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Welcome to Autumnwatch Unsprung 2010!

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Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games | 22:34 UK time, Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A big welcome from your 2010 Autumnwatch Unsprung production crew. We have 'Organised' Laura (on the left), 'Sassy' Anna (on the right), me - and of course the inimitable 'Level-headed' Joe (who left for Madagascar at lunch today - more on this later).

The Autumnwatch Unsprung 2010 team

As ever, without you, we are nothing! It is your questions, your pictures, your videos and your observations on the fascinating world of wildlife that drive the whole enterprise.

So far it's looking good. We already have thousands of glorious new pictures in the Autumnwatch Flickr group. Thank you and please keep them coming. Also, photographers, if you can tell us the story behind your pictures here it's doubly fascinating.

Last year your videos showed us behaviour we had literally never seen before - remember the sparrowhawk drowning the magpie? We LOVE your home videos so please, please upload them for all the world to see (instructions how to do it here).

This year we are hoping to talk to some of you live on the programme. We may be able to use the wonders of the internet to actually see you, get your questions and even watch the animals you are watching together with you.

The messageboard goes live this Friday and we are really looking forward to getting your thoughts and your observations on British wildlife this autumn... So see you soon and in the meantime please post a question, story or observation below. It's what we're here for!


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  • Comment number 1.

    I haven't got anything exciting in my garden, sadly, but Martin is welcome to visit ;)

    Really looking forward to the new AW and of course new Unsprung. I'll just be back from my belly-dancing class in time to make a drink and sit down ready to watch - welcome back AW and Unsprung!

  • Comment number 2.

    Welcome back Unsprung and what a fine looking team!
    My birding query is the ongoing dilemma to feed or not to feed throughout the year. I have kept the feeding station in my garden stocked with peanuts and sunflower hearts throughout the summer and have been rewarded with continuous visits from my regulars and the occasional more unusual sighting. (Thrilled to see that the long tailed tits have arrived this week). However I am concerned that I may be turning my visitors into right little softies and possibly not doing the right thing for them. I think Mr P is a continuous feed man and I'm sure I read somewhere that one of the universities is carrying out research into the subject. I was surpried, on a recent trip to Slimbridge to see a notice saying that they remove their feeders from March to September but I think this was an attempt to encourage the kingfishers back to their nesting site and so avoid the activity around the feeding station.
    Very interested to hear the views of the team and other garden bird enthusiasts.

  • Comment number 3.

    So looking forward to Unsprung again this year. It's an invaluable and integral part of the Autumnwatch experience!

    Littlejojo (hello to you again!!)
    I too feed my garden visitors all year around. It would be a shame to suddenly take the feeders away, especially as some birds have broods later on in the season, so they still need a bit of help too. In fact we've had a new family of blue tits appear in the garden just three weeks ago so our feeders are definately in use all year round!

    Welcome back Unsprung Team! Have fun!

  • Comment number 4.

    Welcome back everyone at Autumnwatch. Can't wait for my weekly fix of AW and Unsprung. Also looking fwd to the blogs and messageboards. Good luck with the weather

  • Comment number 5.

    Welcome back Autumnwatch unsprung

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Mel, so good to hear from you again.
    Thanks for the positives about the feeders. We've also got a nice little blue tit family visiting regularly and I like to think we're proving useful.
    Catch up on the message boards soon I hope.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Martin,looking good mate!
    Can't wait for Autumnwatch and Unsprung.The birds are really using the feeders at the moment,this time last year i couldn't get golfinches to use them ...this year we are getting loads,one sat under the dryer vent,i don't know if he was cold or soft!
    Good luck with the new series x
    Hi to Mel and JoJo,see you on the messageboard x

  • Comment number 8.

    A warm welcome back to the team for Autumnwatch and yippee a half hour Unsprung all on BBC Two! Hi Littlejojo like Mel I keep feeders up all year round. Mine is a market town urban garden so, in the immediate vicinity, there is not a great variety of food as my neighbours tend to use seasonal plants and then chop everything back asap. In fact just this week in my garden I've noticed an extra influx of goldfinches & tits who based themselves in some lovely old Silver Birch trees in a large garden opposite but which are now pollarded back to bare trunk and branches. We are lucky to be a group of old 1920's houses with eaves that suit House Sparrows and having feed available all year has meant the adults are well fed themselves & so breed earlier and have more (3 lots this year) and consequently the juveniles are also well fed, healthy and, hopefully, ready to face whatever Winter weather we get.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi there Martin et al,
    It is so good to have AW to look forward to next week. Makes the dark evenings easier to bear! Have had a really poor year for butterflies this year - hardly any in the garden. However, earlier in the year I had loads of bees/hoverflies. The spiders are very much in evidence - had to get a pudding basin to hold one as it wouldn't fit in a jam jar!
    If you're looking for people to feature why not try this lovely lad - Wildlife Filmer Addam (https://NatureonScreen.webs.com%29
    'See' you next week and on the messageboards everyone.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hello to the AutumnWatch team, it's so fantastic to have you all back again once more & I simply cannot wait for the start of the new series! :)

