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Meet mini-Springwatch

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David Gregory | 14:16 UK time, Wednesday, 30 May 2012

We've been doing Springwatch reports on Midlands Today now for about five years. In that time what's really changed is the amount of technology our viewers have started to play with. In the first year I remember people physically sent in pictures of wildlife through the post.


Likely an escaped pet rather than a wild midlands parakeet

Today we can get beautiful pictures emailed or tweeted to us within seconds of the item being broadcast. As an example not long after we broadcast our parakeet report on Monday we were emailed this picture taken shortly after our report went out.

But perhaps the greatest advances have been made in the availability and affordability of cameras to watch wildlife. Much of this kit is now equal to what is available to broadcast professionals. This year I've even noticed a trend towards capturing amateur footage in high definition.

Perhaps the best example of what can be achieved is Kate Macrae's garden near Litchfield and the subject of our latest Springwatch report. Kate has 16 cameras in her garden to capture the wildlife that visits and she then broadcasts the result as clips or live onto the internet. Her office control room really does resemble a mini-Springwatch gallery.

Perhaps not surprisingly such a set-up proved of interest not just to us but also to the main BBC Two Springwatch team. In fact they were so impressed with Kate's small-mammal cam set-up they've borrowed the idea and created something similar at their base the Ynys-hir reserve in Wales. So keep an eye peeled for the Springwatch "mammal stump."

You can find Kate's website here and Springwatch's live webcams are here or on the red button.

UPDATE: We've just had an email from Hazel Jackson our wild parakeet expert from earlier in the week. She says the bird in this photo is likely a "red front kakariki bred in this colour mutation" and almost certainly an escaped pet. If you recognise it do get touch!

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