Heading South Monday 3 November 9.00pm
Repeated Tuesday 4 November 11.00am
In this first programme, Nature goes to Arctic Russia
to identify Bewick’s and Whooper swans on the tundra.
In a successful
expedition to Arctic Russia, BBC Natural History Radio teamed up with biologists from the
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Russian naturalists and migration expert
Colin Pennycuick to find and tag birds for satellite tracking. The solitary
tagged whooper swan will hopefully yield vital and utterly unknown information
about where the Russian Whoopers winter whilst the five tagged Bewick’s swans
will hopefully reveal the secrets of their migratory route home.
The second feature explores one of the
greatest mysteries of animal migration, that of navigation and orientation.
Talking to migration and bird flight expert Colin Pennycuick, presenter Brett
Westwood will consider how the swans find their way across the world. Joining
Brett on his own journey from the to the Arctic Russian tundra will be a team
of Russian naturalists and experts from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. They
will be seeking to find out what it is that guides swans on their way, and
discussing the birds’ reliance upon instincts, athletic prowess, navigation and
will also be talking to the BBC Weather team who are tracking the weather
across the swan’s chosen route, to measure what influence weather conditions
have upon their journey. It soon becomes clear that the swans have no weather
forecasting ability and therefore no sense of the dangers ahead of them.
Presenter Brett Westwood considers what the survival benefits of migration are and why it
is that swans go to the Arctic for the summer to breed, returning to Britain for the winter months.
Spending two weeks
in the Arctic tundra with experts on bird flight and migration, Brett
discovers that the answer lies in the extraordinary food supply available to
the swans during the brief Arctic summer. There is enough food for the swans to
rear three chicks in double-quick time and put on enough fat to head south to
the UK when the Arctic winter sets in.
Land of Plenty explores the evolution of migration routes
and whether or not birds can change their migratory behaviour in the face of
climate change. Brett examines human-induced factors affecting the survival of
migratory swans and looks at the conservation strategies in place to protect
As dawn breaks Brett Westwood will be at the
Ouse Washes in Norfolk to welcome a multitude of whooper and Bewick's swans as
they reach the end of their journey from the Russian and Icelandic tundra.
Brett Westwood will be joined by Darrell Stevens, warden of the
Wildfowl and Wetlands Reserve at Welney and Colin Pennycuick, a world expert on
bird flight and migration, to bring up-to-the-minute news of the swans'
whereabouts and report on the findings of the swan migration project.
The grunting and snorting from vast herds of wildebeest, the braying of zebra and raucous
laughter of wallowing hippos in Lake Victoria depict a dramatic
picture of the African landscape. This programme follows
the epic migration of a female wildebeest Kimbea and her calf as they travel
from the Serengeti plains of East Africa to the Masai
Mara and back. Narrated by Adjoa Andoh, this five part series, broadcast across one week follows a different
leg of the challenging journey each day as Kimbea struggles for survival over