Review of Behind the Binoculars in the Sunday Express

9781784270506Keith Betton and I signed a lot of copies of our book at the Bird Fair over the weekend.  We also did a little turn in the Authors’ Forum where we talked about the book but also talked to two of the interviewees in the book – DIM Wallace and Debbie Pain. It was a session right at the end of Saturday, and in ‘competition’ with Simon King (no contest) so the tent was not completely full but it was an enjoyable chat.  Birders (sorry Ian – he hates the term) are such good fun.

Sunday morning saw a good mention of the book in Stuart Winter’s Sunday Express ‘Birdman’ column where he writes ‘If you are looking for a treatise on the private life of the birder then take a peek at the supremely entertaining and highly informative Behind the Binoculars‘.



Henry at the Bird Fair – Day 3 (3)


Marshall Iliff from eBird and Cornell is clearly thinking ‘I’ve never seen a Northern Harrier quite like Henry’

Henry reads all the best magazines and gets his information from the best sources…

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Henry at the Bird Fair – Day 3 (2)

Henry knew he was amongst friends at the Bird Fair because he kept seeing (and there were a lot) Hen Harrier T-shirts walking towards him. And there were plenty of familiar faces from Hen Harrier Day events in the Peak District (2014  and 2015) and then more people coming and telling him that they had been at Arne or Saltholme or Bowland or another event.

Here are some nice people wearing nice T-shirts.

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And that e-petition…

Our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting passed the 14,000 signature mark yesterday.

14,000 isn’t 140,000 but it is a lot of signatures.

14,000 signatures was reached in c33 days, less than five weeks.  Last year it took eleven weeks to get to the same total. Just more evidence that awareness is growing and spreading all the time.  More and more people are realising that the intensive management of land for driven grouse shooting is bad and that the grouse moor managers don’t want to give an inch. If they won’t give an inch then we will take a mile.

Thank you to all who have signed already. Here’s a tip for how you can help make the e-petition even more of a success – please ask your partner/boyfriend/girlfriend to sigh too. I had several conversations at the Bird Fair with couples where both were obviously equally committed to the cause but only one had signed. That’s an easy way to double the number of signatures!

We have now been been waiting 19 days for a response from the Westminster government on our e-petition (since passing 10,000 signatures). We are one of 15 e-petitions to have passed the 10,000 signature and not to have had a government response yet and if they were answered in order than we are number nine in the queue.  This is fine, there’s no rush. but the longer the wait, the better-argued one would expect the response to be. We’ll see. The Defra Minister, Rory Stewart, has had a copy of Inglorious for quite a while now and so we should expect a decent response which demonstrates that Defra is properly engaging with the arguments.

Let’s ban driven grouse shooting – let’s deliver a better future for the uplands. Please sign this e-petition.


Henry at the Bird Fair – Day 3 (1)

Henry meets Bill Oddie

Henry meets Bill Oddie

Henry had a blast at the Bird Fair yesterday (and Friday and Saturday). Here are just a few photos of some of the people he met (more to follow later today and a more thoughtful account tomorrow – also, later today, how to respond to the Daily Telegraph’s pathetic response to complaints about its woeful coverage of Hen Harrier nesting success).

BTO boss Andy Clements with Henry

BTO boss Andy Clements with Henry


Henry with top artist,Carry Akroyd

Henry with top artist, Carry Akroyd


Henry meets Keith Brockie - another top wildlife artist

Henry meets Keith Brockie – another top wildlife artist


Henry with Mark Carwardine

Henry with Mark Carwardine


Henry meets Mike Dilger

Henry meets Mike Dilger








Oscar Dewhurst – Cormorant, Great White Egret and Grey Heron


Oscar writes: This Great White Egret had been hanging around Minsmere near the island mere hide for several weeks but I had only had brief and distant flight views in the past. Walking into the hide early one morning I was surprised to see it perched on the wooden bar in the middle of the water in between a Cormorant and Grey Heron!
Nikon D800, Nikon 600mm f/4 AF-S II lens




Henry at the Bird Fair Day 2

Henry is the King, Simon is a sport

Henry is the King, Simon is a sport.


Henry got special treatment at the Bird Fair yesterday. He met lots of celebrities who gave him a cuddle (he liked the Simon King cuddle a lot) and was treated as a special bird by the folk (including the RSPB’s Guy Anderson) at the BTO ringing demonstration.

Henry was ringed…

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…and then satellite-tagged…


…in front of a crown of admirers…

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…before hurrying off to meet some more celebs…

David lindo congratulates the 9th in the vote for Britain's national bird.

David Lindo congratulates the 9th in the vote for Britain’s national bird.

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Martin Hughes seems Game too.

Now Henry is satellite tagged we can learn far more about his movements and survival. We can track his every move and if he comes to any harm then we can find out where it happened.  Watch this space.













Saturday cartoon by Ralph Underhill





Henry at the Bird Fair


Charlotte, Chris Packham, me, Henry and Nick Baker – Henry is star struck!


Simon Barnes with Henry

Simon Barnes with Henry – is that a gun in your hand or are you just displeased to see me?


Tim Appleton with henry

Tim Appleton with Henry – in all my years of running the Bird Fair I’ve never seen anything quite like this.


What a day! Considered thoughts later – but what a day!
See you tomorrow!



Henry says ‘Hi!’ to Bloomsbury

Fri 21 Aug Copy-1

50 Bedford Square is the address of the publisher of Inglorious – conflict in the uplands. Henry thought he ought to say hello.

Ban driven grouse shooting.