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Autumnwatch Unsprung round-up week five

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Gavin Boyland Gavin Boyland | 17:01 UK time, Monday, 7 November 2011

We're over half way! We hope you enjoyed last week's show - we certainly did. If you missed it you can watch Unsprung on BBC iPlayer here.

Doesn't our new location look stunning? Here's a shot researcher Sam took during our rehearsals on the night of the first Slimbridge show.

Swans lit up on a lake at Slimbridge

Behind the scenes at our new WWT location.

This week's quiz took the form of a stained glass bird collection. If you haven't already given it a go it's still live.

With our new location comes an exciting new tea cosy crocheted by Autumnwatch enthusiast Lynne Hardman. Here's its beauty shot.

Swan tea cosy by Lynne Hardman

The glorious swan tea cosy crocheted by Lynne Hardman

We had lots of fantastic questions, pictures and videos from you all last week and one of our favourites was from Ian W who wanted to know why these geese were flying upside down! This behaviour is called whiffling and wildfowl often do this when coming into land. As Chris said, when they turn their bodies upside down they become very unaerodynamic allowing them to drop quickly from the sky.

We're on the hunt for the UK's biggest house spider. If you think you've got it then post your spider picture here with a coin or ruler for scale. Here is our graph of your spiders so far.

The UK's Biggest Spider Graph

The UK's Biggest Spider Graph so far...

Thomas (aged 6) wanted to know what the loudest bird call is. It's thought that the farthest carrying bird call in the UK comes from the bittern. A bittern's booming call can be heard up to three miles away. (Watch a clip of a bittern booming from the BBC's archives here.) Where most birds use their voicebox syrinx to make their call the bittern actually makes its sound by expelling air through its oesophagus.

The loudest bird in the world is thought to be the superb lyrebird which also has the most extraordinary ability to mimic other bird songs and even man-made sounds. You can watch an awesome clip of a lyrebird's repertoire here. Chris also noted that nightingales can sing extraordinarily loudly and scientists in Berlin once recorded one at 95 decibels - that's outside the European sound pollution regulation limits!

And finally, we featured a lot of your videos this week and here's our favourite from John Tattersall:

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If you've got any questions for next week's Unsprung let us know by commenting below. We love seeing your pictures of autumn wildlife so add them to the Autumnwatch photo group, or if you're more handy with a camcorder then upload your wildlife home movies.

Gavin Boyland is the Producer of Autumnwatch Unsprung


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi autumnal sprung undone,

    Spiders !

    After a lifetime of petrified terrification (thanks to Dr Who in the 70's and 80's !!), I'm slowly coming to terms with these little critters and only rarely need to scream to my wife to get one out of the bath (I'm nearly 60 now and it's probably about time I grew out of it - fear of spiders, not baths that is) but as much as I can tolerate and even save them myself now (especially those chubby short legged garden ones which I really quite like), the ones that still freak me are those that INSIST on dangling in doorways when previously there was no sign of them !!!!!!! And invariably they have long legs and when you try to move them out of the way, they shoot sideways, or downwards at such a speed you'd think they'd just vanished. How and why do they do this - I assume hanging around in doorways is some form of predatory activity (for spiders that is) but if that makes them so vulnerable, and exposed, surely their cover must be blown ??

    Please help me to go to the toilet at night without waving to wave a bean cane in front of me !!

    Thanks Guys.

    niloc (which is really mynamebackwards)

  • Comment number 2.

    Very amusing! I wish I could keep up with all this AutumnWatching ... and I try so hard - and clearly fail, dismally - not to keep getting distracted! Thanks all, and best regards, BT - sorry, TB (getting cyber-sadder by the minute I fear ..!).

  • Comment number 3.

    Really enjoying the show so far, it'd be great too if we could have the pattern for the tea cosy so that we crocheters could all make one!
    Looking forward to the next episode


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