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Winging it: Birding for Low-flyers Paperback – 25 Feb 2011
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The book celebrates a pure and unpretentious approach to birding that many birders could gain something from. The reason many of us go birding comes from a powerful and deep-seated connection that is impossible to explain to friends and family who question the attraction of traipsing around lonely marshes and woodlands, with binoculars swinging from the neck. At least, it’s something that’s hard to explain in a single conversation, but Andrew Fallan, in this short book, has more or less put his finger on the simple magic of watching birds … The book takes a refreshingly down-to-earth and holistic view of enjoying birds. It serves very well as a reminder of the great pleasure that is to be had by, for instance, forgetting about getting your head around the mirrors and tongue on P10 and instead looking in raw wonder at the refined form that is a gull against a marvellous coastal backdrop. Communicating the fulfilment in taking this basic approach is something that Fallan does excellently … – Birdwatch magazine
There is no birder out there who never gets it wrong, although there are a great many who would have you believe otherwise so it is refreshing to tag along with an average birder who can demonstrate that the richness and beauty of birding is all about the experience not the theory. Nice one Andrew. – Fat Birder
Books that simply detail the obsession of a birder – and birders are generally obsessive by nature – can be tedious. One 'tick' after another doesn't make for very entertaining or enlightening reading, but this little book is different. The author writes with ease and imagination and his prose is a joy to read. This tale is accompanied by a parallel story of romance as he manages to find a like-minded soul mate. A very enjoyable read. – Jenny Steel, www.wildlife-gardening.co.uk
The latest in a fairly long line of birding and twitching books, this tells the story of Andrew's journey into birdwatching as a boy. Early trips with his brother to the marshes in Essex and Kent will ring bells with many of us who followed similar paths of birding. There are many accounts of day-trips with the triumph and downfalls that beset all young birders. For a time, Andrew gives up the hobby, but he later rekindles the interest and, with his girlfriend (now wife), he travels more widely. Andrew never makes it into what I am sure he would see as the upper echelons of birding and clearly feels a bit of an outsider and, in that respect, I think his story will feel familiar to many people. This is a short read, but an enjoyable one, and better than I expected. – Birding World
Andrew Fallan’s concept of birding for ‘low-flyers’ certainly strikes a chord; after all, we can’t all be the next birding equivalent of George Michael or Richard Dawkins ... The author has an acute sense of self-awareness and integrity … – British Trust for Ornithology
Andrew Fallan has written the latest in a recent growing genre of birders’ autobiographies. Fallan describes how he got the bug, what this has led to through his life and many of the ups and downs of this pastime. This endearing tale recounts the continuous, occasionally desperate search for those rarities that appear in the UK occasionally, the failures and the successes, trials and tribulations of chasing birds, and reported sightings around the UK. Fallan lives in Essex, not known as a destination for great birding, and seems to spend much of the book longing for Norfolk, where he and his partner have many successes, but find themselves being brushed aside by some of the 'me first' crowd. Packham says "I do definitely concur with his thoughts on a proportion of the twitching fraternity. They actually put me off birding for a while in the same fashion that football thuggery put me off going to see the beautiful game." (Southampton fan - Eds. note). – www.wildlifeextra.com
About the Author
Andrew Fallan grew up in south-east Essex in the 1970s and early 80s. As a young boy, a memorable close encounter with a Kestrel sparked a passion for birds and the natural world, which would be sustained by regular birding adventures with his older brother. Although his interest in birds waned with the onset of his teenage years, a life-changing trip to the rugged and beautiful Isle of Skye, in Scotland, fostered a keen interest in hillwalking and climbing, which was pursued with the same enthusiasm that was once reserved for chasing after birds. In his early 30s, Andrew and his brother returned once more to Minsmere, the RSPB's flagship reserve on the Suffolk coast, for a day's birding – just for old times' sake. This would eventually lead to a resurgence of the birding bug that was first roused by an unsuspecting Kestrel all those years before. Along the way, Andrew also met that special lady, with whom he continued to pursue his rekindled passion for birding and wildlife, and with whom he currently lives in Southend-on-Sea, in Essex. They also live with a very special cat named Colin, who unfortunately does not share their interest in birding.
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10 November 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
In my family we are not what I would term 'professional' bird-watchers - I guess we are the low-flyers of this lovely book's title. However, we do very much enjoy watching wildlife and particularly birds. So this book was a great read, not at all daunting the way you might expect a bird-watching book to be, just full of anecdotes and information about watching birds and giving a lot of insight into where and how to watch birds. Also some great little one-liners and pop-culture references that I really enjoyed, almost as much as the development of the romance between the author and his better-half. A great book, highly entertaining and I thoroughly recommend it.