Micro-moths, and other marvellous small things

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What would you save from a house fire? For me, once I'd got the children out, the thing I'd be most likely to dive back into the flames to rescue would be my collection of field guides. Mostly, they're known simply by the surnames of their authors. There's a beloved mud-spattered Svensson, an equally grubby Rose, a pocket guide to the birds of Borneo (where I have been) and a comprehensive guide to the birds of Costa Rica (where I haven't). Some of the best of them are published by British Wildlife Publishing and illustrated by Richard Lewington, and the latest addition to the collection, which I suppose I should call Sterling and Parsons, is both of those things. Micro-moths are so fabulously diverse, and so fantastically obscure, that most of them have never acquired common names, but I'm happy enough with Latin. There's nothing like a good field guide for slowing down a walk, and this latest addition to the armoury may well ensure that, come spring, I can never get much more than 50 yards from my front door.

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