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Ecology and Life
The puppy room easing life's pain in a stroke
Gentle wobblings of a 'foul gull' fulmar
Frigatebird returns to nest on Ascension for first time since Darwin
New to Nature No 94: Canthigaster criobe
Uggie: 'He likes to fly first class'
It's a dog's life in China: sold for £1m or stolen and sold as meat
Malibu residents hire crew to remove rotting whale carcass from beach
Yellowstone's popular alpha female wolf shot dead by hunters outside park
What I miss most in the dead time of winter is the insects
BSE testing on cattle slaughtered for food 'no longer necessary'
Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China
The vibrant river was a welcome relief after the bleak, snow-covered fields
TV Review: Miniature Britain; Weight Loss Ward; Rome
Marine conservation group says UK lacks ambition to preserve seas
UK seas to gain 31 marine conservation zones
Live animal exports going via previously unknown routes
When a dozing otter steals the show
Newly discovered slow loris species already threatened
What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings
Could this really be the fearsome, legendary Girt Dog reincarnate?
Overfishing is a solvable environmental challenge for the EU
Life comes cheap for winter wrens
Ash trees consumed by something of the night
Foie gras taken off menu in House of Lords
  Glistening with water droplets, the black-throated diver looked almost eerie
The view, through the telescope, of a black-throated diver on the sea brought back vivid memories. My first close-up glimpse of this iconic breeding bird, confined in Britain to north-west Scotland, was from a tiny hide. I had erected the hide, under special licence, near a nest on an archipelago of small islands. The huge freshwater loch was north-west of Ullapool on the west coast and brooded over by three hills the highest, Cul Mor, at 849 metres. As the bird slipped out of the loch back to its nest, its sleek black-and-white plumage resembled silk or satin. Glistening with water droplets, the diver looked almost eerie until it shook itself clear of them.

Then its partner called, a long banshee-like wail that echoed around the loch. The sound is unearthly, almost human, and it's little wonder that divers appear so much in legends, particularly the Viking sagas. The incomer had brought a fish in from the sea and swam to the nest, presenting the catch to its mate who was incubating two eggs.

As for my Burghead bird the family should correctly be called "loons" but I persist in the old name of "divers" it was not alone. Around it, scattered over the seascape, were eiders, long-tailed ducks, common scoters and red-breasted mergansers. The scoters seemed to be finding food they feed mainly on molluscs where the waves were crashing onto the rocks. Dining amid the resulting maelstrom, these scoters perhaps mistook themselves for torrent ducks.

The red-breasted merganser, four males and a female, seemed almost out of place with the other seaducks, especially the males with their gaudy plumage complete with wispy crests and long, thin, red beaks. But the black-throated diver cast an aura of its own; aloof from all the other birds and, for me, quite mystical. There is no wilderness left in the Highlands today but these breeding birds epitomise the wildness that can still be found in many parts.
New to Nature No 96: Oncopodura fadriquei
Animal rights activists plan direct action against beagle imports
How the stink of a waterbuck could prevent sleeping sickness in Kenya
Tatler's dog, Alan, dies in bizarre revolving door accident
Insecticide 'unacceptable' danger to bees, report finds
Freedom Foods 'failing to crack down' on poor salmon farming standards
One in 10 Welsh livestock farmers illegally kill badgers, study suggests
Crab study puts pain on the menu
A large shape a bittern flies across the pond
Wolf killings are based on the most cynical of premises
New to nature No 97: Ferrisia uzinuri
Sad to see the tide turn against the otter
An owl swoops down on wings that seem as broad as they are long
Animals: are they good for supper or good companions?
Is human branding an animal-rights stunt too far?
Cat lovers pounce on campaign to save New Zealand's birds
Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'
There is something irresistibly cheerful about a flock of twite
Solomon Islands villagers kill 900 dolphins in conservation dispute
Mistle thrush numbers in decline
Guyana pledges to protect jaguars
Dung beetles navigate by the stars
How do you catch an escaped crocodile?
New to Nature No 98: Xerophytacolus claviverpus
Animal astronauts: the unsung heroes of space exploration
Pygmy elephants found dead in Borneo after 'poisoning'
A badger's biscuit-sized footprints in the snow follow the field edge
British moths in calamitous decline, major new study reveals
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The lake is muted under the winter sun, like a faint watercolour painting
Should the RSPCA have pursued the man who ate a live goldfish?
Days of heavy rain have left the ancient woodland sodden
Alice Roberts: Rudolph and our early ancestors a love story
Saving the rhino with surveillance drones
Hunting with dogs ban unlikely to get free vote admit top Tories
The tracks in the snow revealed the secrets of these night visitors
A perfect winter's day for a walk
Meet the woman battling Japan's whaling fleet in Antarctic ocean
China captivated by tiny tuneful insects that sing for their supper
HBO sued by animal rights worker over abuse of horses on Luck
Some surprising facts about hedgehogs
Cats killed in cattery fire
Experience: my horse sank in quicksand
Alys Fowler: fat balls and mealworms
Hawks in danger of extinction in illegal hunting campaign
What the Japanese red bug teaches us about parenting
Fishermen back sanctions against Iceland over mackerel catch
What I learned the day a dying whale spared my life
Overfishing causes Pacific bluefin tuna numbers to drop 96%
Glistening with water droplets, the black-throated diver looked almost eerie
Kitten swallows 15cm-long TV aerial
As the rain blows over, a double rainbow arcs across the sky
A moorhen sent stone-skimmer splashes as it pattered across the river