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Autumnwatch: Ask the team a question

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 18:17 UK time, Friday, 25 November 2011

Tonight's show might be the last in the series, but we aim to go out in style with a Scottish spectacular - red deer, capercaillie, black and red grouse, spawning salmon, golden eagles and a lot more. If you've got a question about any of these species or about any of the subjects covered in the show post a comment below and Chris, Micheala and Martin will do their best to answer it tonight.


  • Comment number 1.

    I wonder what the team make of this. The police seems to think it was foxes but the zoologists don't seem to agree?


  • Comment number 2.

    Oi boys... is our Katie back next spring or what?

  • Comment number 3.

    why have we been seeing swifts in November?

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm looking forward to seeing migrants coming into Martinmere. When is it likely that they will arrive?

  • Comment number 5.

    there is a very shrill but beautiful songbird which sings very late into the night.my mate reckons its a nightale,but i dont.any ideas?
    p.s i've never seen it to i.d it,but hear it a lot.

  • Comment number 6.

    this is an article about wallabies being killed in Ealing West London. Poloice think it is likely to be foxes but the zoologists disagree ... I wonder what the team think? Could a fox really take a wallaby like this?



  • Comment number 7.

    Does Chris realise there actually is a TopTrumps game involving poo? see this weblink: http://www.hawkin.com/20670-15232/plop-trumps -ideal Xmas present for teh man with an interest!!

  • Comment number 8.

    hi Chris, is the unusually mild weather also confusing the Mallard ducks on our local lake. They appear to be doing their "courtship" displays. pairs of Mallard are performing a head-bobbing routine then the drake swims around the female in a tight circle while continuing the head-bobbing and making quacking noises. Is this just pair bonding or are they actually mating too early.? regards, Bob from Cardiff.

  • Comment number 9.

    Deer cull or harvest... harvest sounds good and we all need to eat:@)

  • Comment number 10.

    My bees are still bringing in pollen, it is yellow. where do you think they are collecting from? the winter jasmin is at this time in flower so perhaps I have answered my own question.
    Tony Cropley
    Chichester, West Sussex

  • Comment number 11.

    Chris, Micheala and Martin,
    I have just built a hedgehog house and put it in the garden yesterday. I know I have hedgehogs, I've seen them in the past few weeks, but am I too late - will they all be in hibernation, or are they likely to be still snuffling about due to the warm weather?

    Mat Overton, Ilkley, West Yorks.

  • Comment number 12.

    I know this is a big question but can I ask the team do they think evolution in the animal world is still taking place in Britain and are animals in danger of extingtion part of that process.


  • Comment number 13.

    Hi everyone.
    I had a male Blue Tit at our feeder two weeks ago. He had a large lesion on his right eye. It was about 25% smaller than his head and very raw in appearance. Is this an injury or a tumour? I am sure I read an article about Blue Tits suffering from some sort of disease. There were no other Blue Tits with him at all.

    Many thanks for a superb series, it has been fantastic. I am glued to it for the last one!

  • Comment number 14.

    Hiya, when feeding the squirrels in the park, the ducks are eating the monkey nuts too, they are cracking open the shells with their beaks, eating the nuts and dropping the shells, is this normal? - Camborne, Cornwall.

  • Comment number 15.

    So what's on for Winterwatch in February. Never mind about which female presenter they fancy the most. How about some blue hare in their full winter coat and ermines of course! Then there's looking forward to the signs of the seasons. my nightingale always arrives before everybody else's at the end of march. then there's spring snowdrops and wild narcissus, the first hedgehog, as they're more and more depleted down here, maybe the last hog--- davarm from Earthtimes

  • Comment number 16.

    As we've seen tonight, here in Britain we have no top predators left which has led to us having to manage deer populations ourselves. What do you think the chances are of top predators being reintroduced in future? If not wolves and bears, then what about lynx which are likely to be less controversial?

  • Comment number 17.

