It’s my great pleasure to announce the imminent return of Springwatch, which will be following the best of the season’s wildlife from the 26th of May to the 12th of June.
This year we’ve moved to a wonderful new home, RSPB Minsmere on the Suffolk coast. Chris Packham describes Minsmere as the “Eurodisney of wildlife reserves”, because it has everything - lots of familiar mammals such as badgers, otters, red deer and stoats, and some very rare birdlife, with bitterns, stone curlews, marsh harriers and bearded tits topping the list.
All in all, there are more than 5,600 species on the reserve, including 37 kinds of mammals and 336 species of birds. This fantastic array of wildlife is down to Minsmere’s rich mosaic of habitats, from sand dunes and shingle beaches to brackish lagoons, freshwater meres, grasslands and woodland.
Strategically located In the middle of all of this fantastic wildlife will be Springwatch HQ, from where we will monitor a network of up to thirty remotely controlled cameras. Over three weeks, these will give us intimate views of nesting birds, frolicking badgers, otters on the hunt and much more.
The cameras go live from 6.30 am on Monday 26th May on the BBC Red Button and the Springwatch website (on desktop, mobile & tablet). Throughout the day, there will be expert commentary from naturalist Brett Westwood and exclusive behind-the-scenes insights and interviews with Springwatch regular Euan MacIlwraith.
Then, at 8pm, Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games will get the first of their shows underway, live on BBC2. They’ll be joined by Iolo Williams up on the wild west coast of Scotland, who will be getting to know white-tailed eagles and other iconic species in the area.
2014 is an auspicious year for the Springwatch team as this is our tenth series. We’ve invited Bill Oddie to join us for a guest appearance. Bill will be looking back at the last decade to see how our wildlife has fared, and he’ll also assess what the future holds for some of our favourite animals.
As I write this, Springwatch camera crews are out and about, filming stories around the country. From fox cubs on Brighton’s mean streets to courting guillemots on the wild Welsh coast, skydancing hen harriers on the Scottish Borders to mating cuttlefish off the Dorset coast, we’ve got the nation – and the season - covered.
As ever, we’ll be accompanied by our effervescent and interactive sister show, Springwatch Unsprung. Host Nick Baker will be joined by Chris, Michaela and Martin, plus a posse from the wider Springwatch family. The show will go deep into the stories featured on the main show, with expert naturalists and scientists popping into share their knowledge and passions. It might be a birdsong beatboxer or a cellist playing to nightingales, a visit from some hedgehogs or the mystery of owl pellets.
Unsprung will be live on our web site and on the BBC Red Button immediately after the main show at 9pm every day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On Thursdays, Springwatch Unsprung will air on BBC TWO at 9pm.
I very much hope you’ll be able to join us and will be amazed and inspired by the wildlife in and around our new home, and captivated by the incredible stories we’ve been following around the UK.
We're happy to report that we'll be able to run the live cams through the night on BBC Red Button, but unfortunately not on the web. We're keen to offer as much as we can, and despite budgetary constraints, we will be live on the Red Button throughout the night. We hope you can join us there.
For more information on this service - http://www.bbc.co.uk/faqs/redbutton_use
Freeview users can go to channel 301 or press red.