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Ynys-hir: Springwatch's new home for 2011

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Roger Webb Roger Webb | 12:08 UK time, Wednesday, 4 May 2011

After three wonderful years at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk, Springwatch is moving its base and going wild in Wales! Our new home is the remote, breathtakingly beautiful and biologically fascinating RSPB Ynys-hir nature reserve in Ceredigion, Mid Wales. We're delighted to be in Wales this year, discovering the best that Welsh wildlife has to offer.

Ynys-Hir  marsh

 

The fantastic 700 hectare reserve is set in a stunning location at the top of the Dyfi Estuary, flanked by the Cambrian Mountains. It's no exaggeration to say it's a veritable wildlife haven, with a huge variety of different habitats for us to explore - Welsh oak woodland, wet grassland, saltmarsh, reedbeds, heathland, rivers and ponds.

yt-river.jpg

 

It's a perfect new home for us, complete with a new studio - and new sofa - for Chris, Kate and Martin.

Ynys-Hir  studio

This shed will be magically transformed into our studio

With a new location comes new challenges and this is our most ambitious rig yet. Our fibre optic cables will stretch further than ever before... nearly 40 miles! We're going to cover a wider area with our mini cameras than we've ever attempted, and our presenters will be broadcasting nearly a mile away from some of our nest cameras, which will all be streaming live in glorious high definition.

Something I'm really excited about on personal level is our plan to broadcast live pictures from a heronry of nesting grey herons and little egrets. A Springwatch first!

We'll also be looking out for great and lesser spotted woodpeckers, birds of prey like hen harriers, ospreys and goshawks... and of course we couldn't go to Wales without featuring red kites - so we're planning to get nest cameras on them too.

The rivers, waterfalls and freshwater ponds in and around the reserve are full of dippers, kingfishers, sedge, reed and grasshopper warblers and the occasional bearded tit. Our bankside cameras will be poised and ready for river inhabitants like otters and grebes.

But it's not just birds and mammals that our camera teams will be tracking down - Ynys-hir is home to 19 species of dragonfly, 26 species of butterflies and over 400 species of moths as well as reptiles like grass snakes.

Ynys-Hir flowers

 

So you can see why we chose it and why I'm so excited about this new chapter in the Springwatch story.

Roger Webb is the Springwatch Series Producer

Springwatch begins 8pm, Monday 30 May on BBC Two

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Lovely stuff. I haven't visited the site for ages, but great memories from it. A very different site from previous Springwatch locations. Great natural oak coastal woodland - gnarly natural looking trees - saltmarsh, estuary etc. It's also a great hub for other types of local habitat. I expect we'll be watching at least one Pied Flycatcher family. Looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 2.

    This looks an amazing place to be broadcasting from. Plenty of chances to please the botany fans from your description as well, they seem to feel a bit left out these days. Tonights excellent last of the Animals of Britain series from Chris Packham has whetted our appetites for the Springwatch extravaganza ahead :)

  • Comment number 3.

    I have been holidaying in mid-wales for the past thirty year's, and have spent many wonderful hour's bird watching at the Ynys-hir nature reserve, springwatch could not have picket a better place, all so i have birdwatch all over mid-wales especially around the Elan valley area, wonderful memories.

  • Comment number 4.

    It sounds as though this year's Springwatch will be even better than last year's (if that is possible!), with such a varied habitat to explore. Hopefully, we will get some insect and flower features, too. Please, would it be possible to install an underwater camera so that in the evenings when not so much is happening, we can watch the fish, crayfish and other creatures, just like we did a couple of years ago? That was one of the most fascinating cameras; it was tranquil and soothing, but also compulsive viewing as you never knew what would turn up next.
    Good luck with the series, and thanks to everybody - presenters and all the behind-the-scenes people - who work on these fantastic programmes.

  • Comment number 5.

    Particularly excited about Red Kites, dragged my other half to Gigrin Farm in December and what an exciting experience it was. Really looking forward to the change of base and the new opportunities :)

  • Comment number 6.

    Excellent choice, I am hoping for a 16 day tour of Wales next year (this year it's Scotland) and I will be looking for pointers of where to visit to get the best out of me trip.
    just one tiny little bit of a suggestion - it would be nice to see the cameramen/women coming out from behind the camera a bit more often - it makes things far more intimate and really gives one the feeling of being there - well - it does for me!

