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Bird Watching

Bird Watching November 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

Ian Parsons says now is the perfect time to catch up with godwits: Bar-tailed, Black-tailed, or both, these are truly brilliant birds. Page 20 Chris Place is using our #My200BirdYear challenge to raise money for his favourite charity. Read his inspirational story on page 26 Renowned bird author Dominic Couzens says there is more to the Starling than headline-grabbing murmurations. More on page 40 Bird guide Ruth Miller recalls the pure joy felt when she and partner Alan took a group of ladies birdwatching for the first time on page 44 The Urban Birder David Lindo heads to the Serbian capital of Belgrade for some great birding. Join him on page 82 COVER IMAGES: MAIN - ARTERRA PICTURE LIBRARY/ALAMY; BAR-TAILED GODWIT; MINDEN PICTURES/ALAMY; BLACK-TAILED GODWIT: CHRISTOPH BOSCH/ALAMY…

1 min.

On a trip to South Africa a few years ago, our party marvelled at the vivid colours of a group of Plum-coloured Starlings. But, on returning to the UK, the first bird I saw in the airport coach station, pecking at a discarded sandwich, was our own much-maligned Starling, and it struck me that it’s every bit as glorious in its own, iridescent way. And that’s what birdwatching (and Bird Watching) are all about. In this issue, we sing the praises of the everyday, such as the Starling (see page 40), alongside the exotic and unusual, to be found in our free 48-page World Travel Guide. And while you can help birds by travelling the world, you can make just as much difference on your own patch (see page 28). Watch,…

1 min.

For many of us, the Kestrel is one of the first birds we learned to identify. Its behaviour is just so distinctive, there is nothing quite like it (or nothing common in the UK, at least). Hovering is the key. Yes, there are plenty of British birds which hover from time to time, including birds of prey, such as Buzzard (and the much rarer Rough-legged Buzzard, which is a renowned hoverer), but none of the size of a Kestrel (ie a little larger than a Mistle Thrush). Hovering is the chosen hunting technique of these little falcons which, unlike our other falcons (Peregrine, Merlin and Hobby), feed mainly on unsuspecting ground animals, such as small mammals and invertebrates in the grass below. It is said that their sensitivity to ultra-violet light…

3 min.
five to find in november

1 STONECHAT Unlike its close relative the Whinchat (here from spring to autumn), the perky little Stonechat is watchable in the UK throughout the year. They are one of those birds which tend to breed in the north, west and south-west of the country, and in coastal strips, but will move downhill and inland for the winter. Like most chats, they are insect feeders, but unlike most chats, they readily perch in the open on bushes, tall ‘weeds’, and along fence lines, surveying the ground for hairy caterpillars and the like, on which they will pounce. Stonechats are often found in pairs, even in the non-breeding season. Males tend to have dark throats, females’ are paler. Both sexes have orange underparts, dark brown upperparts, dark tails and white shoulder patches. 2 CRESTED…

1 min.
rarity predictor

EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL Last year was a great year for this recently recognised ‘full species’ in the UK, with multiple birds lingering on Shetland and especially Scilly. Any yellow wagtail at this time of year is certainly worth some serious analysis. MASKED WAGTAIL There has, famously, only been one accepted record of Masked Wagtail in the UK. It was present from late November to late December 2016 at Camrose, Pembrokeshire. Time for another one? LITTLE SWIFT There are fewer than 30 accepted records of Little Swift in the UK, but at least three of these have been in November. They can turn up just about anywhere.…

1 min.
evidence of crossbills

As we all know, Crossbills are finches with extraordinary bills. These are ‘twisted’ (in either direction), so the tips ‘cross’, a condition which has evolved to help the birds extract the seeds from the cones of conifers. The bill is used to split the ‘scales’ of the cone lengthways before they are pressed outwards for the bird to reach the cone. Cones, especially of spruce, but also of other conifers, such as larch or pine, are often dropped directly on the ground beneath the tree in which the birds have been feeding. The split scales are a giveaway, contrasting particularly with the discarded cones of squirrels, which are usually extensively nibbled and gnawed to leave a narrow ‘core’.…