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Stuart Winter's Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher earned many plaudits in 2010, as the birder journalist who brought the subjects of birdwatching and conservation to millions of red-top readers over a period of more than a decade shared some of his most captivating 'scoops'.
This second installment of tales follows a similar format and covers stories from around the world. Each of the 20 or so chapters covers a range of tales and issues at a rapid pace, and is accompanied by a series of amusing line drawings. Once again there are stories of sin and scandal mixed with serious messages about bird conservation and the environment.
Stuart Winter has written a regular weekly birdwatching column in national newspapers the Daily Star and the Sunday Express for more than 15 years. In 2009 he won the BBC Wildlife Travel Writer Award and the RSPCA National Media Award for "An outstanding and sustained contribution to the field of animal welfare", while in 2010 he received a Champion of Conservation Award from the British Trust for Ornithology in recognition of his writing raising the profile of bird conservation both nationally and internationally. He lives in Luton, Bedfordshire.
The Birdman Abroad
by Keith Betton in the United Kingdom (24/01/2012)
Last year Stuart Winter wrote Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher and kept many of us entertained with his zany sense of humour. Now he has gone through many diaries to reveal his antics when travelling abroad. There is a real art to writing in a humourous way and he has it in spadefulls. This book is not a comedy, but Stuart finds the funny side in everything he sees, and as a Fleet Street journalist he knows how to tell a tale.
The journeys cover a multitude of overseas locations – several trips to Mallorca (surely Majorca in Fleet Street lingo?), Crete, Cyprus, Israel, The Gambia, Cameroon, Malawi, Panama, California, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and the Falkland Islands. Every trip finds Stuart seeking new birds and meeting crazy people along the way. I am not sure I believe all of the tales he tells, and clearly there has been a fair amount embellishment as the stories have got taller and taller! How many times now have I heard the story about the ageing American lady birdwatchers who were perturbed by the fact that they needed to see the "jizz" of smaller waders? The old jokes are the best!
But this is a very witty book and I found myself laughing out loud several times (a rare event for a serious book reviewer!). Plenty of birds are seen and we meet everyone along the way from farmers in the Gambia, fat ladies in America to Prince Charles at Clarence House. It is a seriously funny read.