Birder's book has highlights from seven decades of feathered fun
- Credit: Moss Taylor
If it’s got feathers, a beak and can take to the sky, he’s probably seen it.
And now Sheringham’s Moss Taylor has published a book summing up the highlights and everyday moments of seven decades of birdwatching.
My Birding Life is the 10th book by Mr Taylor, 77, who said he has seen more than 3,500 species of birds through a lifelong passion that has taken him to over 50 countries.
Mr Taylor said: “I’ve done a lot of writing in the past and not always about birds, but I thought it was time to get everything down. This book contains a lot of material that’s been published in various journals in England and other countries, and there are 154 photographs and illustrations.”
Mr Taylor, a retired GP, said the types and number of birds had changed over the years, and the hobby of birdwatching itself had also developed.
He said: “There have been declines as well as increases in some species of birds, but mainly declines, sadly.
“When I started in the 1950s birdwatchers were looked upon as kind of weird, with our anoraks. But now there are so many people interested in it and there is so much bird food being put out in gardens.
“When I first came to Cley in the early 1960s, if an unusual bird turned up you’d get perhaps 10-12 people coming along to see it. Now if a rare bird turns up you get 1,000 people. Communications have changed a lot and people can get notified by pager or on the internet.
“But there’s a lot less of going out and finding your own birds, which to me is the essence of birding and that’s what I enjoy.”
Mr Taylor said his favourite bird was the great skua, also called a bonxie, a sea bird which takes fish from the surface of the water - or from other birds.
He said: “It chases other birds and makes them disgorge their food. They’re absolutely stunning. I’ve seen them up on the breeding grounds in Scotland and you also get them passing off the north Norfolk coast. It’s majestic.”
In the book, Mr Taylor also talks about his days lecturing about birds on cruise ships in seas off South America and the Bay of Biscay.
Proceeds from My Birding Life are going to Love for Leo, a charity Mr Taylor and his partner, Robina Churchyard, set up six years ago to help children in Norfolk and Suffolk with cerebral palsy. Named after their grandson, they have so far raised over £35,000 and given grants of almost £30,000 to 35 children who needed equipment or treatment that was not otherwise available under the NHS.
To order a copy, call 01263 823637 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies can be picked up from Sheringham for £18 or posted out for £20.