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Hello again.
In this email:
Birdwatch May issue – on sale tomorrow
Rarity finders American Herring Gull in Suffolk
Rarity finders Hermit Thrush on Noss
Massacre on Migration Chris Packham found not guilty after Malta trial
RSPB Concerns voiced over Highland housing development
BTO Citizen scientists needed
Research Habitat loss is driving declines in East Asian shorebirds
Ramsar World’s lowest wetland designated a Ramsar site
Blue-throated Macaw nests discovered in Bolivia
Research Time-lapse cameras provide insight into penguin winter behaviour
Featured tour The Azores – visit Corvo this autumn
Special offer: Australian Bird Guide by Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers and Rohan Clarke
Bird of the Week Hermit Thrush
Photo of the Week 19–25 April
Review of the Week 19–25 April
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Birdwatch May issue – on sale tomorrow
 May issue – on sale tomorrow

Get your copy of May's Birdwatch tomorrow!

Read finders' accounts for Scilly's Rock Thrush and Gloucestershire's Blue Rock Thrush, a Pacific Gull on Shetland, Dark-eyed Junco in Borders, Baillon's Crake and a dead Allen's Gallinule.

PLUS:

  • Know your grouse — Our resident grouse species — Red Grouse, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse and Capercaillie — are tied to particular habitats and rarely, if ever, seen away from their normal range. Spring is the best time to see them as they are often visible at their leks. Learn how to tell them apart with our detailed and accessible ID photo guide.
  • Winds of change — Birders traditionally keep their eyes on weather systems during autumn migration, but watching spring winds can be just as wise and productive. Whether there are easterlies for drift migrants, westerlies for skua passage, southerlies for Mediterranean overshoots or northerlies holding migrants back, David Callahan shows you which conditions will give you which birds this season.
  • On scimitar wings — Common Swift is one of many summer visitors undergoing a decline. As the birds set up territories in Britain, the RSPB's Rebecca Pitman tells us what the charity's swift studies have shown and also reveals what a groundbreaking migration study of the species in China has uncovered.
  • Bird therapy — The urge to get out in the field and go birding is not just force of habit — instinctively birders know that watching birds and being outdoors in the countryside makes us feel good. Joe Harkness describes the mental and physical health benefits of this great hobby, the benefits of which are now supported by scientific research.

Plus new where-to-watch itineraries for county Big Days, all the headline news and latest rarity and scarcity sightings from BirdGuides.com, columnists Mark Avery and Bill Oddie, Steve Young's photo challenge, news, views and product reviews, and birding Q&A with the expert Birdwatch team.

Link more
Rarity finders American Herring Gull in Suffolk American Herring Gull in Suffolk
Pete Wilson's diversion via a local Suffolk pig farm paid off when a rare Nearctic gull emerged from the throng.
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 Hermit Thrush on NossRarity finders Hermit Thrush on Noss
Craig Nisbet, Reserve Warden at Scottish Natural Heritage, clapped his hands in a Shetland island geo and flushed a mega Yank thrush, which fortunately stayed for others to see.
Link more
Massacre on Migration Chris Packham found not guilty after Malta trial Chris Packham found not guilty after Malta trial
TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham was arrested in Malta following an incident with suspected wildlife criminals, but protested his innocence and was acquitted of all charges.
Link more
 Concerns voiced over Highland housing developmentRSPB Concerns voiced over Highland housing development
The wildlife charity has asked for reassurance that new housing won’t negatively impact on the Cairngorms population of Capercaillie.
Link more
BTO Citizen scientists needed Citizen scientists needed
The BTO is asking for volunteers to monitor nests as part of its House Martin Survey.
Link more
 Habitat loss is driving declines in East Asian shorebirdsResearch Habitat loss is driving declines in East Asian shorebirds
Populations of shorebirds that spend most of the year in Australia have been declining for decades, despite conservation efforts, and a new international study has pinpointed one big reason.
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Ramsar World’s lowest wetland designated a Ramsar site World’s lowest wetland designated a Ramsar site
Jordan’s Fifa Nature Reserve has been awarded special protection as a Wetland of International Importance.
Link more
Blue-throated Macaw nests discovered in BoliviaBlue-throated Macaw nests discovered in Bolivia
A new breeding location for this Critically Endangered parrot has been found by the World Land Trust’s partner in Bolivia.
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Research Time-lapse cameras provide insight into penguin winter behaviour Time-lapse cameras provide insight into penguin winter behaviour
A new study published in The Auk used a unique approach to gain new insights into Gentoo Penguins.
Link more
 The Azores – visit Corvo this autumnFeatured tour The Azores – visit Corvo this autumn
There's no place like the Azores for extreme Western Palearctic rarities, and no one has more bird tour experience in these exciting islands than we do. We'll search for the endemic Azores Bullfinch and multiple American vagrants, with our long list of previous rare finds including Tricoloured Heron, Yellow-throated Vireo, Grey Catbird, Northern Parula and Hooded Warbler. Join our October 2017 tour, which includes five nights on the prime rarity island of Corvo – this is a guaranteed departure with limited places remaining. Led by Dominic Mitchell, Managing Editor of BirdGuides and Birdwatch (read his personal overview of 20 years of Azores birding here).
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Special offer: Australian Bird Guide by Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers and Rohan Clarke: by Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers and Rohan Clarke
Special offer price: £22.99 (SRP: £25)

Published 4 May 2017

The Australian avifauna is large, diverse and spectacular, reflecting the continent's impressive habitats and evolutionary history.

Looking at more than 900 species, this brand new title is the most comprehensive field guide to Australian birds available, and contains by far the best coverage of southern seabirds. Almost 250 stunning plates are complemented by detailed maps and a rigorous and accurate text, which looks at identification, distribution and status, with greater coverage of subspecies and plumage variation than any other guide.

The Australian Bird Guide sets a new bar for detailing Australia's remarkable avifauna and will prove indispensable to all birders and naturalists visiting the country.
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Bird of the Week Hermit Thrush
 Hermit ThrushAlthough spring migration has started in earnest, there was only one stand-out rarity this week — the Hermit Thrush found by warden Craig Nisbet on the island of Noss, off the east coast of Bressay in Shetland. Craig's finder's account vividly captures his excitement and surprise, which is well justified given that this is only the 14th for Britain and Ireland and the first since 2015. The date is also unusual, though not unprecedented: of the 13 previous records, 10 have arrived in October, with only three spring records, one each in April, May and June.

Hermit Thrush winters in the eastern and southern US, Mexico and Central America and breeds across the northern US and Canada from Newfoundland to Alaska, and as far south as the Mexican border in some western states. Spring migration lasts from late March to mid-May, so we are bang in the middle of the season.Link more
Photo of the Week 19–25 April 19–25 April
Mike Warburton's striking Green Woodpecker capture wins this week's award.
Link more
Review of the Week 19–25 April

Link Read the full illustrated review online (free to access)

We'd love to hear your bird news – if you find any rare, scarce or otherwise notable species, or have updates on any of the birds mentioned on our Bird News Extra page, please:

  • use the web page http://www.birdguides.com/submit
  • call us on 0333 577 2473
  • email us at sightings@birdguides.com
  • text BIRDS RPT (followed by the details) to 07786 200505
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