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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At first sight this appeared to a ‘coffee table’ book, but to suggest that would be a mistake. It is a knowledgeable and scholarly overview of the owls, written in a style that makes it accessible to the non-specialist, and illustrated with a mass of images, many of quite outstanding quality…

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The 2016 IUCN Red List for Birds update highlights conservation success for two UK Overseas Territory species: Montserrat Oriole and St Helena Plover have both been given an improved conservation status…

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To celebrate the 90th anniversary of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, this article explores the iconic bird reserve that was its first land purchase, in 1926. Most birdwatchers in Britain have made the pilgrimage to Cley at some point…

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This report presents data on the non-passerine scarce migrants recorded in Britain in 2014…

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British Birds December 2016, summary of contents

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This is the fourth major work on North African birds to be published by SEOF, with previous volumes having covered Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia. The link between each of these has been Paul Isenmann of the French institute CNRS. This time he has used several collaborators to produce a much-needed avifauna of the country, effectively the first since the BOU Checklist The Birds of Libya, written by Graham Bundy in 1976…

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Every birder should know what a Lapwing is, and most will know what a Loon is too – but what about a Lousy Jack? It is an Australian species, the Apostlebird: just one of the many new things I learned from this intriguing book…

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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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Some bird species take it in turns to do the night shift of parental care, whilst others leave it to the female look after the nest after dark, says the largest study of its kind into understanding parental behaviour in shorebirds…

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