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Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games | 15:56 UK time, Thursday, 26 May 2011

Were here! At Ynys-hir. I rode up on a bike yesterday from Somerset - I had forgotten just how extraordinarily beautiful Wales is.. . Nearly fell off at one point - the sky was suddenly thick with red kites - I've never seen anything like it. I pulled over and counted over 50 in the air at the same time - an amazing sight .

Springwatch Unsprung team

Me and the Unsprung team - Sam and Level-headed Joe

You must be getting used to my "help!" blog post every Springwatch.. but... er HELP!! UNSPRUNG is on Wednesdays this year (at 8.30pm) and - as you know - it totally depends on your questions, your observations, your photos and home movies for it to be a success. Level-headed Joe, Sam and I are sitting here in the tent, glued to the messageboard, running through everything you are talking about. YOU drive UNSPRUNG so please, get typing, tweeting (#springwatch) and commenting on the blog right now and together we can make this year's Unsprung the best ever.

Also - we love STUFF... so if you have something amazing that you have found and think Chris or Kate might be able to interpret (not too smelly please) or you have made something you'd like to show the world - you can send it in. We already have the latest, beautiful "springtime" tea cosy knitted by LYNNE HARDMAN especially for the programme - thank you so much Lynn! So here is an address for "things": BBC Springwatch, Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR.

Thank you in advance - right - back to the messageboard... what's come in... ahh what's this?.. a question about stag beetles! Chris and I will love that...

Editor's note: thanks for all your comments here. Sorry we couldn't answer them all on Unsprung. We'll do our best to answer as many as we can here on the website. In the meantime we've shut comments on this post to keep it manageable. So if you have anything for Unsprung please post it on our new one.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Martin - can you let us know the difference between frog tadpoles, toad tadpoles and newt tadpoles please? With pics if poss thank you :)

  • Comment number 2.

    Will Arnie the starling and his friends be appearing in this series. I must confess to being a big fan of his.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Martin, I am sure there is a family of blue tits nesting in a roof opposite me. Is this common? I haven't seen a nest but there is a small opening where a tile has come away from the others. xx

  • Comment number 4.

    Dear Team Unsprung,

    Please can you find out why the 1st episode of Chris Packham's brand new BBC Nature half hour 3 part show 'The Truth about Wildlife', going out on Monday 30 May, 19:30 on BBC One, is ONLY being shown on Channel Islands, Oxfordshire, South, South West, West?

    As this is a prime pre Springwatch viewing slot it makes more sense to me to show the programme simultaneously in all Springwatch viewing areas. Mainly because the subjects he will be covering greatly impinge on the Springwatch coverage of Wildlife.

    If you are able to find out if/when the rest of us can see the three programmes in our regions perhaps you can let us know on Unsprung? I realise we can hunt this limited BBC screening down via iPlayer but it's not the same as TV viewing for many people.

    Thanks a lot, Effie

  • Comment number 5.

    we have had frogspawn in our pond every year except this year,frogs are in the pond but have not laid. Is it due to the really harsh winter? Our frogs look very healthy. Hope you can answer.We are looking forward to springwatch and unsprung

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Martin and the Unsprung team,

    Just thought you might like to hear about my pigeon paparazzi work! I'm at Uni at the moment, studying Biology, and was very sad to leave the birds' nests at home, only to find a pigeon nesting right outside my friend's window, and I mean RIGHT next to the window!

    I'm currently filming a daily diary on the nest, and once I've edited it after my Biology field trip this week, I will send it in if it's something you would be interested in! The squabs (named fmoc and boc - my friend is a chemist!) aren't the prettiest of babies, but they are giving me lots of pleasure to film.

    Good luck for your first show - I am sure it will be as brilliant as always!
    Sally :)

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Martin,

    I watched a pair of robins build a nest and hatch 5 eggs in our garden. After about a week a female blackbird appeared at the nest and started feeding and brooding the chicks - much to the consternation of the robin parents, who continued to feed the chicks too. The male blackbird started feeding the chicks too after a couple of days so 4 birds were feeding 5 chicks. The chicks have now fledged and the blackbirds have not continued to feed them. Is this common?

    I have uploaded a couple of movie recordings of the comings and goings to the Springwatch 'Your Movies' section (one of 2.5 minutes and one of 5 minutes) but I have received no response and they have not been added to the site. Are there delays on the site or are the movies too long or did I do it wrong?