    Why can't the red deer be sterilised rather than shot dead?

  • Comment number 18.

    I'd love to know if the high winds of the last few days have done anything migration-wise?

  • Comment number 19.

    Chris said that 95% of the adult salmon die after spawning. What happens to the other 5% of the adult salmon?

  • Comment number 20.

    We have a healthy happy looking hedgehog nesting in our hedgehog box, it's still coming out to feed - what's the best type of foods to give to really fatten it up for winter? And with the mild weather, will it hibernate?

  • Comment number 21.

    When i was a child in the 1960's, in inner city Leeds. Every year on our local park (on Oak trees i think) we had a "plague" of tiny catarpillars. These were tiny,bright orange with tiny black spots. Does the team know what these were?

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi, Last week I was clearing some plants out of my garden pond and in the roots of the plants I found a baby eel it was about 8 inches long, what I would like to know is how would it have got there and is this a common occurance. There are no natural ponds or waterways within half a mile of my garden which is quite enclosed and private, just in case it's relevant the pond size is 21 x 7 x 3 feet deep

  • Comment number 23.

    how common are albino squirrells?i have seen 2 on 2 occasions in the last 2 weeks

  • Comment number 24.

    This one's for Liz Bonnin how many types of different deer live in England?

  • Comment number 25.

    I was in the Trough of Bowland this week and observed red grouse faeces in 'huge' piles. Do red grouse have 'latrines' that they visit? If so, why?

  • Comment number 26.

    loved the music with the black grouse fighting. brill!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Hello guys, please help me im 14 and i love nature. In the Spring I saw a Dunnock feeding a baby Robin and i got really confused! Can you help me??

  • Comment number 28.

    I am still getting Hedgehogs in my garden will they be ok in the winter?

  • Comment number 29.

    What fantastic jackets and coats Martin has, better than a waxwing. BBC issue?

  • Comment number 30.

    I keep finding yellow granular piles of 'stuff' on grass It's not something that I've seen before, and I know it could just be something as glamorous as fox sick, but was just wondering what it was. I've got photos, as it's not a very easy thing to explain. I've recently seen it on farmland and near country roads but also in a nearby trading estate 3 or 4 times in the last month, but not before. Any ideas?

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm new to this, and I don't know if this is the right place. But
    there are unsung heroes here who should have a mention. Presenters may come and go - no disrespect at all. But surely there should be more on-air credit given to the researchers and the cameramen/women. In particular, over the years I have watched Spring and Autumn Watch, I have watched the developing career of the young cameraman Lindsay MacRae. He is the next Gordon Buchanan, and the next Simon King. As this season draws to a close tonight, any chance of focussing on the people who make this work, like Lindsay and the other camera operators and sound recordists. And perhaps a wee bit less screen time for the high paid celebs.

  • Comment number 32.

    I love Autumnwatch but why did the red grouse have to perform to music?

  • Comment number 33.

    Right on mike from caithness

  • Comment number 34.

    Dear AW-esome team
    Its a great show tonight. Many of the features involve the use of binoculars, it would be great if you could produce a guide regarding what to consider before buying binos. I'm in the market at the moment and its a bit of a minefield. Could you consider developing a guide for the website or maybe for the 2012 Springwatch?
    Mushy AKA Michelle (Worcester)

  • Comment number 35.

    have any of the team managed to see the monster geese at slimbridge i posted video yesterday they are huge.

  • Comment number 36.

    Getting close to Bewicks?? I had a single Whooper Swan fly in about a month ago and it has stayed. It comes when I call each morning and walks up extremely close to me to be fed. I live near the coast in the countryside a few miles from Oban, Scotland. I am so delighted...... will it return next year?

  • Comment number 37.

    Haven't seen much of Martin's glasses this year... LET'S SEE THEM PLEASE?!

  • Comment number 38.

