Springwatch returns and announcing Springwatch in the Afternoon

Saturday 4 May 2013, 22:44

Holly Spearing Holly Spearing Series Producer

We’re delighted to announce that Springwatch will be back on Monday 27th May at 8pm for 3 weeks of live shows, from RSPB Ynys-hir Nature Reserve in West Wales, hosted by Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games, with Iolo Williams out on the road, on a mission to capture the best of the UK's wildlife action as it happens.

And introducing Springwatch in the Afternoon, part of the new BBC's Summer of Wildlife season. Springwatch in the Afternoon will be broadcasting across the first two weeks of Springwatch, with live broadcasts from 3pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The new show will be hosted by renowned naturalist and regular Springwatch guest Nick Baker, and will be all about getting out and about this spring and summer. 

On Wednesdays, Martin will also host Springwatch Unsprung straight after the main Springwatch show, with the usual mix of your photos, questions, special guests, rarities and oddities.

To get us all started, the Springwatch Webcams will be online, on BBC Red Button*, tablets and mobile, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from Sunday 26th May at 6pm with Euan McIlwraith returning on Springwatch Extra each night after Springwatch.

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Here's a glimpse of what's coming up on Springwatch

So what’s going to be on Springwatch this year?

Chilly Beginnings

The cold weather dominating March and April has resulted in the latest spring for decades, and it’s now a national news story. We'll be finding out what this remarkable spring means for the UK's wildlife, from barn owls to hedgehogs. We’ll also be looking into what triggers spring, what prompts the flowering of bluebells and the bud burst of the horse chestnut - the traditional indicators of the start of spring, and why has it all been different this year.

Live cameras

This year we have more cameras in more places and are using new technology to bring you the best of Spring. Our nest-cams will be back in place, including picking up the stories of our favourite families, like the barn owls. And just down the road, at the Wildlife Trust's Dyfi Osprey Project, the ospreys are already creating a drama worthy of any soap opera.

We’re planning to get our mini-cameras into new areas of the RSPB’s Ynys-Hir reserve, including a wet woodland, reed bed, and rare bog. Fingers crossed we’ll get intimate access to the lives of lapwing, redshank, teal, reed bunting, sedge warbler and, with luck, stonechat and bullfinch.

We’ll also have cameras rigged around a new farmyard site, aiming to follow nesting jackdaws, swallows and house sparrows.

New camera technology

We’re sure many of you remember this clip from last year.

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Super slow motion birdfeeder
We’ll have the latest super slowmotion cameras hoping to reveal extraordinary behaviour, which the human eye simply can't perceive.

We are also bringing you detailed views of our micro-worlds in three key local habitats - pond, bog and woodland. These high-tech techniques should reveal sundews catching flies and worms dragging leaves underground, as well as the aggressive behaviour of dragonfly larvae, and life in an ant colony.

The very best of UK wildlife

As always we’ll be celebrating the beauty of the UK’s wild places with some of our country’s top experts and amateur naturalists. We’ll be revealing new science and new behaviour - never seen before.  From dolphins hunting salmon in Aberdeen harbour, to plunge-diving gannets in ultra-slow motion, and the extraordinary story of long-tailed tits, where relatives come together to raise one nest of chicks.

Our teams are out filming as we speak, and if you’ve spotted something interesting please do share it on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or drop us a tip by email

We'll post a full schedule of broadcasts shortly.

*We’ve got our best ever schedule on BBC Red Button but do have to hand it back occasionally for other shows.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Like the sap in sprintime my excitement is rising with the anticipation of another fabulous series of Springwatch. I still maintain that the series ought to begin earlier in the year and explore the wonders of nature unfurl from winter dormancy.

    Really looking forward to the "super slow motion" filming!