  • Comment number 7.

    Good choice of venue, Croeso i Ceredigion.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's great to have Springwatch here in CEREDIGION this year, but can you amend your article please: the Ynyshir reserve is in the county of Ceredigion, not in Powys!

  • Comment number 9.

    With Monty and Nora just down the road at the Dyfi Osprey Project with potentially three chicks should be a great Springwatch

  • Comment number 10.

    I am soooo excited about Springwatch. Love it! and Cymru am byth! the most beautiful place in the country (not that Im biased!) Good luck for the 30th! x

  • Comment number 11.

    Looks an ideal location for your new base. How exciting to have somewhere new to explore and find all those new animals and birds etc! Can't wait to see the new Springwatch from there at the end of the month.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think that moving from Pensthorpe in norfolk was a bit of a stupid idea, but I am going to give wales a chance.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the move was needed and it looks like there is the potential to see some great new web cams.
    Looking forward to the start of the programme (three and a bit weeks now) and having never crossed the Welsh border, will find it particularly interesting.

  • Comment number 14.

    I am so excited!Im a huge fan of springwatch and look forward to its airtime very much!What do I learn now?That Springwatch is coming to my neck of the woods!Ok so Im "just over the mountain "in the rhondda but....having lived in this area and west wales and having visited powys frequently I know how beautiful and speaking for the rhondda which has a bad rap socially is fast becoming an undiscovered gem for wildlife after the mining era is over and nature is retaking the land.For example when I was a child you just never saw herons here,now there are many pairs nesting on the mountains that flank this top valley.My home in blaencwm is an absolute treat for birds and how green is my valley?Very,very,very these days!Good luck to the crew and presenters,Ill be looking forward hugely to watching the show,as always but now with an added bonus that youre all just a few miles over the mountains from me!Great stuff!

  • Comment number 15.

    I can hardly wait for the start of Springwatch again, but I think I may be away on holiday when it begins - please can somebody tell me the date it starts, and also is it once a week like before?

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm a frequent vistor to Ynys-hir and I believe the Dyfi estuary is one of the most beautiful anywhere in Europe. I'm thrilled that Springwatch is locating here and will be one of the programmes most avid observers!

  • Comment number 17.

    My family and I love Springwatch and are looking forward to this year's programmes. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place - but although lots of info on Ynys-Hir there's no mention of what dates the programmes will be broadcast. Can anyone tell me?

  • Comment number 18.

    Fantastic!! it's going to be in wales! can't wait for the return of springwatch, and really enjoying chris packhams show at the moment. Well done bbc.

  • Comment number 19.

    A _new_ sofa, eh? This I must see. Seriously though, what a gorgeous site.

  • Comment number 20.

    I have noted that here in East Yorkshire the Ash tree is only now getting into leaf while the Oak has been in leaf for weeks. Is it because of (a) the recent cold winter (b) a very cool April here on the East Coast or (c) a very dry April on the East Coast. It would be interesting to see how the rest of the country compares with this.

  • Comment number 21.

    This looks a brilliant new site in Cereidigon for you to bring us Springwatch from! It's such a beautiful place, and the wildlife there is so varied.Sooo excited for this years Springwatch now! Can't wait :) and Croeso i Gymru!

  • Comment number 22.

    Cracking destination. Would love to have been involved, maybe next year!
    Welcome to Wales, Springwatch - http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/nature/sites/places/mid/ynys_hir.shtml.

  • Comment number 23.

    Can't wait. A lot to live upto after Pensthorpe but a fresh location gives added interest.

  • Comment number 24.

    woooo welcome to wales :) iv never been to the place your going but whilst your at wales come to the south and see what some great wildlife is down here too :) http://www.npt.gov.uk/Default.aspx?page=2752 what date does SW start anyway xxx

  • Comment number 25.

    I've updated the post with the series start date now. Just to confirm it's 8pm Monday 30 May, BBC Two.

  • Comment number 26.

    thank you :)

  • Comment number 27.

    Really looking forward to Springwatch,i have travelled through this area many times and always see Red Kites,never visted Ynys hir.A beautiful area,a great choice...can't wait.

