Scroll down to see ‘what bird to look for now’

Bird Watching
Autumn ISSUE

• Read the inspiring story of how the therapeutic benefits of birding changed one man’s life
• ID masterclass: 12 raptor species you can identify with ease
• Winning images from this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year competition
• Dominic Couzens discovers the clever way that Sanderlings track down their prey!
• Why you should add Yellow-browed Warbler to your #My200BirdYear list!
• Miracles of migration – why anything’s possible on your patch this autumn

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What to look for, NOW!

Here, we highlight what to look for when you're out birding.

This week it is: Redstart

Chats are what we call the smaller thrushes. They are often very pretty birds and none are prettier than the redstarts. There are two species, the scarce Black Redstart and the more common (Common) Redstart. Now is a great time to catch up with the latter, as they migrate south through the country (and eventually down to Africa for the winter). Passage Redstarts are found in bushes, hedges and trees, especially next to short cropped grass, on which they can pounce to grab a caterpillar or similar tasty invertebrate morsel. In the autumn, the colours are often ‘masked’ by the ‘fresh’ feathers, which are brown/buff tipped. But adult males can still look spectacular, with a black and white face, orange breast and thequivering bright orange tail which gives this lovely bird its name. Redstarts can be quite shy birds and sometimes betray themselves by their ‘hooweet’ call, which is very similar to that of the Willow Warbler.

First-winter male Redstart

First-winter male Redstart

Adult male Redstart, September  (Mike Weedon)

Adult male Redstart, September (Mike Weedon)

Last week it was: Wood Sandpiper

The last weekend of July saw a change in the weather from steaming hot to wet and cool, which brought with it an unprecedented influx of juvenile Wood Sandpipers into the country. There were hundreds, probably thousands of birds involved, with flocks of this usually scarce wader popping up all over the place. These included a whopping 110 together at Cley Marshes NWT, Norfolk. Many of these graceful, pleasing little waders will still be hanging around well into August. Remember, for ‘returning’ waders, there isn’t the rush of spring birds (which are usually ‘in a rush’ to get to claim a breeding territory). Wood Sandpipers have a particular preference for freshwater. They are slightly smaller, more delicate, gracile birds than Green Sandpipers, also with paler, browner, well spotted plumage, longer yellow legs and pale, not black, underwings.

Juvenile Wood Sandpiper

Juvenile Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Images above by Alamy

message from the editor...

Welcome to Bird Watching, the UK’s best-selling bird magazine. Every issue is packed with ideas, tips, advice, news and reviews, including binoculars and scopes, for anyone with an interest in wild birds, whether they simply enjoy watching their garden birds, or prefer to travel the country and world in search of more unusual species. Our mission is to inspire you to enjoy the world of wildlife that starts right outside your back door. Find out more and sign up to our annual birding challenge #My200BirdYear here.
Matt Merritt