Editorials

The subject of rewilding has received wide publicity recently, yet not too long ago this concept was familiar to just a handful of enthusiasts. It is the notion of taking large parts of the countryside and letting much of it revert back to what it looked like before either the agricultural or the industrial revolution. To many people this is just a fanciful idea that simply will not happen, because too few people really care about wildlife and because governments will always seek to please the majority and take decisions that reduce our national debt. However, within the rewilding model is an overall message that if we think only on a small scale, we will never manage to maintain habitats that support many of our currently declining bird species…

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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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One of the main ecological benefits derived from domestic livestock stems from their dung which, when deposited naturally on pasture, can support huge numbers of insects. These insects in turn may serve as food for birds. My aim here is to draw attention to the importance of livestock dung in the lives of birds…

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By Mike Everett I recognised the calls at once. Luckily, my bins were close at hand and in seconds I was watching two very handsome adult Mediterranean Gulls Ichthyaetus melanocephalus circling over…

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