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APOLOGY – WEAVER’S HILL GO BIRDING

The Go Birding site guide for Weaver’s Hill, Herefordshire, which appeared in the December 2017 issue of Bird Watching (P61), contained inaccurate information.

We would like to apologise to the Mynde Park Estate for the inconvenience caused, and to point out the following:

  • There is NO access to the country house and garden; these are strictly private property and are NOT open to the public.
  • The route marked on the map should be ignored; the only public footpath is the Herefordshire Trail (the red dotted line interspersed with diamonds that runs east-west. Please do not leave the Herefordshire Trail to birdwatch.

We will be providing the Estate with nest boxes and feeders as recompense. A corrected version of the guide will be made available as a downloadable PDF at www.birdwatching.co.uk


What to look for, NOW!

every week we'll highlight what to look for when you're out birding.

This week it's: Arctic Tern

Now is the time that glorious Arctic terns pass through the country on their way to their northern breeding grounds. They frequently turn up at inland sites during the last couple of weeks of April and into May; often in flocks of tens of birds, but even sometimes hundreds of individuals, usually leaving the same evening. Unlike many passage migrants, they often turn up at sits in the middle of the day or afternoon or early evening (rather than the early morning). But how do you tell Arctic Terns from the very similar Common Terns, which often breed at inland sites and are present throughout the summer. Here are the key things to look for when trying to pick out Arctics (note the differences can be subtle and refer to flying birds):

Wing pattern: Arctic terns have pale wings which often look 'translucent', especially in the longer wing feathers (primaries). Common Terns have a smudgy grey wedge in the primaries, particularly clear from above. Arcics have a fine, thin black line on the primaries' trailing edge; Commons have a broader, smudgier line there.

Structure: Arctic Terns have very long tail streamers, which almost seem disjointed from the rest of the tail. They drag so far behind that in order to balance, the wings seem set much further forward, giving a short-necked appearance. Commons usually have have shorter tails and wings which seem further back, giving a longer necked appearance.

Flight style: Arctic Terns are birds of great grace and beauty, which, on passage at inland sites, specialise in swooping down to pick insects from the surface of water; on diving the tail is spread and the streamers spread still further. Common Terns have a much more powerful flight style, with a powerful flick of the 'wrist', and though they will also pick insects, they o in=t with less finesse.

Bill: Arctic Terns have shortish, deep blood-red bills without an obvious black tip. Common Tern bills are notably longer and usually brighter orange-red with a clear black tip.

 Arctic Tern, April 2018. Note the short, blood-red bill, the long tail streamers and the 'clean' wings, lacking 'ugly' grey primary wedges

Arctic Tern, April 2018. Note the short, blood-red bill, the long tail streamers and the 'clean' wings, lacking 'ugly' grey primary wedges

 Arctic Tern, April 2018. In this photograph you can see how long the tail is as well as how 'clean' the underwing appears

Arctic Tern, April 2018. In this photograph you can see how long the tail is as well as how 'clean' the underwing appears

Images by Mike Weedon


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


latest magazine ISSUE

Bird watching may 2018

Our latest issue  is packed with great articles to help you bird better.
It comes with a FREE 24-page magazine on how to create a perfect garden for birds and other wildlife! Plus:

  • 100 ways to enjoy your best birding month ever – 16-page guide
  • Dominic Couzens on Grasshopper Warbler
  • Discover the hidden secrets of the Swift
  • Win Canon and Swarovski binoculars
  • A comprehensive round-up of birds in your area
  • Test your ID knowledge of spring waders!

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