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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2010
I generally like reading tales about my favourite hobby so when I saw this I knew I would have to read it - especially as it already had 5* reviews.....from first time reviewers. I'm getting fed up with authors getting mates to review their books, are they that lacking in confidence?

Reading this perhaps Stuart Winter needed their help because this is no five star book. It's okay and I guess I am glad I have read it, but it didn't leave me with a desperation to go out birding or even how interesting it would be to meet the author and discuss it with him.

I suppose I am left feeling rather disappointed by it although I am sure others will love it - perhaps it was the lack of 'lists' (he does mention some) that didn't engage me (too uncompetitive) or the stupid inverted snobbery about Puffins.

I note that Winter writes for the Sunday Express and has previously written for the Star and the News of the World, reading this book with its dreadful proof reading, (which gets worse as the book progresses, I found myself waiting for the next error) one could be forgiven for thinking that he actually writes for the Grauniad!

Not the best birwatching book I have read but not the worst.
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on 13 August 2010
In recent years there has been a boom in high quality bird books by the UK's top birders. Last year there was Tim Dee's brilliant "The Running Sky". This year we have had to wait until now for Stuart Winter's book which immediately enters into the classic cannon of birding memoirs/folklore from the 80's to the present to rank along side premier established authors/birders such as Stephen Moss and Mark Cocker. Stuart documents personal birding highs and lows, birding with legendary figures such as Bill Oddie and LRG Evans, the agonies and ecstasies of twitching and the importance of preserving British birds and habitats by creating the odd political rumpus. Often funny and always entertaining I devoured this book in a few sittings. I could only fault the book in one respect which was the author's allegiance to the wrong north London team. For more recommendations please see my "Bird watching great reads" by Gooner George in the Listmania section - probably listed below this review.
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on 15 December 2010
It was OK and passed a few hours on a snowy afternoon but knowing what I know now I'd have waited until it was on Amazon at 1p plus postage.
The words 're heated leftovers' came to mind as I finished this book which, in the main; consists of extracts from his old newspaper articles with a few 'middle aged man' musings.
Not a patch on Alex Horne's 'Birdwatching watching', now that is full of birds, funny, humane and informative.
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This tells the story of how Stuart Winter became interested in bird watching which in turn led him to a career in journalism, writing first for the Star, and currently for the Sunday Express. There are plenty of excepts of his pieces from both papers (too many?), and further tales of his encounters with birds, famous and infamous bird watchers, and the extraordinary lengths he sometimes went to in order to see rarities. What amazes me after reading the entire book is that his marriage is still (presumably) intact.

A four star book that drops a star because of the surprising number of textual errors throughout.
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on 23 June 2014
Readable enough, but didn`t really live up to the promise of the "tabloidesque" front cover.Some interesting anecdotes and observations, and several reprinted newspaper columns, linked together with a fair amount of filler prose (I`m sure journalists have an expression for it.)
OK for reading on the bus/train/plane etc. At least it was cheap.
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on 26 January 2011
This book is well written, light-hearted and makes for quite an enjoyable read. However, I was very much left with the feeling that it failed to live up to what was promised on the back cover, namely that I was expecting some kind of 'inside story' on the main events and players in the birding world during recent decades.

In addition to this, as the book progressed I felt increasingly that it was primarily a vehicle for the reproduction of Winter's previous newspaper articles, and that any underpinning theme had been lost. By the time I actually finished the book, I was left with the feeling that it had almost turned into a series of boasts on the part of the author about his media activities and 'achievements' in relation to birds and birding. Oh, and the book is littered with mistakes, to the point that I started to wonder whether it had even been proofread.

In summary, this is an OK book which is worth a read, but it wasn't nearly as good as I was expecting.
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on 12 August 2010
Piers Morgan eat your heart out! Here's a book that will knock Piers off his perch as Britain's foremost tabloid memoirs writer. Stuart Winter may not be a household name, but he should be soon because he's penned a reminisce of his days as a fearless hack that spits and sizzles like a BBQ laden with cheap sausages. If this isn't a bestseller, then I am Kelvin McKenzie's auntie. Intertwined with his tales from Fleet Street's frontline, Mr Winter confesses to a hobby that is only beaten by train spotting in the embarrassing stakes - bird watching. Not only is he a twitcher - or amateur ornithologist as he prefers to describe himself - but he is one of Britain's foremost figures in this field as author, tour guide and authority on North American species. Using his tabloid writing skills, Mr Winter makes the pastime of staring for hours on end at birds through binoculars as saucy and exciting an event as a Peter Crouch stag weekend. Personally, I can't wait for the sequel.
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on 3 January 2011
An excellent read. Good storytelling, amusing and informative. You do not have to be a twitcher or birder to find this a fun read.
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on 14 December 2010
This book is a good read for antbody that has ever bothered to try to see wildlife and can be recommended.
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on 25 September 2013
Being a birder myself I can relate to the stories and situations Stuart got into out in the field daily.
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