> 1790 illustrated articles, photo galleries and identification guides to wildlife, wildflowers, fungi and ecology
> 5000 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 and mainland Europe... and much more.
We are enjoying lovely spring wildflowers in Wales. If you plan on seeking the Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales, or visiting Ireland's beautiful Burren in search of wild orchids, visit our Bookshop for special offers on illustrated guides to help you enjoy your trip even more. In the Algarve, Wildflowers and even Wild Orchids began appearing in mid February, and this year's spring 'fireworks display' is the best we have ever see; the wildflowers of the Algarve continue through into June.
The cold weather of January to March wiped out the soft fleshy mushrooms and toadstools, but if perennial brackets and crusts are of interest there's still something to see in the woods. Several conspicuous and colourful ascomycetes - cup fungi that shoot their spores from tubes known as asci (singular ascus) - are also producing fruitbodies at this time. The Scarlet Elfcup, Sarcoscypha austriaca, is plentiful in mossy damp woodland, but look out also for the amazing but diminutive Eyelash Fungus, Sculellaria scutelata. Look out for the first Morels (shown on the left), too.
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 ascomycete species on our December, January and February forays, both 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 also enjoying the first of the spring Flowers.
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, but if you want detailed maps, directions and guidance on the best walks for seeing wildlife and wildflowers (including wild orchids) in the Algarve then see our sister website www.algarvewildlife.com - and we have produced inexpensive books about Wildflowers in the Algarve, Wild Orchids in the Algarve, and Algarve Wildlife through the year.
The autumn 2012 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. See more lovely pictures and learn more about this terrific toadstool...
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 the Caledonian Forest in 2012. Our Fungi section has a lot more details... and plenty of fascinating fungi to look out for in springtime too.
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. Your book will be sent by First Class Post. Extracts and reviews - full details here...
We are always pleased to receive your suggestions, pictures and help...
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...
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.
> 630 Wildflower pages with pictures, identification tips and advice on the best locations
> 540 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
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 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.
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... .
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)
How about staying in the seaside village of Carvoeiro for your Algarve holiday? Details...
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.)
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).
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...
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 fungi are referred to simply as fungi. To many people, wildlife means animals such as birds, mammals and insects. Are wilflowers (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.