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Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America Paperback – Feb 18 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (Feb. 18 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195112687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195112689
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.5 x 13.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Dragonflies have been around for over 250 million years, and it's about time they got the recognition they deserve...Now that shortcoming has been rectified for the 307 North American species in Dragonflies Through Binoculars, a compact book full of information...[Sidney W. Dunkle] has succeeded admirably with this volume, which is sure to delight the ever-increasing ranks of dragonfly enthusiasts...The range maps alone are worth the price of the book...Buy this book and spend a sunny summer afternoon along the shore of a stream, pond, or lake; your life will be transformed." -- Dennis R. Paulson, Science

"This long anticipated field guide has filled one of the major identification gaps for the general naturalist in North America.... General naturalists will find this book of interest, as will field entomologists, endangered species biologists, and managers of wetland ecosystems.... Dragonflies through Binoculars has a number of strong attributes as a functional field guide, beyond just being the first and only one of its kind.... The species accounts...contain a wealth of previously unrecorded biological and field identification information."--Audubon Naturalist News

"Until now...there has not been a good field guide for the dragonflies of North America. The new Dragonflies Through Binoculars fills this need, and is sure to swell the ranks of those pursuing these fast-fliers.... The 47 color plates illustrate all but 14 of the 307 species of dragonflies found in North America....Each species has a very complete written account that provides extensive details on identification, comparisons with similar species, habitat notes, and information on seasonal occurrence. The author's personal comments on each species are particularly helpful, and reveal Dunkle's extensive knowledge and passion for dragonflies."--Birding Business

"Dunkle...arguably Mr. Dragonfly in the U.S., has produced a photographic field guide to the dragonflies occurring in America north of Mexico, a first for this remarkable group of insects. Color photographs of 293 of the 307 species known from this area are presented.... This book is a 'must-have' for anyone interested in dragonflies. It is well-written, informative, and will prove eminently useful for beginners and students at all levels, as well as faculty and experienced professionals."--Choice

"This well-illustrated guide provides quick and easy idenifications of all the 300-plus species of dragonflies found in North America.... It also gives tips on where to start looking for dragonflies, what kind of binoculars to use and how to photograph them."--The Times-Picayune

"A monumental effort by Dunkle, Dragonflies through Binoculars is a dragonfly-watcher's dream come true. Never have so many dragonflies...found across the continent--been assembled in a single field guide."--Times Argus

"More than just a field guide, Dragonflies through Binoculars describes the habitual, seasonal occurrence, and natural history of 307 species of dragonflies."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

From the Publisher

381 color illus.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Mostly black or gray large dragonflies usually seen perching on tree trunks. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dragonflies through Binoculars, was my first book on Dragonflies. As an avid birder I became interested in the fascinating insects of the order odinata. I tried to use this book in the field but had little success. Sidney Dunkle's text is clearly written, his explanations are well done, and the pictures are good quality. What is the problem? I finally figured it out. The pictures are too small and the book is written at a level well above that of a novice.
As field guides go there are two schools of thought, Photos and art. When it comes to birds many beginning birders prefer photos because they have a hard time translating the semi abstraction of an illustration to what they are seeing in life. Dragonflies through binoculars is based upon beautiful photographs of the Dragonfly species represented. The problem with photographs is they can only show what the camera sees. The disadvantage is the human eye is far more sensitive than a camera. As a result photographs can leave a lot to be desired. On the other hand art can go beyond what the camera shows and show detail a photograph misses.
As I have gained experience with Dragonflies I have managed to identify a few species using this guide. I was very pleased when I managed to correctly identify the common skimmer Dot-tailed Whiteface using this guide. As I spend more time in the field I really wish the photos were much larger and that more descriptive text would be devoted to each species. In the end I abandoned this guide in favor of The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio, by Larry Rosche. Published by The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The Stoke's Beginners Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies, has also proven useful.
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Format: Paperback
I should have been clued in by this book's title, but I was still disappointed when I realized that damselflies were not included in the guide. Since one of my entomological challenges is distinguishing damselflies from their generally larger and faster-flying odonate cousins, it would have been nice to have both in one book.
Whining aside, "Dragonflies through Binoculars" contains a good, well-organized collection of photographs and descriptions of living dragonflies, with 47 plates in full color, plus information on all 307 species found in North America. These ancient insects are enameled in heraldic designs of stripes, checks, and diagonals as though they were about to fly off to an aerial jousting match---which is probably just what they will do as soon as you have your binoculars trained on them. I even saw one dragonfly with a miniature death's-head emblazoned on its thorax.
If you think I'm the only romantic concerning these fascinating Paleozoic-era hunters, tell me why they have been christened with such outlandish names as 'Ebony Boghaunter' or 'Stygian Shadowdragon.'
This book is more concerned with the current ecology of the dragonfly, rather than its 300-million year history. The author also gives advice such as what kind of binoculars to purchase, which clubs or societies to join, and how to photograph these elusive darters in their natural surroundings---there are no hints of kill bottles in this book!
Buy a copy of this book and see if dragonfly watching doesn't become your newest, most enjoyable hobby.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since this is a field guide to dragonflies for the whole of North America, we marked the plates of the species that are living in our area, the north shore of Georgian Bay. This will ease the identification process. The book's dragonflies' groupings in spring, summer and fall species are of help.

For years we saw dragonflies on our walks. Then, becoming more sophisticated, we knew about Darners, Meadowhawks, and Skimmers. The next step, with the help of this guide, seems to be more difficult and time consuming than we believed it could be: now we want to identify every dragonfly we encounter.

One should carry this field guide on outdoor trips when looking for dragonflies, carry the book until one has become familiar with these species.

Much can be said about the separation of text from the plates. One has to get used to flip pages. I prefer photo and text together like in many bird and flower guides, but for a quicker initial identification check having the plates together may have a benefit.
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By A Customer on Sept. 21 2000
Format: Paperback
This book contains numerous small (about 1.5" x 1.5") color, fairly high-quality photos of North American dragonflies. It also includes range maps which are color coded based upon the time of year you could expect to see the various dragonflies in different areas. The book contains accounts for the various species, genera and families of dragonflies. The accounts are well-written and touch on some of the dragonflies' natural history as well as summarizing identifying characteristics. The range maps and photos have brief species accounts on the page facing them, with more detailed accounts available in a seperate section of the book.
The book does not cover damselflies. It also does not contain any type of key. Either of these would have been nice, but then I guess the book would have been too large to be a field guide...
This book is the best field guide to North American dragonflies of which I am aware. It is very refreshing to see such a high-quality, useful field guide written about insects other than butterflies <g>.
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