  • Comment number 28.

    Can't wait for Springwatch to start....I have a camera in my blue tit nest box for the first time this year, we have 10 eggs and a vey patient parent sitting on them at the moment!

  • Comment number 29.

    Had a caravan by Borth Bog for 54 years. Can we still visit and meet you all?

  • Comment number 30.

    By the way, could you ask the nice people at BBC iPlayer to put the one-off at Easter back on. I'm loving the series of Gardeners World, so the same idea for Springwatch would be brilliant.
    This is mostly as I was away and missed recording it....!
    Ta everso...

  • Comment number 31.

    Yes that is correct Borth Bog is what it is called. Near Ynyslas....

  • Comment number 32.

    yes been waiting eagerly for spring-watch !!!
    and love that your in Wales .used to live up in north Wales always took trips out it has beautiful country side.hope you show the rivers,lakes and mountains hrmmm sound like most of Wales there XD
    hope you show North Wales too! maybe puffin island...

  • Comment number 33.

    Have you found Tal-y-lyn Lake yet. Very, very mystical. Home of Cader Ideris dragon. Find Corris Labyrinth too. Bats and Smoking Dragons...

  • Comment number 34.

    Can't wait to see you all back again. Any chance on a glimps of Simon King ?
    By the way, is there a lot of breeding stil going on in May/June. Over here in Holland a big part of our nesting birds is ready by then. In the second part of June some of the migrants are already leaving. Nevertheless, i am confident that you all know what's going on, refering to the previous series ! Respect.

  • Comment number 35.

    Aaaaa!! I spent all of July 2010 volunteering at Ynys Hir! I spent many afternoons sheltering from the rain in the shed which is the studio-to-be! I helped build part of the new boardwalk which the presenters will be walking on!
    It is stunningly beautiful, vast and remote. I saw so many birds I'd never seen before there, coming from the south (pied flycatchers, my first osprey, goshawk, curlew, raven and many others).
    All the wardens and other volunteers were lovely but it was a very quiet and secluded place. I remember there was a split in willingness to have the springwatch team come this year, but I'm so so glad they are! I just WISH I could be there!

  • Comment number 36.

    Looking forward to the new series. Haven't been to Wales for a while, maybe this is the spur we need to venture there again.

  • Comment number 37.

    I hope there's a redstart nest

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi, my name is lydia and i am 9. We have a garden that backs on to school with loads of trees and heges. My mum and i keep finding baby birds that have been attacked by a rotten crow. now we have a baby blue tit. we feed them with water and baby chik feed in pipet. We have an odd robin that looks like a big big ball. i love our birds. i sit for hours in the trees. please come visit me with bill too. you are great and i wish you could come over here xxxx

  • Comment number 39.

    mum has said to me to go to bed and sleep now xxx

  • Comment number 40.

    Wolverhampton racecourse Swallow Watch ! 1st Swallows arrived 16th April , old nest site returned to and a little refurbishment carried out by cock and hen, 3rd May 1st egg laid and then we watched and waited until the 18th may when we had our 1st siting of a little swallow head, both parents busy feeding chicks, will confirm number of chicks in near future. Colesy, mick and neil

  • Comment number 41.

    Cannot wait for springwatch to start again. Can someone tell me why two birds would fight. I was so shocked at seeing one on top of other nearly taking its eyes out i did not see what they were. I feed birds back and front all year round. Someone said not to feed them in summer as it would make them lazy. I said once u start u have to keep feeding them. Who is rght please.?

  • Comment number 42.

    I live right in the middle of the YnysHir Reserve, and it is truly the most beautiful place in the World!
    What a great choice for Springwatch! The habitat is so varied, the air is pure, and the peace is profound! The mosses and lichens are worth a real close look, the walls and trees are just covered, close up they look like miniature gardens, wonderful in HD!!
    A few years ago, I saw a polecat, sitting looking in through my window one night!
    I wondered if any other locals had seen one too?

  • Comment number 43.

    Looks like a lovely part of the country, nice to have a new home for Springwatch this year. I have never been to Wales but it is on my list to visit & I am really looking forward to seeing the Red Kites.

