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Springwatch Christmas Special: A look back at 2010 and a look forward to 2011

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 12:02 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A date for your calendar: 6.30pm, 29 December on BBC Two. Chris, Kate and Martin join us for the Springwatch Christmas Special. It's a look back at the big wildlife stories of 2010 and a look forward to what's on the horizon for next year.

Chris Packham, Kate Humble, Martin Hughes-Games

First Snow Watch, then the Springwatch Specials and Springwatch itself, then Autumnwatch and now the Christmas Special... 2010 was the first time that we had cameras rolling up and down the country for pretty much the whole year. Which means the Christmas Special's the perfect time to examine the highlights and lowlights of each of the seasons.

Liz Bonnin called filming Scottish wild cats in the wild one of the most incredible wildlife experiences of her life. A behind-the-scenes look at how the team managed it will reveal just how tough a challenge this was.

There's a look back at some of the other wildlife revelations from Springwatch and Autumnwatch, the ones made possible by cutting edge technology: Chris Watson's pistol shrimp and skylark timestretch recordings, and Simon King's slo-mo footage of hobbies.

As all you Unsprung fans will know, no show would be complete without Martin introducing some of his friends. This year's very special guests include a barn owl, hedgehogs, a red kite, a badger and a snowy owl. Each has its own special 2010 story to tell.

Springwatch Christmas Special film crew

Filming this year's Christmas Special

But what about the bigger picture? Valuable work is being done across the UK to reintroduce lost species. It's time for an update on the success of these projects, from cranes to sea eagles and from red kites to beavers. And what other species might we be seeing on these shores next year? Perhaps the delightful serin or new species of damselfly?

Few rural matters are as controversial as the proposed badger cull. And in the city, foxes were very much in the news in 2010. In-depth analysis of both these issues will get to the heart of these stories.

Don't forget that when the show's over and hopefully got you eager to get out and enjoy more nature first hand, this website's here with all the info you need for a winter of wildlife watching. Pop in your postcode and find out what's happening near you, or browse simple ways you can help your natural neighbours.

Happy Christmas! (And a big thanks to all those who volunteered their stories.)


  • Comment number 1.

    Just read in the TV mag that one of the topics for discussion on this christmas special will be the future of urban foxes. Let's hope for an unbiased view, their are a lot of alleged attacks in the media involving foxes which in my view have not been specifically proven. It is still a joy to see a fox wherever you are, but to see one in the towns is still a wonder. There are a lot of urban fox lovers out there (check out Urban Fox Defenders facebook page with over 5,000 members at the moment). Really enjoy your programme and am looking foward to watching this special.

  • Comment number 2.

    I like the idea of a Christmas special that looks back at 2010 and a look forward to 2011. In the depths of winter these programmes are a great reminder of more pleasant times (and weather).

    Hey i just thought it will be SPRINGWATCH soon!

    Cheers - Ronnie

    Best wishes for a merry Christmas and a splendid New Year

    Winter warmer

  • Comment number 3.

    I really look forward to tips on what to do in such a severe winter. I've had everything from a sparrow hawk to a flock of ten pigeons (ugh) along with robins, tits, crows, jays etc in my garden. I have started to leave food for the foxes; partly from sentiment and also because living on the edge of Staines Moor I have them all year round but now they are hovering up the bird food. I thought that giving them scraps of meat, left over bread and pasta would leave something for the birds. How true! The magpies are now nicking the foxes' food! Better than any human soap opera!

  • Comment number 4.

    Fantastic, very pleased to have read that. I am really looking forward it.

  • Comment number 5.

    To the Springwatch/Autumnwatch Team - particularly KATE HUMBLE in her capacity as RSPB president (although I believe the international arm of the RSPB [Birdlife] is already aware) and to everyone on this forum who loves & respects wildlife, please see the link below which has been forwarded to me and shockingly reports the large scale slaughter of small songbirds on Cyprus (mainly in the UK controlled areas sadly enough) for use as a table delicacy! How utterly disgusting! It concerns me greatly - and should do everyone else - that the human race can sink so low just to please their palates. For everyone reading this who is similarly sickened, please take action NOW and let your views be known to the Embassy or Consulate, or go one better and boycott Cyprus as your holiday destination this next year. This type of 'bad press' does work, as I believe something similar used to happen on Malta until it became adversely publicised and is now not so widespread. For the BBC Team, would you be able to raise this item in the programme tonight or maybe update us in the Springwatch series when it comes round? On behalf of beautiful songbirds everywhere in the world, thanks for your support everyone. Now please see link:

    PS: Am looking forward to the programme tonight and want to wish everyone involved a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful & Prosperous New Year!

  • Comment number 6.

    Can anyone answer my question. During the recent snow and ice I had to keep refilling the bird bath for the constant bathing of groups of starlings. Now the weather has warmed and the snow and ice disappeared, so have the starlings. Why do they bath continuously in the coldest of weather?

  • Comment number 7.

