Scilly Birding - Joining the Madding Crowd

Scilly Birding - Joining the Madding Crowd

Scilly Birding is a humorous account of the passion, joys, highs and lows experienced by a dedicated bird enthusiast in his pursuit of an experience with rare birds on the Isles of Scilly.


Author: Simon Davey
Publisher: Brambleby Books
Year of Publication: 25 April 2013
Format and Pages: Paperback, 182pp with 10 b&w images
ISBN: 9781908241177
Retail Price: £8.99
Our Discount Price: £8.10

Sample text from Scilly Birding - Joining the Madding Crowd

“We’re in Scilly”, said Chris. Invisible antennae seemed to appear and sense the scene. “Where are the birders? Where are all the birders with all the gen?” We ambled off down the hill towards Hugh Town. Chris’s sixth birding sense slowly homed in on what was about. “Let’s go and look at Lower Moors”, he announced suddenly and decisively. Lower Moors is an area of reed beds and scrubby willows and there is a pathway running right through it. Half way along, a birder’s hide looks out onto a very promising lagoon. It was from this path that I was soon going to have my first taste of Scilly birding. We caught up with a stationery group of about fifteen birders.

“What do you reckon they’ve got?” I asked.

“There was an Icky (Icterine Warbler) here earlier”, said Chris with about as much enthusiasm and emotion as he might have said ‘starling’.

“An Icky! Great!”, I enthused, scarcely able to control my excitement. An Icky was a full lifer tick as far as I was concerned, and this was after only half an hour’s birding. This was incredible!

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Reviews and readers' comments

Oh to be on Scilly now September's here!
   I've only been to the Isles of Scilly once, as a child, on a day trip on the Scillonian from Penzance, and around Easter time. It must be time to go back!
   It's a pity they are so far away - but if they weren't out west, 25 miles out from Lands End, they wouldn't be the place to see stonking yellowthroats, crippling Swainsons and even stunning rustics.
   If the last sentence makes no sense to you, then Scilly, in autumn, may not be the place for you, because it is then that it is invaded by rare birds and odd birders.
   I would like to go there in September or October as much for the observation of the birding tribe as of rare wind-blown birds.
   Simon Davey's engaging book is one of those that tells you of the ups and downs of looking for birds - there are usually as many downs as ups. Cold and hunger can be endured as part of the experience but when you keep missing the birds by moments, or sometimes worse, see them but so briefly that you don't quite know what you saw (except everyone else tells you it was `the' rare bird) those moments can be hard to take.
   This is the tale of the ups and downs of two Scilly weeks in October 1984. To some readers it will open up a strange new world of looking for rare birds and to others it will recall similar days of joy and/or (usually `and') frustration. It's a good read and will appeal to more than the committed birder.
   The observations of birders are completely authentic. What a Scilly crowd we can be!

Mark Avery Blog, 2013

...This is an easy read and after the first page I felt I was actually there myself! --Keith Betton, British Birds

I found myself enjoying the fresh and lively reading experience offered by the book's unique style --David Campbell, Birdwatch

...For me, 1984 was my second exposure to the delights of Scilly and I was lucky enough to spend six weeks there (seeing, in addition to the birds listed above, both Eye-browed and Hermit Thrushes!). The antics recounted in this book (such as standing in the sea to see the Yellowthroat) therefore have a particular resonance. They capture a time and a place when little else mattered. We were young and we chased birds. Since those innocent days life has, of course, moved on and while many of us no longer crave quite the same sort of experience, this book perhaps at least reminds us of what we were. --Andy Stoddart, Rare Bird Alert

...If you are planning a Scilly season (mainly October) trip take this book with you, it will be a great holiday read and almost certainly mirror much of what happens during a holiday at the peak migration time on the islands, and if you are not planning a trip, read it anyway, it will make you want to plan one in the near future. --Paul Stancliffe, BTO

It is humorous, relaxing and its eccentricity, not being of the birding world, appeals to me...I never knew there were so MANY different birds in the UK, or that there was a bird watching etiquette, language, universe. whatever you want to call it. -- Jo L. of Clevedon, Somerset

I loved reading Simon's book! And the illustrations are so evocative, too. I didn't realise that birdwatching was such a complicated world, I love all of the rampaging about! And all of that stuff where it has to be thought through and planned... -- Julia B. of Scayne's Hill, West Sussex

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book; the contents transported me to the beautiful, magical archipelago. - A customer


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