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The Secret Life of an Arable Field (Hardback)

Plants, Animals and the Ecosystem

Photographic Books Colour Books Wildlife Nature Outdoors Nature White Owl

By Sophie McCallum
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 120 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526788443
Published: 9th September 2021

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The Field looks at the eco-system of an arable field, complete with photographs from crops, trees, hedgerows and wildflowers, to the wide variety of animals, farmland birds, insects, butterflies and moths that they support; and how they depend on each other; and are all vital for the wonderful environment we need to thrive and enjoy.

The book focuses on the relationship between these key species, how they work together and interact with their environment in order to survive. It is about the eco-system and how they all link together, and how every species, no matter how seemingly insignificant, plays a vital part in the food-chain and ultimate survival of all species. For every species referred there is a photograph detailing it, with over 120 colour images throughout the book.

The animals and birds that live within this habitat are reported on and the insects; including detailed analysis of bumblebees, honeybees and ants, as well as more hidden species such as the earthworm, are described in their role in life, with in-depth facts and photos. Wildlife, such as badgers, muntjacs, hedgehogs and fallow deer and their habits are detailed, along with birds that survive on farmland and are now sadly becoming rare. Included in this range are corn buntings, skylarks, goldfinches, kestrels, yellow wagtails and jackdaws, although there are many more.

The main aim of this book is to give a detailed description of the private life of these creatures and show how they depend upon and work together in harmony, creating the environment that we are so adeptly eradicating. The Government have set out a package of reforms to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Our havens of nature are being destroyed and this book will examine, with photographs and text, what really makes the field a special place, both for wildlife and humans alike.

This book is going to be a favourite. It can be picked up and savoured for the top quality colour images, and it can be used to learn more about a particular species. It is not a guide book for taking out into the field, but in these days of mobile phone cameras it is a valuable reference resource to use back at home.
Read the full review here

Off Down the Rabbit Hole

The photography is jaw-droppingly good, the facts are amazing - this is a superb book!

Books Monthly

I love reading about ecosystems and this book made learn plenty about the ecosystem of a field in UK
It's detailed, well explained and easy to follow. I loved the gorgeous pictures and learned a lot about the life of any type of species that live in that specific ecosystem
Recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

I really enjoyed this book, I learned things and I will now also be looking out for more things when I am out walking.

Read the full review here

Blackberry Garden

This book is extremely informative, giving details of the ecosystem of an arable field, including various animals, birds, trees, and plants. The relationship between the different members of the ecosystem is important in ensuring the continued survival of all species.

There is detailed analysis throughout as well as numerous photographs, and this would be a fabulous coffee table book as well as an essential purchase for school libraries.

I learned a great deal and not least about how several of these species are in decline, due largely to the eradication of key habitats that support many of the animals and plants described. It is vital that we keep these spaces free for nature to thrive and survive.

NetGalley, Alison Starnes

Presented as a primer with bestiary and herbal entries arranged alphabetically by common name, they include animals, plants, fungi, insects, molluscs and other invertebrates. Each entry includes the common name, taxonomic nomenclature, physical and behavioural descriptions and interesting facts. The entries range from adder to yellowhammer.

The photography is amazing - detailed and in full colour. Not all the included entries contain photos, but most of them do. The book details a hypothetical field in the UK, so the species are indigenous to that area (some species have more widespread ranges and those are specified in the text).

This would be a good choice for public or school library or home use. Although it will certainly be interesting for younger readers, the text is not simplified, and will provide an engaging read for adults as well as middle grade and older.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This beautiful book looks at the interconnectedness of all living things in a typical English field. We learn about each species individually and how they all rely on each other for survival, taking away one species creates a disastrous domino effect. Gorgeous photographs are the icing on the cake in this must read for anyone interested in the preservation of life on our planet.

NetGalley, Rosemary Smith
 Sophie McCallum

About Sophie McCallum

Sophie has spent 20 years volunteering on Conservation Projects throughout the UK and Africa, including working with the Green Team at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Her interests took her in different directions, and she has worked extensively in horticulture, whilst completing a degree in Environmental Studies and Creative Writing at the Open University.  


The inspiration for this book was the field behind the houses where Sophie lives. Every summer there is an abundance of hollyhocks and wild flowers, and the sky is an azure and fluffy pink haze. She looks out onto it whilst she writes, complete with red kites circling in the air above her window. Of course, there are development issues, so she took to this theme with the intention of raising awareness of the beauty and function of the eco-system which we all take for granted.

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