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Bird Watching Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Autumn Migration 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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
H BAUER PUBLISHING LIMITED
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13 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

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our contributors

Bird guide Ian Parsons marvels at the mammoth journeys completed every year by the tiny Yellow-browed Warbler on page 22 Bird of prey ID expert, Keith Offord provides top tips on how to separate 12 raptors with ease. Begin your ID masterclass on page 26 Woodpecker specialist Gerard Gorman throws the spotlight on the wonderful and beautiful flamebacks, found in Asia. Page 33 Renowned bird author Dominic Couzens highlights the skills used by the Sanderling to find its next meal under the sand! Page 66 The Urban Birder David Lindo visits the Brazilian city of São Paulo and is surprised by the sheer number of birds it offers visitors! Page 88 COVER IMAGES: KINGFISHER - BEN ANDREW/BPOY; HONEY BUZZARD - KEITH OFFORD; SANDERLING - AGAMI PHOTO AGENCY/ALAMY*…

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welcome

Photographers sometimes get a hard time of it from birders. With an increasing number of the people that you see around reserves packing high-quality DSLR set-ups rather than top-end optics, complaints about snappers monopolising the hides aren’t uncommon these days. But it’s hard to imagine modern birdwatching would be what it is without the inspirational and educational value of the sort of images that appear in this magazine, and especially in our feature on Bird Photographer of the Year. They’re a reminder that the sheer beauty of birds is what engages our interest before anything else, but the best photos tell stories, too, or make us think about conservation and ecology. So, as you peruse the photos, remember that there are many considerate photographers (just as there are considerate birders), and that…

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red kite

By the start of the 20th Century the population of Red Kites in the UK was on the brink of extinction. It was thought that it was so rare (and therefore the eggs so desirable) that each year a quarter of the remaining nests would be robbed by egg collectors. The relict population in Wales was isolated and threatened, with no hope of natural expansion. It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that proposals to reintroduce this magnificent raptor to the rest of the country were mooted seriously. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Red Kites of Swedish and Spanish origin were released in northern Scotland and southern England. The success of these initial reintroductions led to further areas of release in the mid- to late 1990s, with the aim…

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five to find in autumn

1 JUVENILE HOBBY One of the great clichés of birdwatching is that Hobbies in flight look like giant Swifts. And like many a tired, old, overused statement, it is perfectly true! With long, narrow, pointed wings and a relatively short, slim tail, these dashing high-speed falcons not only look like Swifts, but also roam the skies, chasing insects like Swifts. Unlike Swifts, however, they are generally in search of larger bugs, especially, at this time of year, dragonflies; and they catch them in their feet, plucking them mid air with their long legs extended, before ‘plucking’ and eating them on the wing. And, also unlike Swifts, they will also hunt hirundines (and even Swifts!) on the wing. At this time of year, there should be plentiful juveniles, which are browner (with…

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rarity predictor

TAIGA FLYCATCHER There have just been three accepted of this close relative of the Red-breasted Flycatcher (formerly also called Red-throated Flycatcher). Two were in 2003, at Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire in April, and Shetland in October, and the third on Fetlar, then Yell, Shetland, in September to October, 2009. GREY CATBIRD Before last year’s obliging long-staying individual at Land’s End, Cornwall, there had been just one Grey Catbird in the UK, a very elusive individual at South Stack, Anglesey on 4 and 5 October 2001. Looking a bit like a grey Blackbird (with a black cap and rufous undertail coverts), these birds are closely related to the mockingbirds. ISABELLINE WHEATEAR There have been more than 40 accepted records of this pale eastern wheatear, with nearly a quarter of these from 2016 alone. They are mainly…

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shrikes

Red-backed Shrike In autumn, most Red-backed Shrikes seen in the country are first-winters (much more heavily barred than adults). About 200 are usually found each autumn (August to October), mainly around the east and south coasts, as well the Northern Isles. Great Grey Shrike Great Grey Shrikes are generally later birds than Red-backed Shrikes, occurring on passage from September to well into October, and overwintering in small numbers (not many more than 50 individuals). They are quite large (much larger and longer-tailed than Red-backed Shrikes) and strikingly grey, white and black. Woodchat Shrike The Woodchat Shrike is a southern European shrike which occurs as a pretty scarce passage migrant (rarer than Red-backed and Great Grey) in spring and autumn. Adults are black and white with a rufous ‘mullet’, white shoulder patches and a white rump.…

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