  • Comment number 44.

    Is it springwatch or birdwatch?

  • Comment number 45.

    morning all spring watch fans can any one tell me is there more deer about this year or is it ive been walking around with my eyes shut as in my area ive seen loads this year ?

  • Comment number 46.

    Cannot wait, best programe on the telly!

  • Comment number 47.

    Hey Roger, Ynis Hir is in Ceredigion not Powys!

  • Comment number 48.

    Ynys Hir is a great location for Springwatch.
    I hope we are going to see and hear lots about ospreys, red kite and maybe choughs(are they on the increase or decrease?)And definitely the beautiful Dyfi estuary.The Mawddach isn't too far away as well.Spoilt for choice!

  • Comment number 49.

    @jayne hancock and @Jon Turner - oops that was my fault. Of course it's in Ceredigion. Thanks for pointing that out. Have changed it now.

  • Comment number 50.

    You might be interested to know that we saw 'By the wind Sailor' Velella velella. There were lots of them in among many other small jelly fish. I have never seen them before, but my cousin ( a biology teacher knew them) I have taken some photos if you are interested. This was this afternoon, Saturday 28, We were walking on the Beach as the tide was coming in near Ynyslas. We accessed the beach from the golf course car park and walked towards Ynyslas. Juliet Regan

  • Comment number 51.

    Can't wait to see the Red Kites. They are becoming more common over places such as Didcot - if you travel by train you can't fail to see them - but it will be great if we can see pictures from a nest. Really looking forward to the series.

  • Comment number 52.

    Such glorious news. Not just Wales but mid Wales. At last.
    Everyone, mid Wales welcomes you with open arms
    Roll on tomorrow evening.
    Whatever you bring us will be superb, as always
    Diolch yn fawr!

  • Comment number 53.

    Delighted to welcome you all to our little corner of Paradise- one of only two UNESCO biospheres in Britain, so it's a great choice of location to observe Mother Nature at first hand. Croeso (Welcome), as we say:-)))

  • Comment number 54.

    Cant wait for this new location, so much looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 55.

    Yns Hir will be a good location for Springwatch I'm looking forward to the programmes. I first got to know the reserve when William Condry was the warden and he used to lead parties of visitors around the reserve. I hope you'll find time to give pay tribute to his achievements. He did so much for conservation in Wales notably campaigning for the preservation of the Red Kite and also through his writing.

  • Comment number 56.

    There is nowhere better to watch wildlife than Wales - anywhere in Wales - and we have one of the best wildlife presenters to boot in Iolo Williams . Please give him more airtime in this series. Can't wait for tonight . It should be spectacular.

  • Comment number 57.

    Good luck for tonight everyone, can't wait, the venue looks gorgeous, know it'll be the usual fab stuff, will be glued throughout as per, woop x

  • Comment number 58.

    Best wishes for tonight. Croeso i Gymru, a beautiful place to live and enjoy wildlife.

    I hope you have your wellies and thick jumpers on as its pelting down! If you can look out for wild orchids. There is a lot out at the moment if you know where to look. ;-D

  • Comment number 59.

    So good to be back, although with all the great weather we had weeks ago the title 'Springwatch' seems redundant.

  • Comment number 60.

    So glad you're in Wales this year. I live about 40 miles from Ynys Hir (that's not far in this part of Wales!!) and it's a beautiful location. Good luck with this year's Springwatch (I'm looking forward to seeing the ospreys!)

  • Comment number 61.

    Hi,

    Has there been a decline in the Buzzard population this year? I live in North Wales and usually see plenty with a pair nesting in the mountain above the house. But none around this year.

    Dave

  • Comment number 62.

    Location sounds wonderful-so varied. Webcams are looking great. Hope weaher holds up - looks windy and overcast. Also looking forward to reports from Charlie, Iolo and Liz. Good luck all.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hi, great to have the programme back....we think the feather is from a red kite. We were watching red kites being fed at Llanddeusant Red Kite Centre, only 3 weeks ago. What a fantastic experience that was! Keep up the good work, love the programme.

  • Comment number 64.

    Can't wait for the webcam in the redkites nest. Myself and my wife went to Gigrin farm Easter 2010 to watch them feed and were lucky enough for a buzzard to join in the feeding.

