Spring so far and Springwatch 2013

Friday 26 April 2013, 15:41

Paul Deane Paul Deane Web Producer

Springwatch will be returning to your screens towards the end of May, hosted by Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games. We’ll have all the details next week.

News in March was dominated by the cold weather and its effects - lots on that to come in the shows. Early migrant arrivals have not fared well. Many spring flowers are late this year and the Woodland Trust finds that some bluebells are lagging by weeks.

The BTO report that by last week house martin, sand martin and swallows had pretty much caught up after a very slow start to their migration here. For early warblers it is a very different picture though. Chiffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap are all running about two weeks behind.

But 10 Springwatch points to capribluegenie for this somewhat bedraggled looking swallow - taken on the 29th March and the first swallow on our Flickr group this year. 

swallow by capribluegenie First swallow on the BBC Springwatch Flickr group this year, by capribluegenie

Chris the cuckoo seems to be taking his time round France instead of continuing to the UK. But ospreys have been returning including at the Lake District, Rutland and Dyfi ospreys, who we'll be following again during Springwatch. (There's quite a story in Dyfi already)

If invertebrates are your preferred spring marker maybe you've seen an Orange-tip butterfly? We've not had photos uploaded to the Springwatch Flickr group yet, but thanks for Ian A Kirk, for this Brimstone spotted at Badbury Rings, Dorset.

brimstone by ian a kirk_

Brimstone butterfly, by Ian A Kirk

And if you need an excuse to get out this spring, BBC Things to Do has plenty of suggestions, as do the National Trust, the Woodland Trust to name a few. If you want to do your bit, the ‘Big Beach Clean Up’ is running this week.

We've been following your posts on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and on email (thanks as ever for sharing).

We'll have more news soon on Springwatch next week.

Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Hip hop hooray! I can't wait for the show to get started, thanks for posting this happy news.

    Let me tell you that I was impressed by the female reindeer story by Michaela and Martin in this year's Winterwatch, it was fun and informative. Read my short story Fantastic female Easter Bunnies about it here: http://www.bluemarkforme.com/?p=1320

    Enjoy your weekend, ciao, Fleur

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    Comment number 2.

    I really do not understand why Springwatch doesn't begin much erlier in the year - there is already plenty of things to make fascinating nature programmes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/natureuk/

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    Comment number 3.

    Hello I have a question - I found a chrysalis in the garden last year - it was on the floor and not attached to anything. It's about 2 inches long by about 3/4 inch across, it's a dark brown, hard chrysalis. As it was winter I placed it in the shed to keep it at the outside temperature. Now it's spring I went to check on it and it moves around quite a lot in my hand - where's the best place to put it? Thanks

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    Comment number 4.

    Can't wait! As I write, a pair of Siskins are on my bird feeders, and since last Springwatch, I've managed to attract a few new species to my garden; Blackcap, Siskin, Goldcrest, Reed Bunting and during my hour of the Big Garden Birdwatch (RSPB), Mallard, Black-headed and Common Gull! Herring and even Lesser Black-backed Gull have even visited in the past. I've added Lesser Scaup (seen at RSPB Freiston Shore in Lincs) and Long-tailed Duck (at Titchwell) to my Life List, which is now at 216.

    I spent an idyllic hour last week at Whisby Nature Park near Lincoln being serenaded by Nightingales, who were all in good voice round one of the park's walks. Add to that Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Robins, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Whitethroats and Blackcaps all singing their hearts off.... what a truly spectacular avian orchestra! Given the late blooming of leaves and blossom, I managed to get some stonking views of the Nightingales through my binoculars!

    I'd be interested to know when Martin Hughes-Games saw his first Swift of the year. I saw 2 over my house in South Lincolnshire on April 25th, which broke my previous 'first sighting in the year' record of April 30th, which I got in 2012. Amazing given the bad weather this year's brought. I saw my first Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins of the year on April 13th (earliest sighting record is March 30th in 2009). My first butterfly was a Brimstone on April 2nd.

    Was overjoyed to meet Iolo Williams at the 2012 Birdfair at Rutland Water. He HAD been booked to appear at another event in Wales but that got cancelled owing to severe weather. So, because of that, he ended up at Rutland Water. Got a glimpse of him in the Optics Marquee and just gasped with shock! Eventually, I managed to get him to say the word 'puffling' into my ear and I got a kiss off him too! *swoons a bit*

    Looking forward to my holiday in Falmouth this year, where I am hoping to see Black-throated and Great Northern Divers and Cirl Bunting. If anyone knows any 'unsung hotspots' for birds around the Falmouth area, do let me know!

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    Comment number 5.

    Today (April 28 2013) Us the Slingsby family spotted a Hoopoe near Louth, Lincolnshire.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Hi Elena - we have teams out filming all through spring and will bring you those during Springwatch. Also late May will give us a good range of birds nesting and fledging.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Our family has a question that we cannot find the answer to. Do birds (not emu or ostritch) ever trip over and has anyone seen them do it.

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    Comment number 8.

