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Ev­ery is­sue, we ask well-known bird­ers ques­tions about their hobby. This month it’s the turn of cam­paigner for na­ture Jonny Rankin

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Cam­paigner for na­ture Jonny Rankin answers our bird­ing ques­tions this month

What first sparked your in­ter­est in birdwatching?

Fam­ily! I grew up feral in the north-east of Eng­land and I am all the bet­ter for it! I re­ceived a good ground­ing in the nat­u­ral world from both my grand­fa­ther and fa­ther.

Who was your birdwatching in­spi­ra­tion or men­tor?

Mother Na­ture.

Did you bird alone or with a friend.?

Most fre­quently alone and there­after with my good friend, Malcolm Fair­ley.

Your dream bird to see?

Steller’s Sea Ea­gle.

Your favourite bird­ing spot?

Any­where with soli­tude and aside from the mad­den­ing masses! I like the King’s For­est (lo­cally) to my­self, and north­ern Norway (fur­ther afield).

Your clas­sic bird­ing lunch, grabbed from the fill­ing sta­tion chiller cab­i­net?

I don’t eat from fill­ing sta­tion chiller cab­i­nets.

Stock Dove or Rock Dove?

Tur­tle Dove.

Favourite bird song or call

‘Tur­ring’ Tur­tle Dove.

Birdwatching’s big­gest myth or mis­con­cep­tion?

That birdwatching is any­thing other than re­spect­ful na­ture worship. That is the pri­mary; any­thing else you put upon it – is cheap­en­ing and sec­ondary at best!

The best bird you have ever seen.

Tur­tle Dove.

Iden­ti­fy­ing gulls – night­mare or a nice day out?

If there was lit­er­ally noth­ing else go­ing, per­haps mid-win­ter, I would give the gulls a look. It is, how­ever, the birdwatching equiv­a­lent of a 2am night­club de­ci­sion. You’ll re­gret it in the morn­ing.

Your favourite bird joke?

I don’t joke.

How do we en­cour­age young peo­ple to watch birds?

Lead by ex­am­ple. Peo­ple do what they wish – which is usu­ally aw­ful!

Black­cap or Gar­den War­bler?

Black­cap.

The one place you would love to go bird­ing?

Sa­hara.

A bird­ing/con­ser­va­tion is­sue you feel strongly about?

Species ex­tinc­tion, con­tin­ued habi­tat de­struc­tion, the lack of po­lit­i­cal or pub­lic will for any­thing be­yond the end of their nose! Oh and Tur­tle Doves, too – I like them.

The bird that an­noys you the most?

Red-legged Par­tridge.

The bo­gey bird that still eludes you?

Night Heron – both at home and abroad!

The bird book you would never be with­out?

Collins Bird Guide.

Why do you love birdwatching in three words?

Only na­ture is real.

Ad­vice for bird­ers tak­ing part in #My200birdyear?

Get out there as much as pos­si­ble. You prob­a­bly won’t re­gret it!

JONNY RANKIN Twit­ter: @Jon­ny09jonny

Dove Step 3 Just Giv­ing: www.justgiv­ing.com/ fundrais­ing/dovestep3

ê Jonny’s favourite bird pro­duces his favourite bird song, too! Mike Lane / Alamy TUR­TLE DOVE

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