  • Comment number 65.

    Wolverhampton racecourse swallow watch , 5 chicks in nest ,busy busy parents now in and out all the time, camera been a godsend !

  • Comment number 66.

    just watched springwatch excellent cant wait until tomorrow

  • Comment number 67.

    Excellent first show. Can`t wait for the red kite webcam. I was at Gigrin farm about three weeks ago. Fantastic sight at feeding time. There were three buzzards feeding with the kites and rooks. The rooks were frightened to death of the buzzards, but still tried to steal their food.

  • Comment number 68.

    I live quite near to Ynys-hir but because there are so many other fantastic places around I've never actually been there! I love the bogs - hare's tail cottongrass everywhere. The marsh orchids in the dunes are like little fairies. We are so lucky here, we can't leave the house without seeing a red kite or a porpoise or an adder or a leopard or something equally spectacular. Not a nat west barclays midlands or a lloyds anywhere near here. I didnt find out until very recently that it is an UNESCO biosphere! Looking forward to the rest of the series - hoping to see otters.

  • Comment number 69.

    Visited today for the first time! Fantastic reserve, such an amazing diversity of habitats. Great range of birds and wildlife. Lovely staff. Cant wait to go back!

  • Comment number 70.

    what a work place , night pollution at a minimum ,plenty of fresh air and lots of earley nights but theres to much going on to sleep come on badgers wakey wakey

  • Comment number 71.

    We have a nesting box near our house, occupied by a pair of Bluetits. The parents have been in and out of the box frequently, obviously feeding, but to-day I saw one parent going in, staying a bit longer than usual and then dragging out which I thought was a baby bird! The Bluetit flew away with it. I have never seen that before, I wonder if that is something that Bluetits do? Could it be they were getting rid of a dead chick? I don't know if it was male or female bird doing it.

  • Comment number 72.

    Hi! A sign of the times? Never mind Beavers in Scotland. My mother lives in Maidenhead, Berkshire, and rang me this evening to tell me of the spectacular display she witnessed of a Red Kite flying low over her garden and being mobbed by a pair of Ring Necked Parakeets - both of which, presumably, are recent introductions (wittingly or otherwise) to Berkshire. Having seen Red Kites in Wales over the years on many occasions, I have to say it's even more thrilling to see them in an area where they have presumably been proactively introduced and to see them gain such a stronghold that an even more recent introduction is trying to see them off!!! Proof that nature always finds a way..........

  • Comment number 73.

    Lovely show but would it be possible for your presenters, Kate in particular, to pronounce "Ynys" properly. Thanks!

  • Comment number 74.

    What a difference with Pensthorpe in Norfolk...it couldn't be bigger..248 miles.... still I miss Bill though... what a wildlife.. herons this year, can't remember seeing them here before... beautiful vid... I'm watching from abroad, here in Holland, and we watch this show for years. No little Wrens nest this year in the studio ;) the show has changed though.. Chris is putting a lot of himself in ... last year his dogs... now Mastermind? I loved the snakes.. We've got the feeling he is taking over the show and the rest are sidekicks.. Kate was talking and Chris was echoing, not letting her finish... not really not polite behavior... I knew Bill was depressed, and couldn't do it, but when is Bill coming back??? It's just not the same.....

  • Comment number 75.

    It's wpnderful that Springwatch has a new home in beautiful and currently unspoilt mid Wales at Ynys Hir. I have jsut returned from the area and heard that the ospeys are nesting and have chicks at Ynys Hir this year. Will you be featuring this I wonder? Also just to register that I heard while I was there that 600 huge windmills are planned for the most beautiful areas of Plumlumon mountain with its own important large nature reserve. Can the team investigate, I wonder, how this will affect the fragile wildlife ecosystem there? Could Plumlumon become a national park to protect it I wonder?

  • Comment number 76.

    There is a lot at Ynys-hir, but just down the road there is also Ynys Las National Nature Reserve, with Cors Fochno, an important peat bog, the mouth of the Dyfi estuary, and wonderful sand dunes. As well as offering more birds it's superb for rare insects and plants, including rare orchids in the dunes. Would have been nice to have something from here as well.

  • Comment number 77.

