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Bird Watching

Bird Watching October 2019

Bird Watching is Britain’s best-selling birdwatching magazine. Each issue is packed with expert advice on when, where and how to see more birds, from common garden visitors to the most elusive rarities. There are features from some of British birdwatching’s best-known names, superbly illustrated by the work of the world’s best bird photographers, plus comprehensive coverage of all the latest sightings, guides to the best birdwatching sites, ID masterclasses, news and reviews of all the latest gear.

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13 Números

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1 min.
our contributors

The next time you see a Pintail, says bird guide Ian Parsons, make sure you fully appreciate the amount of miles it clocks up in its lifetime. P20 Steve Wiltshire extols the virtues of a visit to north Norfolk and highlights the birding hotspots to head for on page 35 Renowned bird author Dominic Couzens tells a fascinating story of a seemingly unremarkable bird – the Collared Dove. Page 41 Bird guide Ruth Miller comes face to face with a number of great birds, including one called Maria, on a trip to Ecuador on page 44 The Urban Birder David Lindo heads to the Danish capital Copenhagen for some city birdwatching on page 84 COVER IMAGES: GOLDFINCH- DAVID WHITAKER/ALAMY ; PINTAIL - CHRIS GRADY/ALAMY…

1 min.

Another summer has ended, and in my own garden, it’s been another good breeding season for the Blue Tits, who use the nestboxes we put up, as well as the feeders. But I’ve been thinking more and more about how to start helping other birds, at home and elsewhere. Sadly, many species, such as the Spotted Flycatcher, are in catastrophic decline. I haven’t seen one of the latter close to home, this year. But there are sites where they really ought to be, a couple of them council-owned; so I’m going to encourage the council to put up suitable nestboxes in time for next year. On page 24, we’ve got the first of a two-part feature on helping birds, packed full of tips on how you can make a difference. So,…

1 min.
purple sandpiper

Here is, yet again, one of those ‘forgotten’ birds, which seem out of the minds of most birdwatchers, most of the time. In the case of the subtly beautiful Purple Sandpiper, there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, they are fairly scarce (by the standards of regular wintering waders), with up to 13,000 wintering individuals (compare that with, for instance, 50,000 Turnstones, 40,000 Sanderlings, or 34,000 Ringed Plovers). Secondly, they are localised to the specialised habitat of rocky coasts, rarely seen away from these areas. Finally, they are dark in plumage and unobtrusive, spending lots of time not moving much and blending with the rocky background. So, we tend to forget about Purple Sandpipers until we think we may need another tick on an autumn to spring day list (although,…

3 min.
five to find in october

1 TEMMINCK’S STINT The tiny Temminck’s Stint is one of those birds which, paradoxically, are best identified by their lack of features. The tiny size is the first big clue to its identity, but there are other very small waders, notably the Little Stint, and also the so-called ‘peeps’ from North America. So, concentrate on the dull grey-brown plumage, the almost mini-Common Sandpiper pattern and shape, the creeping gait, and the pale greenish-yellow legs (which can be hard to see well). Of the titchy American peeps, only the very rare Least Sandpiper has yellow legs, but this is an altogether more long-legged, perky and well-marked bird than the Temminck’s Stint. Look for Temminck’s Stints (juvenile shown below) particularly in the east of the southern half of the country, creeping round the…

1 min.
rarity predictor

COMMON NIGHTHAWK This very rare American nightjar (with only about 20 UK records) has a massive bias of occurrence to the Isles of Scilly, though occurrences in Nottinghamshire and London show that they could potentially turn up anywhere! September and October are the months to seek them. EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER Since the first accepted record of this Phylloscopus warbler, as recently as October 2009, at South Shields, Durham, there have been just three further records (all in October): one in Hertfordshire, one in Cleveland and one in East Yorkshire. SIBERIAN THRUSH There have only been a dozen accepted records of this rare thrush from, you guessed it, Siberia, in the UK. All those this millennium were on Shetland and all in late September or October.…

1 min.
divers in flight

There are three species of diver (or loon) seen regularly around our coasts in autumn and winter; and two, the Red-throated and Black-throated, which breed in small numbers in Scotland. In winter plumage they are quite similar (dark above and white below), but can usually be separated given good views, on the sea. In flight, things can get tricky however. All are strong fliers, powering directly, with outstretched neck, and feet projecting beyond ‘tail’. All have plain wings, lacking wing-bars. Red-throated Diver The smallest diver and the palest of the three regular species, with a pale head and white above the eye (visible only with a good view). The bill is fine and looks upturned, pointed up slightly in flight. Head often held below the level of the body, sometimes rocking in…