Birdwatch – a change of face

The December issue of Birdwatch is as demanding of attention as all of its predecessors but this issue is the first under the editorship of long-term staff member, Rebecca Armstrong.  Good start Rebecca!

I’ve been sending Rebecca my copy every month for well over seven years now, and I’ve been on a couple of trips with her (to Spain and Slovakia) so I know her reasonably well.  Calm, sensible and knowledgeable is how I’d describe Rebecca’s professional persona.  She has worked at Birdwatch for a decade so she has been a large part of the magazine’s success already but now she takes over the hot-seat from Dominic Mitchell.

So what of Dominic? Dominic was the founder of Birdwatch 26 years ago and has built it up to be, in my opinion, the best of the bunch of birding magazines. It takes a lot of nerve, actually courage rather than nerve, to launch a new title and although Birdwatch is clearly well-established now, it takes a good product and good marketing to find a niche in the crowded magazine market.

And Dominic is a keen birder so he has known what the birding community wants, needs and expects. He also signed me up as a columnist when I left the RSPB, for which I have always been grateful as it gives me a platform to write as ‘The Political Birder’ every month.

Dominic remains as managing editor (which sounds very important) but plans to explore other opportunities and particularly, he tells me, writing and photography, and birding travel, as a freelance.  So if you want one of the wisest commercial heads in birding, and an experienced birder to boot, then give Dominic a call.

But what of this month’s offering?  The December issue, out now in late November, is always one with news and images of rarities and this issue is no different. I saw many Gray Catbirds in the USA this spring but none was as good a view as shown in the images of the bird that was on show in Cornwall this October. there are many other rarities written about and displayed in all their autumn glories in these pages. But also, two articles on conservation issues: one by ruth tingay and Rob Sheldon on Raven culls and another by Charlie Moores on hunting (hang on! that’s not about birds). My column is about our judicial review of NE’s licensing of brood meddling which takes place in 13 and 14 days’ time.

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