Oceans and land
Somerset police dog praised for successfully tracking suspect
On the track to the moors
Initiative to improve sustainable fish labelling unveiled
Protection of grey wolves may be ended by Obama administration
RSPCA comes under fire for badger cull protests
The rain released from the parched ground that glorious earthy perfume
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The pink-footed geese seemed restless, as if uncertain what they were doing
Study links insecticide use to invertebrate die-offs
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It's the first time I've heard the chiffchaff's song this year
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Poachers kill 26 elephants at central African world heritage site
New to nature No 103: Tinkerbella nana
Sand martins dig tunnels in the dunes
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A brief stillness before the damselfly's short life on the wing would begin
  On the track to the moors
The way to the moors is a short wide track rising through upland fields. Sandy and pebbly underfoot, its deep ruts are impressed with the chevron markings of tractor tyres. The few squat sycamores vibrate with the sound of the wind, a cutting wind that chills and buffets. A dead hare is half hidden by grass, its eye hollow, its fur in tufts. Everything still looks wintery: silver tangles of wild roses, dark rough hummocks of heather, fields stubbornly bleached.

Into this faded world burst the colours of birdsong, exhilaratingly filling the sky as far as the edge of hearing. Curlews all around utter long drawn-out calls, rising in pitch before exploding in bubbling ecstasy. Peewits give sweet, throaty cries as they tumble and swoop. Their blunt wings flash black as they quickly change direction, experts at aerial tacking. Larks scribble their songs in the grey sky. There's a rush of wings as a flock of golden plover fly over the track. From the field I can hear two repeated notes like a squeaky foot pump, over and over in short sentences. The bird is so well camouflaged that it takes several passes with the binoculars to spot it among the field rush. A snipe I can see its long beak opening and shutting like tweezers, its brown and cream markings that make it blend in so well.

The names of birds have worked their way into the places of this wild landscape. Nearby Chat's Lane, where stonechats are still seen, also leads up on to the moors. A rugged stone byre is known as Owlet Hall. The Throstle is a cottage pressed into a steep hillside where mistle thrushes belt out their songs from tall ash trees. Throssel Hole has become a Buddhist monastery set in a quiet garden. The farmstead of Pia Troon reportedly owes its strange name to an old mapmaker mishearing Pyut Run, a place where magpies strut, as the farm was previously known. The Northumbrian dialect, as inventive and rich in sounds as the varied birdsong, hears the moorland cries of peewits and gives these birds the charming name of peasweeps.
Japanese firm stops selling endangered whale pet treats
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Jean-Jacques Annaud: 'People who make films are in danger every day'
An oystercatcher rises surreptitiously, suggesting that it has a nest nearby
Short-haired bumblebee queens hoped to boost UK population
Badger vaccination 'would be cheaper to implement than cull'
Atlantic puffin population is in danger, scientists warn
Jellyfish surge in Mediterranean threatens environment and tourists
Lord's Resistance Army funded by elephant poaching, report finds
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Why the celebrity status of badgers is a problem
'Badger-friendly' milk to be sold in just three UK supermarkets
Labour fails in attempt to stop badger cull with Commons vote
Orange tip butterflies are so fragile, yet survive violent rainstorms intact
A cetti's warbler bursts into violent exclamation
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Thai police discover 14 albino lions in warehouse near Bangkok
White lion breeding at UK wildlife parks linked to 'canned hunting'
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Badger cull activists can 'bend the rules' during protests, say police
RSPB accused of hypocrisy for killing hundreds of birds on its reserves
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Marine Harvest agrees to limit pesticides and seal killings
Schmallenberg vaccine available to UK farmers this summer
Cat wars break out in New Zealand
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China reports rise in humans encountering wild Siberian tigers
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Zoo keeper mauled by tiger 'broke safety rules'
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Culls risk illegally exterminating badgers, animal expert warns
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Ban Ki-moon to warn UN security council of dangers of wildlife trafficking
Beaver kills man in Belarus
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Ants in Germany repeatedly ring woman's doorbell
A nightly procession of pheasants, ducks, deer and badgers in the garden
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