    In order to try and answer question no 2, I think that the most likely reason is the simple reason of organising the logistics plus the other working commitments of the Producers, Directors, Camera Crews, Audio Crews, Lighting Staff, Presenters, Volunterers...... The BBC cannot suddenly throw together a motley crew and tell them to head off into the Sticks with the naive hope of capturing something on film that may be of interest to the viewers................................. think about it!.. Thank you... :-)

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    Comment number 9.

    we have a birds nest ,looks like baby Starlings,parents feeding them well, above daughters window, the babies are making cute noises when hungry,tweeting away, so pleased...and have postponed the cavity wall insulation as did not want to disturb the babies or frighten the parents with the drilling. quite understanding response from the company. we are near Hamble, also had recent spiders in shed, false widows, sent photo to Natural history museum. this is great education for the kids:)

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    Comment number 10.

    So glad to hear that you're returning. I'm currently enjoying the aggressive antics of a pair of Mistle Thrushes that have set up home in the Yew Tree. My Goodness they are so busy attacking, pursuing, and chasing off the local Crows, Magpies, as well as the occasional Peregrine that flies into the Mistle Thrush Air exclusion zone.

    Fascinating behaviour from them. They've become so aggressive to the Crows in particular, that they (the Crows) now enter my Garden by landing in the road, and walking into my Garden in search of food (I feed them the left-over food from my Cats)

    But it's the 'Air Battles' they endure from what I now call the 'Missile' Thrushes that are a sight to see. :) Most entertaining.

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    Comment number 11.

    In the past two weeks in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland I have seen Blue Headed Wagtails, Yellow Wagtails and White Wagtails which are pretty rare. I have been lucky enough to take photos which is brilliant, I hope one day Springwatch will feature these birds they are absolutely amazing.

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    Comment number 12.

    ive found a blackbirds nest with four eggs ive taken a pic of this they should br hatching soon and i will take another one

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    Comment number 13.

    Can you arrange to add two short films that were made and narrated by John Aitchison for Springwatch in recent years. The one film was about 'loving where you live' and the other was about 'looking for beauty'. I'd love to see these again. They seem to be missing from the film clips section.

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    Comment number 14.

    I am looking forward to spring watch 2013. Does anyone know what date and time this will be viewed please?
    Jane

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    Comment number 15.

    We have had a pair of Robins nesting in our garage 3 out of the 4 eggs hatched and the parents feeding them regularly. Today they left after flying around. Question what's the chances of them surviving as in this neighbourhood we have loads of cats and foxes.

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    Comment number 16.

    I saw a few Orange Tips around last week by I was only able to get a few snatched shots with bits of grass in the way, which is why I didn't bother uploading them.

    It's a very mixed bag. For instance in my part of Lancashire neither the frogs or the toads spawned in the pond I normally check and it's already starting to dry up. On the sand banks I check for Mining Bees they have only just started to emerge. I did photograph one a few weeks back, but I don't know where that came from. However, it is still way behind and I have not seen a Beefly yet nor many of the species of Mining Bee which have normally emerged in numbers by early April.

    The Bumblebee numbers have been building up in the last few weeks, but it is still behind. Those in the South may not realise that up here in the Northwest we never got that warm weather the other week. It is quite shocking seeing all these Dandelions and barely an insect feeding in any. Although I can now say I have seen a few Hoverflies, about 5 species, but there are very few of them.

    Butterfies are always dffiicult as indicators, especially the ones that hibernate as adults in our buildings. They can get warmed up or disturbed even in the Winter. However, so far I've seen Peacocks in good numbers, better than some years, a reasonable amount of Small Tortoishells, a few Orange Tips, a single Speckled Wood, and the other day a lot of white butterflies were emerging. The ones got close to were all green-veined whites. I haven't visited the sites where I normally see Brimstones yet, so I'm not sure if they are out.

    The Warblers were late with the Chiffchaffs only arriving the other week, and the Willow Warblers just after. I've only seen one Sand Martin but I first saw Swallows the other week and I saw a few this evening. For some reason there seems to be a lot of Woodpigeons nesting on my local patch, or perhaps they are just more visible due to later leaves. Wrens seem to have fared well and I am seeing lots nesting. Sadly this last cold spell seems to have badly impacted Long-tailed Tits. Until early March I thought they had got through the Winter, but sadly now their numbers are well down compared to normal.

    The vegetation is all over the place. Some is very late and well behind, and some is only a bit behind. Whilst I photographed a Bluebell in flower and posted it to the Flickr group, most look weeks away from flowering and it looks like the leaves may appear on the trees first.

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    Comment number 17.

    |In London SW1, about 9.00 a.m. today, we heard a terrible shrieking from our tiny patio. When we went to look , we saw a male blackbird pinned to the ground by a relatively small bird, which we believe was a female sparrowhawk. She was not pecking at him, merely holding him down, while looking about her in a very alert manner. After about 30 seconds, the blackbird appeared to have expired and she flew off with him hanging limply from her talons. We were surprised to see this occurrence in central London and also somewhat surprised that a bird so small could successfully hunt a mature blackbird, not much smaller than herself. How frequent are such sightings?
    All comments will be read with interest.

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    Comment number 18.

    Hello Christopher, female sparrow hawks are relatively large birds close to. Could the bird you saw with the blackbird have been a peregrine?

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    Comment number 19.

    More wild flowers please this year.

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    Comment number 20.

    I heard a cuckoo yesterday (5th May) while riding in the Ashdown Forest, near Chelwood Gate, Sussex.

 

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