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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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A fresh take on an old foe

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Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
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Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
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