Defying convention … new research has revealed the astonishing 16,000-mile cross-globe migration of the tiny and endearing Red-necked Phalarope. Bird Watching

On the brink … red squirrels and turtle doves are among native species whose numbers have plunged. At Pensthorpe Natural Park in Norfolk, experts are attempting to reverse their fortunes. The Countryman. Pic above: Toivo Toivanen and Tiina Toppila.

‘When trout waved lazy in the clear chalk streams’ … chalk streams are an invaluable habitat celebrated by Sir John Betjeman. Now, in Hertfordshire, standard-setting restoration of several chalk streams is underway. The Countryman

Seeds of recovery … Devon’s  Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust is playing its part in a global scheme to restore habitats and bring back native wildlife. Bird Watching

Storm force … storms have harmed people and property in the UK this year but what of our birds? Where do they go? What do they do? Do they survive? Bird Watching

A patch of peace … farmland nudging Stevenage New Town is known as Forster Country after EM Forster, author of Howards End. Explore on foot the beautiful countryside that inspired his writing. Countryfile Magazine 

Branching out … the countryside has come to the capital at London’s Borough Market, within a space smaller than a tennis court. Smallholder 

How green is the Green Deal? … measures to plug gaps in our walls and roofs to cut emissions will backfire for birds that nest in buildings. The spectacular swift could suffer more than most. Cheap and easy-to-fit bricks, and boxes that slot into walls and under tiles, could be the answer. Bird Watching   

Lofty ambition … West Country conservation schemes have become part of international efforts to restore precious but rare habitats. The Countryman 

Evidence mounts for lead ban … lead is poisoning our countryside. It is banned in paint, petrol and even toy soldiers. Its use by hunters is outlawed elsewhere. So why can this highly toxic metal still be fired at the UK’s wild birds? Bird Watching

Last chance saloon … Oxford’s Warneford Meadow is saved from development in the nick of time. The Countryman  

Saving South Georgia on a shoestring … rats are rampaging across South Georgia, threatening endemic birds with extinction. Glacial melt is aiding the rodents’ advance. Now, conservationists are fighting back. Bird Watching 

A follower of fashion … a gleaming carpet of snowdrops sparks emotional attachment in the thousands of people who visit Benington Lordship. The Countryman 

Victoria’s secrets  biking and birding around Africa’s largest lake poses many challenges, not least the need to reach a destination when you’d rather dawdle and look. Bird Watching

Plant life … botanists are restoring 100 damaged or destroyed habitats to attract back native wildlife and re-establish the benefits those habitats once provided. BGCI

Egg and spoon race … there’s nothing like the spoon-billed sandpiper says Nigel Hewston who ran the London Marathon for an unusual cause. Bird Watching 

Beetlemania … scientist Darren Mann oozes enthusiasm for dung beetles, one of the world’s best recyclers. When we Brits took cattle to Australia, it was dung beetles that dealt with the poo. The Countryman

Lilac revolution … innovators in Leeds are building new homes from straw. They are among a growing number of householders and businesses opting for straw rather than bricks and mortar. Straw-build cuts emissions and can boost local economies. Smallholder

Wetlands, they are a-changing … and make great places for photos. Read my first person piece with expert James Lee who explains when, where and how to take the best wetland photos. Guardian Environment Blog 

Back from the brink … there is still hope for the magnificent albatross. Long-line fishing, for tuna prized for sushi, is the biggest threat these elegant birds face. Simple on-board measures are now reducing by-catch of seabirds and other marine wildlife. Bird Watching

Hedging his bets … champion hedgelayer Donato Cinicollo can’t bear the site of a poorly crafted hedge. The Countryman

And on that farm … the devastation of foot and mouth in 2001 forced many farmers to diversify. Among new opportunities is the growing demand for straw-built homes. Yorkshire Post 

We’ll huff and we’ll puff … but Sharon Watkins’s straw council house will not fall down. Her home is one of the first local authority buildings to use straw and other sustainable materials. Other councils are following suit. the Guardian

Back to nature … Paul and Chris Jameson are planting acres of native trees on former pastureland to encourage wildlife and win government-backed grants for green initiatives. The Northumbrian

Getting smart … every British home will have a smart meter to measure energy use, the Government has pledged. These in-home display units alert us to wasted power and opportunties to reduce our bills. Estimated readings are now banned in Sweden, the first country to introduce smart meters for all. the Guardian 

Step back in time … a small patch of the Home Counties is likened to New Zealand. Hertfordshire Countryside