FIVE TO FIND in Septem­ber

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

BIRDS ARE ON the move through­out the year, but spring and au­tumn are the times when mi­gra­tion is in full flow. Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber span ar­guably the most ex­cit­ing time of the year for bird­watch­ing. So, this month, we rec­om­mend a few au­tumn spe­cials. Most are scarce, but all are very pos­si­ble, with a bit of luck... LIT­TLE STINT

TELL US WHAT YOU’VE SEEN! twit­­watch­ing­mag face­­watch­ing­mag

As both parts of this wader’s name seem to im­ply, the Lit­tle Stint is tiny. It is so small, that you al­most be­lieve it could run through a Dun­lin’s legs. As such, it is rel­a­tively easy to pick out, at least as some­thing dif­fer­ent, in a flock of small dumpy sand­pipers. Most au­tumn birds are ju­ve­niles, with neat plumage, well de­fined pale fringes on their wing coverts and white V on the back. The legs are black and the main po­ten­tial ID con­fu­sion is with the very rare North Amer­i­can ‘peeps’. But that is an­other story… RED-BACKED SHRIKE

Though for­merly a breeder, the charis­matic Red-backed Shrike is largely a pas­sage mi­grant through the UK in the au­tumn, in quite small num­bers, and mainly found along the south and east coasts. The great ma­jor­ity of au­tumn birds seen will be ju­ve­niles/first-win­ters, which are browner than adults and barred below and above. Scan coastal (or even in­land) sites, along fence lines and bushes, which the shrikes use to search for in­sect and small ver­te­brate prey.

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