    FOR CHRIS PACKHAM I live right on the sea front on The Wirral and my house backs onto a wooded common.In the week leading up to Christmas in broad daylight on three consecutive afternons, there was a woodcock in the snow,feeding in amongst the trees.I guess it was hungry to be out in daylight.It was such a treat to be able to sit and watch this gorgeous bird.I filmed it (badly, due to the glare from the snow)on my sons camcorder as proof of what I'd witnessed....fantastic!! That was my favourite Christmas present.

  • Comment number 8.

    With reference to the recent comments on the show, with regard to global warming and rising temperatures. I was wondering if that was why there seems to be a rise in Parakeets. I live on the edge of Epping Forest (my garden backs into the forest and I have a right of way). I have noticed (but first heard), the parakeets that seem to have taken up residence in the Forest. Is this becoming more common, as I also know there is a report of many Parakeets in Bromley, South London. These birds usually reside in tropical areas but are becoming increasingly more common here in the UK.

  • Comment number 9.

    Have had to break away from SpringWatch to let off steam. Just witnessed Martin Hughes-Games leave a field of horses and walk away from leaving the gate open. Shame on you!

  • Comment number 10.

    We are constantly observing our bird feeders, and are very excited as we think we have a Brambling at one of our feeders, we have never seen these finch like birds before, are they becoming more common or are they just visiting us and likely to move off again once the weather has warmed up
    Karen from Verwood Dorset.

  • Comment number 11.

    Martin Hughes-Games should have known better than leave a gate open like he did after thanking the Big Lottery for the £2 million for nature related projects.

  • Comment number 12.

    A question about long tailed tits. At other times of the year we are used to seeing them in a flock which works its way along a line of bushes, presumably always moving on to find more food as they eat what is readily available.
    In this December cold weather we have a small group which visits our suet bird feeders most afternoons. However, after a minute or two, they move on, not to be seen again that day. There is plenty of food available (and they seem to enjoy it) but they still move on. Is this something inherent in their behavioural makeup? It would seem to be to their disadvantage.

  • Comment number 13.

    Blue tit behaviour
    Hi there. Nice to have you back on the screens, and can't wait until Springwatch starts again for real next year.
    Despite the fog here in Bexhill, the blue tits have been chasing each other like mad all round the garden. One or two perching on the highest branches chirruping at the top of their voices. It doesn't seem to be territorial, as they don't appear to be chasing each other away. Is this the start of trying to find a mate?
    Jane & Shelley, Bexhill

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh dear Martin you must make a New Years Resolution to alway shut the gate when you come through it!!!! Just seen you leave the gate open with horses in the field!!! Love you though xxx

  • Comment number 15.

    Congratulations on an excellent programme, great summary of 2010. Prompted me to get BBC ID. Happy Xmas.

  • Comment number 16.

    With regards to urban foxes, do you think providing food for them can encourage rats? My neighbour puts food out for them and we have had a continual problem with rats. I have seen urban foxes attacking domestic cats at night in my road and I found the remains of a domestic cat in my garden some years ago. Is this something that cat owners should be aware of? I'm not anti fox but I'm not sure that they should be encouraged to live in urban areas.

  • Comment number 17.

    In respect to the statement over the areas that Red Kites are in within UK, for the past 3 years a pair of Red Kites regularly over fly Hazebrouck Barracks at Reading. A truly beautiful bird.

  • Comment number 18.

    Thank you Spring/Autimnwatch, for presenting what can be a very complex issue in a way that made it easy for everyone to understand. Of course i talk of the badger cull issue. But the whole programme was very very good. You tackled a lot of serious conservation issues, talked of consultations which the average joe wouldn't know about, and delivered it in a palatable, way which left you feeling educated instead of lectured....truely brilliant i hope the new series in spring will follow a similar format, wildlife is more than some cute chicks on the edge of pond...really very pleased with you guys. Thank you.

    P.S the sound track was great, mostly, too.

  • Comment number 19.

    Please tell us what materials were used in Kate Humble's hat, as worn at the end of the Christmas Special tonight ?

  • Comment number 20.

    I believe the parakeets living wild in UK have escaped originally from domestic cages - and good luck to them !

  • Comment number 21.

    Love the programme as always......however, a little piece Chris mentioned about whether to leave or cut ivy down is indeed relative. Ivy can increase the crown 'sail area' of a tree and add weight to branches. This could potentially lead to windthrow or windsnap on 'weak' trees and may cause damage to people or property. Reduction of ivy in the crown or around branches could ensure that both tree and ivy live symbiotically together adding the wildlife value to a solitary tree or woodland. Naturally seeking the advice of an arboriculturalist could assist in any decision making process.

  • Comment number 22.

    Loved the Christmas Special but, was disapointed to hear Kate tell viewers to "go on line" to buy their meal worms. Shame on you Kate. We should be supporting our local Pet Stores.

  • Comment number 23.

    Like the programme, but could Ms Humble please become less histrionic with her hands. She was on occasions looking like a seaman in the throes of semaphore. Most distracting!

  • Comment number 24.

    I have just watched and enjoyed the Christmas special ( which I recorded). The re-introduction of Red Kites was talked about, but not in my area. I live in The Chilterns and the re-intrduction here has been amazingly successful. I see them daily flying over over our house. Sometimes there is a flock of around twenty and they are a wonderful sight.