    In Devon we've actually had a good year for butterflies, esp with the smaller butterflies such as common blues & small coppers. The only butterfly which I haven't seen is the painted lady - where are they? I didn't see one when most years I can see up to half a dozen in one sitting & esp in August when the butterfly bush is flowering. Can you perhaps shed some light on that on Unsprung?

    Plus unfortunately my garden is in the middle of a trichomonosis epidemic, I always clean the feeders regularly but over the last few weeks the finches have been literally dropping like flies, if I find a sick one, I capture it & isolate it from the others & let it die in peace but it is so heartbreaking & what really can be done? I've stopped feeding my birds like the RSPB say, I stopped for 10 days & cleaned everything once a day in order to rid the infection, but that did nothing, within days more sick finches were turning up & even a blue tit! I assume they are coming in from elsewhere & it's like fighting a losing battle & it really is very upsetting, so far I've lost about a dozen birds ranging from greenfinches, chaffinches, goldfinches & one blue tit :( Any advice?

  • Comment number 11.

    Really looking forward to AW this year and the messageboards - we have great fun on there!!,and I agree with beverleywstwood - Wildlilfe Filmer Adam's videos are well worth a mention on Autumnwatch - it would be great to see him featured on the programme! :)

  • Comment number 12.

    Wellcome back,cant wait for Autumnwatch to start really looking forward to it

  • Comment number 13.

    Hey Martin, so excited about Autumnwatch! Birds seem to have forsaken my garden, but I can't blame them - is in a right mess! Think my favourite Autumn 'miracle' is dew on spiders webs in the morning - just looks magical and makes me smile. See you on AW and Unsprung!

  • Comment number 14.

    Morning everyone.
    Lots of sympathy to Skylark and her finches. Interested to know if this horrid disease is more prevalent in certain areas. Almost afraid to say this but, here in the Cotswolds, we seem to have a very healthy group of finches visiting regularly and altho' I am careful about hygiene and cleaning it sounds as if Sky has taken every precaution possible. Fingers crossed our birds continue to thrive.
    Yes, so agree Martin's Girl - early morning spider webs - natures autumn beauty at best!

  • Comment number 15.

    Skylark, sorry to hear about the trichomonosis . Hope help and advice is forthcoming for clearing the problem from your area.

  • Comment number 16.

    Wonderful to have Autumnwatch back,and great to have most of the old team, (not age-wise!)as well as some new faces. Good to meet up with friends on the message boards, too.

    The trees are turning autumnal now, with many yellows reds & golds around, and there are wonderful crops of berries. But the Horse Chestnuts, certainly around my area of Essex, all seem to have shrivelled, withered leaves. No autumn colours for them. Will they recover next year?

  • Comment number 17.

    Along with so many I look forward to Autumnwatch, but is it going to be repeated at an earlier time on Saturday evenings? My 6 year son loves both Autumnwatch and Unsprung and looks forward to seeing it,

  • Comment number 18.

    Thanks for all your questions so far. The Unsprung team are busy looking through it all.

    @Chris - sadly there won't be a repeat on Saturdays. So I'm afraid it will have to be iPlayer.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi team, i have a question, we were on holiday last week and where we were staying people regularly gave the squirrels nuts and so we could get nearer to them than useral, sitting on the fence was a little squirrel nibbling away, awe we thought and went to get a closer look and was horrified to watch it eat a robin head first to tail feathers and legs, and it fed with such gusto in less than three minutes, i felt a little traumatised, i thought they only ate nuts and fruit ???

  • Comment number 20.

    Pouring with rain here in Northants and our swallows are happily in the barn with their third brood which fledged yesterday. Keep telling them they must go. We'll see!

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    We have tadpoles in our pond - strange for this time of year? or a sign of change?

  • Comment number 23.

    When visiting Scotland have seen lots of signs of mole activity - why are there none in Northern ireland?

  • Comment number 24.