    My 9 year old son asked me what you meant when referring to the stuffed bird and the term you used Mount. I passed on the explanation but perhaps this may be a topic to mention

  • Comment number 39.

    I once got a fox to take a chip, gently, out of my hand whilst on holiday in Argyll, Scotland.

  • Comment number 40.

    hi im wondering re the article on red deer and the representative from forestry commision didnt tell your viewers that the forestry commission rent men and dogs to cull the red deer in their forests mas slaughter dogs herd deer into corners and the men slaughter on hugea scale he forgot to mention that didnt he

  • Comment number 41.

    Dear chris, my daughter katie (9) really enjoys watching and has learnt so much from the programme. Do you think that there should be more teaching in schools on the subject of nature to try to get more children interested on the topic? Katies question is why do only some birds hover and not all? Thankyou.

  • Comment number 42.

    Is there a definitive answer as to why moths are attracted to light? I know there are a few theories but has anyone found out for certain yet? Thanks.

  • Comment number 43.

    Chris, You are the man: "My Auntie .....people", ie Anti Pope by the Damned. I salute you.

    The Ruts for Springwatch please.

    Top nature programme with hidden classic punk rock references. TV doesn't get any better.

    Thanks for a great series,

    Niall, Aberdeen

  • Comment number 44.

    Have you found BERWICKSHIRE yet?

  • Comment number 45.

    Hi guys, I live in Ludlow, Shropshire and wanted to let you know about the salmon that are stranded in the river Teme. We have several weirs that the salmon are unable to leap due to the low river levels. Is this a common problem? Our weirs do not have a salmon shoot, why? The salmon seem very distressed it is awful to see!

  • Comment number 46.

    We have good numbers of tundra bean geese in cumbria ie 20+. Any ideas why?

  • Comment number 47.

    hi love the show, i came from the far east(philippines) and just wondering i know it might sound stupid. if the mating season in UK is during spring time would it be same in my country as we only have two types of weather warm and rainy season and would the mating season be during march onward? thank you for the fantastic show.

  • Comment number 48.

    Interesting that you didn't mention the effect of habitat managmnet for Red Grouse shooting. There is a strong theory, for example, that clearance of birch on the moorland is a key reason for the Black Grouse decline.

  • Comment number 49.

    I was in Stockholm last week and saw about 50 I think, Waxwings in an oak tree. Only on 1 day. Never saw them again. We're they en route east?

  • Comment number 50.

    Where did barn owls nest before humans built barns and what were the called?

  • Comment number 51.

    Do the team know what the collective noun for an assemblage of ferrets is...?

    A fesnyng.

  • Comment number 52.

    Do any animals follow visible spoor of prey i.e footprints like the san bushmen and other hunter gatherers not just chemical signs?

  • Comment number 53.


    Just watched the last Autumnwatch and I was very interested by the feature on Jake's skull & bone collection. All his specimens were very clean & well presented. I found a fully complete but fairly dried out Sparrowhawk skeleton in the garden a couple of months ago and wanted to know if Chris or the rest of the team could tell me the best way to clean it up? It does haves some feathers & soft tissue remaining.

    from Aberdeenshire.

  • Comment number 54.

    Hello Autumn Watch

    today whilst walking I saw a flock of about 20 birds about the size of a thrush maybe larger....with red breasts.....? were they Fieldfares or Red wings from Scandinavia??

    I was walking in the countryside farmers fields etc
    location Ackworth near Pontefract in West Yorkshire

    Please identify for me
    MAny thanks

  • Comment number 55.

    My answers to the quiz are-
    1) Mat Bakers item is a solitary bee's cacoon.

    2) The shell is a large muscle shell.

    3) Iolo's items were A- A woodcock feather and B - an Osprey feather

  • Comment number 56.

    is the odd temperature for this time of year effecting the hedgehog hibernation

  • Comment number 57.