  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I'd rather you spent money on Wildlife when i'm not at work. A ridiculous time to show an extra Springwatch programme for the vast majority of people who watch the evening programme, but are not able to watch tv at 3pm in the afternoon. I look forward to the evening programme, from the 27th.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Great news, can't wait! Really pleased you're doing more micro work. As the bottom of everything's food chain these species are so important and we just don't know enough about them. Without a lot of them we'd be knee-deep in corpses, excrement, and all sorts of waste!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    How lovely to have a programme available for small children, their parents and retired and ill people to watch during the day, it'll be great daytime TV for a pleasant change. Brilliant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Can we have some coverage of the lives and natural history of stoats and weasels please? In all the episodes of Springwatch and Autumnwatch I have seen, which is most of them, I cannot remember much footage of them, just the odd incidental encounter usually as the villains of the piece. It's almost as if they are unmentionable, as in Wind in the Willows. Some of the most magical moments I have experienced whilst out and about in the countryside have been the occasional chance encounters with a stoat or a weasel. This happens for me about once every ten years. They are elusive and mysterious. They may not be cuddly, but they must be fascinating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    In East Lancs I am still noticing a general lack of insects feeding in flowers. Whilst I have now seen quite a few species of solitary bee, hoverfly Bumblebee, numbers of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterfly seem to be good. I've seen the other species including a single male Brimstone [not unusual nationally - just I first saw them on my local patch only last year]. Overall numbers of individuals of most species are well down on normal, or what I have ever seen. So although I have seen quite a variety of species, it is just a few individuals of each, instead of the masses there normally is.

    I got a shock the other day day when I visited some patches of Common Lungwort I know that comes up on a bit of land at the edge of some woodland. It's prone to garden fly tipping so its origins are obvious as is a nearby patch of Alexanders. The lungwort can appear late Feb early March and is very popular with insects, especially Bumblebees. There are normally large numbers of Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum), a Bumblebee, by early April or even March. On the hottest day around here last week, clear sky, low wind, ideal conditions for pollinators. Yet there were only a handful of Common Carder Bees, and just the odd individual other Bumblebee species. Usually by now there are scores of just Common Carder Bees, and a variety of other Bumblebees - in numbers. I did see my first Rhingia campestris Hoverflies, but their numbers were lower. It's the same on the Mining Bee sandbanks. There is a variety of species, but only a few of each, with numbers drastically down from what I'd expect to see by late March, let alone mid-May.

    It's not clear yet if there will be a late surge or if many pollinator species are are depleted as seems or if they are just late i.e. will there be a late surge or will numbers stay low. This could be a serious problem if numbers stay low as the present populations of many insects form future populations. So low numbers now mean that reaching numbers necessary for laying down future populations maybe mathemattically limited. This is a particular problem as cool days continue that are not good for pollinator feeding. The cool and strong breeze has an adverse effect on insects who lose heat and can't get up to the necessary heat for foraging. Essentially it means if they bask to catch the sun when it comes out, the strong cooling breeze means they never gather enough heat to forage widely.

    I think this is very worrying for what it says about the numbers of insects around generally. The birds need them to fee their young. What is causing the problem is a strong cooling breeze. There have been only a few stillish days. The life which emerges in Spring is normally fantastic at taking advantage of even short spells of strong direct sun. Unfortunately the cooling effect of the constant strong breeze means it is killing the warming effect of the sun. Things that rely on radiant heat from the sun are being hit hard because they are cooling in their normal basking places. All the basking places I know from previous years are like this. They are devoid of insects because they are being cooled, instead of warmed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Agree with Somerset Nigel, let's have an in depth look at Stoats and Weasels. And how about Springwatch visiting the Arctic Terns and Little Terns nesting on Beadnell Bay, Northumberland under the watchful eyes of the National Trust wardens. These birds make an epic migration every year and are a joy to watch.

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    Comment number 8.

    Really looking forward to Springwatch and the whole "BBC Summer of Wildlife" (on BBC1, BBC2, CBBC and online) which I've just been reading about elsewhere on this website. Sounds very exciting and I love the idea that it's heralded by Springwatch and then rounded off with Autumnwatch and a chance to reflect on it all. What a brilliant use of all the media formats available to modern audiences and of course the aim is admirable: to get people of all ages off their sofas and involved with wildlfe! Bring it on, I can't wait! :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Please, please, please, call it naturewatch and run it all year. If not, then please start earlier and run longer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Why 3pm during the day, all your main viewers are 'At work', this really is quite frustrating. Oh well there's going to be some serious arguments on sky+ coming up. But really looking forward to main Springwatch and 3 weeks of it. Can't wait. Just thought couldn't the 3pm slots be repeated at the weekends, as to be fair, weekend TV is fairly rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    27th? Great, the children will have a bedtime curfew of 7.30 pm that night ..... And for the 3 weeks after that :-)


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