    I'm looking forward to this year's show as I do every year. Best wishes.

  • Comment number 8.

    SUGGESTION: On UNSPRUNG there should be the Tweets & possibly Texts crawler, like on Wild Week Live.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Martin,

    Glad You didn't fall off your bike! On Facebook I sent you a Youtube film showing the friendship between a cat and an owl. I suggested maybe looking into some unusual friendships between animals. I know it sounds a bit like projecting human qualities onto animals, but I truly think there's something there.
    Take care and success with the new show! x Garcia

  • Comment number 10.

    I have a lot of house sparrows in my garden, which breed prolifically. This year I have a single tree sparrow as well. I wonder if they are hybridising? I have seen two sparrows with the grey crown of the male house sparrow but the black cheek-patch of the tree sparrow, albeit a rather grey and smudgy cheek patch. I have pictures, but I can't see how to post them.

  • Comment number 11.

    How "capable" should bluetits be when they fledge? I have a bluetit nest in the vent of an extractor fan and the three young left the nest two days ago. They were feathery (I have pics) but barely able to toddle, let alone fly, and showed no inclination at all to seek shelter or move away from a potential predator - me. Five hours later, when almost fully dark, two were still sitting out in the open on my doorstep cheeping loudly. I haven't seen them since, dead or alive, but they didn't look like survivors. Did they jump too soon, or are bluetit babies always like this?

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Martin,

    We had a nest of blue tits in our camera box but a Great-spotted woodpecker broke in and ate them all (unfortunately the camera wasn't connected at the time). We've rebuilt the front of the box (keeping the damaged front to show all the children we have coming to the outdoor classroom) and added a metal plate but the birds don't seem to want to enter the box with this on as they appear to want to be able to adjust the hole. Any ideas of how we can make the box more woodpecker proof whicle still encouraging it to be used?

  • Comment number 13.

    This is something I've wondered for years! My Dad always used to joke, 'There's forty fousand fevvers on a frush' - but how many feathers are there really on a bird? Does a blue tit have the same number as a kestrel except that the feathers vary in size - or does a kestrel have hundreds more? (But please don't let Chris pluck a bird to find out, you'd end up with a feathery snowstorm in the studio!)

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Martin and the Team( Especially Kate)
    Can you answer a question, or has this ever been filmed ?
    What happens to fledglings during the first few nights in the big world ?
    Do the parents stay close by as re assurance? Prior to leaving the nest are the parents close by, do they call throughout the night as a re assurance to the young ? OR apart from feeding are the young basically alone ?
    Recently been folowing Blue Tit fledglings in the garden, and was intrigued about the parents role during evenings etc ?
    Sure you can answer......
    Cheers Tony (Gloucester)

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Team;
    Just to say, reading all the blogs and message board, there appears to be plenty of Blue Tit nests this year, are they more prolific this year or just the norm ? Also experiencing the take over of a regular Tit Box by Tree Bumblebees, how common is this practice ? and how strong a population are these Bees, especially after the recent bad winters ? lots of readers seem to be experiencing this now.
    Tony (Gloucester)

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Martin - why do blue tits fly up to windows and try to 'attack' their reflection?

  • Comment number 17.

    The garden birds are eating more than I have ever known at this time of the year.Fat balls, sunflower hearts and mealworms are being replenished daily. They usually ignore bread by now but even that and the sultanas are disappearing rapidly and they are having it twice daily. I would guess this is because of the lack of rain and therefore the absence of worms and insects? I even have a tame blackbird who follows me round the garden, comes into the garage and even flies up to the window until I go and put mealworms down for him! There are babies galore now, coal,,blue and great tits, blackbirds and the adorable big eyed fluffy starlings.

    The Red Kites are magical birds aren't they? I saw them at Gigrin Farm 2 weeks ago.
    Can't wait for monday and the start of Springwatch.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi flintstonef

    i have had the opposite to yourself robins feeding blackbirds they also had there own young to feed 3 meteres away.

    clip. https://www.vimeo.com/24124054

  • Comment number 19.

    Dear Kate, Chris and Martin,

    I am wondering if you might be able to identify the creature that once occupied the following shell in the following picture? It was found this May on Titchwell beach, Norfolk during a great day's birdwatching. For size comparison, I photographed it beside a pound coin.

    The picture is at https://twitpic.com/53uj87

    Hope you can help!


  • Comment number 20.

