Derwent May, who died in 2020, was a literary and arts editor, whose first and greatest love was birdwatching, the main subject of the nature columns he wrote for the Times for nearly 40 years.
May was an engaging man with, ironically for a twitcher, appalling eyesight. Nevertheless, he could spot both birds and, as a man of letters, the merits or otherwise of novels. His first job in journalism was as theatre and film critic for the Continental Daily Mail in Paris, where he was told by a Frenchwoman that the way to perfect the language was to change his mistress as often as his sheets. He later had spells as an English lecturer in universities in Indonesia and Poland before returning to journalism. He also wrote four novels and studies of Proust and Hannah Arendt.