  • Comment number 25.

    Red Kites have been reintroduced in my patch which is around the city of Brechin in angus' scotland. red kites doing well here.

  • Comment number 26.


  • Comment number 27.

    Christmas Springwatch was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise boring TV schedule a reminder of the past year and look forward to the next year of programmes and to get out into the countryside.
    I would like to see more programmes coming from the Scottish Highlands,Border area or Wales.
    The programmes about the Scottish Wildcats was particularly exciting.
    Well done Autumnwatch!!!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    i watched the programme on 29 Dec and a viewer sent in a question about ivy growing on trees and you said not to cut the ivy as it was a haven for wildlife and birds. i always thought the ivy killed the tree as it is a parasite, but if it is okay to leave it growing then okay by me as it is hard work getting rid of it. may i take this opportunity to say how much i enjoy your show and i hope it runs for many more years.

  • Comment number 29.

    I would just like to point out that on the Christmas Special
    Martin Hughes broke the golden rule in the country by leaving a GATE OPEN with horses in the feald yes there was a electric fens but it still leaves a bad example.

  • Comment number 30.

    We thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas special. It was one of the TV highlights of the Christmas period. Roll on Springwatch!

  • Comment number 31.

    Just prior to Christmas, It was very noticeable that the large numbers of Collared Doves that live in this part of West Kent were, despite the snowy weather, becoming increasingly amourous. Today I have seen 2 of them collecting twigs in our garden, presumably to start nesting. A new year and a new family!

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi. I wondered if you would be interested to know that I saw a green woodpecker in my garden this morning. The strange thing was it was pecking on the ground for a very long time. I live in norfolk. It was an amazing sight. I have videoed it and will try and put it on the website.

  • Comment number 33.

    great programme, really enjoyed the review of the year's fantastic wildlife and AW/SW.

    Are you going to let us in on where SW will be filmed from in 2011 yet?

  • Comment number 34.

    What a great Programme and I can't for spring watch to start again.
    I just joined the site today so I'm the new boy on the block.
    I live on the east coast near Lowestoft is Suffolk and I am a keen bird watcher.
    I would like to let Chris know that on the 17th December 2010 I saw my very first waxwing in the garden, but a big but! on the 3rd January 2011 I saw at least 20 waxwings in the same tree. Chris is this unusual.

  • Comment number 35.

    I feel awful , for the first time this winter I decided to help the garden bugs and made a bug hotel to put in my woodland garden. I got a piece of fallen silver birch,drilled a number of holes into it and stuck it in the V of a tree about 5ft off the ground. I checked it every day and after a week was pleased to see that some of the holes were occupied. Within 4 weeks most of the holes either had insects curled up inside or the entrance to the holes were covered over by web.
    A success !
    Then last week I heard a noise in the garden and saw a Greater (I think)Spotted Woodpecker sitting on the log and smashing it to pieces,it stayed there for a good 10 minutes and moved all around the log. When he left we went to investigate and found he had gone into each hole and removed everything that was in there.
    So instead of a nice secure Bug Hotel I had created a Woodpecker Vending Machine . Has anyone else had this happen ?

  • Comment number 36.

    @nick barnard, I can answer than question about waxwings for you. Flocks of about 30-40 are not uncommon. It seems this year with the influx many people have been seeing similar numbers to you in the same tree.

    Have a look at our waxwings sightings blog post for more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/natureuk/2010/10/waxwing-influx.shtml?postid=104167447

    270 sightings and counting!

    @PaintedLadyHan all will be revealed about the location for Springwatch 2011 in good time ;)

  • Comment number 37.

    oh my god !! My wifes just came in from a walk all excited , she has just seen an otter in the river blackwater in kelvedon in essex . Ive never seen one before and neither had the wife !! Are they a common site in this area or are they a freak occurance ???

  • Comment number 38.

    We have a pure white squirrel visiting our garden (and next doors too)on a regular basis now. It doesn't appear to have pink eyes so i'm thinking it's not an albino. Does any body know how common or uncommon this is? We live in the south Bucks area so it is obviously not related to the reds.

  • Comment number 39.

    My daughter has a comment regarding one of the presenters of Spring watch, and is plainly thinking ahead to the 2011 series.


    My dad has a date
    With Kate.

    At eight o'clock sharp "don't be late",
    For that date
    With Kate.

    Tumbling curls,
    Lively smile and wit,
    A mere half his age.

    My dad has a date
    With Kate.

    I know not to phone or call,
    At eight,
    Spring or fall.

    For dad has his date
    With Kate.

    He smiles when we mention her name,
    Mum rolls her eyes,
    "Not again."

    That sacrosanct date,
    With Kate.

    It's catching.

    Children and grandchildren,
    By red deer, egrets and kites.

    My parents' date,
    With Kate .

    Her interest beguiles, draws all in,
    Hooked and enthralled,
    By Date life in our "green sceptred isle ".

    And so now we all wait,
    For our date,
    with Kate.

    Joy Aubin
    7 March 2011


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