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.


Source: Giant finches invade Scotland

Reds from the East embark on a British invasion 

Bird Notes columnist Julian Hughes of RSPB Conwy reveals what birds have been spotted in the past week and outlines 13 local birding events in the coming days

Each evening this week, when I’ve stepped outside with the dog, I’ve heard the high-pitched squeak of Redwings arriving in the calm air, making landfall on the North Wales coast after a flight from the east.

Small numbers of Fieldfare have come too, and there is always the prospect of a Scandinavian Ring Ouzel, such as one on the Great Orme last week

Other winter birds include two Great Northern Divers and seven Scaup on Anglesey’s Inland Sea, Long-tailed Duck at Hope’s Fagl Lane quarry, Lapland Buntings on Bardsey and the Great Orme.

Another Scaup is at RSPB Conwy , where a Glaucous Gull was found on last Wednesday’s high tide.

Read more at: Reds from the East embark on a British invasion – Daily Post

BIRD WATCH: Size, silhouette and all that slang  

WHEN YOU TRAVEL to different countries or different places in this country, it’s easy to pick up local slang.

After two weeks of birding in England, I began using some of the Brits’ bird-watcher expressions.

A column featuring this trip earned me a call from my editor.

“I don’t recognize the word ‘jizz.’ ”

I thought I had successfully defined it for him, but Bob was adamant.

“You’ll have to change it.”

Bob Mottram was one of my all-time favorite editors. That’s saying something because I’ve had some great ones over the years. I was disappointed I couldn’t get him to change his mind.

That was a few decades ago. Now, jizz is widely recognized among this country’s birders.

To understand its meaning, think of a familiar bird you easily. You recognize it by its jizz.

That’s what you are doing when you say something like, “It looks like — or it acts like a robin.”

When I saw my first “blackbird” in Australia, my instinctive reaction was, “That’s a black robin!” [ . . . }

Read More at: BIRD WATCH: Size, silhouette and all that slang | Peninsula Daily News

Hundreds flock to see American Yellow Warbler in Portland

Hundreds of bird enthusiasts have flocked to the Isle of Portland following sightings of an American Yellow Warbler.

The native American bird is thought to have been blown across the Atlantic by Hurricane Gert while migrating to South America.Martin Cade, of Portland Bird Observatory, said it was “pretty amazing” to see the warbler.It is believed to be the first time one has been seen in England.The birds are common in the US and migrate annually between North and South America.

Mr Cade said the warbler could have been caught up in storms while crossing the Caribbean and blown across to Europe with “a hell of a tailwind”.Another one has also been spotted on Mizen Head on the south west tip of Ireland in recent days.Mr Cade said the bird, about the size of a robin, was “feeding well and appeared active”. [ . . . ] More: Hundreds flock to see American Yellow Warbler in Portland – BBC News