    What should be feeding the birds and wildlife this winter? Please do remind us all! I buy good quality feed, plus nuts and fat balls. Winter was so hard last year - i know many of the smaller birds suffered badly - what can i do to help the smaller birds survive this time?

  • Comment number 25.

    Oh i love the question about the squirrel feeding on the robin! Horrific. I have been traumatised too from things i've seen in wildlife! Squirrels will eat eggs/young birds etc - it is pretty horrible to see. I have a friend who keeps many chickens and feeds them an organic corn mix. She was speechless when i told her (and i had just witnessed it) they eat mice, insects etc. I have seen her hens (many times) fight over a vole or woodmouse they have cornered. It is pretty gross to watch them peck and throw the bodies around - then one of them swallow it usually still quite whole in one gulp!! Many animals (including cuddly vegi pandas) will take meat if they can get it!

  • Comment number 26.

    My friend Michael Flowers and I watched House Martins at Flamborough Head (East Yorkshire), they were feeding young in the air, in flight! Never seen anything like it - is that a usual thing?

    Plus I have seen loads and loads of British 7 spot Ladybirds, all chilling out together haha and haven't seen a Harlequin at all, not like last year - have our Ladybirds come back strong? Have the Harlequins died out or moved to another Country, like Iceland or somewhere?

  • Comment number 27.

    How about something addressing wildlife and nature related fears? My own serious personal phobia is Whales (not exactly autumnal or usual I admit!!!)though I don't really like frogs much on the basis that the move suddenly!!! I'm glad I'm not too scared of spiders or I wouldn't be in my house at the moment.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hello autumnwatch team
    Am glad to have autumnwatch back on the screen, a respite from the monotonous golf. ;)

    i have a question for the team as well. today i saw a squirrel close up on my way home, it was clearly female, i saw it on a garden fence walking through a suburban area. My question is that her teats were very visible and slighly swollen, is this left over from a litter this summer or is it possible she has had a late litter and is still suckling?

    thanks to the team

  • Comment number 29.

    All of the family are really excited about the forthcoming series. We are very lucky to have lots of different birds visit our garden, including Robins, Finches (bull and green) Blue Tits, Great Tits and Tree/House Sparrows. But over he last three days we have been visited by a Sparrow Hawk, we couldn't believe it at first, but the neighbours confirmed they have seen it too. We so hope this won't scare off our usual visitors. We will all be watching avidly as we have for many series, sorry boys but Kate is our favourite, especially as she wrote back to my eldest daughters letter. Good Luck Team.

  • Comment number 30.

    Earlier on in the year me and my sister were taking our dogs on a walk and we went through a cow field and in the water trough we heard a splashing and when we walked over we had quite a shock. Trapped inside was a male kestrel and after we had got it out we took it home and put it on the table outside to dry out and after 10 minutes it flew off. A day I will never forget.

  • Comment number 31.

    LIke Wildlife Filmer Adam i was wondering about the Harlequins. Did the freezing winter largely finish off the hibernating harlequins? We had clusters of them hibernating in corners at work but they seemed to die by spring. There seems to have been lots of varies species of ladybirds around this summer but not many harlequin - is that actually the case?

  • Comment number 32.

    PS forgot to say - welcome back AW team good to have you back, really looking forward to enjoying autumn and the programme, glad its following last year's format.

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi there. My first posting and really would be interested in any comments. I have had three hedgehogs visiting my garden this year and I also introduced a fully grown hedgehog who was rescued from a garden which was dog friendly, unfortunately for the hedgehog! He's settled in fine! I bought two purpose-built 'hog hibernation houses a while back in the hope that they would be taken up. Nothing happened for a while but then a put a small amount of leaves in one - having read that they prefer to make their own nests as part of their hibernation ritual. I discovered in August that one was sleeping there occasionally. I was thrilled as you can imagine. Nothing else happened until i had a look on Saturday and one of them is chockful to the brim with leaves and there was clearly a 'hog zz-ing it as I could see the gentle rise and fall of the leaves! I thought I had spotted him dragging leaves in the night before. I'm so chuffed and really, really hoping he will use it as a hibernation spot. My question is this - what happens if he's out foraging one night and another 'hog sneaks in? Would that happen? Or would the scent of the original 'owner' deter a would-be squatter? And, my other question is - would two hibernate in the same place? It would easily appear big enough for two, though I assume that would be a no-no. There IS an empty one next door of course......

  • Comment number 34.