    A tawny owl
    B Capercaily
    C hornbill cast
    d wasp nest

  • Comment number 58.

    why have we not any info about the goats/sheep in the opening of autumn watch highlights

  • Comment number 59.

    Simon, Barn Owls will also nest in hollow trees.

  • Comment number 60.

    I didn't hear anybody mention that the commonest owl in UK is probably the Teat rather than tawny. Hoots!

  • Comment number 61.

    cubes 59 And other birds will nest in barns.

  • Comment number 62.

    hi team we watched the last programe on friday 25th we wondered if you can get in touch with jake who collects the skulls to see if he has a mole skelliton as we have and we can forward it to him

  • Comment number 63.

    The puffin, whose skull Jake shared on the programme, was found on the tide line turned inside out, with the skin from the neck a very tight fit over the head, which I am sure helped to keep the bill sheat in such good nick. I have found birds like this, a number of times this year, usually dead guillimots. I have read that badgers and foxes may do this to their prey, would a Greater Black Backed be strong enough? I am sure you will have come across this yourselves but I would like to challenge your camera men to film it happening, perhaps the Pitsea foxes would oblige!
    It would be great too if we could have some more about plant galls. Someone sent in a knopper gall I remember, but there are so many more. In Northumberland we have the amazing Alder Tongue gall. I use the excellent Hainault Forest website for identifying specimens, maybe it would be worth a visit to interview who ever there expert is.

  • Comment number 64.

    I am sure that Jake's spot on the show will encourage many people to start a collection, so I hope that you will at some point include information about the legality of holding the remains of certain species, and the need for a licence in some cases. Could we have 'Good Practice' spelt out on a programme please, and a reminder that a number of organisations are interested in gathering details of what people may find on the tide line or as road kill.

  • Comment number 65.

    I wish there were no background 'music' on Springwatch and Authumnwatch as it spoils the natural sounds that are more appropriate to the films

  • Comment number 66.

    I am not sure who will see this post, so bear with me........
    There are a unique set of incredible circumstances which I would be very happy to share with you directly.
    I feel they will make a significant difference to the input you have and what I can give to help you.
    To explain more, would it be possible to liaise with you to understand how to move forward?

  • Comment number 67.

    Is to early for birds to start nesting ?? i have a pair of blue tits starting to go in and out of a bird box on our back garden for the past 2 days looking like there ready to set up home, the box has been up 2 years with no activity, so the pair are not returning to the nesting box ?? thanks.

  • Comment number 68.

    Please could someone help me.
    I have found an animal skull in my garden. I would like to know how to clean it and preserve it. It is quite a heavy skull. I have alot of foxes in my garden. One who has the cheek to come to the back door. Thanks,
    Happy Christmas and all the very best to you all for 2012 !!

  • Comment number 69.

    i have just regesterd and signed in , i would like to say that i love spring watch & how do i post a photo i just watched the program with the humming bird hawk moth , i took a picture of one this summer and didnt know wot it was thankyou

  • Comment number 70.

    Please can you help me identify this bird?
    I saw what appeared to be a Blackbird except it had white speckles on its head and white flashes near the top of its wings.
    Is this a blackbird or something else?
    I saw it a couple of weeks ago where I live in the Isle of Man, but didn't have my camera with me.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi to you all at spring/autumnwatch
    Two years ago I put up an insect box and that spring 17 of the holes were taken up by masonary bees,so last spring my 8 year old grandson and I made another box. To our suprise both boxes were soon well occupyed,so we would like to know the like cycle of these insects. No more holes in my walls now!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Is this a record? New years day, I saw a bumble bee (possible bombus terrestries) collecting polen on a camelia. It didn't look big enough to be a queen. I thought they would only collect polen on corbicula if they had young brood. I read that european wasps taken into New Zealand have become able to re-queen a colony and overwinter. Could bumbles have done this? Any ideas please?

  • Comment number 73.

    Autumnwatch: Ask the team a question.
    Thats the title at top of page. From what I can see there are never any answers from the team or am I mistaken?

