Spurn award for young birders now open
Entries are now open for the Martin Garner Young Birder of Year 2018. This prestigious award is part of the annual Spurn Migration Festival, which takes place at Spurn Bird Observatory from 7-9 September.
Named in honour of the late Martin Garner, one of Britain’s best-known birding experts, the competition is open to all young British birders who will be 16 or under on 8 September. All eligible entrants first complete an online questionnaire, answering questions such as whether or not you have a local patch, where you go birding further afield and if you can tell the difference between the songs of Common and Lesser Whitethroats – among others. Entries must be completed by midnight on 25 June.
The judges assess all entries and choose up to six finalists. These six young birders will then compete in an exciting contest held at ‘Migfest’ on 8 September. They will be asked to identify a number of birds in a variety of settings, depending on what is present on the day, as well as being observed doing visible migration and a seawatch. They will also be posed supplementary questions about birds, particularly migratory species likely to be found at Spurn in autumn.
Last year’s prizes included binoculars, field guides, free membership of Friends of Spurn and much more. The lucky winner was Dante Shepherd.
Nick Moran, BTO competition assessor, said: "BTO and Spurn Bird Observatory share Martin’s vision for Migfest: a celebration of bird migration for everyone with an interest in birds, and a unique opportunity to forge new friendships and develop birding skills at one of the UK’s premier migration hotspots. As part of this increasingly popular event in the birding calendar, we encourage young birders to showcase their skills through the Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder of the Year competition. The practical assessment is great fun, with plenty of migratory birds to see and hear, and provides a good test of field skills and knowledge. Finalist or not, all young birders can expect a warm welcome from everyone connected with Migfest ... and some great birding, too!"
The 2017 entrants (including winner Dante Shepherd, second from right) and BTO and Spurn Migration Festival staff assemble for the prize-giving. Photo: BTO.