungi Blog...

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.

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.

For Fungi Fans...

Mushroom Miscellany: the First Nature Fungi Blog...

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...


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

Get so much more out of the festive season 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.

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

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
The New Online Guide

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 now online here and at

This resource can also be accessed via the Wild Wales tab on the First Nature website, (

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.

Personalise your Illustrated Wildflower Identification Guide...

Our extensive British and European wild flowers sections can now be sorted in the order you prefer. Select wildflowers either A to Z by Common Names, or by Scientific Names, or by Botanical Families, or by Dominant Colour. Try it now... .

Wild Orchids in the AlgarveFascinated by wild orchids? Visiting Southern Portugal?

Our guide to Wild Orchids in the Algarve is available at our online bookshop. More details...

(Also available via good booksellers in the UK and Portugal)

Fancy staying in the lovely little seaside village of Carvoeiro for your Algarve holiday? Details...

Algarve Wildlife - the natural yearAt 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.)


Wild Orchids in the AlgarveA remarkable Souvenir Guide to an amazing Wildflower Paradise...

Visiting Southern Portugal? Take this 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...

NEW: Interactive Multimedia Guide to Fungi v3 now available here...First Nature Multimedia Guide to Fungi

Hundreds of interactive pages packed with facts, fun, fungus foray and fungi identification guides, and advice on fungus photography. Fungi quizzes, video films and lots more in this CD-ROM. Designed for PCs running Windows with Internet Explorer. >Details...


SPECIAL OFFER: just £12 +P&P via our online bookshop...

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.