Birdwatch May 2020

I love this cover of Birdwatch – it’s very yellow!

There are some very thoughtful regular columns (including mine!) and a very good ‘big debate’ on long-haul flights. I think you’ll enjoy at least some of them.

But I spent more time looking at the images of birds, some of them rare birds – maybe because my chances of seeing many species are rather curtailed by current circumstances.

I enjoyed the identification piece on telling Meadow Pipits and Tree Pipits apart. I sometimes find these species difficult – the best rule of thumb, so as not to think you’ve seen a Tree Pipit, unless you really have, is to assume every pipit is a Meadow Pipit unless it’s in a wood in Wales in which case it is a Tree Pipit.

The two images show two very, very, similar species and I feel less bad on not always being sure about them now. When they sing, or when they call, it all gets easier – or if you are in a Welsh oakwood!

Then I turned to the article on the Short-toed Treecreeper which was seen at Dungeness in March, pre-lockdown. This convinced me that the best way to be sure that one is looking at a Short-toed Treecreeper is to go abroad where they are common! However, if I were at Dungeness, and I did see a treecreeper, then I’d look pretty hard at it for this is the hotspot for UK Short-toed Treecreeper records. And again, the calls are very helpful.

Now Ross’s Gull I can do! There was one of these birds in Devon in March, pre-lockdown, and I am sure I would have identified this bird. The only Ross’s Gull I have seen was on the Beauly Firth, from an industrial estate, on the edge of Inverness, many years ago (in February or March 1993) when I was working for the RSPB. We birders popped out to see it, just down the road, at lunchtime. I can’t recall the meeting at all, but I do remember the bird! A lovely little gull (though not a Little Gull).

Birdwatch is a cracking read – and looks very good too. If you usually, or sometimes, casually buy Birdwatch from a newsagent then now is the time to subscribe to make sure you get your copy – either printed or digitally.