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While Flocks Last Paperback – 22 Oct 2009


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While Flocks Last + The Butterfly Isles: A Summer In Search Of Our Emperors And Admirals + Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; First Thus edition (22 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552157546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552157544
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Hills on 1 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
A great read. This is a particularly well-written book for birders and non-birders alike. Often very funny it is also highly informative (about birds, of course, but also about our changing environment, farming practices, conservation initiatives etc )and charming. The narrative holds your interest well and you find yourself wanting the author to succeed in his quest to see all the (40) birds on the present red list of our most endangered species. I was sorry to come to the end!
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By CJ Williams on 1 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a really readable book, for birders, non-bird-watchers, those interested in environmental issues and just about anyone who wants an engaging, entertaining read. The book has
a wonderful style and manages to combine huge amounts of information with
a sustaining narrative and some excellent humorous asides. I felt so engaged with the author's
struggle to see all the birds, it really captured me.
Of particular note is the quality of descriptive writing and analytical passages- really
superb. I highly recommend this book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 May 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is little doubt that many aspects of the wildlife of the UK are under threat, and a book about trying to find the 40 rarest breeding birds in the country has the potential to be a depressing read - a kind of quest for the dying. However, this book manages to be both serious in its intent and entertaining at the same time. Rare birds are found in car parks after long days in prime habitat, a species eludes the author on regular occasions and he is eaten alive by midges - all of which ring true as birding experiences. If each bird represents a "verse" of this book, then the causes of their decline becomes the "chorus" - with aspects such as habitat loss, changes in agricultural practice and climate change being repeated throughout.
Although each chapter is largely self contained I did find some of the changes from species to species a little abrupt, some occurring in the middle of a chapter. While I know a book on 40 species does not need 40 chapters some of the transitions from bird to bird were not smooth.
This is really my only criticism of an entertaining and informative book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Neill Whittingham on 28 Jun 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
[ASIN:0593061047 While Flocks Last: An Armchair Birdwatcher Goes In Search Of Britain's Most Endangered Species]]
What a wonderful book! You don't have to be a birdwatcher to enjoy Charlie Elder's fascinating search for the 40 species on the 'British Red List'. The book is full of amazing facts about conservation issues, it is written in a humorous & human vein. While being light-hearted at times the book also conveys the real reasons & concerns about the decline in certain species. If you have even the slightest interest in wildlife & conservation I promise you, that you will love this book.
10 out of 10. A real classic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. L. P. Satow on 16 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a funny and entertaining look at the impact of humans on our environment and the impact that birds have on us. Written in an engaging and honest style I could easily imagine making the journeys and meeting the people described in the book. I recommend it as an enjoyable read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Clare Topping on 15 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
While Flocks Last
I put this on my Amazon Wish List following a couple of good reviews in the paper, I am so glad that I did. Charlie Elder has produced a witty, informative book with a conversational style which makes you keep on reading.

The book tells of his 12 month long journey (punctuated by work and family life) to see all of the 40 birds on the BTO red list (those birds where numbers have dropped sufficiently to be a cause for concern). It seems there are few parts of the British Isles that he did not visit to see these endangered feathered friends, whether it was the Islands of Scotland to see the Sea Eagle or the middle of London to see a Cockney House Sparrow. Some of the birds were easy finds, others were more problematic and took quite a bit of effort. The quest to see some of the more common birds had a twist in the tale - for example he decided not to see just one starling, but a murmuration of them coming in to roost over the reed beds of Somerset. Then there were the problem birds which took a lot more effort!

The book is narrated in such a way that you can imagine that you were having a conversation with the author and is a very easy read, even for non-birders. Included are snippets of information about the red list, different habitats etc, so it also doubles as a learning resource.

Since the completion of the book the red list has been updated, I am almost inspired to go out and try and see the collection myself, just a small matter of money, work and carbon footprint getting in the way!

Overall, a fantastic read; an interesting story and informative guide to 40 British birds all in one book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susie Bird on 22 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a really enjoyable book for birders and non-birders alike, which I bought on the recommendation of reading other people's reviews. It's written in a friendly, chatty way and, although most of us worry a lot about climate change and the effect this has on certain species, it is not a depressing book. Many people, particularly those who travel to suitable locations to go bird-watching on holiday, will be able to identify with the places the author visits and, with a bit of birding knowledge, even guess quite easily the specific bird he has gone to find, which I found to be part of the fun. A thoroughly good read, which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone. It's a book you don't want to end.
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