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Scilly Birding: Joining the Madding Crowd
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2013
Though obviously aimed at the vast army of mad keen birders who will love the tales of success and failure (ticks and dips) during a birding holiday in the Scillies, this will also appeal to the more casual birdwatchers like me, who will love the insights into the world of twitchers and what drives normally sane people to travelling thousands of miles to add that elusive tick to their various lists. I found myself totally caught up in the hunt with a wonderful array of characters both human and avian in the short and very readable account .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2013
If you were on the Isles of Scilly in October 1984, as I was, then this will bring back many happy memories. If you weren't, you'll read this book and wish you had been.
And if you who have never been to the Isles of Scilly, reading Scilly Birding will make you want to go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2014
I too was there (for some of the time), which was really what attracted me to this book in the first place - a large dose of nostalgia for the "good old days" before mobile phones, pagers and digital photography when portable CB radios were the "must have" technology for birding Scilly in the autumn! An enjoyable trip down Memory Lane, bringing back for me recollections of some of the "characters" sadly no longer with us - birders and boatmen alike.

However.... as in so many cases these days, the book was spoiled for me by sloppy proof-reading (and/or reliance on a spell-checker which recognises spelling but not context and thus selects the wrong word.) While I appreciate this was the author's first visit to Scilly, I feel it would have been polite to ensure that he checked the accuracy of his descriptions: for example (p28), the Garrison Arch is NOT the Sally Port - that is a pedestrian-only access between the houses above Porthcressa; Tresco has Old Grimsby and New Grimsby, NOT 'Great' and 'Little'! Such inaccuracies are careless to say the least and insulting to the (mostly) birder-welcoming Scillonians and their truly stunning archipelago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2014
As a Birder and a Twitcher this book invokes the magic, desperation, triumph and elation of a season on Scilly. It makes you realise that those crazy thoughts that go through your head when you are on your way too or out at a twitch are not confined solely to your brain but are shared by the collective group around you.

I picked it up on a Saturday morning and couldnt put it down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2013
This was a tale about bird watching rather then about birds. It was brilliantly told. Really enjoyed it and would highly recommended it
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on 27 February 2014
This is a very funny book which will be enjoyed by any bird watcher.
I keep it by my bed, and whenever I can't sleep i dip into it, and find some good humour.
Then I am relaxed and can get back to sleep!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2013
Simon Davey is my enemy. I have met him, in fact he recognised me first, he is a nice bloke, but he's still my enemy. Why? This book is always vying with mine (the wonderful Birduder 344, buy it after you read this) in the Amazon charts. We both write for Brambleby Books and trade positions and numbers of reviews, so what on earth am I doing shooting myself in the proverbial foot by reviewing my Enemy's book? Well because I am a decent sort of chap and quite frankly it is worth reviewing.

It tells the story of a trip to Scilly in 1984 which was one of 'those years' and Simon manages to 'luck in' on all sorts of excellent birds, quite jealousy inducing to be honest. It is told from the hip, so don't expect any Tim Dee over embellishment and loads of literary quotes, more minimalist with short sentences (does Davey have delusions of Hemingway?), and is highly readable, page turning sometimes, stomach turning too - more jealousy.

I think it would help if you were a birdwatcher when reading this book, although if you are not you will certainly realise how mad we all are. What is good, at almost 30 years ago, is the huge slice of nostalgia within the covers - CB radios for example, bless! My Scilly virginity was lost in 1985 another stonker of a year, and really this book is the same with different birds, brought back many happy memories.

Thoroughly enjoyed it and even if this bumps him ahead of me, again, then so be it - very good indeed!

An entertaining read, all birders should read it (and then buy mine).
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2013
Simple, and highlighted the wonder of birding on the Isles of Scilly, a must for all birders at least once. Adequately shows the pressure that some of the birding fraternity under. A pleasant read
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2013
Oh to be on Scilly now September's here!

I've only been to the Isles of Scilly once, as a child, on a day trip on the Scillonian from Penzance, and around Easter time. It must be time to go back!

It's a pity they are so far away - but if they weren't out west, 25 miles out from Lands End, they wouldn't be the place to see stonking yellowthroats, crippling Swainsons and even stunning rustics.

If the last sentence makes no sense to you, then Scilly, in autumn, may not be the place for you, because it is then that it is invaded by rare birds and odd birders.

I would like to go there in September or October as much for the observation of the birding tribe as of rare wind-blown birds.

Simon Davey's engaging book is one of those that tells you of the ups and downs of looking for birds - there are usually as many downs as ups. Cold and hunger can be endured as part of the experience but when you keep missing the birds by moments, or sometimes worse, see them but so briefly that you don't quite know what you saw (except everyone else tells you it was `the' rare bird) those moments can be hard to take.

This is the tale of the ups and downs of two Scilly weeks in October 1984. To some readers it will open up a strange new world of looking for rare birds and to others it will recall similar days of joy and/or (usually `and') frustration. It's a good read and will appeal to more than the committed birder.

The observations of birders are completely authentic. What a Scilly crowd we can be!

Simon Davey's Scilly Birding: join the madding crowd is published by Brambleby Books and is available on Amazon as is Mark Avery's Fighting for Birds.
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