    Hi there. My first posting and really interested in any comments.
    We have always had the odd frog in our garden over the years, but since I put a small (and I mean small) plastic bag covered with water in garden they have seemed to multiply. In spring this year we had at least 7 medium sized frogs to watch at night. During summer we heard grunting in bushes, and to be honest was abit intimadated by the noises. We then noticed a hedgehog at night feeding on scraps/bread. We used to have a look every other night to check on the frogs, but during summer my son was shocked to see three small 'hogs' apparently playing, at dusk. The nightly sight of the frogs has been replaced only the sight of a family of hedgehogs roaming throughout the garden which is only a moderate size. We then noticed how they squeeze thro/under the wooden fence to feed outside our garden. This was a nightly sight. But the frogs have not been seen....So have the 'Hogs' scared or eaten the frogs?
    We have not prepared any den for them, they seem to have found cover in deep leaves and old wooden fencing...just natural I expect.
    I have a few photos!

  • Comment number 35.

    I created a nature resvre for disabled people here in York in 1980 it has been copied by disabled people in Kalwoon HONG KONG, South + West AUSTRAILA, South Island NEW ZELAND,Durbain SOUTH AFRICA.Ghaunna WEST AFRICA. NORWAY+I.B.M computer's have taken the idea all over EUORPE. I just belive this quickly dissapperring World belong's to every-one

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi and welcome back. I have been watching Magpies taking sticks into a tree in my garden (nest building), they seem to be doing it a lot, surely they won't be having young at this time of year? Is this normal?

  • Comment number 37.

    Welcome back Autumnwatch - has anyone else noticed that some farmers are cutting hedges earlier and earlier. the have chopped them all back here in FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER, when they were bursting with hips, haws, berries and nuts - not much left for the birds and mice now.... can we raise awareness about this with the farming community. I live in a National Park, and have asked them if they can help, but they have no power over the farmers, but I thought we could at least make the hedgecutters think twice before they killed off half of out wonderful biodiversity.

  • Comment number 38.

    @Carole above - local councils do this too - I complained bitterly to mine about cutting back shrubs and bushes in springtime and was told that the Health and Safety of branches growing across footways over-ruled the laws about nesting birds etc. I'd guess they'd come out with the same claptrap about Autumn cutting as well.

    Wonder how many injuries have actually been sustained by a branch growing across a footpath?

  • Comment number 39.

    Sadly no pics to go with this but I swear to you this actually happened -not half a mile from our house.
    It was Sunday morning - the last one in September- no different to any other Sunday morning. We had a little bit of a lie-in but by 8.30 I was ready to walk the dogs. Husband Phil decided his book was too good to leave so he stayed in bed whilst I set off.
    It was a beautiful day - one of those lovely September days - clear and cool but with sunshine and a bright blue sky promising a great day to follow.
    I wandered up the lane with the 3 dogs - 2 off the lead and one on the lead. We were not especially quiet; it was a normal routine for us. We followed our usual walk - one we have taken most mornings for the past couple of years. Sometimes the dogs will chase squirrels and on occasion we have seen deer. It is a beautiful walk and never ceases to please.
    We approached the bit of our path which gets quite close to the river - and I heard a 'plop'. I have heard this before but never seen anything. I turned around and saw the head of something swimming from the far bank about 5 metres away from me. The dogs were all with me watching intently too so I slipped the leads on them. We all stood transfixed by what we saw.
    An otter then made its way through the water along the bank on our side of the river. It then went into the pool in front of us and started to play - I swear to you it would have been singing and whistling if it had been human. It was having such a lovely time, somersaulting, whizzing round, trying to tie itself in knots - just like we've all seen on the TV.
    Then it spotted us. It was no more than 6 feet away. It popped its head out of the water and gave us a very good warning hiss, then dived into the water and headed for safety behind a large lump of debris where it continued to hiss at us. We left pretty quickly then so that we didn't scare him off.
    What a delight, what a privilege! I was absolutely thrilled - I have never seen a wild otter before and never dreamed I'd see one so close to home.
    When I got back Phil was still reading his book – how cross was he that he hadn’t joined me on that particular Sunday morning stroll!

  • Comment number 40.

    I have a question for you all.
    We all know that street lighting can play havoc with songbirds, disrupting sleep and when they mate, but has anyone ever had experience of birds such as owls making use of them to aid in their hunt for mammals? I know they have terrific senses anyhow but I just wondered....
    Liz :-)

  • Comment number 41.

    Carole and LazyRizzo,
    This is something that makes my blood boil. Near where I live there was a huge tree in someones garden that they decided to chop down at the height of breeding season. It was home to crows who went ballistic when it was chopped. There had been constant activity and nest building over the weeks and also in previous years. I reported the matter to my local police wildlife unit after getting some advice from the RSPB and I'll leave it to your (it doesn't have to be vivid!) imagination what action they took.

