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The man with the pole

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The Mole | 15:46 UK time, Friday, 22 May 2009

I just a saw man walking around with a five-foot pole which, in itself, wouldn't have been very remarkable except that someone said it was an electric cattle prod. And as this followed closely on from Kate Humble threatening to 'take a cattle prod' to Chris Packham if he didn't behave, I thought I better investigate.

So I tracked down the man with the pole, found him standing by the catering truck, and noticed what I hadn't noticed before: that there was a small mirror on the end of it. My first thought was that someone wasn't happy with the catering and that the bomb disposal experts had been called in. But actually the catering isn't half bad so that was easily discounted.

My second thought was that it looked like the tool a dentist uses to see behind your teeth as he drills away at you, giggling with glee. Had someone failed to warn me, I wondered, that there was a large grumpy animal wandering around Pensthorpe with a nasty case of toothache? (After all, police in Bristol were yesterday called on to look for an escaped lion!) So should I sneak into one of the presenters' trailers and barricade the door (Chris Packham's perhaps as his would have the most clothes for me to hide behind)?

But no. It turns out that the man with the pole was neither a bomb disposal expert, nor a cattle prodder, nor one of Kate Humble's main providers of torture equipment, nor indeed the resident animal dentist. He was, in fact, Nigel Bean, the man in charge of finding nests and putting remote cameras into them.

"Essentially," he said, "it's a 99p vanity mirror on the end of an extendable fishing pole. But it's perfect for seeing into nests."

And so it is. Nigel took me to the nearest leylandii, raised his pole, and let me reflect on six tiny eggs in a robin's nest, eight foot up the tree. No ladder, no dealing with heights, and no grabbing at the tree and pulling the nest out as you fall to the ground.

And when you're bored you can practice your golf swing...

Click here to find out more about Nigel the bird man.


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