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 17 of 95

Photo © Kevin Lunham 16 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2017 20 Best Birds in Britain Research suggests that changes in agri- cultural practices are driving these de- clines, but for this long-distance migrant, factors overseas could also be playing a role. Spending three summers intensively studying this species, I found them to be real characters and very inquisitive, an - nouncing their presence with a short, sharp psit . A Yellow Wagtail is likely to brighten any birder's day. #6 • Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos A summer migrant to southern England, the nightingale is a hard-to-see, sulking, and nondescript brown bird with a red - dish tail. Rather unremarkable, until it sings! During the breeding season, a male sings its famous song for hours each night, and older males can have a repertoire of more than 200 different phrases. Urban noise can force nightingales to sing as loudly as 95 decibels—as loud as a chain - saw one meter away, which is enough to violate European sound pollution regula - tions! I included the species in my top 20 after one amazing starlit night last spring, when I stood in awe listening to the in - credible sound of seven close nightingales all trying to out-compete each other. We once had a male singing outside our bed - room window, and, although fantastic to hear, it was not necessarily conducive to sleep! Nightingales are in the same genus as the Bluethroat, which breeds in Alaska. #7 • Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus Almost the entire Greenland/Iceland Pink-footed Goose breeding population winters in Britain. Even so, a single pink- foot probably wouldn't make my list; in a huge flock, though, this species is one of the U.K.'s winter wonders. The north Norfolk coast is one of the best places to # 11 # 10 # 12 Photo © Michael L. P. Retter Photo © Ray Morris

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