  • Comment number 42.

    Thanks for all your comments everyone.
    Wonderful sotrie Jackie, what a fabulous experience!

    Sam :)

  • Comment number 43.

    Oops! I mean story!

  • Comment number 44.

    just to let you know ive seen a manx shearwater.i live in gosport hampshire. i didnt think they came this far south of wales?!

  • Comment number 45.

    We have lots of birds in our garden, from blue tits, coal tits, sparrows and even a woodpecker who visits early in the morning. We also have a sparrow hawk that flies thru, usually catching one of the slower ones! if your not fast......! really looking forward to autumn watch, roll on friday.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hello, everyone, It was my daughters 12th birthday on Tuesday, we bought her a camera of her own as she spends a lot of time in our garden taking photos of the birds and squirrels that visit. She would like to know if she would and how to take photos or film the bats that come to visit most evenings. she can not wait for Thursday and Autumnwatch again.
    Also we were wondering if you will be visiting Brownsea this year, as we love going their in the school holidays.

  • Comment number 47.

    The Netherlands will watch the program too!
    Nice to see Martin, Kate and Chris again....Simon will be missed!

  • Comment number 48.

    I would just like to say how much I am looking forward to Autumnwatch. Simon will be missed, but I know the rest of the team will do a great job as ever.
    I would like some advice on ponds and wildlife if possible. We dug a pond last year after watching Springwatch and have enjoyed watching all the wildlife it attracts. We have had a disaster in the last couple of weeks, where two hedgehogs drowned in the pond. I was heartbroken, because I made sure that we put some large stones in the bottom but they still couldn't get out. We have now had to cover the pond with a strong net. What would be the best course of action to deter hedgehogs away from the pond and are there any other methods we could use instead of the net? We love all wildlife and want to encourage it but feel awful about what has happened.

  • Comment number 49.

    looking forward to tonight, forgot to say i took a photo of bird eating squirrel but dont know how to send it

  • Comment number 50.

    Question : something has been eating the hedgehogs in the suburbs to the south of Derby. Quite often I have found parts of bodies lying on the front lawn, the sight of which is very distressing.
    I have been told that it may be badgers that do this. Is this correct? There are local foxes (living under someone's shed!), could they be doing this?
    And there's a lot of digging in the front borders, bulbs eaten etc. Will probably have to make a rockery to put a stop to the digging.

  • Comment number 51.

    Here's a question - I've read/heard about some caterpillar attacking horse chestnut trees, and I noticed those on my drive home are all much browner than the other trees. Short of trying to get off the road and climbing a tree, how could I tell if this is caterpillar damage (i.e. to report it as the news item asked) or just the usual Autumn colouring? There don't seem to be as many conkers either.

  • Comment number 52.

    Can't wait til 8.30 tonight!! So glad you're back.

    I have a couple of questions actually - we've always had fully grown hedgehogs in the garden but this year we've got 2 youngsters coming in. They're both quite small and I've been told that unless they're a certain weight, by a certain time you're supposed to contact a rescue centre as they won't survive the Winter. They've been feeding on the bird seed I put out for the birds (they seem to like the sunflower hearts) and I've also been boosting their diet by putting dried mealworms out as well. My question is, when should I start to worry about their size, how do I know they're a sufficient weight and should I contact a rescue centre if they're not the right size for getting through the Winter?

    Also, we've had Newts in the garden the past couple of years (although we don't have a pond) and unfortunately we found several of them dead in the Spring, I'm assuming the harsh Winter got the better of them. Surprisingly I notice one the other night so they're obviously back. We don't have the room or the means to build a pond, but I'd like to avoid finding their poor little corpses next Spring so is there anything else we can do to provide a safe haven for them?

  • Comment number 53.

    What wonderful news that the Autumn Watch team is back-sorry Simon not with you but we are really looking forward to tonight's programme. Please help us with the problem of Trichomoniasis, although we see other people have seen this slow agonising death in finches. We live in a rural setting. We first had experience of the disease some 3 years ago and after many searching questions by Institute of Zoology, London about the feeding habits, the number and species of birds visiting the garden,and the type of seed, we were advised to take down feeders for at least two weeks, clean all feeders regularly (which we always do religiously) and move the sites often. At their request we also sent a dead finch for examination as there was much research being undertaken at that time. Tricomoniasis was confirmed. We have since had extensive communication with RSPB. Since then the disease has returned annually and so far this year we have witnessed the lingering death of 7 green finches. Currently there are several green finches and chaffinches in the latter stages of the disease. We decided to leave the feeders up,regularly cleaned, after a short period without them as it seems to make little difference as others around us leave feeders in place. Please Martin could this issue be addressed at some stage in a programme? Good luck with the series.

