Mark Catesby (1682-1749), an English naturalist, made two sojourns in America, 1712-19 and 1722-26. He came to Virginia in 1712 and spent the next several years sketching and collectiong plants and animals from Virginia's tidewater region. The second time, he travelled in Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and the Bahamas, seeking materials for his projected Natural History. Back in London, he devoted himself to preparation of the book As he could not afford artists and engravers, and trusted none but himself, he studied etching and did the work himself. His research and pioneering work in scientific illustration established him as America's foremost natural history artist, a status secured by the publication of his Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands in 1731 (2nd edition in 1754) and his Natural History of Uncommon Birds in 1772. Catesby's descriptions of the habits of birds were the first to be read by Europeans, and until the publication of John James Audubon's Birds of America almost a century later, his Natural History remained the best illustrated record of the flora and fauna in North America.