Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher By Stuart Winter | 192 pages | 30 Black & White Illustrations | New Holland Publishers | 2010 | £7.99 – ISBN 9781847736932
It may come as a surprise to some people, but tabloid newspaper coverage of the ornithological world does actually extend beyond cheap innuendos about tits and shags. For this we can thank one journalist more than any other – Stuart Winter. A birder since childhood, he has maintained a constant presence in the world of the tabloid news since the mid-1990s, bringing innumerable stories about birds and birdwatchers to the masses in the process. This enthralling book offers a window into the sometimes-shady worlds of tabloid journalism and birdwatching. In the process it explores the full stories behind the very best scoops. You may think that birdwatching would be a rather refined hobby, but you would be very wrong indeed. There are tales of obsession – travelling the length and breadth of the country in pursuit of rarities; tragedy – risking life and limb in the line of duty; celebrity – both human and avian, from Jeremy Clarkson and David Attenborough to ‘Sammy the Stilt’; crime – from felony to rivalries that turned nasty; and scandal – just what is the most debauched use of a bird hide? In the course of its 18 chapters covering the entire key birding events and personalities of the past two decades and beyond, this book may just become the biggest ‘must-read’ book for birders since Bill Oddie’s ‘Little Black Bird Book’. What a scoop that would be!
I have greatly enjoyed these articles and can recommend them – many wonderful insights can be gleaned from between these well written lines.