    Over the last few days we have noticed that the birds are coming back to the garden to feed more and have noticed a Great Tit that doesn't have any head feathers until you get to the top of his crown, why is that? I could upload a photo, but I have no idea how!

  • Comment number 21.

    The oak trees close to us in Kermincham Cheshire are like skeletons....they have had their leaves completely devoured by ??????? Can you tell us what creature this is Martin. Wll they harm the oak trees permanently?

  • Comment number 22.

    i was on a cruise up round hamburg and Oslo and the day we at sea i kept seeing this swift on the back off the ship what do you think it was doing on the ship and what do it eat

  • Comment number 23.

    hi unsprung can you help me out i have put up some bird boxes over the winter ready for the birds to nest this year but as up to now none have been in the boxes do i wait till winter to take down and where is the best place to put them

  • Comment number 24.

    We have a female blackbird with very strange white markings on her head visiting our garden in Kent. I have a photo I can email you. It's not uniform white - it's almost like paint splatters on her head. We've never seen anything like it. What's the cause?

  • Comment number 25.

    I was digging my garden this morning and uncovered 6 eggs. They are about 2 inches long, white and were buried 3-4 inches below the ground. Any ideas what may have laid these?

  • Comment number 26.

    Martin: for the first time ever I have seen Linnets - in my garden (male and female) in the hedge - AND eating from my thistle and seed feeders. Now I don't know much about Linnets but is this behaviour unusual?

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Martin,
    we have a pair of jackdaws nesting in our spare chimney. We are sure there are babies but the parents seem to have been feeding for ages. Can you tell us how long young Jackdaws stay in the nest. jan

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi, looking forward to the new season. Our son Hamish went to hear Chris talk at Henley earlier this year and told him about some frogs that moved into the base of an old Swingball set in our garden last year. We wondered whether to change water etc. Chris said to leave as is so we were delighted to see the frogs back this year and loads of frog spawn filling the old base. However, we went to Brecon for a week in April and when we came back the cover was off the base and all the spawn was gone. There was no strong wind that week so we wondered what happened! Who would eat frog spawn? We do have slow worms and a squirrel but would/could they take the top off? Good news is that we now have 4 frogs living in the base?! Hamish will be 11 on the 30th so was truly chuffed to have Springwatch starting on his birthday! Thanks The MacKenzies

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi Guys, good to see you all back again!! I've never contacted you before but this year I have - I've posted on the message board https://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbnatureuk/NF21294790?thread=8222623 and also added pictures to the Flickr page and had some great help from my fellow Springwatch viewers but would love your advice and/or help. Its such a distressing situation and surely there must be something that can be done to prevent unnecessary deaths of our little wild birds, especially when it is something that most people are totally unaware of. Thank you in advance!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Martin and team,

    We've got 2 lovely juvenile female blackbirds in our garden this year, and a rabble of juvenile starlings who are laying waste to my peas and lavenders, but that's not the point (and they're cute, if unruly)....one of the blackbird juveniles, and some of the starlings seem to be sneezing / hiccupping / coughing or something strange like that. What's going on? I've got a video of the juvenile blackbird, cos she' very tame, which I'll try and work out how to post. Would be really interested to know if there's something wrong / if we can do anything to help.
    thanks Annabel

  • Comment number 31.

    As a follow on from comment no: 11 I would also like to know how capable blue tits are when they fledge? I spent 3 hours this afternoon watching 3 blue tits leave their nest from the trunk of one of our old apple trees. The first one managed to fly upwards and seemed to improve over the next 2 hours, the next one could fly across to a branch then flutter to the ground and the third could only flutter down to the ground again. Are they likely to survive? There was no sign of either parent bird with them or feeding them.

  • Comment number 32.

    On 27th April this year, I believe I saw 5 European bee-eaters flying over my garden in Bournemouth. I tried to find out if this sighting was possible from the RSPB but at the time I couldn't get through to them. I have seen bee-eaters many times in various countries in Africa and in France - so think I am pretty sure I know what I am looking at, but still have my doubts - mainly because I didn't hear them calling in flight. Is there a way to find out if other people saw them? Could I have mistaken them for something else? If so, what? Love your programmes by the way. Gus

  • Comment number 33.

    I wonder, are there many single birds who can't find a 'companion'?

  • Comment number 34.

