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Befitting its beautiful subjects, Jon Dunn’s The Glitter in the Green: In Search of Hummingbirds is a dazzling work of nature writing. Blending a thrilling sense of personal adventure with bewitching detail on the habitats, habits and mythology of these most handsome of birds, the book has huge appeal for both dedicated bird-lovers and general readers. Framed by the author’s inspiring viewing of the Natural History Museum’s hummingbird cabinet, Dunn shares how he was driven to feed his hummingbird addiction by immersing himself in their world - “I had to see them for myself. Stuffed historical specimens had sown a seed that had, in time, flourished into a consuming hunger”. To that end, he plans and embarks on a journey to see these birds with their “otherworldly, metallic and jewel-like plumages”, their “rainbow array of colours, shapes and sizes” across their global range - from the wilds of Alaska, to the very tip of Argentina. As well as taking in hummingbirds’ full geographic range (with each place and its people evoked in glorious technicolour), the book’s style has a broad wingspan too - it flits and flutters from having the tension of a thriller, the poetic impact of a literary prize-winner, and the unadulterated glee of a piece of personal passion. Having failed to find one myself (to date, at least), boy was I envious of the author’s enraptured description of seeing Bee Hummingbirds (the world’s smallest bird) during an entrancing Cuban experience that left him feeling “a little like Alice in Wonderland”.
'Remarkable ... Evoking the intensity with which orchid hunters pursue their quarry ... Vivid and expressive' Sunday Times Orchid Summer is a heady celebration of the beauty and history of the wild orchid species of the British Isles, embraced in one dazzling summer-long hunt by naturalist Jon Dunn. The flowers that are the focus of this treasure hunt are exquisite and diverse. Some tower above the surrounding vegetation; others are vanishingly small and discrete. Some are sweetly scented; others smell of ripe billy goats. Some are abundant; others more elusive - none more so than the last to flower, the ghost orchid... Capturing the intoxicating beauty of these rare flowers, Orchid Summer explores their history, their champions, their place in our landscape and the threats they face. Combining infectious enthusiasm and a painterly eye with a deep knowledge that comes from a lifetime's passionate devotion to their study, Dunn sweeps us up on his adventure.