Wildlife recorders are an important way for scientists to learn how the natural world around us is behaving. As part of Springwatch on Midlands Today, I went out and spent an enjoyable day watching the Worcestershire Wildlife Recorders in action in a stunning orchard in the village of Kemerton. We even found a buttercup that hadn't been discovered in that location before.
Recorders don't just create a list of all the species of plants, bugs and mammals they see in a location. They also record the date they observe a species. By doing this it's possible to track how species are spreading or retreating across the Midlands. Which means this work could be used in studying global climate change as well as providing important information on a much more local level.
But as we saw tonight, there's much more recording to be done than there are recorders. The team in Worcester and elsewhere in the Midlands are looking for more volunteers to join them in their work. You don't need to have any specialist knowledge although you may find a general interest in wildlife might blossom into a full blown passion as did one of our interviewees. Though personally I think unlike him I'd pick rare orchids over slugs and snails.
If you spend time out in the countryside perhaps as a golfer, angler, gamekeeper, horse rider or walker then you might be able to help. If you want to find out more about being a recorder here are some useful links;
There are many things we'll be covering during Springwatch on Midlands Today. From new research on feeding wild birds to bonkers badger behaviour. But there's one story this year that made Producer Karen's eyes light-up.
After five years of Midlands Springwatch reports we finally managed to make a break for Britain's glorious coastline. So how did landlocked Midlands Today manage this? Turns out the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is based in Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.
And how did Britain's leading maritime conservation charity end up miles from the actual sea? Well the founder moved back in with his parents in Ross to start the group after university. Keeping it there does make some sense as much of our coastline is about four hours travel from their headquarters.
We're reporting on the Marine Conservation Society plans to give members of the public a say over the Government's proposed Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ).
You can find details of the the Farne Islands scheme we reported on and how to vote on the proposals here and details of other sites here.
Balancing the needs fishing, oil and tourism place on our seas is very difficult and some of the proposals from the MSC are controversial. But this Midlands based charity is leading the way in giving all of us a say in the future of our coastline and seas.
We'll be live from the Farne Islands on Tuesday, but spare a thought as it's rather a dangerous place. The Arctic Terns get very aggressive when you wander near their nests. I ended up covered in both guano and flesh wounds. They did calm down but as you can see from this short clip they still had a go at Kevin our cameraman.
Well we're keeping our eyes on the peregrine falcons on the BT Tower in Birmingham. You can watch them live here. So far their behaviour has been pretty strange and they don't seem to have raised any chicks. And we're getting similar reports from other peregrine sites across the city. Is there something up with our Brummie birds of prey? We'll be investigating in Springwatch on Midlands Today starting on the first of June.
But it's not all bad news here's a picture taken from the Aston University Kestrel cam which you can find here. As you can see this family has managed to raise at least five chicks! And it's a pretty modern affair with dad doing at least half of the nest sitting.
So today sees the launch of the"Bee Part of It" campaign. Local radio stations across the Midlands have been given bee hives to look after. You can find all the details on your local BBC website and stay up to date by listening to your BBC local radio station.
On Midlands Today we're going to try and feature all of the hives at some point over the next year. But to start we're focussing on an urban hive in Wolverhampton looked after by BBC WM and a hive in a more rural location belonging to BBC Radio Shropshire. It's a town versus countryside competition to see who's bees do best.
Of course on Midlands Today we're already following the fortunes of one group of bee hives based in Highbury Park in Birmingham. Sadly over the winter seventy per cent of the bees died off. The beekeepers blame the cold winter and disease. It shows the problems our honeybees face and why the "Bee Part of It" campaign is so important. The more beekeepers we have the bigger the bee population. And a bigger bee population is healthier and more resistant to disease.
We're also looking at the state of our wild bees. There are about two hundred and fifty types of wild British bee. Most of these nest in the ground but some prefer to nest in hollow stems. So if you don't fancy a full-on bee hive in your garden you can build or buy your own bee "hotel" created from tubes about the size of a plant stem. If it's successful you might end up with up to ten species in residence including; red and blue mason bees, leafcutter bees and white-faced bees.
Although honey bees do much of our pollination wild bees still play their part and like their domestic cousins they are having a hard time. The story is one of general decline although one of two species have bucked the trend.
So it is a very important time for our British bees and hopefully "Bee Part of It" will give them some much needed support. Find out more by clicking here.
We've just started broadcasting live pictures from inside the peregrine falcon nest on the side of the BT Tower in the centre of Birmingham. If you want to see for yourself just click on this link.
We hope to be launching Falconcam properly this Friday on Midlands Today and BBC WM.
We've had quite a nervous afternoon as our peregrine mum disappeared and left the eggs for what appeared to be a couple of hours. This seems really unusual and does remind me of the behaviour of the falcons we followed last year at Fort Dunlop. Of course in the end those eggs didn't hatch.
But peregrines in cities are relatively new as indeed are live video cameras in nests. It may be we're learning more about the behaviour of these birds in an urban setting. Sadly you can't see the pretty pink eggs as they are just below the camera and out of shot. But we do believe there are at least four of them and provided mum doesn't disappear again we hope to have four chicks very soon.
If you can't wait for updates here or on BBC WM and Midlands Today then why not follow BBC Falcons on Twitter for all the latest as it happens.
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