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Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America (Butterflies Through Binoculars Series) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0195112689 ISBN-10: 0195112687 Edition: 1st

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Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America (Butterflies Through Binoculars Series) + Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) + Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies
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Product Details

  • Series: Butterflies Through Binoculars Series
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (October 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195112687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195112689
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.... 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


"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


About the Author


Sidney W. Dunkle is a professor at Collin County Community College in Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Sidney W.Dunkle does an excellent job of guiding the first time enthusiast into the new sport of dragonfly watching.
Donna Mackiewicz
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.
Mark Obrien
I do wish the pictures were larger, but to have as many types in a book the size of this one makes that an impractical wish.
Stephen Spitzer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By haans Petruschke on March 19, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 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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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mark Obrien on October 2, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on July 11, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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