While Flocks Last Paperback – 22 Oct 2009
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"Joyous... totally compelling... very funny... This book is a classic of its kind" (Sunday Telegraph)
"A joy to read... An uplifting book, not a depressing one" (RSPB)
"Elder is a stylish writer and his ornithological travelogue takes him on entertaining adventures to some of Britain's most remote bird sites" (Stephen Moss Guardian)
"[This] joyous account will delight twitchers and novices alike" (Telegraph)
"One of those rare books where, though you may not care about the subject at the first page, you will by the last" (Observer)
Elder is a stylish writer and his ornithological travelogue takes him on entertaining adventures to some of Britain's most remote bird sites
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have seen 36 of the Red List birds but that didn't detract from enjoying Charlie's Elders's adventures around the UK. I think if you were a birdwatcher it may be a little bit better than reading this from cold but having said that it was a good education too with respect to the ever present spectre of extinction of certain species and why this has happened and continues to happen.
It manages to avoid politics (thank God) and is very well written and highly enjoyable - the sort of bloke you'd want to have a beer with.
There are some brilliant one liners in it too (which I was not expecting) which made for some stern faces as I laughed out loud on the 06.38 to Waterloo.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book. Loved the writing style - felt as if I was traveling around the country with the author - felt his pain, frustration and joy and want to thank him for the... Read morePublished 24 days ago by wildwolf
An amusing and informative insight into the world of the twitcher!Published 6 months ago by L R GANDER
Easy to read and if you're not an experienced birder but are interested in seeing some of the now rarer birds in the UK this book is helpful in locating their potential... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lizco
Lovely book with a man determined to see the rarest birds in Britain. Inevitably slightly repetitive .Will he see the rarity ? Read morePublished 10 months ago by david hinton
Fantastic book, been out bird watching and loving it since I started reading, thanks charliePublished 14 months ago by Andrew
The best book I've read for a long time, humorous, informative and moving. Very much looking forward to Charlie Elder's next book being released next month!Published 16 months ago by keen knitter