Scroll down to see ‘what bird to look for now’
In the latest issue of Bird Watching:
FREE 24-page garden bird magazine offering all the help you need to make your outside space bird and wildlife-friendly
Special 16-page migration special – top UK migrant hotspots and all the information about why, when, how and where birds migrate
Dominic Couzens on why you may be missing out on seeing Song Thrush
Learn how to tell the Little Ringed Plover from its close relative
All the bird sightings in your area and much, much more!
What to look for, NOW!
every week we'll highlight what to look for when you're out birding.
This week it's: Blackcap
Last week, we welcomed home the cute little Sand martin, the earliest of the hirundines to return to the breeding grounds. By now, the first birds will be back in their nest holes. This week, it is the turn of one of our earliest returning warblers, the Blackcap. These days, several Blackcaps overwinter in the UK, but these are thought to be central European (eg German-bred) birds. The first ‘British’ birds are arriving back around now; the first ones are usually males, which draw attention to themselves (deliberately) by singing (to advertise to a mate and proclaim a territory). And the song is beautiful: a rich-toned, fluty warble, interspersed with harsh notes; one of the best songs of early spring. Males have black caps, while females have red-brown caps. Look (and listen) in mature woodland, parkland, and even mature gardens.
Last week it was: Sand Martin
Yes, folks, the Sand Martins are already pouring into the country, a few weeks earlier than usual in many places. Sand Martins are our smallest hirundines (swallows and martins) and they are not tricky to identify (if seen well). They are sandy brown above and whitish below with a brown upper chest band. So, they lack the striking white rump of the House Martin and the long tail streamers of the Swallow. Listen for the soft buzzing call and search, especially near water, for the little aerial insect feeders whizzing about in typical martin fashion. Sand Martins nest colonially in burrows dug into banks or cliffs of compacted sand etc.
Image 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.