Friday 1 November 2013, 21:24
Ever been warned of tripping on a devil’s stinkhorn? It’s a sure to be a season of surprises underfoot as these bizarrely named fungi, and many more, are springing to attention all around the UK.
The sight of red and white spotted fly agaric conjures storybook memories of perching pixies. And the rounded white puffball is like a miniature moon which has crash landed on the moist woodland floor. This other world is full of exotic colours and shapes, surprising smells, whimsy, and a frisson of the dangerous and sinister.
Fungi are truly extraordinary and more people should know about them as they are vital to our existence and that of the planet as we know it. It is perhaps the one kingdom of the living world that is least widely understood.
Fungi are essential to the survival of wildlife - and our gardens. They are everywhere but we rarely see them. As soon as something dies fungi gets to work rotting, digesting and recycling; which keeps the soil healthy and nutritious. We know a great deal about these organisms, yet we also know that there is potentially still much to discover especially with regard to their conservation.
There are over 14,500 species in the UK. The main...
Friday 1 November 2013, 20:26
Some species of insects regularly migrate to the UK each spring from their winter-breeding grounds around the Mediterranean, and they do so by taking advantage of fast-moving airstreams hundreds of metres above the earth.
Silver Y moth
Until recently, we didn’t know if these tiny migrants could influence their migration routes or whether they were at the mercy of the wind. However, studies carried out at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire using unique entomological radars provided conclusive answers to questions such as these.
Our radars showed that migratory silver Y moths select the fastest and most favourably directed airstreams, and in this way are able to migrate distances of between 300km and 400km per night, flying at speeds of more than 50km per hour between their summer-breeding and winter-breeding regions.
Friday 1 November 2013, 19:28
Can name these bird species and match them to the correct migration group on the map?
Answer using the comment button below.
A - White-fronted geese
B - Waxwing
C - Osprey
Friday 1 November 2013, 18:14
The Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar project encourages members of the public to get out and about in their gardens and local areas and to record common signs of autumn.
Sessile oak in autumn colour
This year our recorder’s data already shows autumn is late. Across the country, first sightings of leaves changing colour are around 14 days later than average for some of our best-loved tree species such as elder, oak and horse chestnut.
Weather conditions affect the development of the stunning autumn colour we are so used to and, while later than usual, this year’s weather has provided...
Thursday 31 October 2013, 18:50
Cardigan Bay holds Britain’s largest coastal bottlenose dolphin population. They've been studied since the 1990s but only recently, with the expansion of Sea Watch Foundation’s photo-ID investigations, have we learned that most of the population migrates north for the winter.
A dolphin breaching on its migration path
Individuals are recognised by photographing unique patterns of nicks on their dorsal fins. This low-tech yet relatively non-invasive way of studying migratory marine mammals has revealed that the dolphins from Cardigan Bay migrate at least as far north as the Isle of Man, returning...
Thursday 31 October 2013, 18:08
We're back tonight at 9pm, straight after Autumnwatch, on BBC Red Button and here on the web & mobile.
For tonight's quiz we've had the thermal camera out, but what birds these are?
Tune in at 9pm tonight for the answers.
Thursday 31 October 2013, 15:24
For most of us autumn will conjure up thoughts of deciduous woodlands transformed into a splendid array of mellow colours, wind-swept days, and acorns and conkers falling to the ground. As a wildlife enthusiasts equally evocative of autumn for me are the sound of clashing antlers and roars of stags that signal the on-set of the rut for the three largest of our six free living species of deer in Britain.
Roaring stag and hind
Wednesday 30 October 2013, 18:24
Tonight on Autumnwatch Unsprung, Nick is asking: Can you identify these fungi and tell us which ones are edible and which ones are 'dedible'?
Post your answers in the Comments section below and find out who has answered correctly on the show - 9pm on red button (channel 301) and on the web - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01k6y70/live
A Fly agaric (inedible)
B False chantarelle (edible)
C The Prince (edible)
D Peppery bolete (edible)
Wednesday 30 October 2013, 16:12
Since last February, we have been studying foxes in Brighton and Hove, to find out where they go, what they do, and why. We capture foxes in live traps and attach GPS collars, before releasing them and subsequently monitoring their movements remotely.
A urban fox that will be tracked using a GPS collar
During this process, Brightonians have generously allowed us access to their gardens, sometimes at very unsociable hours, and without this contribution, my colleagues and I couldn’t have gathered such a wealth of data.
Urban foxes are traditionally associated with bin scavenging, but we...
Tuesday 29 October 2013, 20:46
On Autumnwatch, we’re well aware that the issues surrounding the on-going badger cull have remained in the news and continue to be an emotive subject for many of you.
As usual, we are asking you to use the comments section below to have your say on the subject. We ask that you respect the views of others, even if they differ from your own. In the past we’ve found that people from both sides of the issue have brought interesting and useful extra insights and information to our blog, and we encourage this kind of contribution to a respectful discussion.
Some of you have asked why Autumnwatch...