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Hello again.
In this email:
Photo of the Year 2016
Review of the Year 2016
Rarity finders Blue Rock Thrush in Gloucestershire
Rarity finders Pine Bunting in Shropshire
Catching up with a record-breaker: an interview with Arjan Dwarshuis
Colour-ringed Waxwing wanderings — early January update
RSPB Schoolchildren set to survey Britain's birds
BTO Blue Tits missing from gardens after washout summer
Research DNA analysis of bluebird faeces reveals benefits for vineyards
Special offer:Crossbill Guides: Western Andalucia
Featured tour Affordable Turkey for Brown Fish Owl, Caspian Snowcock and more
Bird of the Week Stejneger's Stonechat
Photo of the Week 4–10 January
Review of the Week 4–10 January
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Photo of the Year 2016 2016
It's the 11th annual BirdGuides Photo of the Year competition, but this time things are different — we're giving you the opportunity to vote for your favourite image!
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 2016Review of the Year 2016
David Campbell recalls the myriad highlights of what was an extraordinary year for not just rarities but for birding in general.
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Rarity finders Blue Rock Thrush in Gloucestershire Blue Rock Thrush in Gloucestershire
Bridget Jennings had noticed the unusual thrush-like bird in her garden for some time, but it took her internet-savvy son to figure out what it was.
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 Pine Bunting in ShropshireRarity finders Pine Bunting in Shropshire
Simon Davies braved the rain on New Year's Day to find a Shropshire first.
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Catching up with a record-breaker: an interview with Arjan DwarshuisCatching up with a record-breaker: an interview with Arjan Dwarshuis
After a successful 2016 spent smashing the world year-list record with a total of 6,833 species, Dutch birder Arjan Dwarshuis is back in his native Amsterdam — and we caught up with him for a chat about the mother of all birding years.
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Colour-ringed Waxwing wanderings — early January updateColour-ringed Waxwing wanderings — early January update
Raymond Duncan has the latest update on sightings of colour-ringed Waxwings across Britain.
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RSPB Schoolchildren set to survey Britain's birds Schoolchildren set to survey Britain's birds
Tens of thousands of schoolchildren across Britain will be swapping books for binoculars this term to take part in the RSPB’s Big Schools' Birdwatch.
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 Blue Tits missing from gardens after washout summerBTO Blue Tits missing from gardens after washout summer
The latest figures from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) show that Blue Tit numbers are down, probably due to the unusually wet summer.
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Research DNA analysis of bluebird faeces reveals benefits for vineyards DNA analysis of bluebird faeces reveals benefits for vineyards
DNA techniques have shown that Western Bluebirds nesting in California's vineyards help grape growers by eating agricultural pests.
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Special offer:Crossbill Guides: Western Andalucia
Special offer price: £24.95 (SRP: £26.95)

This new title in the Crossbill Guides Series is one of two volumes exploring the autonomous region of Andalucia in Spain. Covering the western provinces, it answers two key questions: what makes this area so special, and how you can see this for yourself. This book describes the flora and fauna, landscape and traditional land use of this region, and features 18 detailed routes and 28 sites with concrete indications on where and how to find the birds, wildlife and flora.
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Featured tour Affordable Turkey for Brown Fish Owl, Caspian Snowcock and more
In June 2017 we return to southern Turkey, where the recently rediscovered Brown Fish Owl is the key target bird of this great-value holiday. We will also look for a range of other exciting species, including Caspian Snowcock, Lammergeier, White-throated Robin, Krüper's Nuthatch, Asian Crimson-winged Finch and much more. The successful tours of 2015 logged more than 170 species in just five days and sold out, so book now to avoid disappointment.
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 Affordable Turkey for Brown Fish Owl, Caspian Snowcock and more
Bird of the Week Stejneger's Stonechat
 Stejneger's StonechatIt was a surprise for many to learn that DNA had apparently confirmed the identification of a monochrome stonechat, present at Dungeness from early November and into December, as a Stejneger's Stonechat over the Christmas period. Still showing well this week, the bird has drawn a consistent and at times sizeable crowd to the far south-east of England. Although DNA is rarely wrong, the sample obtained from this bird is to be re-tested this week to confirm its identity, as some remain unconvinced that a Stejneger's could ever show such a streaked rump (and indeed the faint flank streaking). Time will tell, and we should have more to report back on this bird shortly.

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Photo of the Week 4–10 January 4–10 January
Roy Rimmer's Mistle Thrush kicks off 2017 in style.
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Review of the Week 4–10 January

There were signs of change this week as Waxwings and white-winged gulls — particularly Glaucous Gulls — became increasingly widespread and numerous on our news page as the days passed. It also remained busy in general, with the volume of news output as high as it has ever been at this point in January.

In excess of 650 Waxwing reports on our news page this week hinted that birds were on the move, and that was very much the case. By the end of the week flocks had begun to infiltrate Greater London and southern counties, and on some days the species accounted for almost 25 per cent of our entire news output. Reports of hundreds in Leeds and Sheffield showed that a considerable proportion of this winter's influx are now well south into England (although there are apparently still plenty in Scottish cities such as Aberdeen). For more on the wanderings of Waxwings this winter, see this article.

Waxwing
Waxwing, Lincoln, Lincolnshire (Photo: Dean Eades)

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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