Editorials

The first British bird to be reintroduced for conservation reasons was the White-tailed Eagle, starting in 1975 (after two earlier failed attempts). Since then, the approach has been adopted with increasing regularity…

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My last formal engagement as the RSPB’s CEO was to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC) at the Birdfair last August. The BBRC archives and database of rare taxa in Britain together provide a valuable tool to help assess population changes through time…

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It wasn’t too many years ago that most birdwatchers regarded the species as an entirely stable unit of classification, something approaching a fixed state of being. In the past two decades, however, a steadily increasing number of studies in taxonomy…

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Globally, we have lost more than a third of wetlands since the 1970s, at a rate three times that of the loss of natural forests. A quarter of wetland species are at risk of extinction and, although waterbird species have a relatively low threat of global extinction compared with other taxonomic groups, most populations are in long-term decline…

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Many of the UK’s breeding birds are rare. Some have always occurred in small numbers, for example because they are top predators at the apex of their food chain or because they are highly ecologically specialised to restricted habitats. Others are rare because the UK lies at the edge of a more extensive distribution, either to the north (for example Arctic-breeding waders) or to the south (for example newly arriving herons and passerines). Yet others have become rare as a consequence of changes to their habitats. Monitoring the populations of such rare birds provides sensitive indicators of the changing state of the environment…

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Most importantly, despite all the paperwork and data input, I still manage to get out birding at least three times a week, and have been lucky enough to add two new species to the Cyprus list…

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Stanford Reservoir is situated on the upper reaches of the ‘Warwickshire’ Avon and lies on the county boundary between Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. The reservoir was built in 1928 and is owned by Severn Trent Water…

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The Main Pit at Theale Gravel Pits might be familiar to regular users of the M4. It lies on the south side of the motorway between the Reading Service Area and junction 12 and is the largest waterbody in the lower Kennet Valley. Main Pit is home to 25–30 Nightingale territories…

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Most of us enjoy a bit of peace and quiet – a break from the usual barrage of artificial sounds associated with modern living. I certainly appreciate places where natural sounds are dominant. As I’ve got older and my hearing has started to deteriorate, I find it more and more desirable to find quiet places to spend time outdoors…

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Inland Hampshire does not immediately spring to mind as a prime birding location, but that’s the thing about patch birding: it doesn’t matter. For me, patch birding is the simple enjoyment of birding somewhere very familiar…

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