Thursday 13 June 2013, 20:44
I can't believe we've reached the end of the series already. It has been another whirlwind of action and drama and beauty ..... and not sleeping enough ...... and midges !
Our weird, late spring certainly prompted a new and interesting story from the RSPB's glorious Ynys Hir reserve this year - so many new species and new behaviours (thanks to Dick and all our RSPB friends !). It's amazing to think that we never really know what is going to happen each year. Who would have known that the jackdaws would dominate our news on many days, and that a grass snake would put in a dramatic appearance? I've particularly enjoyed the fledge fest of the last few days - almost like nature planned it for us.
We also never know what amazing things that you, our incredible audience, are going to send in, and tell us about, and photograph ..... and tweet. What you do and say and send is so much a part of Springwatch that I can genuinely say we cannot make it without you these days. So a big thank you from all of us in the Springwatch team.
We've had a great time (fabulous weather helped!) and we've learned loads of new things, not just about the wildlife, but also about how we make the show and...
Thursday 13 June 2013, 17:11
Guest blogger: Dr Andrew Robinson, Manchester University
Last week we saw how the credit-card sized Raspberry Pi computer was monitoring a blue tit nest box at Ynys-Hir. The Raspberry Pi sends data about when birds enter and leave the nest, and weather conditions, to the Internet. I've been monitoring the data from Manchester, and over the last few days noticed changes in the data. What did this mean? Were the chicks about to fledge?
Birds are detected by a pair of invisible light beams just outside and just inside the nest box entrance hole. The computer looks at the sequence the beams are broken and unbroken, to determine if birds are entering or leaving the nest. It also records if a bird just 'bobs' its head out to look out of the entrance. The time it takes for a bird to leave, or hold its head in the entrance is recorded.The Raspberry Pi and bird box set-up at Yynis-hir
On Monday afternoon I noticed the number of visits to the nest was decreasing. The time that a bird spent waiting, looking out of the nest was increasing. Did this change of behaviour mean the blue tit chicks were about to fledge?
Parents tend to encourage their offspring to fledge by reducing their food, and...
Wednesday 12 June 2013, 15:54
Unsprung is back tonight with a little quiz for you.
Can you match the tattoo to the Springwatch team member? 1. Martin, 2. Kirsty (our production runner) and 3. Chris.
Match the tattoo to the person
Join us at 8.30pm on BBC Two for the answer, or we'll post it here on the blog shortly afterwards.
UPDATE: And here's your answers.
Chris has the woodpecker, Martin has the sun and Kirsty has Darwin's Tree of Life sketch.
Wednesday 12 June 2013, 15:41
Guest bloggers: Ben Hatchwell and Pip Gullet, University of Sheffield.
After two weeks of diligent incubation, the eggs are ready to hatch. The newborn chicks are tiny, blind bags of skin and bone, and it's going to take some busy hunting by both parents to fill them out.
In just two weeks each chick will be heavier than its parents, fully feathered, and almost ready to fly. For mum and dad, who work dawn 'til dusk to satisfy the gaping mouths of their hungry brood, two weeks may not seem such a short time. However, help may be at hand.
If another pair of long-tailed tits nearby has failed to breed...
Wednesday 12 June 2013, 13:13
Guest blogger: Dr Trevor Dines, Plantlife
It's common, it's spotted and it's an orchid. Doing exactly what it says on the tin makes common spotted orchids no less spectacular than other, rarer, orchids. It's the one that you're most likely to be familiar with, but this familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. On the contrary, it's a personal favourite of mine amongst all our 53 species of orchid. Why? Because each plant is unique.
Take those cheerfully spotted leaves for example. I like hunting out plants with so much spotting the leaves are nearly black, or those with feint, ghostly spots or, best...
Wednesday 12 June 2013, 11:28
Guest blogger: Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser, DEFRA
The importance of tree health has been brought home to me quite graphically recently at the Chelsea Flower Show where I was visiting the Stop the Spread show garden. The garden, which was part funded by Defra and the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) was designed to show the importance of taking action now to tackle damaging plant pests and diseases.
Created by award winning designer Jo Thompson, the garden contrasts a healthy natural environment with a symbolic avenue of lifeless trees as a demonstration of what could...
Tuesday 11 June 2013, 14:03
Guest blogger: David Oakley, The Mammal Society
Camera trapping provides a non-invasive insight into the animal world that was previously reserved for scientists, species experts or dedicated naturalists.
Camera traps are becoming ever more popular and affordable so we can all now enjoy a glimpse into this realm. All you need is a camera trap and somewhere to put it. Find out what is using your back garden when you are not there or maybe your local nature reserve.Roe deer caught on camera by David Oakley
I have been camera trapping at a site in the New Forest for a few years now and still look...
Tuesday 11 June 2013, 11:52
Guest blogger: Richard Harrington, Marine Conservation Society
There is simply nowhere better to see wildlife than on a rocky shore. Choose your tide times carefully, and not just because of safety. A visit should coincide with the times of low water, on spring tides. Spring tides happen around the times of full and new moons, and they leave acres of shore to explore. I'd recommend booking your seaside holidays based purely on when these occur, I do!Edible crab, Cancer pagurus by Richard Harrington, Marine Conservation Society
Life between the tides is a world within a world, like a miniature...
Monday 10 June 2013, 11:56
Guest blogger: Jessamy Barker, Bat Conservation Trust
As the weather warms, bats become more active and very occasionally they can find their way to ill-advised locations: swimming pools, bank branches, classrooms; we've even had a bat found in a funeral parlour!
This week I had a call from Betty in Manchester whose neighbour had found a bat having a swim in her kitchen sink. As the neighbour found this situation quite scary my caller stepped in to contain the bat and call us for help. Working on the Bat Helpline, I'm always impressed at the frequency with which members of the public will go out...
Monday 10 June 2013, 09:51
Week two and Great Spotted Woodpeckers had been drumming like a 'Tommy Gun' on my nest boxes , the music on our weekend round-up was a bit too 'Jimmy Jazz' for me , I'd have preferred a 'Rebel Waltz' . 'Look Here' at an Australian Flatworm , new to science , discovered by a participant of our Bioblitz and despite the sad loss of our young Buzzard I said 'I'm Not Down' because in reality its all part of the cycle of life . Five , thirty six .
Wrens blast their song out with all the fury of 'Clash City Rockers' , the pronunciation of Chough from 'chow' to 'chuff' was first noted in 1643...