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Welcome back to Autumnwatch!

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Tim Scoones Tim Scoones | 09:03 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Welcome back! It's great to know that you are back with us again and we'll be sharing the next few weeks together.

For more detailed info on this year's Autumnwatch, click on the links below:

What a fabulous September many of us have had. After her barbeque-free summer, Mother Nature has redeemed herself with a few weeks of settled high pressure weather (for most of us at least). When it's like it has been in the South West recently, September earns its status one of my absolute favourite months (along with May and June. You can keep July and August in my opinion).

Things are beginning to turn, and yet many plants put on a last burst of growth before settling down for winter (known as "lammas growth" I believe). I still have a chance of seeing a swallow and yet the wild rose hips are lipstick red already. And the light! I think Simon King calls is "lemony light". Everything looks beautiful in September sunlight.

The last few days have felt like summer and yet the tell-tale signs are already there that a big change is already beginning to happen. Walking past the ivy in my garden, I noticed that this seemingly inauspicious plant is now the centre of attention for my wild neighbours, with its late flowers literally buzzing with insect activity. The robins are back singing again after their summer break, but they aren't joined by many other songsters and their melodies seem just a little more thoughtful and serious than their springtime flourishes.

From the last breaths of summer are emerging the first sighs of autumn. And as the autumn equinox arrives (today, in fact), Autumnwatch returns.

Yes, I'm delighted to say that Autumnwatch is back, and excited to reveal that this year it has a new shape that will hopefully bring you even more of the autumn and its wildlife treats than ever before, as well as more time for you to tell us what you've been doing and seeing and filming and photographing.

Thank you for all your thoughts and suggestions regarding how we can improve Springwatch and Autumnwatch. It's wonderful to have so many viewers who are so passionate about the series - it really helps to know what you think.

We've also been talking to broadcasting colleagues and the many wildlife organisations with whom we work. On the basis of this, we've decided to make a change to Autumnwatch - I hope you'll agree that it's a change for the better. I've been working on SW/AW since the very beginning, and I can honestly say I've rarely been as excited as this before a series, knowing what an amazing range of autumn wildlife we hope to bring you (and we hope you'll bring us). As ever, it's nature that really writes the scripts on these shows, but early drafts from Mother Nature are looking very promising indeed.

In a nutshell (!), the Autumnwatch TV show is now going to be on once a week for eight weeks, every Friday night at 9pm (with a repeat for family viewers on Saturday late afternoons) from 2nd October to 20th November. Autumn is such a long and varied season that we wanted our eight shows to span the whole thing. In this way, we can capture and share the very best of it from beginning to end, now also able to tell the big stories that play out across weeks rather than days.

Don't panic - everything else we've all grown to love stays the same. By popular demand, the shows are still live, so we can stay absolutely up to date with all the wildlife action. The website is going to be as rich and active as ever and we are going to try some new stuff with our famous webcams. The now established Springwatch presenter team - Chris Packham, Kate Humble, Simon King, Gordon Buchanan and Martin Hughes-Games - are back in similar roles but with brand new missions.

Again by popular demand, an Autumnwatch version of Unsprung makes its debut. Now it's a full half hour long and on BBC Two rather than Red Button. And before you ask, this change of shape is for Autumnwatch only, as it best matches the wildlife action of the season. There are no plans to change the three-week daily bonanza of Springwatch in late May/early June, as the breeding season for many creatures reaches its peak.

As ever, BBC regional television, local radio and BBC local on the web will be joining the Autumnwatch broadcast event, giving you the local angle on your wild animals, places and events as well as reports and interviews from this year's Autumnwatch locations.

We'll also be continuing our commitment to the BBC's ambitious Breathing Places campaign, which has been inspiring millions of people to connect and engage with wildlife, as well as do their bit to help wildlife in their gardens, window boxes, parks, allotments and local community spaces.

Thousands of schools have already joined Breathing Places Schools and we'll be encouraging more to take part.

The Breathing Places team have been working with hundreds of wildlife organisations to offer a huge range of autumn wildlife treats, via an easy to use, put-in-your-postcode Event Finder. And we'll be helping them launch their Tree O'Clock event, an attempt to break a world record (or two!) for the greatest number of trees planted in one hour (on Sat 5th December 11am to 12pm).

As ever, there'll be suggestions of easy ways to Do One Thing to help nature near you, as well as special free downloads, from fungi guides to sounds of the night.

Here's to a great autumn, and the best Autumnwatch ever. Join us!

Tim Scoones is the Executive Producer of Autumnwatch

Autumnwatch 2009
Fri 2nd October - Fri 20th November
9-10pm every Friday night on BBC Two
(followed by Autumnwatch Unsprung 10-10.30pm on BBC TWO, plus
a repeat of the main show for family viewing on Saturday afternoons on BBC TWO)... and across the BBC on regional TV, local radio, on the web... and where you live


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