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Twitching by numbers: A birder's account of his hectic life as he chases rare species across Britain and Ireland

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Credit also to the author for having enough self-belief to produce, finance and market the finished project purely on his own initiative and thus minus the faffing about with agents and publishers. Every day, we all encounter a myriad of things that cause personal irritation, inconvenience or even offence, but we shrug them off, look on the bright side and just get on with life - we don't all rush to Twitter to condemn.

Twitching by Numbers’ by Garry Bagnell, a memoir of his anecdotes about birdwatching, published in this very year 2022. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Following Ms McRobert's influential intervention, many others have entered the fray - most to support her viewpoint but others to counter-attack on behalf of Mr Bagnell who has mounted his own spirited self-defence. The pace of his fascinating narrative races on with barely a pause for breath, and, by the end of the book (which comes all too quickly), he has covered 25 glorious and super-eventful twitch-filled years. He is clearly something of an obsessive, and his other past hobbies have included plane spotting and stamp collecting.I offered to proof read it for him and suggested that he get people who don't know him to read it, mainly for typos and content. The book details what happens during my twitch, credits finder and categorises each rarity (1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, 5-year, 10-year, 20-year and lifetime). Credit it to GB also, for his determination and enterprise in publishing the title at his own risk without the comfort of an advance payment or the prospect of royalties from an established publishing house. I didn't see a copy to read, no idea if any other "unknowns" did, but I do know that he paid a considerable sum to someone who "edited it". Also there is the problem of disturbance of rare birds often with twitchers in there hundreds at least.

There were some reserves of course that were open every day such as the RSPB’s headquarters The Lodge Reserve but closed around 5. He talks about things that people might not see as important and makes a point of what he thinks is important.There are stories of sticks being thrown at bushes so birds would be flushed out to get a better look at them, and exhausted, agitated birds flying from bush to bush until they were nabbed by a sparrowhawk. It would still be possible to be offended by some parts of this book as rare birds are, one could say, objectified as mere numbers to be added to the author’s list, and the carbon emissions from chasing around these isles are pretty high and yes, there are some comments on some (unnamed) womens’ appearance. He comes across as a laddish character with flaws (we all have flaws) and perhaps his openness was what got him criticism for some of his remarks, and perhaps that criticism was well deserved. The one where pictures of raptors in flight away from the camera in the near dark at the edges of tracks and forests allows their identification from memory of a two-second sighting when you weren’t expecting it so you didn’t have a pair of night-vision binoculars handy.

Not deeply, but I am certainly interested in this book because it is a very clear description of the fieldsport of twitching from the viewpoint of a keen exponent.Any author who deviates from what is considered decorous and appropriate enjoys no licence - he (or she) risks being singled out and pilloried with opprobrium. All the same twitching is a far less damaging way to be obsessive about birds than standing in a butt and try to shoot as many as possible that have been driven towards you by a bored teenager looking for beer money. Perhaps he ought to publish two editions - the revised sanitised version and the original, the latter to contain a warning on the cover that some of its content may cause offence to certain readers. Innuendo and/or explicit images were also a mainstay of the Carry On and Confessions of movies that were popular in the 1980s and before. Insert joke about tits here, but seriously this is why women still feel so unwelcome in the birding community.

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