10 things that make you go "...really?"
Springwatch. It's my first series and let me tell you there are many things that have wowed me. Yes I've learned a lot. I've learned that it rains a lot in Ynys-hir in Spring! I've learned that the Springwatch set up is really impressive and I've learned that it's a fabulous programme to work on.
Now I'm not a British Wildlife expert like my friend Chris Packham, when Chris was making bird boxes at the age of 8 and going badger watching, I was wearing a tutu and obsessed with ballet dancing. So I've also learned a lot about the UK's wildlife as I'm sure we all have this series. Let's face it, that's what Springwatch is all about. So I thought I'd give you my top 10 from SPRINGWATCH so far.
2. Seeing what the inside of a kingfishers nest looks like. More wow factor at the shots than the facts I guess but it was incredible to see the female lay her eggs and then the chicks hatch out. We think it's the first time that's ever been filmed in the wild. The weather meant they had a tragic end but what an insight into their nest. I did learn about why they line their nest with fish bones. Apparently it's to stop the eggs rolling out of the nest, which slopes towards the opening so all the excrement can dribble out. Glad I know that now!?
3. Seeing a male rabbit urinate over a doe to attract her, then when the female is ready, she wafts pheromones into the males face!. Not my idea of dating but fortunately I'm not a rabbit. I was also one of those people who always thought it was male hares that boxed each other, and in fact it's the female hare boxing the male.
4. I didn't know that the goldcrest is our smallest breeding bird. I've never seen one before. I am amazed at how light they are, the same as a 10p piece, although Chris was arguing that it was actually a 5p. Whichever, it's an incredibly small bird.
Editor's note: it turns out they weigh about the same as an old 5p (or new 10p). Chris must be stuck in the 80's...
5. Being able to announce that we have a new breeding species in the UK, the Great White Egret. Isn't it great when there's really exciting news. For the first time ever, a pair of Great White Egrets have bred on the Somerset Levels. Let's hope more will follow.
6. I was amazed that what we all think might be just one blackbird in our garden is in fact many. As many as 30 blackbirds might visit an average garden in one day.
7. Lovely to see the beauty of the Somerset Levels and interesting to learn that the WW2 Vera Lynne song 'They'll Be Blue Birds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover' was written by an American who didn't realise that 'blue birds' are not indigenous to the UK. They're native to North America and we've never had blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover. But why let the facts get in the way of a good song!
8. On a day off I went to the Centre Of Alternative Technology, about 10 mins away from Ynys-hir. There was a diagram showing the amount of CO2 per capita of various countries. Now which country would you think had the highest result? I would say the USA. Well according to their diagram it was Australia with 26.9 tonnes. America was 23.5. I was also surprised to see that the UK was 10.6 and not far behind was South Africa with 9 tonnes! India was only 1.7 and China 5.5. Fascinating info on a day off.
9. I learned that there are 27 species of earthworms in the UK, mainly reds and dendras.
10. I've learned that Chris likes earl grey tea and a slice of cake at around 4pm and Martin likes cheese and biscuits after the show. I've also learned that 'Cygnet Committee', 'Be My Wife', 'Aladdin Sane' and 'Kooks' are all David Bowie songs, thanks to Chris mentioning them during the show, which some viewers like to spot.
And there at least another 20 things that make me go "oooooh", "aaaah and " really", because life as a SPRINGWATCH presenter means I never stop learning.