Changing times

The River Frome finally reaches not the sea but Poole Harbour. Poole Harbour is the second biggest natural harbour in the world and a lot of it is very shallow. Not surprisingly it’s pretty good for wildlife too, especially birds. How times have changed - and for the better - because Bill Oddie remembers coming down to this part of the world in the 1960s and 70s and one of the birds he was searching for was the avocet, since there were about half a dozen that used to winter on some of the estuaries down here in Dorset and Devon. Nowadays, what does he see? Maybe 100 or 150 avocets, and in a few months time there’ll be well over a thousand. They’re probably not all British birds. Avocets now certainly breed in a lot more places than they used to when Bill was a kid. A lot of them are probably coming across from Holland and Germany, but the fact of the matter is there are now two or three great places in Britain where you can see over a thousand avocets at the same time. The other big sign of changing times, and possibly a sign of changing climate, is the presence of little egrets. Again, when Bill first came down here, if he’d seen a little egret it would have been really something - a major twitch, as they say. There would have been twitchers - that’s rarity hunters - travelling from all over the country. Now, little egrets breed all over the place in Britain and this, Brownsea, was the first record of little egrets doing so. It’s wonderful to be able to see one of the graceful little birds of Europe on British waters all the time.

Release date: 26 May 2010

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3 minutes


Role Contributor
PresenterBill Oddie
Camera OperatorIan Mccarthy
Camera OperatorScott Tibbles
ProducerVicky Webb
ProducerHugh Pearson
Executive ProducerFiona Pitcher

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