We asked Chris how he felt about Springwatch 2014 and our brand new location at RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk, in Chris' words - the 'Eurodisney of wildlife reserves':

Minsmere is going to be very exciting, there is simply so much here, such a density and diversity of wildlife - it's a great testament to years of effort and ingenuity from the RSPB staff who have sculpted this fragment of utopia.

I've been coming here since the eighties and it just keeps getting better.

Quite what the highlights will be we just can't predict of course but I've got a feeling that this series will be one of our best ever.

Chris

Chris, Michaela, Martin

Let's hope he's right!

Laura, Web Producer

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  • Comment number 82. Posted by alan

    on 1 Jun 2014 15:16

    I have just heard a cuckoo in East Malling,Kent,could it be Chris going back to Africa? 1/6/2014

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  • Comment number 81. Posted by Jester13

    on 1 Jun 2014 07:31

    Hi all,

    just wanted to say what a brilliant series this is! So many new-to-Springwatch species profiled, Springwatch extra on the red button, Unsprungs and our favourite presenters back. Well done everyone - fab show. And, bitterns are definitely doing it for us!

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  • Comment number 80. Posted by Rapscallion

    on 31 May 2014 19:08

    dbclaire @ 79

    Thanks for that, it is weird though, the greenery of the Bluebells is there, the corms missing. Cannot blame Muntjac as there are none here, although where I live, used to be surrounded by the deer park for the castle estate. There haven't been deer here, of any species, for many, many years. This phenomenon happens every year, by the way. Not just during a drought. I think I will have to source a copy of the book you mention.

    Here, we do have a similar badger and hedgehog predator that you do, it is called the holidaymaker, they drive the lanes as if they were the M25. disposing of their fast food wrappers, out of the windows of their vehicles as they go, with scant regard for anyone or anything let alone wildlife. The roads are littered with dead animals, birds too, at those times of year, really annoys me.

    I suppose the "massacre" or aftermath thereof, you witnessed was a badger family trying to cross the road. Not a pleasant thing to see. Poor you.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the series. Let's see if they pick up of any of the issues we have raised, would be rather interesting.

    Thanks again for bothering to research the matter.

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  • Comment number 79. Posted by dbclaire

    on 31 May 2014 18:31

    Rapscallion @ 78

    I had a look in Roper's 'Badger' about bluebells, but the only mention is that they sometimes use the greenery for nest materials. My husband has just said that munjac do dig up & eat the bulbs. I suspect that the badgers were digging for worms and insects, not for the bulbs themselves. The ground may well have been damper than elsewhere during the drought, so would have been one of the few places where they could dig successfully. Maybe the team could answer this one - didn't Chris do some research work on badgers?

    Yes, I agree that badgers do move around according to the time of year and no doubt, availability of food. Hence the trouble with filming a hole that is actually being used. You'll have to get Roper's book - he goes into a lot of detail and cites many sources.

    I presume that in North Wales, you don't have the badger predator we have around here, just outside the M25 - vehicles. This Spring, I was driving along the dual carriageway A41 and saw four dead ones in a 3 mile stretch and, coming back, saw a further five on the same stretch.

    In 2010 you should have started feeding your badgers and given yourself a real treat - and maybe saved your paddocks!

    Claire

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  • Comment number 78. Posted by Rapscallion

    on 31 May 2014 13:40

    dbclaire @ 76

    Thanks for coming back.

    Your point is a valid one, however, I do mean 8 colonies/clans................there are more than 8 setts about, all at lengthy intervals from each other (far further than the distances you quoted, I am talking of a mile+) dotted around the 30 acres. As I said previously, those are the ones I know about.

    I don't know if you realise, please forgive me if you do, that badgers seem to have different locations for differing times of the year and weather conditions too. some, purely breeding setts, some summer/ winter etc etc. You can tell if bad weather is on the way by which sett they are living in.