    I am so glad that Springwatch is at Ynys-Hir - this is probably my favourite RSPB reserve. We visit it about 3-4 times a year , usually when we visit our daughter at Aberystwyth University.

    It has something going on all year round - it truly is a gem amongst the RSPB reserves.

    I hope it doesn't get overrun now it is becoming better known - it deserves to be better known but it's location and tranquility are a key part of it's charm.

  • Comment number 78.

    Not that I'm biased (I was raised near here), but this is a great new location for Springwatch. Well done!

  • Comment number 79.

    Fantastic show this week, have been to Ynys Hir many times . The staff there are always very friendly and helpful.
    Don't forget a visit to Bwlch Nant y Arian while you are in Mid Wales they feed the Red kites at 2.00pm every day in the summer and 3.00pm in the winter. We were there 3weeks ago and although it was cold still managed to see at least 50 birds feeding.
    The RSPB hut was good as well the feeder hanging out side was full of birds

  • Comment number 80.

    Had a gorgeous birdwatching holiday in mid Wales last summer. Lovely to see those red kites again - as Jennywren says Bwich Nant y Arian is splendid and we also got to spot crossbills there - and be reminded by Chris's comments on buzzard feeding behaviour of the 40 plus we saw worming in one small grassy field in decidedly drizzly conditions. Anyway - a beautiful new home for Springwatch, which I was beginning to despair of waiting for. Welcome back!

  • Comment number 81.

    Hello, this is my first time, how do i send a picture to the show i can't seem to find anything on the web site?

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm loving this Springwatch and am soooo excited to be going to this area in a fortnight for my holidays! I really can't wait!! They'll be so much to do I'll need a holiday to recover!!

  • Comment number 83.

    Aside from any research findings about feeding birds, there are a number of important points which can be made on a common sense basis:
    Feeding birds other than at times of prolonged extreme cold as, for example, occurred last November and December, is very unwise because:
    1: the food provided will not be the bird's natural food, and it could therefore be bad for its health;
    2: feeding will make the bird dependent on human beings, and the bird will therefore surely be at risk of losing its own food-gathering skills and habits; further, the reliability of people as providers clearly cannot be guaranteed, and birds could easily therefore be left suddenly to fend for themselves if, for whatever reason, the human provider suddenly failed to provide;
    3: feeding other than in an emergency will tend to make a wild creature no longer wild (certainly a very bad idea);
    4: the kinds of foods fed, for example peanuts and bread, are clearly not foods that the bird would come across naturally and are, therefore, highly unlikely to be suitable and may even, for all we know, promote ill-health and result in the production of fewer eggs, a point obliquely suggested by Springwatch;
    5: lower grade peanuts have been notorious because of the potentially lethal moulds which can grow on them;
    6: the current large scale production of bird-foods, it can be assumed, will be contributing to a lessening of availability of human foods for human beings in dire need.
    Referring to your piece on honey-bees, fascinating and ingenious as is the work you showed to combat the varroa mite, I suggest there are far simpler ways of restoring health to honey-bees, that there are various forces militating against the well-being of honey-bees that can, and should, be tackled with urgency.
    Systemic and other pesticides and herbicides are probably taking a heavy toll on bees, both directly and indirectly. Some pesticides have been shown to be lethal to bees, and the upsurge in advertising, directed at gardeners, of these and of herbicides, particularly perhaps television advertising, is quite worrying. At the same time, herbicides are killing, sometimes on a large scale, plants, sometimes known as weeds, which can be important sources of food for bees. The impact on bees of such inputs are likely to be even more marked in conjunction with the difficulties for bees posed by the kind of cool, even cold, summers that some parts of the British Isles have been experiencing now for some years.
    However, one of the biggest things militating against honey-bees' health is also a matter of denial among beekeepers. This is the virtually universal practice of feeding bees sugar-syrup.
    Beekeepers, except the most selfless, know all about their tendency to be greedy when it comes to taking honey from hives. They know they regularly take too much. They know they regularly leave the bees too little honey to last the winter.
    In exchange for the wonder-food that is honey, they feed a dead carbohydrate - white sugar.
    It is completely obvious that sugar is not a food, that it is purely a carbohydrate, that it contains absolutely none of the multitude of nutrients contained in the nectar gathered by the bees, the nectar that is the bees' natural, and therefore quite obviously health and life-sustaining, food.
    As with feeding birds, sugar-feeding by beekeepers who put the health of their bees before profit from sales of honey, or before their own liking of honey, may sometimes be necessary during hard winters when there has been a genuine miscalculation about the amount of honey needed to see the bees through the winter.
    The fact of the matter, however, is that very many beekeepers resolutely take all or most of the honey in their hives, thus leaving for the bees little or none of their natural and health-sustaining food. Amazingly, beekeepers expect their bees to survive healthily throughout long winters on sugar - a substance totally without any of the nutrients in the honey the bees have slaved to gather.
    Can anyone really be surprised that, subject to such malnutrition, bees' immune systems can become seriously depressed and that they can consequently become prey to disease and vulnerable to the varroa mite?
    A further word of caution. I am aware of a view that an increase in the number of beekeepers could help to sustain bee numbers.
    I suggest this view is simplistic: an increase in the number of hives may merely increase competition for often already limited supplies of nectar, and in a situation where supplies of nectar do not rise through a parallel increase in the number of bee-food-producing plants.
    Another undesirable side-effect of an increase in hive numbers could quite easily be to decrease availability of food-plants to bumblebees, the unfarmed creature on which, as things are now going in relation to the serious decline in honey-bee numbers, we are likely to increasingly depend on for pollination of a vast range of human food-plants.

