Welcome back to Winterwatch

Saturday 11 January 2014, 19:15

James Smith James Smith Series Producer

As the UK recovers from a very stormy start to the season, Winterwatch is heading up to the Scottish Highlands to investigate the ingenious ways our wildlife copes with lean times and harsh weather.


Our new home this winter is Mar Lodge Estate, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It’s on the wild eastern edge of the Cairngorm Mountains, and is home to a rich array of wildlife, including golden eagles, black grouse, otters, pine martens and red squirrels.


Deer in a winter landscape - Gavin McRae.jpg Scottish deer in a winter landscape - Gavin Macrae


Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Martin Hughes Games and the rest of the team have dug out their thermals and woolly hats for the trip north: Mar Lodge is officially one of the coldest places in the UK, with minus 27.2 degrees Celsius recorded nearby in one extreme year.


We’re going to set up our live cameras in the rugged, beautiful landscape around Mar Lodge. They’ll be recording day and night, offering us intimate insights into the lives of the local wildlife. Our daily show on Red Button and Online, Winterwatch Extra, will be the streaming live feeds throughout the day. Presenters Euan McIlwraith and Richard Taylor-Jones will be keeping an eye out for golden eagles, so if one flies into frame, Winterwatch Extra will be the first place you’ll see it!


Our wildlife cameramen will also be staking out the Highlands, filming red deer, otters, dippers, ptarmigan, mountain hares and a host of other species in this wild, dramatic region. 

But it’s not only Scottish wildlife that has a hard time during the winter months. We’re working with Oxford University to investigate how garden birds feed at this critical time, and we want you to get involved in a ground-breaking experiment.

We’ll also be celebrating the best of the UK’s winter wildlife with stories from across the nation. Our study of Brighton’s urban foxes continues as Chris goes on the trail of a record-breaking, adventurous dog fox; we look at the rich and surprising array of mini-beasts that shelter in our homes in winter, and we get unique images of red kites roosting in wild weather. 

As ever, we want to hear about your winter – let us know what wildlife you’re seeing in your patch, and send us your pictures and videos.  You never know, they might catch the eye of Unsprung presenter Nick Baker and end up being featured in our spin-off show, which goes out every day after the main show, initially on Red Button and Online, and then BBC2 on Wednesday 22nd.

And finally - for the first time - Winterwatch will continue beyond our BBC2 transmission. We’ll be taking part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, the UK’s biggest citizen science project. We’ll have three extra days of live webcams from around the UK, and Iolo Williams presenting the show on Red Button and online.

So join us for a feast of winter wildlife, starting from 9am on Monday 20th January on Winterwatch Extra on Red Button and Online, and through the rest of the week on BBC2.  





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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    It's great weather for ducks here in Ross-on-Wye. I'm looking forward to seeing some drier wildlife. Can't wait!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Do you mean 9PM or 9am? Just checking!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    welcome back winter watch so looking foward to the 20thits real duck weather here in cork to day

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The wildlife I've encountered has been rats in my garden! The thing is, they seem to have survived by eating the fish in my pond. I realised I had a problem as the pond became very cloudy. The rats had been sliding from their nest hole into the pond which is netted over to keep cats away. When the rats were dug out and left the garden the pond cleared and 20+ fish are now 4.
    My garden is very small yard to a terraced house, the pond small so no chance of anything else being responsible. Has anyone else come across this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Looking forward to Winterwatch especially the Red Kites. I have had a hedgehog visiting most nights (on my garden webcam) all through the winter so far. It looks a good size and is very lively. Last night,in the frost, there was a smaller hedgehog feeding in the bird groundfeeder cage. I also have 3 foxes visiting most nights.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Very cold here today, in Killiecrankie. Mist has been rolling out and in for much of the day. Birds were very hungry. 40-50 goldfinches/chaffinches/siskins + a pair of beautiful redpolls and a tree creeper have been enjoying niger and sunflower seed,mealworms and peanuts. A couple of Great Diving Beetles were mating in the pond a couple of nights ago! Brrrrrr!

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Cant't wait. Been watching repeats on You Tube just to get my fix. Chris Packham's imperious gaze, poor Martin getting sent out into the cold and rain, awkward silences, Michaela looking hot in wellies, wonderful chaos on Unsprung. Bring it on!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Looking forward to programme and the seeing the Black Grouse lek.

    But please, please, note - valleys in Scotland are called glens. So please refer to them as such.


  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Otters are on the River Welland in Mkt Harborough, Leics. A must to see. Had never seen 1 in the wild before. Absolutely majical

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    I recently saw a black fox. It was black all over with a white tip on its tail.
    It was a common sight every evening in the garden of the house I was working in.
    Are these common?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I live in Essex and my friends live in Suffolk but we are both noticing lots of blackbirds that have a huge amount of white feathers. Why is this becoming so noticeable over quite large areas??

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Any news on this story from the RSPB 19th December 2013: RSPB Scotland has today condemned those responsible for the killing of a satellite-tagged golden eagle, found poisoned on the hills above Glen Lethnot in Angus.In the past five and a half years, another four eagles, a red kite and seven buzzards have been shot, poisoned or trapped on estates in the Angus Glens.In January 2013, the nest tree of a pair of white-tailed eagles was felled. No-one has been prosecuted for any of these offences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    The presenters have just asked how tits 'told' each other how to open the tops of the old style milk bottles.
    Did they use Twitter?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Surprised when Chris said urban fox had only reached Newcastle. They are in Glasgow and have been for some time. They are definitely in Dundee, because I have seen - and more often - heard them. They are certainly in the west end of the city.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Just found out Winterwatch started this week -- thank goodness for iPlayer, or I would have missed the first 2 episodes. This happens every season; isn't there some way I can subscribe or set a reminder (like Sky NeverMiss) for BBC programs??

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    The Urban Fox feature last night was so interesting, I just thought you might like to know that I usually see one during the night in the street where I live, here in King's Lynn. One morning recently the fox was coming down the street, saw me, it turned and ambled back towards town! One evening recently I also looked out to see a younger fox staring up at some bird feeders, I was very surprised to see how white its face looked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Why do the presenters quote distances in kilometres?
    This is England.... I think.
    Distances have not yet been metricated... just read the road signs!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Found a lot of ladybirds in our Christmas tree when we fetched it home from the farm.
    Even more surprisingly on tuesday 21st Jan found one in our laced curtains,still alive. please tell uas more ,how did it survive,

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Winterwatch Extra has been a delight, great presenters and wonderful wildlife, but the main broadcast programme, oh dear.
    Martin Hughes-Games - the campest, clumsiest action man on British TV and the memory span of a goldfish - better suited to CBBC.
    Michaela Strachan - simply embarrassing, still thinks she's on CBeebies.
    Chris Packham - fool one minute, geek the next, nothing in between.
    Stopped watching Unsprung last Autumnwatch, hoped it would improve with Nick Baker taking over but it just got sillier with all 4 trying to out do each other.


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