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Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America [Paperback]

Sidney W. Dunkle
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 18 2003 0195112687 978-0195112689
Dragonfly watching is fast becoming an enjoyable and exciting hobby for many of those who love butterfly watching. This book picks up on that trend and brings it to the reader in an attractive and accessible format. A new addition to Oxford's acclaimed Butterflies through Binoculars series of field guides, Dragonflies through Binoculars allows for quick and easy identification of all the 300-plus species of dragonflies that have been found in the United States and Canada. In these well-illustrated pages, Sidney W. Dunkle answers any query the beginner or expert might have on the subject of dragonfly-watching on this continent--what kind of binoculars to buy, where to start looking for dragonflies, how to photograph these striking creatures, which clubs or societies to join, and so forth. Other important features for this handy field guide include detailed accounts of every species mentioned, useful information on habitats, explanations of mating rituals, full-color photographs of most of the species described, and range maps.

Frequently Bought Together

Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America + Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East + Butterflies of North America: The Easiest  Guides for Fast  Identification
Price For All Three: CDN$ 57.40


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Review

"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

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381 color illus.

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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
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to Fulfill Its' Promise March 19 2004
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It came from the Carboniferous July 11 2004
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book Sept. 21 2000
By A Customer
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Dragonflies Through Binocular (Almost) Oct. 2 2001
Format:Paperback
This book was eagerly awaited by legions of dragonfly watchers, and Dragonflies Through Binoculars by Sid Dunkle is an good addition to the tools we need to help us identify the many dragonflies in North America. HOWEVER, the PUBLISHER has done many a reader a disservice by putting the idea into people's heads that with this book, a person can ID a dragonfly with binoculars. Even the more advanced Odonatist would have a hard time using the photos in the book to ID specimens in the field. For many species, you have to look at male genitalia, and of course, they are not shown close-up in the book. Furthermore, the photos are too small to show the pertinent features discussed in the text.
Pluses: Good synopsis of natural history, range maps
Minuses: photos too small, no keys, no close-up details of pertinent features, some species not shown.
Overall, even with its faults, this IS a useful book and if you are interested at all in dragonflies, go ahead and buy it.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dragonflies through Binoculars
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. Read more
Published on June 3 2009 by Gustav A. Richar
3.0 out of 5 stars somewhat of a disappointment
I have taken this book on a dozen field trips, and it is extremely difficult to use. The pictures are photographs, untouched and any many cases unclear against a poor background. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2003 by P. Reese
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Style Field Guide
As a person with many birding field guides the organization of this book was a disapointment. The plates (like the old Peterson's) are together in the back of the book, seperate... Read more
Published on July 20 2002 by Michael L. Zierdt
5.0 out of 5 stars How could I *not* love this book???
I've considered dragonflies to be magical, mystical, beautiful, ethereal creatures since I was a small child. Read more
Published on May 29 2002 by Marion
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
This is a great book - it opened me up to the world of dragon flies. They aren't as easy to id as butterflies but this book gives you a great resource. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2001 by merrymousies
4.0 out of 5 stars A great field guide
This book is cool. The illistrations are beautiful and the text is well written. I enjoy using it and find it to be essential to identifying dragonflies. Read more
Published on July 14 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars This work is a masterpiece of boilogical life. - Roozbeh
Having Dunkle as a proffesor, I know that his book is as wonderful as his teaching. This book is a must for nature lovers, and even biology lovers. No one, except Dr. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2000 by Ross Butterfly
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is very good.
I have had Dunkle as a college professor, and his books are as good as his teaching. This book is a must if you love dragonflies. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2000 by Ross Butterfly
5.0 out of 5 stars Coolest Book on Dragonflies!
I never thought dragonflies were cool or anything neat...until now! and it's all because of this new book DRAGONFLIES through BINOCULARS. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2000
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