  • Comment number 54.

    We have a small bit (8 x 8) raised decking going from our patio doors and every night we are visited by at least one badger, the most we have had at one time is five! We put left overs out, but if we do not put out food sometime they will look at us through the glass!
    In between the badger's visits (they return numerous times during the night) a mouse picks up what he can.
    It is very entertaining.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi! I have a problem with ladybirds and I wonder if anyone else has experienced this? Our house seems to be on some sort of swarm path, because for the last 3 or 4 years we have had hundreds of ladybirds land on the outside of our house and then get in through the windows. They are not our native ladybirds but rather the larger and more aggressive European ones and they are now swarming all over inside and outside our house. Does anyone know how to get rid of them or to deter them? Help!

  • Comment number 56.

    I have uploaded 3 videos to the site:

    1) 2 Kingfishers, one caught a fish while the other turned up to watch the other eat it.

    2) 3 Gannets plunge-diving.

    3) Pipistrel Bat in a birding hide.

  • Comment number 57.

    Does anyone know what this is? I keep seeing it everywhere around the woods I live near to...

  • Comment number 58.

    Greetings from the Netherlands! :) My name is Anneke and I live in the South of Holland. I've always had a great love for nature and animals, and I've been a big fan of Springwatch and Autumnwatch for many years. I absolutely love the programmes, and I always really enjoy Unsprung. And it's not just me; several of my friends are also big fans. So I just wanted to let you guys know that you have fans overseas as well. :) Take care & I'm looking forward to the show tonight! ~ Anneke ~

  • Comment number 59.

    We have a badger in our garden in Bournemouth. It only comes every so often, and will eat the bread we leave out for the birds. We also have a couple of foxes that come most evenings there is a really big one and a little one so don't know if they are related or just have both ended up in our garden. There are also enormous wood pigeons and various other birds. I've only recently started to watch the garden and it's amazing all of the things you see if you sit quietly by the window and don't move. Hopefuly the badger will be back this evening.. :)

  • Comment number 60.

    Welcome back. It's been an amazing year here in the Fens I have never seen so many fledglings throughout the year. The blackbirds, sparrows and goldfinches were still feeding their young late in September and the young goldfinches have not developed their red hats as yet. A scientific question please for Chris, Hi Chris, are there any garden birds that have a crop, perhaps like our chickens have. Looking forward to a great show :)

  • Comment number 61.

    we have a greater spotted woodpecker who has taken over our tit box. he has enlarged the hole and returns on and off.
    is this normal for this time of year and for this bird.
    will she nest next year?

  • Comment number 62.

    I love feeding the birds, but the seed I put out on a bird-table to attract small birds just gets devoured by wood pigeons. I wanted to get fat blocks to hang instead, but I'm vegetarian and they are all suet based so I don't really want to buy or handle them. Do you have a vegetarian recipe I could make at home? Or should I try a particular feederd design? Thanks

  • Comment number 63.

    How does Chris feel about all the femme fatales who fall at his feet (almost a tonguetwister there!) surely he must get embarrased the way they all follow him around, stalkerish?

  • Comment number 64.

    please could we have an update on the one parent kestrel family - i understand they all fledged but what happened after that, are they all still okay - is the super dad still utterly exhausted?

  • Comment number 65.

    I thought Autumn Watch must be approaching, but to have it announced by a Jackdaw flying down our chimney into the front room was a treat! We have lots of Jackdaws around about, but what are they up to at this time of year? Thanks! Elaine, Shipton Under Wychwood, Oxfordshire

  • Comment number 66.

    i saw 2 redwings on the 5th of oct, is it early for them to be coming now ?

  • Comment number 67.

    Blossom appeared on our apple tree a week ago and I wondered is this normal or is it because of the climate changing? and if so does this mean we can expect an apple harvest in spring instead of autumn in the future!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Hello Autumnwatch, so lovely to see you back at my favourite time of year.

    I nag every spring and autumn but please, please can you do a feature on hedgehogs. As a hedgehog carer I would be so grateful if you could give people up to date and good advice about these beautiful little creatures that are the focus of the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species this month because they're in so much trouble.

    They need a helping hand and a bit of good information would go a long way to helping so please (I'm begging now!) do a hedgehoggie bit.

