23/12/2014
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Merry Christmas from BirdGuides!

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Though we may not have hit the heady heights of 2013, 2014 has nonetheless been another entertaining year in British and Irish birding. From the outset we had great birds: the extremely popular American Coot in Highland was the first mega of the year and broke on 5 January. Since then there has been a great variety of highlights but Crag Martin, Short-toed Eagle, Spectacled Warbler, Great Knot, Siberian Rubythroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Eastern Crowned Warbler are all likely to feature among many birders' favourite birds of 2014.

The plentiful supply of rare birds has kept our hard-working news team busy throughout the year. The introduction of the Western Palearctic news page in February has also kept us on our toes, and it's been great to forge a range of new contacts across the region as we broaden our horizons in order to keep you up to date with what's going on beyond our own shores.

From the Managing Editor

Dominic Mitchell writes: "It's been another excellent year for BirdGuides. With the site now firmly established in its new London office and various refinements in place, including the new Western Palearctic bird news service, BirdGuides runs seamlessly alongside Birdwatch magazine, enabling us to offer the best possible combination of bird news and information both online and in print. In 2014 we also welcomed Steve Young, one of Britain's best-known bird photographers, to the BirdGuides team as our new Photo Consultant. And in early 2015, we'll be looking ahead to some exciting new ideas for further improvements to our range of services in the coming 12 months — watch this space!"

Personal highlights...

Josh Jones added: "It's been a busy yet rewarding year here at BirdGuides — there have been a few ups and downs along the way but we're now in a position to look forward to making big strides forward in 2015. Despite the workload I did manage to sneak out of the office at times! A couple of particularly rewarding trips stand out for me: the Ural Mountains of Russia in June and Peru in September, and illustrated reports on both will be appearing both here and in the magazine in the near future.

I've not done anywhere near as much birding in the British Isles as I'd have liked, but I enjoyed a great week in Ireland in February which was typically chock-a-block with gulls. My personal highlight of the year was the Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Porthgwarra — a bird I really thought I'd never see in Britain, let alone on the mainland and alongside such a small crowd."

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This showy Ross's Gull in Co Cork proved one of Josh's favourite encounters of 2014 (Photo: Josh Jones)

Dominic, Josh and the rest of the BirdGuides team would like to extend their best wishes to all our readers for 2015. We look forward to bringing you the news of a whole host of exciting rarities next year; our annual Photo of the Year competition will also be back along with the Review of the Year and some other exciting new features. Until then, we hope you have the Merriest of Christmases and a relaxing and enjoyable festive break. As always, our bird news services will run uninterrupted over Christmas and New Year and the webzine will also continue to bring you the latest birding news, views and information during that time. Here's hoping for another big Christmas rarity...

BrĂ¼nnich's Guillemot
Last year's festive highlight was the Portland BrĂ¼nnich's Guillemot — can it be bettered in the coming days? (Photo: John Stanton)

The BirdGuides office will be closed from 17:00 on Tuesday 23 December 2014, re-opening on Friday 2 January 2015.
Any queries can be emailed to contact@birdguides.com and we will attempt to answer as soon as possible over the Christmas period. You can continue to shop online at www.birdguides.com/estore. Orders for online products will be fulfilled automatically; orders for shippable products will be dispatched in the New Year.



Written by: www.birdguides.com