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17 September 2014
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Nature's Calendar

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Presenter Chris Packham

My Nature's Calendar

Chris Packham

Nature's Calendar is very close to my heart.

I have a profound interest in getting people off their sofas and into the wilds where they can look at animals, rather than just studying them on the television from afar.

Passion for nature - Chris Packham out and about


Home grown nature

MallardNature needs to be experienced first hand.

You have to be able to touch it, see it, smell it and exercise your curiosity - and that's what Nature's Calendar is all about.

Sometimes we're so overwhelmed by TV images of glamorous animals in exotic locations, that we often forget that there's some really beautiful wildlife at the bottom of our gardens.

I want to destroy the mystique about wildlife. For me, home is where the heart is.

I've travelled all over the world but my favourite animals are right here at home.

On your doorstep

BadgerIt's a myth that you have to be an expert to watch wildlife. You don't have to be a life-long specialist.

You can be just like me and spend time watching and studying these animals just for fun.

Take Badgers, for example. Watching this nocturnal creature isn't a mystical art - it's practical common sense.

Anyone can go out and find a Badger sett and have great fun doing it.

When I was younger, I studied Badger excrement for five years, but you don't have to get quite so carried away with poo as I did!

I've been passionate about nature from an early age.

As a child I transformed our home in Southampton into a menagerie bristling with a diversity of species.

Snakes, spiders, finches and foxes all soiled my parents' carpets!

Passion for wildlife

Tawny OwlMy ever-growing passion for wildlife has shaped my career.

I studied Badgers for several years and this led to a degree in Zoology at Southampton University.

One of my early TV ventures was presenting the Children's BBC Wildlife programme, The Really Wild Show.

It was so good that it won a BAFTA.

My more recent BBC programmes include X-Creatures and Watch Out as well as Inside Out which has included a number of wildlife features.

Magical creatures

Reindeer in CairngormsOne of my favourite experiences during the filming of Nature's Calendar was watching winter wildlife in the Cairngorms.

The weather was so cold that our fingers and toes were nearly freezing, but the nature more than made up for the icy conditions.

The sight of remarkable creatures like Reindeer, Ptarmigan and Mountain Hares, who have adapted to live in this harsh upland habitat, is truly inspiring.

Another favourite moment during the series was my visit to the Morven Peninsula where I saw a female Otter fishing and scrambling back onto the banks in daylight at close quarters.

I've rarely seen this amazing creature so close up during the day - it's more common to spot Otters at night.

Winter highlights

Deer (Image: c/o Chris Packham)Another highlight of the series was my trip to Belfast Lough, an unexpectedly good place to watch wildlife.

It was truly amazing. I couldn't believe that the hide provided a close up view of a group of normally shy Black Tailed Godwits - I was so close that I could even see the birds' eye lashes.

I have never seen anything like it!

And winter is a really excellent time to watch some of the UK's mega fauna - especially Red Deer in uplands and a whole range of deer in woodlands.

People from the UK travel thousands and thousands of miles for a sight like this without realising just what treasures we have on our own doorstep.

This is exactly what our new programme sets out to do - raise awareness of the depth and diversity of wildlife, fauna and flora around the British Isles.

Wildlife through a lens

GrouseWorking on Nature's Calendar has been really great fun.

It has given me the chance to revisit some fantastic places around the British Isles as well as finding new ones that made filming a real treat.

I've stayed in some dodgy 'Fawlty Towers' style hotels, endured bouts of sea sickness, survived bad weather, and eaten some strange local delicacies, but it's all been worth it.

I wouldn't have swapped this experience for anything, and I hope that you will feel the same way too when you watch the TV series.

Most of all, I hope that Nature's Calendar will make you feel as passionate about nature as I do.

So get off your sofa, get out there and enjoy the great British outdoors. It’s sure to satisfy the most curious of creatures!

Meet the Nature's Calendar team:

Janet Sumner
Sanjida O'Connell
Mike Dilger

Meet the web team:

Sue Wilkinson

 

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Seal safari

Nature's Calendar
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Activities

Winter Activities (Image: Chris Packham)

Mark your Nature Calendar

Discover winter activities the series is exploring. Brave the cold - it's the season for unique nature experiences.

Breathing Spaces

Make a difference for people & wildlife in your neighbourhood.

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