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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Bill Oddie: The bird-watching broadcaster talks pompous drummers and blasted leaf-blowers

You can waste a lot of time looking for a specific bird While some bird-watchers have a bird-watching bucket list, I don't, as the most memorable and enjoyable days out can't be predicted. I'll never forget one day in New York in early May, standing at the top of the Empire State Building. I spotted what at first looked like moths, but became a flock of migrating birds, travelling past me, at the same height as I was.

I came, I saw, I forgot the liquorice allsorts

I've been hiking around my Cotswold valley, getting to know my new surroundings. My goal was to find a Roman villa that lies in the middle of some woods relatively undiscovered (in the sense that nobody has thrown up a fence and started charging exorbitant entry fees to look at some rubbish illustrations). I suppose that I should have bought an Ordnance Survey map immediately, as this would have greatly improved my chances of discovering the ruin. Unfortunately, I have always equated people with Ordnance Survey maps with the sort of types I wouldn't leave alone with my children.

Book review: Four Fields, By Tim Dee

From the Fens to Chernobyl, this tour of turf shows the skills of a gifted, if sombre, naturalist

Horrified birdwatchers see rare White-throated Needletail killed after it flies into a wind turbine

Sightings of the White-throated Needletail are incredibly rare in the UK so when one was spotted on the the Isles of Harris it caused quite a stir

All of a twitcher! Rare Pacific swift sparks chaos in Trimley villages as hundreds of birdwatchers descend to catch a glimpse

Police were called to a nature reserve after hundreds of twitchers descended to catch a glimpse of a rare bird.

One of the five cuckoos being tracked has decided to stay in France

Album: British Sea Power, Machineries of Joy (Rough Trade)

It's almost boring: yet another excellent British Sea Power album.

Walk on by: Buddhist monks on their way to a monastery in Bhutan

My life in travel: Angela Rippon

'If there's something to see, I'm there'

So many shades of grey – but none is lovelier than this bird’s

The shrike is a scarce winter visitor to Britain, so keep your eyes peeled

Backyard twitchers chart decline of 44m birds

Britain's bird population has plummeted by 44 million in four decades, according to a study carried out with the help of volunteer ornithologists.

Red kite: Once abundant across much of the UK, this spectacular bird of prey is making its way back thanks to a series of highly successful reintroduction projects. Up 575 per cent to 1,600 pairs
(1995-2010 figures)

Backyard ornithologists chart disappearance of 44m birds

The UK's bird population has plummeted by 44 million in four decades, according to a study carried out with the help of volunteer ornithologists.

Beat that: Kandyan drummers liven up the streets

Where to go in 2013: Sri Lanka

Why go in 2013? Serenity returns to Serendib

Tom Gullick, left, with bird guide Frank Lambert, after spotting the Wallace’s fruit dove in Indonesia

British bird brain is the first to pass milestone

It took him until he was 81, but a veteran British birder has become the first person in the world officially to see 9,000 species.

World's greatest birdwatcher sets a new record – then hangs up his binoculars

Former naval officer spots 9,000th species in Indonesia

Countyfile: Suffolk

Take the Sailor's Path for a taste of Aldeburgh
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Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
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Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits