Soon you will be able to buy a new book of mine which I’ve put together with my friend Keith Betton and will be published by Pelagic (who also published Fighting for Birds). It’s called Behind the Binoculars and it’s a series of interviews with birders about how they first got into birds, what birds mean to them and the part that birds have played in their lives.
The twenty people interviewed in the book include Keith and myself, but also Ian Newton, the late Phil Hollom, Rebecca Nason, Chris Packham, Steph Tyler, Debbie Pain, Stuart Winter, Lee Evans, Steve Gantlett, Mark Cocker, Ian Wallace, Andy Clements, Mike Clarke, Roger Riddington, Stephen Moss, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller and Robert Gillmor.
I’m offering a copy of the book, signed by the two authors, to the first person to allocate all these quotes from the book to the correct interviewees (each quote comes from a different interviewee). See rules, such as they are, at foot of quotes.
1. I’m very concerned that we’ll have lost birds that we took for granted like Corn Buntings and House Sparrows, House Martins and Swifts– if Swifts didn’t come back, that would be the end for me.
2. I was a closet birdwatcher, so most of my friends never knew! I got up early and went birding, then met friends later in the day, claiming I had only just got out of bed.
3. My favourite bird group would be the Ramphastidae family of toucans, araçaris and toucanets.
4. I’m less shy now.
5. At primary school, which was a short walk from our house, I won an art competition with a drawing of a Kingfisher which became the school emblem and was printed on all the sport T-shirts.
6. I had a monocular which used to belong to my grandfather and I had one of those long brass extending telescopes too.
7. I’d also like to meet Audrey Hepburn. To meet her would be as good as seeing a male Bullfinch being eaten by a male Sparrowhawk.
8. I clearly remember being lifted up at the age of four to peer into the nest of a Song Thrush.
9. The paintings by Archibald Thorburn are simply sublime. I recently bought one of the great man’s pencil sketches.
10. I was resident DJ at Cinderella Rockafella’s in Dunstable town centre from 1978 through to 1982.
11. I’ve always been a Leica man; I’m not one of those people who change every year.
12. I have now definitely morphed into a Robin-stroker!
13. I particularly enjoy talking to the gamekeepers and shooters – they know so much.
14. I’d done one or two twitches. The first I remember was in July 1974: a Ross’s Gull at Stanpit Marsh in Dorset (then in Hampshire).
15. Nature desperately needs more people to care, and to act.
16. One book that sticks in my mind is The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
17. The one I want to see more than any other – and I’d be really disappointed, by the way, if someone told me I was going to die before I saw this bird – is the Emperor Penguin.
18. I was within three weeks of starting work with Arthur Andersen in Cambridge when funding came through for me to do a PhD on the back of my degree.
19. Abroad, I think the place that I would probably go is Israel, where I’ve been many times, and particularly Eilat in migration time, because almost all the species which migrate between Europe and Africa can be seen there. The variety of birds is just incredible.
20. You can go ringing with a broken ankle, I discovered!
Rules: Entries must be received before the book is published (expected to be 20 July). Employees of Pelagic and people interviewed in the book are not allowed to enter. Entries must be made as comments on this particular blog post and the time of comment will be taken as the entry time. Entries should include a valid email address so that I can contact the winner. Only one entry per email address is allowed. If no correct entry is received then the person with the most correct entries will get the book and in the event of a tie it will be the first of the tied entries that wins.
That seems a lot of rules for a small prize – and anyway, why not just order the book now and find out what the answers are as soon as it is published?