Editorials

June 23rd will always be a memorable date for me. No, not June 23rd 2016 and the EU Referendum. Far more significant (to me) was June 23rd 1987 and ‘my’ male Lesser Kestrel on Fair Isle. The 30th anniversary of that momentous day is later this month and I’ll be marking it with a fond smile and a raised glass because, as yet another June 23rd comes around, I have yet to find a better bird in Britain…

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Many of us will share Mark Holling’s frustration with frequent changes to the order in which bird families and species are placed in lists (Holling 2016). I agree that the changes come about because taxonomists want to use the ‘best’ list, so that the sequence is changed in the light of new opinions about the avian evolutionary tree. But the problem lies deeper than this…

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Many of the world’s most important locations for bird species diversity and abundance are included within a network of over 12,000 key conservation areas, defined by Birdlife International as being Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas…

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I believe that the future of the driven grouse shooting industry rests in its own hands. It either reforms, to improve the environmental conditions of the uplands, or public distrust and anger will grow, leading inevitably to government intervention to regulate its activities. Let me explain…

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Saturday 13th August 2016 was a special day for me: an e-petition bearing my name, aimed at the Westminster government and calling for driven grouse shooting to be banned, passed 100,000 signatures and was therefore heading for a debate in parliament…

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I’ve fairly recently moved in to live with my partner. An eyebrow was raised about the number of books I brought with me. In reality, it was only about a quarter of my entire book collection but that’s enough to have turned the small spare bedroom of our London flat into something that more closely resembles a library…

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Having made a recent, supposedly one-off, foray into the business of optical reviews, I felt I could hardly say no when the nice people at ZEISS wanted to send me their new telescope, the Gavia 85, to look at…

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Many birdwatchers have a special place where they go in times of stress, or just to enjoy being close to nature. One of my favourite places is the Tower Hide at Wicken Fen, in Cambridgeshire, at dusk. Perhaps I am especially attracted to it because the tower is of a similar age to me and still standing strong. The hide offers panoramic views across the Fen…

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When J. N. Hollyer pointed out that Continental Song Thrushes had a flight call rather like that of the Redwing, Richard Fitter, who had mentioned this (somewhat obliquely) in his Collins pocket guide, wrote that he should have taken advice given him long before by David Lack: ‘new facts should always be recorded in papers, not books, which obviously nobody ever reads!’…

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Very occasionally, BB has offered to publicise a one-off product review on its website, and this is another of those situations. When ZEISS offered up a pair of its new SF 8×42 binoculars, I was sufficiently intrigued to say yes. Given that I have used one of the new model’s predecessors – the ZEISS FL 8×42 – since 2008, I was keen to inspect the development of the company’s flagship binocular, and whether significant improvements had been made…

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