| By: Barry Madden | Bittern Books | 2021 | Paperback | 320 Pages | man colour photographs | ISBN: 9781916895904 | £18.50p |


The Publisher’s View:

Naturally Connected combines Barry’s wonderful nature photographs with his writings in a splendid new book showing much of Norfolk’s spectacular wildlife, and some from further afield.

Do you love nature? Does your heart swell with joy at the sound of birdsong? Do you find yourself smiling when you see a colourful butterfly, or hear the screeching of returning Swifts?  Do you stand in awe at the spectacle of a field cloaked red with poppies? Do you fell the pulse of the wild?  Answer yes to any of these questions and this book is for you.  Embark on a journey of discovery and become truly Naturally Connected.

Naturally Connected combines Barry’s wonderful nature photographs with his writings in a splendid new book showing much of Norfolk’s spectacular wildlife, and some from further afield.  Barry is a lifelong resident of Norfolk where he developed a love of all things wild.   In this book he documents his experiences of searching for, photographing and just admiring the beautiful wild creatures he has been lucky enough to dicover in his native county, around the UK, Europe and much further afield.  Barry is a keen writer having over 300 published wildlife themed articles to his name.  These have appeared in various magazines, blogs and websites, some feature in updated form in this book, although a lot of material has been specially written.  He is keenly aware of the growing disconnect between modern day living and the natural world, and hopes this book will help people to become better connected with the splendour of nature.

After all we only need to look…

Other Views:

“Barry’s passion for his subjects is generously shared and superbly accompanied by his own photographs.  A book to savour!”
– Martin Kelsey OBE, Birding Extramadura

“Barry’s enthusiasm, combined with his story-telling skills, will enable you to experience the wild world as if you were there alongside him.  He delights in both the commonplace and the unusual and rare.  Read and, and share Barry’s joy and wonder at some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife sites and sights.”
David North, Norfolk Wildlife Trust.


Fatbirder View:

So, you go to all these places, enjoy the birds, count them, tick them off, maybe take photos… what then? There are three stages of any outing or trip whether it be a stolen half hour to get a year tick during your lunch break, or a month touring southern Africa. You plan, you experience and then you re-live it. Sometimes re-living it is a lonely daydream or a whiff of nostalgia, other times you share.

I enjoy birding. I enjoy hearing about other people’s birding and, perhaps more than anything, I enjoy telling others about my birding. Sometimes it’s a quick email to tell my son how I lucked upon an eagle, other times its reiterating a fond memory of an overseas trip with my partner where we recall, each from a slightly different angle.

If I can’t go birding, or indulge my own birding memories, the only thing that can scratch that itch is to hear about other people’s birding. As Barry says himself, writing down his thoughts and experiences and sharing his photos is one of his ways to scratch that same itch.

I recon I can weave a pretty good tale, and recount a birding anecdote but what I cannot do is show others my triumphs or disasters unless they are happy to strain eyes squinting at my smart phone, trying to pick up a blurred outline of a half-hidden bird up a densely foliated tree.

Barry can trump me with some excellent photos whether it be the home-grown stunner of a Short-eared Owl or the extraordinary colours of an exotic Quetzal.

I don’t think there is a poor photo among the hundreds he uses to decorate his recollections; the photos range from really nice to bloody wonderful. I envy and admire those photos.

The only mild criticism I have of the book is nothing to do with the author and photographer… it is literally a heavy book. It looks like a quite normal one but, because the paper quality has been chosen to show off the quality of the photographs in glossy glory, it is weighty heavy-duty stuff. I can understand why the photos are king, they are sumptuous and often carry the narrative. However, the print is slightly (fashionably) grey and the font a size too small, making it harder for older eyes to read. I’ve noticed a trend in book design where darker print is used for headlines or encapsulating paragraphs and this consigns the rest of the text to a less contrasting colour. Its probable another victim of the internet where websites have no such constraints. I think I would have suffered the loss of a few photos to up the print size, or stuck with black print throughout.

Don’t be put off by such a minor quibble. Any birder will enjoy dipping into this compendium of musings and birding days. And so connect with the nature Barry has experienced and cherished.