    Do appreciate how hard it is to differentiate between actual beasts that you see........... all look pretty much the same to me I must admit..............There is a very healthy and large population here, I would suggest that possibly all clans will be vaguely related too, i.e. the young males possibly being driven off by the senior boar, thus forming their own clan nearby when they mature. Could that be what happened to your immature male?

    As to your query re who preys on them when they become carrion, I am at a loss I am afraid. Something must, it is, as you know, nature's way.

    Here's a conundrum for you too. I notice that when the blue Bells are flowering, (Yes the woodland is a bluebell wood in the most part.) The badgers will dig huge areas of these up. Is this just for the grubs etc that lurk beneath.............or are they eating the corms? You find a heck of a lot of plants with the corms missing, I thought blue bells were poisonous, or is that just for humans?

    The spring of 2010 was a bad one for the badgers, they actually dug up one of my smaller paddocks looking for food. Left a hell of a mess.

    Will be interested in your thoughts.

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  • Comment number 77. Posted by Julie-Ann

    on 31 May 2014 12:55

    We had 4 baby bluetits who nested in a disused overflow pipe in a hole in the brickwall at the front of the house. All 4 babies fledged around 2 weeks ago but did not go far. They are now enjoying a feeding leeson in the suet cage by their parent in our back garden. We also have 2 hedgehogs, 2 baby great tits, foxes and woodpigeons who think they are bluetits by putting their heads in the feed cages.

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  • Comment number 76. Posted by dbclaire

    on 31 May 2014 12:39

    Rapscallion @58
    I have just seen your earlier post.

    Even though you have seen 8 setts at least, it doesn't necessarily mean that there are 8 clans of badgers. I found the following table on Wildlife Online - a site that's well worth looking at -

    SETT TYPE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS
    Main Sett Many entrances (both used and disused), large spoil heap and well-worn paths. One main sett per clan.
    Annex Sett May also have well-used entrances with numerous paths to the main sett, which is typically 50 to 150m (164 - 492 ft) away.
    Subsidiary Sett Variable number of entrances. Only some entrances connect to the main sett by obvious paths.
    Outlier Sett One or two entrance holes and no well defined pathways to the main sett. Used sporadically.

    When the badgers were visiting us in the dry Spring of 2010, they dug out an outlier sett quite near the house and quite a way from the main sett. It provided a bolt hole in case of danger, as was proved one night when our dogs accidentally got out - they didn't stand a chance of catching up with the very fast moving badgers.

    Counting badgers is notoriously difficult as they are so alike. I thought we had about eight or nine visiting that Spring. In fact there was one boar, two adult females, a young one, possibly male, and two cubs. The adult male vanished, presumed dead, and one of the cubs I found dead, killed by other badgers.

    Another point - does anything except maggots eat badger corpses? I found the dead cub because of the foul smell and road kills tend to stay there. Not even the crow family seems to go for them, even when the tough skin has been pierced.

    Claire

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  • Comment number 75. Posted by zimmany

    on 31 May 2014 12:06

    My question to the team is why are our Ash trees here in west Devon so late in coming into leaf. They look as if they are struggling and we wonder if its anything to do with Ash Die back.

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  • Comment number 74. Posted by sensiblenamejohn

    on 31 May 2014 08:58

    as instructed by the team , i took in the dawn chorus at 4 am then headed off to the SWT reserve at Loch Ardinning , north of Glasgow. spotted two cuckoos on the Muirhouse moor .
    if they can make this far north , there must be more to their "no show " in the southern parts of Britain.

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  • Comment number 73. Posted by Koen

    on 31 May 2014 07:50

    I saw Bill Odly´s feature about hedge hogs on Tuesday. We got a foodplace in our garden and since last year September a hedge hog has been visiting it. Until 2 nights ago we captured the following thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCl2DEOusYM. Two hedge hogs and we wonder what they are doing, fighting, or it is part of a mating ritual. Hope some one can let us know.

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