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In this email:
Birdwatch April issue – on sale tomorrow
RSPB Puffins set to benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund grant
Attempted predation of a Northern Wheatear by an Isabelline Shrike
White-spotted Bluethroats on the way?
More than 800,000 birds illegally killed on British military base in Cyprus
Champions of the Flyway One week to go, and your donations can still make all the difference!
Madagascan birds get huge Birdfair conservation boost
Research Royal revelations
American wildlife system to suffer massive budget cuts
Large Blue killer convicted
Review Beddington Farmlands Bird and Wildlife Report 2015
Featured tour Ohio & Michigan – spring warblers and more
Songs of Love & War: the Dark Heart of Bird Behaviour by Dominic Couzens
Bird of the Week Black-throated Thrush
Photo of the Week 15–21 March
Review of the Week 15–21 March
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Birdwatch April issue – on sale tomorrow
 April issue – on sale tomorrowGet your copy of April's Birdwatch tomorrow!

The spring challenge — With the days getting longer and migration and the breeding season building, now is the time to start getting out into the field as often as you can. Follow our 10 suggestions for the best way to maximise the best birding opportunities of springtime.

Odd one out — Migration is in the air, and so too are northbound warblers. April sees the floodgates open as Willow Warblers and Common Chiffchaffs arrive en masse to set up territory, but there is also another lookalike incoming 'Phyllosc' to contend with. Records of Iberian Chiffchaff in Britain are rising and April can be a good month to find one, so Andy Stoddart look at the key ID clues — and pitfalls.

Leading the way — No country has greater avian diversity than Colombia, and as a safe tourist destination again the country features prominently in the travel plans of globe-trotting birders. Most, however, focus on the Andes and the north — what about the Amazonian half of the country, also mega-rich in birdlife? Neil Bowman goes exploring off the beaten track.

Long live the birds — The British Trust for Ornithology's ringing schemes have produced much information on bird movements as well as astonishing facts about how long-lived they are. Ruth Walker explains what they've learnt and reveals the record holders for longevity.

PLUS: finders' accounts for Devon's first Pacific Diver and a Pallid Harrier in Norfolk, rarities across Britain and Ireland and the whole Western Palearctic, great where to watch itineraries for spring, opinion from columnists Mark Avery and Lucy McRobert, Steve Young's photo challenge, news, views and product reviews, and birding Q&A with the expert Birdwatch team.

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RSPB Puffins set to benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund grant Puffins set to benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund grant
An RSPB Scotland project to aid conservation efforts for Puffins has been awarded £49,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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Attempted predation of a Northern Wheatear by an Isabelline ShrikeAttempted predation of a Northern Wheatear by an Isabelline Shrike
Howard King tells the story behind a remarkable series of images obtained in Bahrain earlier in March.
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White-spotted Bluethroats on the way?White-spotted Bluethroats on the way?
With easterly winds forecast later in the week, the occurrence of one of spring's brightest migrants is a significant possibility. Alan Tilmouth and Josh Jones take a look at this seasonal jewel.
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More than 800,000 birds illegally killed on British military base in CyprusMore than 800,000 birds illegally killed on British military base in Cyprus
Illegal bird trapping activity was at its highest level on British Territory in Cyprus in 2016 since monitoring began.
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Champions of the Flyway One week to go, and your donations can still make all the difference!
The Birdwatch-BirdGuides Roadrunners team has beaten its donation target, but more funds are still needed to help fight the illegal slaughter of wild birds in Turkey, as Champions of the Flyway race day looms. We welcome any donations, however big or small!
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 One week to go, and your donations can still make all the difference!
Madagascan birds get huge Birdfair conservation boostMadagascan birds get huge Birdfair conservation boost
A record-breaking cheque has been presented by Birdfair to BirdLife International to help fund vital conservation work in Madagascar and Africa.
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Research Royal revelations Royal revelations
Scientists and conservationists have confirmed the existence of a 'new' species of tern.
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American wildlife system to suffer massive budget cutsAmerican wildlife system to suffer massive budget cuts
Just days after the US Refuge System celebrated its 114th birthday, the Trump Administration has announced dramatic and damaging cuts to conservation programs.
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Large Blue killer convictedLarge Blue killer convicted
A 57-year-old man has been found guilty of illegally catching and killing Britain's rarest butterfly.
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 Review Beddington Farmlands Bird and Wildlife Report 2015
Steve Holliday looks at an impressively detailed report for this well-known south London site.
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Featured tour Ohio & Michigan – spring warblers and more
This tour is a great way to experience the incredible migration that occurs in the eastern United States. Magee Marsh and many other hot-spots in north-west Ohio provide much-needed stop-over habitat for an incredible diversity of species, including warblers, thrushes, vireos, tanagers, orioles, waders and more. We’ll also make the four-hour drive north to the closest nesting area of the endangered Kirtland's Warbler, one of the most sought-after birds in all of North America, and spend time searching for other species that call the beautiful forests of Michigan home.
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 Ohio & Michigan – spring warblers and more
 by Dominic CouzensSongs of Love & War: the Dark Heart of Bird Behaviour by Dominic Couzens
Special offer price: £15.99 (SRP: £16.99)

Published 6 April 2017

From the dawn chorus to a midwinter evening's murmuration, birds do things that are surprising and mystifying. Author Dominic Couzens delves into bird behaviour and uncovers its purpose and meaning in this fascinating new title. More than just an inside look at how songbirds behave, this book also represents a personal journey of discovery. What starts as a desire to learn more about the birds encountered on a regular father-and-son walk through the woods leads to a realisation that a bird's life is very far from the idyllic scene that can often be glimpsed by the casual birdwatcher. Above all, that life is often briefer and much darker than you might think.
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Bird of the Week Black-throated Thrush
Northumberland's third Black-throated Thrush was a relatively fleeting affair, yet remained on show just long enough to attract a decent crowd of quick-moving local birders. A fine male, it bucks this winter's trend of females and gave some a welcome county tick.

Previous county records of this Siberian thrush concern a female at Riding Mill in December 2005 and January 2006, and a male on Holy Island on 28 January 1979.Link more
 Black-throated Thrush
 15–21 MarchPhoto of the Week 15–21 March
John's Barlow's endearing image, capturing the essence of spring, earns him the step up from Notable to Photo of the Week.
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Review of the Week 15–21 March

After an unusually exciting mid-March week last time out, it was no surprise that the pace of arriving migrants dropped in what was at times an unsettled period.

Nevertheless the first Yellow Wagtail of the year flew over Portland, Dorset, on 16th, and a Common Whitethroat was reported singing at Heswall, Cheshire, on 19th. Willow Warblers continued to trickle in among the commoner Chiffchaffs, Northern Wheatears and Little Ringed Plovers, while the odd Ring Ouzel and Osprey also made it through — the latter including the first of the year back at Rutland Water on 17th.

Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear, Wallasea Island RSPB, Essex (Photo: Andrew Armstrong)

After a great week last week, Garganey remained prominent, with no fewer than 54 sites logging the species over the seven days, an excellent return for mid-March — has there been a better period to find this species on your local patch in recent years?

Garganey
Garganey, Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire (Photo: Chris Teague)

In conjunction with this 'slowing' of arrivals, the number of scarcities noted also dropped. However, a fine Alpine Swift found at Baron's Haugh RSPB on 19th gave Clyde (and Scottish) listers ample opportunity to connect with it by lingering to 21st — it's rare for the species to prove so confiding north of the border. The only Hoopoe was a bird at Boswinger, Cornwall, from 16–19th.

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
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