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Bird Watching

Bird Watching January 2020

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

en este número

1 min.
our contributors

Stephanie Perks recalls how a seven-month motorhome tour of Iberia yielded an impressive tick-list of more 270 birds! Page 20 Ian Parsons heaps praise on the bird with a link to British spy James Bond. Will you add the great Goldeneye to your 2020 list ? Page 26 Renowned bird author Dominic Couzens asks whether the Moorhen is the UK’s “most interesting bird?” Find out why on page 33 Gordon Hamlett heads to family favourite Titchwell Marsh RSPB, in Norfolk, and reveals why it should be on your 2020 must-visit list, too! P38 Bird guide Ruth Miller gets up close to some wonderful species in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Read about her adventure on page 44 COVER IMAGES: MAIN - IMAGEBROKER/ALAMY; PURPLE SANDPIPER - PHILIP MUGRIDGE/ALAMY*; MOORHEN - OUR WILD LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY/ALAMY…

1 min.

The first birds that most of us learn to recognise, I’d guess, are ducks, geese and swans – who, as a toddler, wasn’t taken to feed them down at the park? Some of us, though, later forget just how gloriously varied and endlessly interesting they can be. But this is the perfect time of year to reacquaint yourself with them. I’ve been doing just that, catching up with Bewick’s Swans, Red-breasted Mergansers, and my first-ever Black Brant in recent weeks, and this issue has plenty of ideas on how to see even more. Go to watch Goldeneye doing their wonderful heads-up display, learn to ID other displaying ducks, or remind yourself of the wonders of Titchwell Marsh, where wildfowl are never in short supply. And that, I’d say, is the recipe for…

1 min.

Sparrowhawks are little masters of the stealth attack. In fact, stealth seems to be a key feature in most parts of the Sparrowhawk lifestyle. This is quite a different approach from that of our commonest falcon, the Kestrel, which we featured as Bird of the Month in November, and which is a positive show-off compared with a Sparrowhawk. Kestrels spend much of their time hovering in full view (though the idea is not to be seen by their mammalian prey!), or perched on telegraph poles, on the top of trees, and so on. Sparrowhawks are largely hidden in woodland or sneakily within a bush, occasionally dashing low over the ground and bush or fence-hopping to surprise their avian victims. Yes, they do sometimes soar, and shortly will be performing their ‘sky…

4 min.
five to find in january

1 WATER PIPIT The Water Pipit is an extraordinary bird. It breeds in high mountains, such as the Alps and Pyrenees, yet winters in low, wet areas (hence the name). It is a scarce winter visitor to the UK, and owing to its preferred habitat, most of the 200 or so individuals over here are found in the east of the country, around suitable flooded meadows, ‘scrape’ edges and so on. Once considered conspecific with the Rock Pipit, the Water Pipit is very similar in size and structure to that species, but quite different in appearance (as well as habitat choice), being altogether paler, with largely white underparts, which are only lightly streaked and whiter outer tail feathers. Like Rock Pipits, Water Pipits have a single strong ‘feest’ call. Unlike Rock…

1 min.
rarity predictor

BLACK-THROATED THRUSH More than 30 of the 80-something accepted UK records of Black-throated Thrush were in Shetland and 18 occurred during January (though half of records were in October). This is one of a handful of rare birds which have a habit of turning up in domestic gardens. AMERICAN BITTERN There have been very few American Bitterns in the UK this millennium, but most serious listers have it on their list, thanks to the long-staying male at Carlton Marshes, Suffolk, during 2018 (which even put on displays and did bouts of booming!). Still, what a find this would be, and a great way to start the year list in style. Check every bittern carefully! BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT This rare pipit from North America (also called American Pipit) has increased greatly in its frequency in the UK…

1 min.
shrike larders

Shrikes are the closest thing we have to ‘passerine raptors’. They are little, hooked-billed, tough guys which pounce on small mammals, small birds and large insects. In the winter in the UK, the large (thrush-sized) Great Grey Shrike is the most likely species to see. Like all shrikes, they don’t necessarily eat their prey items straight away. Instead, they take them to a favoured thorny bush (or stretch of barbed wire fence) and impale the victims as a sort of larder to be visited later, as the need arises. This is, of course, why shrikes are also called ‘butcherbirds’, as they hang carcasses like a butcher.…