Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 13 of 95

20 Best Birds in Britain 12 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2017 hen I was asked to write an article about Britain's birds, my first reaction was slight panic. How could my home country compete with the likes of Ecuador, Australia, and Asia, with their league of endem- ics and highly colorful, beautiful species? In contrast, Great Britain has only one endemic bird, many of its bird species are not exactly dazzling, and, whilst the current British list is just over 600 species (and slowly rising), a high percentage are rare vagrants and migrants. So why would a birder considering a trip to Europe visit the U.K. rather than, say, Spain? Britain is certainly not without its birding spec- tacles, and I hope my list of the 20 Best Birds in Britain will help convince you that a trip here will be worthwhile. Great Britain is a rather small island with a mix of rich and varied habitats. I am lucky to live in East Anglia on the east coast of England. Within 30 minutes of my home, I can walk through huge reedbeds, farmlands, wetlands, grasslands, lowland heathlands, de- ciduous forests, and coniferous woodlands, and along shingle and sandy beaches, river estuaries, and low sandy coastal cliffs. With this wide va- riety of habitat comes wildlife diversity, and on a spring day with a bit of luck a list of over 100 species is possible. In other parts of the country within a couple of hours, you can pass through wild open moor- lands and along river valleys to stunning coastal cliffs. One of the best things about birding in Great Britain is the accessibility, with an amaz- ing network of people-friendly nature reserves and national parks. All but a couple of birds on my list can be seen fairly easily and by seeking only a small amount of information. The Best Birds in Britain 20 W Photo © Rachel Coombes

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