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Hello again.
In this email:
Birdwatch March issue – on sale tomorrow
Research Climate change could deliver final blow for threatened species
EBBA2 — help required to fill data gaps
House of Lords report highlights environmental impact of Brexit
Research Monitoring birds by drone
A confiding Great Grey Owl in Canada
Birdwatch magazine Allen's Hummingbird boom missed by American breeding bird surveys
Butterfly Conservation Urban butterflies in sharp decline
Review Carmarthenshire Birds 2015
Special offer:Guide to the Dragonflies of the UK and Ireland
Featured tour Affordable Turkey for Brown Fish Owl, Caspian Snowcock and more
Bird of the Week Pacific Diver
Photo of the Week 15–21 February
Review of the Week 15–21 February
Subscribe and save money today
Birdwatch March issue – on sale tomorrow
 March issue – on sale tomorrowGet your copy of March's Birdwatch tomorrow!

The lost plover — Not so long ago, breeding Kentish Plovers scurried around the shingle beaches of their eponymous county and elsewhere in southern England. Sadly now lost as a breeder, the species still appears as a very scarce passage migrant, but is much better known in southern Europe. David Callahan profiles a plover with an intriguing history and a recent taxonomic twist.

Censusing the birds — The British Trust for Ornithology has been organising bird surveys for many years and these have provided much essential knowledge to help monitor our bird populations and help conserve them. The charity's Sarah Harris tells us about new developments this year and how you can take part as a 'citizen scientist'.

Sun, sea and endemics — It may be best known as a popular tourist destination, but Tenerife in the Canary Islands is home to a number of endemic birds and thousands of other creatures and plants found nowhere else in the world. With the spectacular volcano of Mount Teide, subtropical laurel forest and dry woodland and pines, its diverse habitats merit full exploration. James Lowen is your guide.

The wild card candidate — If you still want a good reason to start looking at gulls, here's one: expect the unexpected. Slaty-backed Gull is a good example, with the firsts for Britain and Ireland discovered not on far-flung islands but in London and Galway City. What's more, the species is appearing increasingly elsewhere in Europe and is actually quite distinctive, as Peter Adriaens reveals in next month's ID Photo Guide.

PLUS: late winter and early spring itineraries, getting Alpine Swift on your list, columnists Mark Avery and Lucy McRobert, Steve Young's photo challenge, detailed rarity and scarcity round-ups from around Britain, Ireland and the Western Palearctic with BirdGuides.com, news, views and book and product reviews, and answers to your birding questions from our panel of experts.

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Research Climate change could deliver final blow for threatened species Climate change could deliver final blow for threatened species
A new study suggests that a quarter of threatened birds are already being negatively impacted by climate change and questions whether such adjustments could be the tipping point.
Link more
EBBA2 — help required to fill data gapsEBBA2 — help required to fill data gaps
The European Bird Census Council is appealing to birders across the region to help fill in the gaps for the forthcoming European Breeding Bird Atlas (EBBA2).
Link more
House of Lords report highlights environmental impact of BrexitHouse of Lords report highlights environmental impact of Brexit
The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has published a report recommending key actions to ensure environmental protections are not eroded as a result of Brexit.
Link more
 Monitoring birds by droneResearch Monitoring birds by drone
Forget delivering packages or taking aerial photographs — drones can even count small birds!
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A confiding Great Grey Owl in CanadaA confiding Great Grey Owl in Canada
Great Grey Owls are notorious for often acting fearlessly around humans and, as the video in the link shows, this bird appears completely oblivious to an appreciative crowd in Montreal, Canada.
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Birdwatch magazine Allen's Hummingbird boom missed by American breeding bird surveys
 Allen's Hummingbird boom missed by American breeding bird surveysPopulation declines indicated by breeding surveys of Allen's Hummingbird have seen it placed on several conservation watch lists, but eBird observations contradict this notion.
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Butterfly Conservation Urban butterflies in sharp decline Urban butterflies in sharp decline
A new study has found that butterfly species are declining more rapidly in urban areas than in the countryside.
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 Review Carmarthenshire Birds 2015
Steve Holliday takes a look at a high-quality offering from Carmarthenshire Bird Club.
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Special offer:Guide to the Dragonflies of the UK and Ireland
RRP: £35

This three-DVD set, which is the culmination of nine years of field trips, covers all the resident and vagrant damselflies and dragonflies of the UK and Ireland. It covers every one of the 69 species to have occurred, including those which are now extinct. Additional species that may occur as vagrants or colonists in the future have also been included. Each species account includes a summary of the key identification features, multiple footage of male, female and often immature individuals, and includes comparison scenes discussing the key identification features between similar species.

A donation will be made to the British Dragonfly Society for every DVD sold to support UK dragonfly conservation.

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Featured tour Affordable Turkey for Brown Fish Owl, Caspian Snowcock and more
 Affordable Turkey for Brown Fish Owl, Caspian Snowcock and moreIn June 2017 we return to southern Turkey, where the recently rediscovered Brown Fish Owl is the key target bird of this great-value holiday. We will also look for a range of other exciting species, including Caspian Snowcock, Lammergeier, White-throated Robin, Krüper's Nuthatch, Asian Crimson-winged Finch and much more. The successful tours of 2015 logged more than 170 species in just five days and sold out, so book now to avoid disappointment.
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Bird of the Week Pacific Diver
It seems extraordinary that a bird native to the Pacific Ocean might be found so regularly in Western Europe (and particularly in Britain and Ireland), but Pacific Diver appears to have established itself as an expected, if still rare, vagrant to our region.

It is just over 10 years since the first British and Western Palearctic record occurred in North Yorkshire, and the transformation of the species from bewildering giga-vagrant to near-annual visitor is nothing short of remarkable. While the reasons for this must largely be down to observer awareness, there are perhaps other factors at play here. Whatever the reasons, there's no denying this bird has travelled a long way from where it was born to reach south Devon.Link more
 Pacific Diver
 15–21 FebruaryPhoto of the Week 15–21 February
Peter Menear's Photo of the Week reminds us that spring is on the way ...
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Review of the Week 15–21 February

A second new Pacific Diver of the winter was the highlight of another lively (and unseasonably mild) week that also saw the first Northern Wheatear of the spring reported at Christchurch Harbour on 20th.

The diver — another crisp juvenile — was off Broadsands, Devon, on 16–17th only, but a report of a possible off Slapton on 18th could well have related to the same bird. Despite neighbouring Cornwall having hosted at least two returning birds over the past decade, Devon has never previously recorded the species and you might argue that this was an overdue county first, even if the species remains extremely rare on our shores. Meanwhile the adult remained in Mount's Bay, Cornwall, while the juvenile was still commuting between East Chevington and Druridge Bay Country Park, Northumberland.

Pacific Diver
Pacific Diver, Druridge Bay CP, Northumberland (Photo: Chris Barlow)

Link Read the full illustrated review online (free to access)

We'd love to hear your bird news – if you find any rare, scarce or otherwise notable species, or have updates on any of the birds mentioned on our Bird News Extra page, please:

  • use the web page http://www.birdguides.com/submit
  • call us on 0333 577 2473
  • email us at sightings@birdguides.com
  • text BIRDS RPT (followed by the details) to 07786 200505
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