A Field Guide to East London Wildlife

The addition of shrieking parakeets to our skies, terrapins to our canals – and perhaps less so, dangerous snakes to our gardens – makes the urban landscape a surprising one where exotic wildlife can find its unlikely niche.

New book A Field Guide to East London explores such sightings, assuming the form of a 19th century illustrated nature guide but observed through an incongruous 21st century lens.

Urbane foxes, so often the target of tabloid hatred, are handed back their romanticised scamp-ish reputations and elsewhere we’re introduced to feral cats, pooping pigeons and some of the more regularly spotted animal folk of East London.

There’s a lovely section on the City Farm petting zoo animals, which are sketched beautifully against a Canary Wharf backdrop.

The book is packed with animal facts and also looks to debunk myths and confirm truths where appropriate.  Did Jimi Hendrix really release a pair of parakeets on Carnaby Street? And do “crack squirrels” really dig up gardens to find drug stashes?

The book is authored by Harry Adès, who has also written extensively on the wildlife in the Galápagos islands, mainland Ecuador and Chile.

It has been illustrated by Ian McDonnell. You may have seen his I Like Aerials project published by McSweeneys and Gestalten.

Since 2008 McDonnell has been working with east London gallery Nelly Duff on a series of prints exploring livestock husbandry and our relationship with meat.

A Field Guide to East London Wildlife is published by Hoxton Mini Press, has been written by Ian McDonnell & Harry Adès and is priced £8.95. For more info head here.

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