    Thank you

  • Comment number 69.

    Hi team, sorry to hear Simon is not with you will miss him. I ave a question I hope you can answer. Last winter we noticed a coaltit using one of our bird boxes. we hoped that the bird would use it to raise a family in this spring, but sadly it didn't. then in the last few days we have noticed a coldtit using it again, what is going on??
    thanks Ruth

  • Comment number 70.

    We have been watching a pair of buzzards from our school playground. We saw them raise a chick this year and filmed some of their activities. We used a camcorder on zoom and couldn't get really close up to the nest but we did get soome good footage of the young buzzard once it was big enough to be seen over the edge of the nest. We'd love to see our buzzards on springwatch next year. Please come and see them.
    Our school is close to woodland in Gloucestershire and we are 'nature detectives' with the Woodlands Trust.

  • Comment number 71.

    We have had a pair of swallows nesting in an outbuilding here on the mid-Wales border all summer. Their first clutch of eggs fell out of the nest for some reason and smashed. The second clutch of 4 eggs all hatched and fledged successfully. Shortly afterwards in September we were surprised to see the adults still visiting the nest. Four more eggs had been laid and the parents fed the young assiduously once they hatched. They fledged and began exploring the building and the immediate surroundings 10 days ago and the parents and two young left us yesterday. I had a quiet word with the last two this morning and this evening they too have gone. What are the chances of the them all making a successful migration when leaving so late? We had a line of about 80 swallows on the wire outside our house almost 2 weeks ago and have only seen a few others since then, and none apart from our six since the weekend.

  • Comment number 72.

    i have a great passion for the sea and i want to know what is the best place to go and watch killer whales and common dolphin

  • Comment number 73.

    where is simon i think he is great and a lot of fun to watch why is'nt he on

  • Comment number 74.

    HELP - Great to see you back and maybe you can answer a quick question. This evening I was 'lerking' in my garden and noticed that I have some kind of spawn in my pond. Surely it is too late to be frogs? The brown jelly mass is floating on the surface/just below the surface and has small round eggs with a small white centre within them. The eggs are quite small and definately a lot smaller than the normal Frog Spawn. Google searches have not helped and then I thought - Autumn Watch is back - great - Are you able to tell me what this is and what has laid it??

  • Comment number 75.

    Why are you looking at Otters yet again? I think it is time you gave them a rest, especially in the Shetland Islands and selected another mammal to investigate. For regular viewers it is becoming very repetative.
    Apart from Otters yet again I'm enjoying the program and look forward to interesting discussions.

  • Comment number 76.

    Autumnwatch,absolutely brilliant.Thank You B.B.C. & not a celeb in site,how did this get by the programme planners.

  • Comment number 77.

    Good to see you back on Autumn Watch. Two questions:1/Chris where did you get your magnificent haircut. 2/ Magnificent plaits Charlie - what are they feeding you on in the Shetlands?

  • Comment number 78.

    Why was Charlie watching the otters with the lens cover on his binoculars!?

  • Comment number 79.

    How wonderful to hear Martin's Bristol accent increase tenfold when he was watching the badger and fox!

  • Comment number 80.

    Hello all at Autumn Watch.
    As a CURE for Autumn blues, three imaginary boys and I went fishing in the English Channel today approximately 8 miles south east of Brighton. Wind was force 4-5 and in an easterly direction. throughout the day hundreds of swallows were crossing the Channel, Northwards towards our coast, Pipits, Chiffchafs and various other species were flying in twos and threes in a southerly direction, which is what you would expect. What is going on with the Swallows?

  • Comment number 81.

    I love autumn watch it always makes me me fill warm inside :)

  • Comment number 82.

    Simon? Simon? WHERE IS SIMON?? I'm gutted he isn't on the show this season..... Best of luck whatever you're doing, you are a legend and we'll miss you :(

  • Comment number 83.

    I have watched a family of fox cubs grow up during the summer they live in our gardens. One is just showing a white tip to its tail but they are very thin.

  • Comment number 84.

    Love pregrine falcons! i was ment to go and see them at derby cathedral, but I had a bad stomach so I couldn't go! also went bat watching, fantastic experience but was a bit chilly! Good thing there were jacket-potatoes on a bonfire later!

  • Comment number 85.

    Great to see you all back again,sorry Simon is not with you. It was good to see him at the birdfair and to meet you Chris,thanks for your help with the video i showed you. When are you going to visit the birdfair Kate? I have met Simon,Bill and now Chris but not you.Hope you have some good stuff lined up for us.

  • Comment number 86.

