Raptors are among the most challenging birds to identify in the field because of their bewildering variability of plumage, flight silhouettes and behaviour. This new title is the first illustrated guide to Mexico and Central America's 69 species of raptors, including vagrants. It features 32 stunning colour plates and 213 colour photos, and a distribution map for each regularly occurring species. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, age-related plumages, status and distribution, subspecies, moult, habitats, behaviours, potential confusion species, and more. This essential field guide to this difficult bird group will be the ideal travel companion for anyone visiting the region. more
They may now be an expected sight (or, more accurately, sound) each spring, but territorial Iberian Chiffchaffs nevertheless always draw a crowd. While some individuals attract considerable debate as opinions divide over their identification, others are more straightforward. The latter certainly applies to the fine male singing at Yate, Gloucestershire, this week, which both looks and sounds like a nailed-on 'Ibe Chiff'.
After snow caused disruption in some northern areas in the first few days of the review period, mild and settled conditions returned in the second half of the week — which in turn helped to reignite spring migration after a 10-day lull.
Annual 'firsts' included a Sedge Warbler singing at Blakeney Freshmarsh, Norfolk, on a very chilly day on 22nd (this followed by birds in East Sussex on 25th and Somerset on 27th), a Hobby on St Martin's, Scilly, on 22nd (with others latterly seen in Kent, Dorset and Cornwall), Tree Pipit at Cley, Norfolk, on 22nd and Common Tern at Swillington, West Yorks, on 28th but, most surprisingly, a (presumed) Common Swift over London's Alexandra Park on 27th. A few more Yellow Wagtails also sneaked through, while Osprey and Ring Ouzel numbers began to rise. Garganey were noted at well over 50 sites and a good arrival of Little Ringed Plovers took place from the weekend onwards. Willow Warblers and the three commoner hirundines are all rapidly increasing in the southern half of the country — by this time next week they should be much more widespread further north, if conditions remain favourable.
Scarcer migrants remain just that, though, and our predicted showing of a White-spotted Bluethroat failed to materialize — despite the easterlies. Alpine Swifts were over Tacumshin, Co Wexford, on 25th and St Mary's, Scilly, on 26th, though both were brief. A third was on Guernsey on 27th. A Hoopoe was near Abercych, Pembrokeshire, on 27th, but the highlight of the week was an early Iberian Chiffchaff singing at Yate on 25th — this first for Gloucestershire lingered until 26th only.