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See ya summer and hello autumn

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Chris Packham Chris Packham | 22:07 UK time, Thursday, 1 October 2009

Spring erupts into a riot of highly energised and exuberant life. It explodes across the landscape, blooming and buzzing through the woods, over the fields and bursts all over Britain in a frenzy which is terribly exciting but all too short-lived.

Autumn seeps in gently, unfolds in the dingles and dales and unfurls in the copses and spinneys. It builds, envelopes and plateaus before drifting darkly into winter leaving just the rustle of windy leaves behind it.

It can be sunny, bright and sparkling or misty, damp and still. Or it can howl and hail and tear at the countryside, ripping up the end of summer and spitting it into Christmas with scant relief for all the life which flees or fails before it.

It has a greater variety of flavours and moods and a massive spectrum of sounds. Rooks caw, deer grunt, trees creak, leaves whisper and lots of species spend their last breaths in all but silence. It can be exhilarating or very sad but one thing is assured... it is always dynamic. That's why watching it will be such fun.

Autumnwatch has changed to cope with this fickle season. An hour a week for eight weeks plus an extra half hour of Autumnwatch Unsprung will give us the time and scope to try to capture all of autumn's splendour and spectacle and hopefully give everyone the chance to get involved so that we can see what's happening all over the UK in the run up to December, by which time winter should have arrived.

It's my first time on the programme of course and I'm pleased to be on board. The place is humming with last-minute ideas and scheduling and it looks good to come together for a cracking look at some really great wildlife.

I'm taking my usual laid-back approach. I can't ever muster a panic, so I'm not getting too worried about the final detail. I'm very confident that it will all 'come together' when it's crunch time at nine on Friday.

There's lots to look forward to: whirling waders, whiffling geese, the glistening black noses of sleepy hedgehogs, bats, migrating birds, hopefully some sunshine, a little mist, maybe a shower between shoots and a flurry of snow at the end. In reality we've been lucky with September and we know it won't last: cold and wet is part and parcel of the agenda.

So, it's a case of see ya summer (which seemed to rush away whilst I spent most of the spare parts of it painting the outside of the house, the Itch and the Scratch waiting dutifully till the brush ran dry) and hello to autumn. Please turn on and get involved, send us your questions, pictures or home movies. And I've got to go... a rehearsal beckons.

I'll be blogging regularly throughout the eight weeks of Autumnwatch so please be sure to come back for more.


  • 1. At 12:03pm on 02 Oct 2009, Wildlife Filmer Adam wrote:

    Fantastic. To get a presenters point of view on things, is a great idea, brings more excitement for me and obviously the other viewers.

    Cheers. I cannot wait till 9pm!

    Gosh! I'd so love to be working on a programme like this, yes it can be stressful, but so what - it's worth it and it's something you and I (we) love.

    Wildlife Filmer Adam

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  • 2. At 12:09pm on 02 Oct 2009, LazyRizzo wrote:

    Really looking forward to tonight - I'll have to record it anyway or I can see myself breaking the speed limit on the way home.

    Interesting - the word "panic" in Crhis' blog links to "The Scream" by Munch....and here was me waiting for another Smiths' clue...

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  • 3. At 8:51pm on 02 Oct 2009, steelpurplelavender wrote:

    nine mins and counting, cant wait

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  • 4. At 10:16pm on 02 Oct 2009, lynngardening wrote:

    Chiff caffs on the shropshire union canal between Bunbury and the llangollan canal junction. Allso 8/9 kingfishers 27th sept 2009

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  • 5. At 09:53am on 03 Oct 2009, AdesBees wrote:

    Autumn is by far the best time of year for me, Autumnwatch is the best tv prog of the year. Great to see Chris at the helm in my opinion , long may it continue.

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  • 6. At 4:36pm on 03 Oct 2009, akaViv wrote:

    Not sure where to post this............however in response to Chris's comments about American vagrants here in Essex we have not one but TWO white-rumped sandpipers at Abberton Reservoir - proof indeed that they don't just appear on the West coast of the country

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  • 7. At 8:25pm on 04 Oct 2009, shellduc wrote:

    my 12 year old sonKerryn has a dead greenfinch in a cardboard box in the garage . How can we speed up the process to get the skeleton or do we need to bury it , can anyone help. we know about boiling the head to clean the skull but if we did this to a small bird surely we would dissolve the bones.

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  • 8. At 12:26pm on 05 Oct 2009, Tredavoe wrote:

    We've seen two foxgloves in Penwith, still with flowers - one is only just coming out. Is this common, this year round?

    Also, a piece on what if anything can be done about the dreaded honey fungus (now on the rampage in our garden) would be great.

    Anne & Derek

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  • 9. At 2:16pm on 05 Oct 2009, quietzone wrote:

    Just to show American Vagrants don't always get shunted across the Atlantic - how about the Tufted Puffin on the Kent coast mid-September?!
    Really enjoyed Fridays show, new 8 week format great idea. And good to hear Bill is working on new projects.

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  • 10. At 7:21pm on 06 Oct 2009, mrsbirder2 wrote:

    Would really like this to be noticed. COULD CHRIS THINK ABOUT A SMALL SPACE ON IT
    There are lots of people with real concerns about how the mass shooting of birds in the Eastern Med arounD Malta etc is affecting migration and the future of many species especially raptors.
    Loads of messages on the boards and lots of other comments on blogs.
    Please A/W if you really want to make a difference I am sure this would be worthwhile. There is nothing like publicity.
    Thanks a bit of a birder !!!

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  • 11. At 4:37pm on 07 Oct 2009, Jean wrote:

    Since reading the blog about Titus' death and having enjoyed a 'lively' day here last Saturday with the first proper gales of the autumn and the first snow ont he hills this week; I wonder if you intend to do a separate feature about the weather in Autumnwatch this year.
    I feel sure it will feature as an aspect of items about birds and animals but perhaps it merits a feature for its own sake since it is so important in determining how autumn progresses - it least it is here in the north of Scotland!

    Love the extended season and new format.

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  • 12. At 08:59am on 13 Oct 2009, geobern wrote:

    Hi, thoroughly enjoying this Autumn Watch - Autumn is my favourite season...
    I have lived on the outskirts of Swansea in South Wales, close to Junction 44 on the M4, for six years and regularly walk in the the local oak woods. In the past there have been plenty of acorns and I have been crunching them into the ground as we walked - this year I rarely see even one per walk!
    Is this happening anywhere else?

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