    I am so pleased that Autumnwatch is back again, this is such an exciting time of year for wildlife.
    I am lucky to live near to RSPB Fen Drayton so if any of the team want to pop round for a cuppa and a visit over to the lakes then feel free. This is a good place to see migrant birds having a well earned rest.

  • Comment number 87.

    URBAN BADGERS - While we were on holiday in Fishguard in Pembrokeshire this summer we were visited by a badger every night. We fed him bread and jam and peaunuts and he came right up to the door as we were throwing peaunuts towards him. It was the highlight of a lovely holiday, only matched by the baby seal pups near Skomer Island.

  • Comment number 88.

    I was in the garden this morning when I heard what sounded like a couple of frogs croaking from a woodpile. Is this normal as I have only heard them croaking in the pond during breeding time?

  • Comment number 89.

    Hi Team Autumn - Welcome back!

    Question for Charlie

    The river Honddu runs past my garden (it's MY halcyon river!) and I have so enjoyed watching kingfishers on the river over the last few years. But after last winter they all seem to have disappeared. I have searched to no avail.
    Would they have died in the poor weather conditions or migrated to somewhere less cold? The river was frozen for a little while from time to time. Do you think there is any chance we will see a return of these lovely birds any time soon? They are dearly missed.
    (Loved your first kingfisher book and learned so much from it, it really enhanced my own river watching experience. Thank you.)

  • Comment number 90.

    I'm going away for a week an half as my brothers getting married abroad - will I miss the best of Autumn? Or will there still be plenty to see when I get back for the last week of October?

  • Comment number 91.

    I live on the southern side of the Newforest and this morning I saw Hundreds of Goldfinches flocking all around our large garden ???? I have never seen this before. Please any explaination ?

  • Comment number 92.

    I have been walking my dog by the Stour river in Bournemouth for the last 5 years and for the first time spotted an otter this pm. It was several metres from the river bank and didn't seem at all fazed by the few passing walkers or their dogs. We watched for about 15 mins, it was floating like a piece of driftwood going with the flow of the river and at first I was worried that it was ill or injured and then would suddenly dive down returning to the surface moments later, once with a fish in its mouth. Is this mormal otter behaviour and any ideas why it appeared so comfortable with our prescence? Was lovely to see and will have my eyes peeled in future!

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hi plz read my question out i've never had my name said on tv
    my question is the otters in the shetlands when will the cubs be pushed away from mum
    many thanks alex Hodgetts

  • Comment number 95.

    Hi charlie i have one question that has been bugging me for ages how can you tell wheather a otter is a male or female i would be really grateful if you could put my frustration at rest
    love the new autumn watch i am a big fan !!!!!!
    nicola maddox

  • Comment number 96.

    At our old house in Montpelier in inner city Bristol, a family of badgers used to visit our garden every evening for the peanuts we put out for them. We used to have baby badgers play-fighting on our lawn - it was just magical. The sett must have been somewhere in the wooded railway cutting leading into the tunnel which ran beneath our house. Sadly, since we moved from there in 2001, the cutting has been cleared of trees to prevent 'leaves on the line'. I have always wondered what happened to our beautiful badgers.

  • Comment number 97.


  • Comment number 98.

    I live in the centre of Norwich and i just want to share the wild life i have visit my Garden, I have Foxes inc a white one, Sqirell's hedge hogs bats Green wood peckers , Jays, Blue tits, coal tits, wag tails, wrens Robins, black birds, starlings , sparrows Magpies And last month a Sparrow hawk i am so lucky and my garden is only small and i have a cat !!

  • Comment number 99.

    My question is an Otter Question for CHJ. I am lucky enough to have a sea-inlet right in front of my house (Scotland), and share this with regular otter visitors. (It has been suggested that we release them from pens as guests come down the track, but they're wild, honest... We lose them for weeks at a time, but back they come.)
    This summer we've had a pair, gambolling in the weed and racing after each other in the weed just below the window... So who are they? Are they young lovers, brother and sister, two guys hanging out... I have no skill at visual identification. Does the season give any idea, i.e. are cubs born at a particular time of year? Do they hang out and delight in one another like this as courting couples? It is a huge privilege to have such regular encounters, and I'd like to know whom I'm watching (and photographing badly).


  • Comment number 100.

    I am truly shocked that you are showing wild animals being fed farmed (very probably battery farmed)chicken to wild animals. Swine fever, BSE in cattle, bird flu ....for goodness sake stop your viewers copying this dangerous activity. I am not pro wild animals being fed in towns but this is beyond a joke. CL


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