  • Comment number 84.

    Why don't you venture a bit further from Ynys Hir? Go for a wander along the Pembrokshire Coastal path and find an abundance of wildlife. We have been doing that for the past 30 years and will never tire of it. Choughs, Ravens and lots of inquisitive seals.
    Skomer - our favourite island. There is usually a swallow's nest in the ladies loo where you get the boat!!

  • Comment number 85.

    This site has been sent to me via a friend in UK and we are finding it very interesting here in Mudgee NSW Australia
    I have sent it to all the family and it will be very interesting watching the birds and animals in their habitat.
    Thank you for sharing this with us
    regards Kathy Kayvoysey

  • Comment number 86.

    @squeak194, you can find out how to send a photo to us here http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/uk/help/

    @macgran, Iolo was on Skomer all last week!



  • Comment number 87.

    i just love bird watching and when visiting my cousin in wales always take the chance to watch the birds, he lives very close to the mountians and the red kites swoop low,its lovely see,and in Norfolk is a lovely place to go and see the birds on some very nice walks

  • Comment number 88.

    Can't wait to go back to Ynys Hir again after watching this fabulous programme. Keep the good work up Springwatch team - this is the BBC at its very best.

  • Comment number 89.

    this morning while out walking we saw young crows trying their wings hopping about and flapping to see how far they could lift their selfs from the ground over head in the trees there were many many more, and a good number of jackdaws, back in our garden there were quite a few sparrows of both kinds and our 15 goldfinishes, we are very lucky were we live

  • Comment number 90.

    What a fabulous programme as usual. We are a lucky nation with a country packed full of wonderful creatures - thanks for showing it us up close. We are hooked.

  • Comment number 91.

    while looking out of our window from our sitting room we couldnt believe what we saw for the first time ever a nuthatch it was wonderful it landed on one of our sheds and picked of some food,I am hoping it will come back

  • Comment number 92.

    I live a couple of miles up a track inland from the main road where the entrance is to the nature reserve at Ynys-hir where you filmed your amazing series. Just 2 weeks ago I heard my cat fighting or miaowing at something loudly and found a black creature with a bushy tail which appeared to be a polecat on my stairs fighting with her. No way could it have been another cat as no-one lives for a massive radius with a cat as we are totally remote and also it looked too big a tail for a cat compared to its long body. It scarpered when it saw me. We think it has been coming in through the cat flap and eating their leftover food. Am wondering about setting up my laptop and video camera for a night.

  • Comment number 93.

    What a wonderful place to be. Ynys-hir mixes Welsh oak woodland with wet grassland and saltmarshes. In the spring, the ground is carpeted in flowers, and birdsong fills the air. You might see flycatchers and redstarts emerging from the nestboxes. Lovely.
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