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Join the binoculars-wielding army in the name of citizen science, says John Ingham

ONE of the joys of being a father is being able to drive your family to distraction. Few habits annoy mine more than me using my mobile phone to jot down the birds I see and hear on walks and then send the data to the British Trust for Ornithology’s BirdTrack  [ . . . ]

Source: Join the binoculars-wielding army in the name of citizen science, says John Ingham

RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is back for 2018

EAGLE-EYED bird lovers are being encouraged to scour the skies for a huge bird watching survey. 

Last year, more than 1,300 children and teachers in Greater Manchester took part in the Birdwatch.

The starling was the most common visitor and half of schools spotted one during their watch, with more than 70 different species recorded.

Emma Reed, RSPB Education, Families and Youth manager in Northern England said: “Taking part in Big Schools Birdwatch uses just one lesson or lunchtime so it’s really fun and simple to set up, and it works for all ages.

“Sadly, children today are spending less time outside in nature, which means they are missing out on the positive impact it has on their physical health, emotional well-being and their education.

“The Birdwatch is the perfect chance for them to experience nature first-hand, make exciting discoveries, and the results help provide our scientists with valuable information, so the children are helping to make a real difference for wildlife.” [ . . . ]

Source: RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is back for 2018

As Britain’s birdlife takes flight, skies of my youth are changing for ever

Birds that were once rare visitors to Britain are becoming a regular sight in England, but in Scotland, Arctic species are likely to vanish

Even though almost half a century has passed, I can still recall in vivid detail the events of a hot, sunny afternoon in August 1970. My mother and I were visiting Brownsea Island, off the Dorset coast. We entered a dark hide, opened the window and looked out across the lagoon. And there – shining like a beacon – was a Persil-white apparition: my first little egret.

Back then, this ghostly member of the heron family was a very rare visitor to Britain. Nowadays, little egrets are so numerous that we hardly give them a second glance. On my local patch, the Avalon Marshes in the heart of Somerset, I have seen up to 60 in a single feeding flock. And, according to the magazine British Birds, there are now more than 1,000 breeding pairs, as far north as the Scottish border [ . . . ] More at: As Britain’s birdlife takes flight, skies of my youth are changing for ever

Giant finches invade Scotland

An unusually high number of giant finches look likely to arrive in Scotland this winter

There have been record sightings of hawfinches in England and Wales and now they are reportedly travelling north with several already having been spotted here in the last week.

The influx is a real treat as these birds are shy and elusive, and there are thought to be fewer than 1000 pairs in the UK.

Hawfinches are the nutcrackers of the bird world, with their massive parrot like bills that can crack even the hardest nutshells.

Read more at http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/giant-finches-invade-scotland#QO8wzufbEIstgG1k.99

Source: Giant finches invade Scotland