Saving Species - Series 3 - 18. Wetland Habitats
Joanna Pinnock brings in the New Year with the clatter and spectacle of a winter wader site in Hampshire. Plus a report on the plight of Britain's native oysters.
The first of January is often a special day for birdwatchers everywhere as the race is on to begin their new year lists whilst also reflecting on the year list just completed. For this Saving Species the role of wetland habitats in providing a wintering refuge for our own wildfowl, and to birds from more northern areas of Europe, is explored at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve at Welney in Cambridgeshire and Lymington Marshes in Hampshire.
Joanna Pinnock visits Welney at dawn to witness the very noisy but magical spectacle of thousands of Whooper and Bewick's swans flighting off from the pools by the reserve centre to head out to feed on the fields for the day. Over 1,000 Bewick's swans arrive and up to 5,000 Whooper swans with many more out on the 2,000 hectares which make up the Ouse Washes and surrounding fields.
Chris Sperring is on the Hampshire coast at the Lymington-Keyhaven nature reserve which is home to important numbers of Dark-bellied Brent Geese amongst many other species of smaller ducks. The geese come to the reserve for the winter from Siberia. With their distinctive call, these grass grazers benefit from the rough grazing management which takes place in the summer with cattle and which ensures a short rich sward for the geese when they return for the winter.
These areas of our coastline are a vital jigsaw of protected areas providing roosting and feeding areas for so many species of ducks, geese and swans that come to the UK.
Also in the programme - News from around the world with our regular news reporter, Kelvin Boot, plus we'll update you on the activities of the Open University's iSpot.
Presenter: Joanna Pinnock Producer: Sheena Duncan.