All about forests, rivers, oceans
Australia orders Japanese whalers to stay away
Esther Woolfson's urban nature diary
Ladbrokes is gambling with fish extinction and so is the government
US wildlife officials propose endangered status for wolverines
The hare's death-scream tells of a history soon over
The ethics of keeping a killer cat
It's as if the landscape and stream are caught amid their own owl dreams
Many more seabirds may be affected by Channel pollution, RSPB says
Leading paper firm pledges to halt Indonesian deforestation
Fishing campaigners urge MEPs to vote for discards reform
Dog attack law to be extended to cover incidents on private property
The return of grey wolves 'not enough to restore Yellowstone's ecosystem'
Oil additive polymer PIB may be responsible for seabird deaths
MEPs vote to ban discards in historic reform of fishing policy
All dogs in England to be microchipped by 2016
Some of nature's mysteries are all the better for going unsolved
First the internet, now Monopoly cats have got our attention
Polar bears 'may need to be fed by humans to survive'
Invasive mussel poses ecological and economic threat to island community
Ancestor of humans and other mammals was small furry insect eater
Conflict in DRC Congo threatens chimpanzee tourism programme
The intruder, a raven, passed through the treetops into view
The horsemeat scandal: could there be much more to come?
Circuses remove last of the big cats from UK's big tops
  A couple of interesting visitors have arrived at the lakes in the past week
Between Oundle and Northampton the River Nene threads its way through bunches of flooded gravel pits. The 10 main Stanwick Lakes were active pits from 1985 to 2004 and are now managed by Rockingham Forest Trust and East Northamptonshire council for public recreation and wildlife. Wigeon graze on banks along the water's edge. There's nothing to not like about these dabbling ducks: dumpy, with warm russet plumage, they nibble the grass busily in little herds the drakes proudly sporting their drawn-out fawn quiffs. When disturbed they take flight, the drakes flashing a large white wing patch and giving their incongruously delicate musical call, halfway between a whistle and a mew.

There have been a couple of interesting visitors to the area in the past week; both "white-winged" gulls have been seen. The Iceland gull is herring gull-sized and the glaucous gull is even bigger both nest in the Arctic and winter in the UK in small numbers. The two can be separated from all our commoner large gull species by the absence of black tips to the wings.

As the light starts to ebb away, gulls, big and small, drift up the valley to roost among the thin, low-profile islands on the biggest lake. A handful of local birdwatchers have been drawn out by the unusual opportunity to see one, or perhaps even both, of these cold-weather gulls on an inland lake. The birders are somewhat easier to identify than the gulls, dressed in dark clothes with thick woolly hats and a telescope and tripod held tightly over the shoulder, they stride purposefully to their positions and stake out the lake.

The flock of black-headed, common, herring, lesser black-backed and a handful of greater black-backed gulls pack densely on to the islands and sit in flocks on the open water, all facing the same way, into the stiff, near-freezing breeze. Unfortunately all the gulls have their black wing-tips in place; the birdwatchers disperse looking sullen, some heading off to one of the other lakes to try to catch sight of some consolatory pintail ducks that have been reported.
In the British countryside, alien species are not always undesirables
Pandas keep Scotland guessing over mating game
US plan to control Guam's snake population with toxic mice angers Peta
African lions the killer kings in mortal danger from man and sham medicine
EU fish discards deal welcomed by UK
Pilot badger culls set to go ahead
Scientist calls Hugh's Fish Fight 'a tawdry piece of hack journalism'
A couple of interesting visitors have arrived at the lakes in the past week
Sea Shepherd conservation group declared 'pirates' in US court ruling
Schmallenberg virus found in farm animals in almost all of Britain
Gardens: wildlife surveys
Tackling the illegal trade in wild animals is a matter of global urgency
100 million sharks killed each year, say scientists
The snipe's 'drumming' sound is perfectly evocative of Welsh hill country
Sharks at risk of extinction from overfishing, say scientists
Thailand's prime minister pledges to outlaw domestic ivory trade
Humans are not the only animals to enjoy alcohol
China must send a clear message to consumers on ivory trade
Google shopping adverts fuel ivory trade, conservation group warns
Two-thirds of forest elephants killed by ivory poachers in past decade
US and Russia unite in bid to strengthen protection for polar bear
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Above the loch, the scene was dominated by the abundant birch trees
Lion kills intern at California animal sanctuary
Bid to halt polar bear trade fails
Deer culling on massive scale backed by expert
Scores on the paws: how one man changed the shape of dogs to come
Cites: bid to curb sale of ivory and rhino horn voted down
Geoffrey Matthews obituary
World's largest captive crocodile dies in Philippines
Urban foxes: the facts and the fiction
Albatross astonishes scientists by producing chick at age of 62
Knut the polar bear lifesize model to go on show in Berlin
Horsemeat scandal: Owner of Yorkshire abattoir denies wrongdoing
Foxes' friends and foes say an urban cull is not the answer
Golfer pierces leg with tee to remove spider venom then finishes round
Chinese appetite for shark fin soup devastating Mozambique coastline
A peregrine stands on one foot and imperiously looks out from her ledge
Action on dangerous dogs has been 'woefully inadequate', MPs warn
Why Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight is still necessary
What the horsemeat scandal and fish quotas tell us about Europe
New to nature No 99: Phagocata flamenca
We can overlook the aesthetics of gulls, but they make grey beautiful again
Birdwatch: Stonechat
Environment Pollution Pollution that killed seabirds cannot be traced, rules investigation
Communities of voices the link between birdsong and spoken language
Bid to solve mystery of 50,000 red-breasted geese lost in migration
How a ferret took me on a journey to a saner world
Panda eyes focused as Yang Guang and Tian Tian seek each other out
So entrancing are the clouds that the deer are unnoticed until I shift my gaze
Anyone for camelcino? Camel milk set to be big business for east Africa
Red squirrel finds pine marten a fearsome ally in its fight for survival
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