    Recycling Wren: we have been very lucky over the years to have Wrens nesting in our garden but this year the male is either very lazy or has gone green!! earlier the Robin had favoured us again with raising its family in our garden to our surprise we noticed one day the Wren was active at another of our nesting boxs approx 8ft from the Robins and was dashing to and fro removing the moss etc from the now empty Robins nest and using it to construct his own does this happen often.
    We have fed the robins mealworms for a number of years my husband reckons he needs to remorgage our house to feed the birds (and get a menu printed for them )but we both get a great deal of pleasure from them. This year though we have for the first time had a Coal-Tit and Wren taking mealworms from the container the Robin has always been a regular visitor but now the Wren is backwards and forwards taking up to three worms at a time though the Coal-Tit does not seem to come so often. Have to stock up on supplies for whenever Spring Watch or the World Cup was on the Robin sits by the window staring in, expect to see him holding up a notice next saying "Family of five to feed". Welcome back Spring Watch.

  • Comment number 35.

    The grass snakes appear to have cleaned up the few tadpoles in my pond this year. Last year I had 6 snakes in view at the same time, this year three. As soon as the tadpoles are gone, so are the snakes.

  • Comment number 36.

    QUESTIONS ON BATS.3 nights ago whilst sitting in the garden we noticed that there seemed to be more bats flying around than usual. upon investigation we discovered that they were flying out from under our house roof through a very small gap between the pvc facia & the brickwork of our modern house in Redditch. we had no idea that they were there or as we subsiquently counted 253 of them last night in what numbers. is this an average sized colony,what species are they likely to be & how can we identify them

  • Comment number 37.

    Just - why is SPRING watch being shown in what is virtually SUMMER. Why are you not showing it in late April, early May.

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi folks, Good luck with the new programme series. I have two questions:
    a) yes I have bumblebees nesting in a tit nestbox too. I'm pleased they are there, but what should we do about these nests later on in the year ? I read that they do not live on during the winter. Is that so ? What might we find inside ? I think they don't make honeycombs ?
    b) Has anyone else witnessed a rat chasing a squirrel twice around the lawn ? They 'met' under the bird feeder; the squirrel leapt 1ft in the air in surprise; and the rat then chased it twice round my garden and off into the neighbour's ! How I wished for a video camera ! Do rats think squirrels are another rat ?

    Best wishes, Winchat

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi, just wanted to share the success of the Bristol Bioblitz this year with everyone and ecnourage you to get involved in a bioblitz near you. I work at Tyntesfield for the National Trust and we were very excited about the weekend and it did not disappoint! 779 species recorded in the 30 hours allowed under Bioblitz rules! We're very proud of our bio-diverse estate! It was great to meet and work with the Saving Species crew from Radio 4 too and hear some of their formative wildlife moments and opinions on the role things like bioblitzes can play in finding new generations of naturalists.

    I wonder - what does the Springwatch team think?

    Really looking forward to the new series tonight - good luck - and Martin, surely it's Level-headed Jo - not Joe? Poor girl!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Good luck with the series.... I have been given a new view on the local bird population after moving into a 7th floor flat.... the local park has a pair of buzzards and I have great views at eye level... bit disconcerting when a large bird of prey goes past my kitchen window so close I can see every feather...the swifts and house martins look pretty different at this height too

  • Comment number 41.

    Hi Martin and team, Please can you tell us why sparrows are nesting in ours and neighbours roofs this year? is it because people are replacing their hedges with fences? We love your show and will be glued to it tonight!!! Curtis and Cameron Ledward

  • Comment number 42.

    Like Tony from Gloucester's question, I too would like to know what happens when fledglings leave the nest.My tame blackbird brought his baby to see me the other afternoon and I spent the afternoon making sure the cats didn't spot it. I haven't seen it since but blackie still comes to beg for mealworms and takes them away. Will the youngster have gone back to the nest?

  • Comment number 43.

    Iv have a big Qu i have wanted to ask for a few series and wondering how best to get advice from you guys....i live in a city suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne and have a Tyneside standard flat on a terrace of houses. We have a park about 1 min walk away and we are trying to work out how to encourage birds in to the yard. My dad has made us a great bird table with food and water, we have planted lots of veg and herbs in pots to try and make it greener and enticing to the wildlife. Any advice on how to encourage birdies in to our patch or should we just resign our fate to Geordie Shore??? I reckon this is a situation lots of your watchers may have who live in cities!! Any advice from SP Officials greatly appreciated from a Geordie urban dweller!! GOOD Luck for new series!!

