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Bird Watching Bird Watching

Bird Watching

March 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.

United Kingdom
Bauer Media Ltd
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13 Issues


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meet the team

Mike Weedon assistant editor has got a new obsession at one of his local sites: Water Pipits. See page 14 Mike Roberts production editor has been enjoying the first early spring displays of Great Crested Grebes, close to home ■…

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our contributors

Bird guide Ian Parsons on Wheatear – the bird whose name was censored in the 17th Century! Find out more on page 18 John Miles meets TV presenter Iolo Williams and finds out why he was happy to receive an early morning call from Chris Packham on page 26 Renowned bird author Dominic Couzens discovers the secret of the under-appreciated Reed Bunting song on page 33 Back garden birder Clare Howcutt-Kelly on the joy of having live birdsong concerts in her garden every day. Read more on page 56 Urban Birder David Lindo might surprise you with the variety of birdlife he found on a trip to Motherwell in Scotland. Join him on page 72 GET IN TOUCH: …

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Pied Wagtail roost at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 (DAVID TIPLING PHOTO LIBRARY/ALAMY) We all, I suspect, enjoy seeing those avian spectacles that truly take the breath away, and our special 16-page centre section is packed with some of the very best. But what’s really important is that, by going to see any one of them, you should stumble across all sorts of other great birds, too.If you’re reading this in early March, that might include the Wheatear. On page 18, you can find out more about these handsome, engaging chats. We’ve also got an interview with TV presenter and naturalist Iolo Williams (page 26), while Dominic Couzens has been busy with Champions of the Flyway (page 67) and, closer to home, studying Reed Buntings (page 33)…

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the big question: what uk bird always makes you go ‘wow!’

Matt Merritt: Male Black Grouse lekking – they’re always worth a wait in the cold! (OUR WILD LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY/ALAMY*) Mike Weedon: Waxwings get me every time. Always unexpectedly brilliant. (DAVID TIPLING /ALAMY*) Mike Roberts: There is no more beautiful British bird than the wonderful Bearded Tit! (NIGEL PYE ALAMY*) ■…

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wonderful wheatear

The gorgeous Wheatear is one of the classic early spring migrants. Along with Sand Martin, Chiffchaff, Sandwich Tern, Little Ringed Plover and Garganey, it is one of the summer visitors we usually associate with March. Other birds, like Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Shelduck and Lesser Black-backed Gulls may have found their ways back to potential breeding sites earlier in the year after being absent for the winter. But as they are not traditionally regarded as summer visitors, we conveniently brush over these birds…not the Wheatear, though, which will always be thought of as a harbinger of spring, even though, for most of us in the south and east of the country, these are not birds which are going to hang on to breed, but are ‘passage’ birds, just passing…

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five to find in march

1 BLACK REDSTART(MIKE LANE/ALAMY) It is thought that, these days, there are fewer than 50 pairs of Black Redstart nesting in the UK. There are a few more wintering; but away from regular wintering and nesting sites, your best bet for seeing one is during passage times. Spring passage gets into full swing in March and birds can turn up anywhere, particularly where there are buildings or industrial sites with suitable feeding for an urban-loving chat. Don’t necessarily expect a spectacular black male, as these are outnumbered by the duller, greyer female/second-calendar year birds. All have nice, quivering orange tails, though. 2 SISKIN(OLIVER SMART/ALAMY) More than 400,000 pairs of Siskin nest in the UK, but they are primarily breeding birds of the north and west (though…