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Bird Watching

Bird Watching February 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.
birding question

Tour guide/writer Ian Parsons: Oystercatcher, it looks brilliant with that orange bill contrasting with the black-and-white plumage Conservationist Alex White: Lapwing. Occasionally, I see chicks fledge on local farmland. I love listening to their call Bird author Dominic Couzens: Golden Plover. Just for the sheer melancholy beauty of its crystal-clear flight song Tour guide Ruth Miller: Snipe. I love its intricate cryptic plumage which always gives me a thrill when I pick one out Urban Birder David Lindo: Wood Sandpiper, impressive with an unobtrusive yet very distinctive plumage…

1 min.

You never stop learning about birds, no matter how long you’ve been watching them, and that goes for identification, as well as behaviour. In this issue, we provide the first four in a series of cut-out-and-keep ID cards – look out for more later in the year. Alongside our At-a-glance Identification features, they should help you see and identify more birds in 2020, whether that’s to help complete your #My200BirdYear list, or just to brush up on those species that have caused you trouble in the past. But whatever birding aims you have in 2020, remember that the birds’ welfare comes first, and that birding is to be enjoyed, from the humblest sparrow to the most awe-inspiring eagle. Good luck, and tell us how you get on. Sign up for our 200…

1 min.
marsh tit

It was apparently as late as 1897 that it dawned on British ornithologists that there were two small, brown, black-capped tit species in the country. The fact that the endemic British subspecies (kleinschmidti) of Willow Tit is particularly similar to our Marsh Tits was certainly a contributing factor in it remaining hidden in our landscape. Both ‘brown tit’ species have undergone dramatic and disturbing declines in recent decades, so there are now only about 40,000 breeding pairs of Marsh Tit (which is 12 times the number of breeding pairs of Willow Tit). Marsh Tits are woodland birds, with a particular preference for broadleaved woods above at least 4.5 ha in area. They are reluctant to fly any significant distance over open ground, so generally remain localised to particular stands of woodland…

3 min.
five to find in february

RARITY RATINGS Common, widely distributed Localised – always a treat Very scarce or rare 1 WAXWING Yes, the Robin was voted as Britain’s favourite bird in David Lindo’s poll a few years ago. But that was possibly because the voting public are not aware of, or perhaps forget such wonders of nature as, the Black Grouse, the Black-throated Diver, the Bearded Tit and the wonderful, gorgeous, and frankly, extremely desirable Waxwing. No, they are not as common as Robins, and can even be quite rare (depending on which side of the country you live), but Waxwings are the sort of bird which turn the heads even of ‘members of the public’ who never look at a bird from one year to the next. Crested, soft-plumaged, beautifully marked, and producing a delightful bell-like, ringing trill, these…

1 min.
rarity predictor

TENGMALM’S OWL In 2019, there was the weird ‘outhouse’ Tengmalm’s Owl, on Orkney, followed by the lingering garden bird on Mainland, Shetland (which later was seen on Unst). What chance a repeat performance this month? MYRTLE WARBLER An impressive dozen or so of the 40-odd British Myrtle Warbler records (it is a North American ‘warbler’) have been during this decade. Of course most are in the autumn, but as testified by the Durham bird, found during the Big Garden Birdwatch in 2014, they can turn up in late winter. ORIENTAL TURTLE DOVE There have only been about 25 accepted UK Oriental Turtle Doves, and they are another bird which is capable of appearing in winter (and surviving modern mild UK winters!). Any turtle dove at this time of year is extraordinary, so check carefully.…

1 min.
first light for roost departures

Everyone knows that it is best to get up for first light to get the best out of birdwatching. Birds are often most vocal then, as well as most active, seeking the first meal of the day, and so on. However, one aspect which is not often mentioned is that birds can only be watched leaving their massed roosts at this time. For instance, many reedbeds are used as roosting sites for birds such as wagtails, finches and buntings, and will disperse from the roost at the first hint of daytime. Get up early and see for yourself!…