  • Comment number 74.

    My daffodils are blooming already

  • Comment number 75.

    We have seen what appears to be a snow finch in our garden 3 times over the last couple of days. Larger than a sparrow, several shades of brown with a bit of grey, white markings on wing feathers and two very distinctive white stripes down either side of long tail feathers. Thought this was a high altitude bird. Anybody else seen any? Is this common?

  • Comment number 76.

    Last year we had a very aggressive male pheasant in our garden - which attacked us everytime we went out, and sat on the windowsill pecking at the glass when we were in. This behaviour lasted for the whole of May 2011. We tried to catch it, without success, and it eventually disappeared in early June. We are not in the best of health, so could not go out of the house without running the gauntlet of an attack. No-one seemed to have any ideas about how to tackle this problem - which affected us badly. Because it was the mating season, we were advised not to harm it!
    We have stopped feeding birds entirely so as not to encourage any more pheasants - which may be hard on the rest of the bird population. Saw the issue of rogue cockerells, etc. discussed by Chris & Martin on Autumnwatch - but nothing about how people should deal with this.
    We live on the forest edge of the Forest of Dean and are used to wildlife - but have never encountered this kind of behaviour before. Any ideas?

  • Comment number 77.

    We went for a walk to one of our local ponds where there is a variety of water birds there we two adult swans and four cygnets among them and people were feeding the birds but the Cob particularly kept chasing the cygnets off and he meant business too and before we left he had actually got some feathers out of one of the cygnets. There did not appear to be any other swans around and it just seemed such strange behaviour. Just before we left the pen decided to have a go at them too. Does anyone know what this was all about.

  • Comment number 78.

    I always thought robins were territoral especially with other robins,but we have 4 robins come into our garden.Feed alongside each other.Theres no signs of fighting either.

  • Comment number 79.

    5 years ago I built an owl box. Every spring we now successfully enjoy the tawnyowls and their owlets. I have now placed a camera in the box , already we have seen the tawny owl surveying the nest box. I would like to share this by showing it live on a website but unsure of how to go about it, could anyone help?

  • Comment number 80.

    I live on a large estate in Kent there are lots of country walks and fields, this morning on the green opposite where i live i heard this loud screeching, i saw this bird quite thin longish legs, with a large plume on top of its head i tried to get near to take photo with my phone but it flew off around the top of me screeching, it was in the style of a heron but not as big, any ideas? as it took of the underneath was white , ive never seen anything like this bird in my area before, thanks

  • Comment number 81.

    for the past week we have had no birds in our garden or on the feeders. We have not seen a single bird anywere. Travelling around there are seagulls and crows plus an odd magpie but nothing else. We have lost, Sparrows-Blackbirds-Thrushes=Bluetits-Great tits-Goldfinches, we have had a spotted woodpecker and a hunting and feeding Kestral but now nothing what is happening please?

  • Comment number 82.

    There is a building development planned nearby which will disrupt local wildlife ie Bats,Water Voles and other water residing creatures,how do I go about raising a meaningful objection to the planning authorities?

  • Comment number 83.

    Hi, I stay in dunfermline fife, scotland and usually always have many small birds including loads of starling at our feeders in the garden. this past week however there hasn`t been a single bird visited us to the best of our knowledge and we do spend time watching. is there any particular reason for this or is it normal for time of year? thanks.

  • Comment number 84.

    Just caught up with your programme about starlings! I live in Brighton - have been feeding approx 50 odd starlings for the past 2 years -on mealworms. BUT I am leaving here in about a month and I am really worried about where they will eat now = have I done more harm than good?

  • Comment number 85.

    Today I found a worm? 8-10" long, 0.5mm thick, sandy beige in colour with a dark brown end at each end. When I picked it up in the dustpan it writhed about and curled up. It sounds like it has a hard exterior. I found it on a wet concrete path in West Wales. What is it?


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