• Bearing gifts of random kindness

    Adrian Thomas's beautiful starlings on his bird tableI reckon I could power the national grid if Icould capture the energy from my constant shivering.

    Still. I can always turn-up the heating, chuck another log on the fire or pull on another of my Mum's knitted jumpers. Blue tits, sparrows, starlings (pictured) and robins don't share that luxury.

    Generally, birds need to maintain a body temperature of around 40 C. That's 3 degrees higher than us mere mortals. Bear…

    • 21 Dec 2010
  • Twice bittern, not too shy

    I've looked hard, very hard, but I've never seen a bittern, which is why I'm desperately trying to find time to get to our Rye Meads nature reserve just north of east London.

    Look right in the centre and that vague oval is the bittern, photo courtesy of Louise Moss at Rye Meads.I'm not one of those who'll bear discomfort to see a particular bird, but for a bittern, I might defy the cold snap. Especially as it's the cold weather that's forcing these shy and well camoflaged birds out into the open where they can…

    • 10 Dec 2010
  • Icing on the cake

    The finished Butt Hide, before the snow and freezing weatherYou may have noticed that it's unseasonably cold?

    This is the point where we traditionally urge everyone to put out extra food and fresh water for birds. I'm not one to break traditions so I'll urge you to do just that.

    I would also like to invite you to drink in the spectacle of winter wildlife from the classy new interior of the Butt Hide (pictured right) at our Rainham Marshes nature reserve. Sadly, the…

    • 1 Dec 2010