The Birdwatcher

To: Stephen Murray <>, Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge <>, <>
Subject: The Birdwatcher
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2013 19:31:00 +0930
Steve and Keith, who published the book?
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 71,  Darwin River,
NT 0841
043 8650 835

On 28/12/13 7:01 PM, "Stephen Murray" <> wrote:

> Hi Lindsay.
>  I was wondering if any other birders got that for Christmas. I read it out
> of politeness and picked up on many of the things you mentioned. A "mob of
> Common Sandpipers" was an interesting sighting as well. As I said to my
> wife...he has done a bit of research on birdwatching, but not quite enough.
> I think novelists need to get things right if they are going to write about
> something with which they are not familiar. Otherwise they just look silly.
> I guess I wouldn't mind so much if the book had some merit in other
> departments, but it doesn't. The ending was extremely corny but I won't
> expound in case someone else found it in their stocking.
> Steve Murray
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
> Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge
> Sent: Saturday, 28 December 2013 4:45 PM
> To: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] The Birdwatcher
> Just before Christmas I borrowed the new novel, by William McInnes entitled
> The Birdwatcher from our local library. Now William McInnes is a finet actor
> and I am sure his previous books, mainly autobiographical, have been
> excellent. However, his latest novel 'The Birdwatcher" has left me quite
> puzzled. He has obviously done a lot of research and many of his
> ornithological observations are correct, but I am left wondering if he is
> just having a go at the birdwatching fraternity or what?.
> The plot moves from Melbourne to Cairns and north to the Daintree area and
> the geography becomes extremely confusing as if William visited the area
> about 20 years ago and is relying on his memory and getting it dreadfully
> wrong. He also keeps referring to 'The Escarpment' -- maybe he thinks he's
> in Kakadu! The bird that causes the main character, David Thomas from
> Melbourne (as he is referred to), to use the last of his savings to fly
> north, is a delightfully named Pale Pygmy Magpie Goose or PPMG. This amazing
> bird migrates from PNG and is very rarely seen, but has the interesting
> ability to sing! I have no problem with inventing such an imaginative bird
> for the purpose of the novel, but when it refers to the closely related
> Cotton Pygmy Goose being on the tidal flats, it starts to get a bit unreal
> to say the least.
> Also, staring out to sea from the beach David observes 'gannets or are they
> boobies' -- not unless his eyesight can see beyond the reef! It is winter,
> but somehow there are waders galore on the beaches and then he decides to go
> and look for a Rainbow Pitta -- maybe on the Kakadu Escarpment otherwise
> he'd just have to be content with a plain old Noisy Pitta north of Cairns!
> Masked Owls seem to have replaced Barn Owls as the common species and what
> is an 'Australasian Harrier (?) doing feeding on road-kill at night? Oh, and
> a spoonbill spearing fish! I could go on. It seems such a shame to ruin an
> otherwise readable tale by not getting his facts right. Does anyone know if
> William is actually a birdwatcher?
> Cheers,
> Lindsay
>      Keith & Lindsay Fisher
>      Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge
>      RN 6 Mt. Kooyong Road
>      Julatten QLD 4871
>      Ph : (07) 4094 1263
>      Web Site:
>      Blog:
> Winner: Wet Tropics 2010 Cassowary Award for Nature Based Tourism
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