'Toilet duck' and family
As the seasons change and Autumnwatch comes ever closer, Norfolk wildlife expert Mike Powles reflects on an incredibly successful Springwatch series and promises great things to come from 2009.
As mother nature creates a palette of orange, reds and browns with the onset of Autumn, the BBC's Autumnwatch team are all ready to showcase the season to millions of television viewers.
Earlier in 2008, the team spent a few weeks at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve near Fakenham to share Norfolk's wildlife with the nation.
Wildlife expert Mike Powles
Mike Powles, a wildife consultant with the Springwatch crew, talks about a very wet, but wonderful year at the Pensthorpe reserve and is confident that next year will be better than ever.
The stars of spring have now moved on, but Mike provides a final epilogue on the Springwatch stars like Toilet Duck, her youngsters and "the tits".
The days after Springwatch
After a fantastic spring and summer at Pensthorpe, the Springwatch stars have all moved on.
Visitors are still asking about Toilet Duck and her youngsters. Mrs TD is probably enjoying a little peace and quiet on one of Pensthope's many lakes. Her youngsters have dispersed and probably have not strayed too far as there are still easy pickings to be had at the reserve.
The nestbox stars "the tits" are now to be seen in mixed parties along the hedgerows and in the woods at Pensthorpe.
The birds, not longer being territorial, move in groups of up to 40 birds as this is safer. Eighty pairs of eyes are more likely to see the local sparrow hawk on the prowl!
There are still a few swallows around fattening up on Norfolk insects before their long journey south to warmer climes in Africa.
Bill and Kate all set for Autumwatch '08
It's probably the case that the birds that were successful this year will return to the same area in 2009. Let's hope that the "Infanticide Male" who stole the headlines during Springwatch has better manners on his return!
We have small numbers of post-moulting Lapwing on the pastures together sometimes with the odd Oystercatcher. Some of these birds may have been the stars from earlier this year.
If you remember, some our stars that had the worst time during the breeding season were our Little Ringed Plover's.
It all turned out OK in the end - with some chicks raised, these birds and their parents are on their way to the winter quarters in the Mediterranean as I speak.
The Kingfishers that bred and raised two broods at the Wader Scrape hide are still around and can be seen regularly. The adults are more likely to withstand the cold but this year's young will find the winter hard and many will not make it through to next year.
Pensthorpe wardens clear the nests
I'm sure however that some will be tough enough to breed at Pensthorpe again next year.
Well, that's a "wrap" (Springwatch jargon) for this season. However, there is much more planned for an exciting 2009. Work is already underway on ensuring that Springwatch at Pensthorpe next year will be bigger and better than ever.
Look out for my update at Christmas, when I shall let you into a few secrets about next year's nature spotting.
All the best.
last updated: 21/10/2008 at 10:29
Biography: Mike Powles
Mike is a full time photographer and tour leader living on Norfolk's north coast where being up and about before dawn is a way of life.
For Mike, wild places are a passion whether in pursuit of ethnic peoples, landscapes, giant pandas, tigers, primates or big cats, or at home with foxes, otters and the UK’s other wild creatures – just being there is a privilege.
The majority of his year is spent pursuing wildlife in the UK for clients and stock photography. The remainder of the year finds him overseas, either working for stock or escorting guests on photographic journeys to capture images of wildlife, peoples and landscapes around the world.
Having travelled to more than 60 countries, Mike has a network of friends and experienced and knowledgeable contacts on all continents.
In 2000 Mike was a winner in the British Gas Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition in the category The World In Our Hands and in 2003 he won the travel category in the Royal Geographical Society Photographer Of The Year Competition.
Mike's work has been exhibited at London's Heathrow Airport and has been used by the BBC, RSPB and National Geographic among others.Source: www.naturesvisions.com