August has come to be a month associated with raptors, notably (in recent years at least) the Hen Harrier. The Hen Harrier Day movement (, to highlight the persecution of that species on our grouse moors, has risen to become one of the biggest events in the birding calendar. This year, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, there will almost certainly be no local events around the UK, but visit the website to find out more. Meanwhile, this issue contains a paper that I have long wanted to bring to the BB readership, describing the extraordinary raptor migration at the Batumi bottleneck, along the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Batumi is one of the best places in the world to see harriers, but besides watching the migrating raptors, there is an important and developing story about conservation and education too. The Batumi Raptor Count team have put together a terrific paper, with the focus on a ‘raptor calendar’ for Batumi. I hope you enjoy it and that, at some point, you might consider going to witness the spectacle for yourselves and support the work they are doing.

Roger Riddington


432      BB eye: Pub birds  John Lawton

436      News and comment  Adrian Pitches

439      Batumi Raptor Count: from migration counts to conservation in a raptor flyway under threat  Bart Hoekstra, Johannes Jansen, Dries Engelen, Folkert de Boer, Rafa Benjumea, Jasper Wehrmann, Simon Cavaillès, Triin Kaasiku, Diego Jansen, Pia Fetting, Aki Aintila and Wouter Vansteelant

461      Report on scarce migrant birds in Britain in 2018 Part 1: non-passerines  Steve White and Chris Kehoe

483      From the Rarities Committee’s files: Moult and ageing of passerines – an overview  Stephen Menzie

500      Obituaries

502      Letters

505      Reviews

507      Recent reports


Issue 8
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Roger Riddington
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