  • Comment number 44.

    Behold as new life says "Hello!"
    And through the soil the flowers ping,
    Around the verdant countryside,
    The bleats and tweets with gusto ring.
    Then 'Springwatch' on a Monday night
    Will prove that Summer's nearly here,
    For there with bouncy Kate we'll see
    Hughes-Games and Packham reappear!


  • Comment number 45.

    Can birds read? I took this this photo of a blue-tit viewing a recently erected nest-box. After little interest I decided to advertise, and it paid off. A pair took the box (after leaving a eposit -or two!) and are now settled on eggs. Here's a pic https://www.flickr.com/photos/43210094@N03/5773497739/in/photostream

  • Comment number 46.

    what is burrowing under my black compost bin? when i lift the lid there is a hole in the rotting compost,whatever it is they dont like mushrooms they have been pushed out onto the garden.could it be a headgehog? i do have one in the garden. i tried to go out with a tourch but no luck .can you help.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi Martin ...at RSPB site Dungeness, Kent, yesterday afternoon ...very dull and incredibly windy ...sitting in hide ...aware of an LBJ ...flitting in and out of bushes/reeds in front of hide,on edge of the water ...obviously feeding young ...but ...then popped out to sit on fence, with a feacal sac in beak ...which it couldn't dislodge!!
    is this unusual? why might it have happened? would problem evetually be resolved??

  • Comment number 48.

    How long do sparrows live? A few years ago, a male sparrow visiting the seed feeder in our yard was seen flying to the top of our wall with seeds for his fledglings for a few days, then the next day when they were able to fly down to the ground he perched at the feeder and dropped seed to them, then seemed to get fed up with this process as too slow so took to flying at the feeder and crshing in to it with both feet up took shake a shower of seed down. The next year, we saw the same behviour but then not for the next couple of years. So when it reappeared this year we wondered if it could be the same bird, or one of his descendants. Any ideas?

  • Comment number 49.

    HI Unsprung Team,

    2 weeks ago one of the 9 year olds I teach announced one morning that she and her family had rescued a wrens nest, with 10 baby wrens in it, from the mouth of her pet cat. When they couldn't work out where the nest had come from the handed the nest over to a local rescue group! Ten hatchlings is this normal for wrens - in fact I realise that I know little about Britain's smallest bird - especially where it's nest is most likely to be located - can you tell us any more? BTW the last time I asked all ten birds were still alive!

  • Comment number 50.

    whilst at work I do alot of foot patrol in the local parks and area, I heard a blackbird sing then something copy it with a gruff voice. I followed the noise and saw the blackbird in the tree singing whilst looking at something, then I looked right and there was a young squirrel who was then copying the blackbirds song quite well. I did record it but cant download it.
    I wrote to rspb who said they have not heard of this before. have you?

  • Comment number 51.

    These pictures are of a House Sparrow family that we watched in our garden from when the male was calling for a mate right through to actually seeing the youngsters fledge. My sister Jacqui took the pictures.



  • Comment number 52.

    Hi Team welcome back to our screen. We can hardly wait. My wife and I feed our garden birds despite the poo and shrinking wallet. The variety of birds visiting and nesting is good but not as varied as last year. Dunnocks live in our Pyrcantha hedge by our back door and feed and drink below. Can you explain a strange behaviour. One Dunnock, presumably female stands still, presents its rear end tail erect and feathers well fluffed up. Its partner repeatedly gentle pecks its bottom. This happens time a time again. Is this birdie foreplay?

  • Comment number 53.

    What a strange occurrence this weekend. Two quite large birds have been giving two intermittent piercing distress calls and circling the house any time someone goes out of the front door, sounding like extremely loud whistles or elastic bands being twanged; -they’re even landing briefly on the roof, of all places. Their call goes something like “chew-chew” being bellowed out somewhat slowly and high-pitched with a bit of a pause in between before the next carrying sound is boomed. It’s almost a shrill that’s enough to bore into anyone, it’s that acute. Thought they might be a type of bird that never lands in gardens, but their size and colour doesn’t quite match how you’d expect those to look like when this close up. However the flight shape seems similar, on recall, but in all honesty truly confusedly unsure as to what they are. Many of a smaller type of garden bird can be found each year here in this somewhat unusual garden nesting, can it be…is it possible for the unidentified duo to be so very near with a nest? And can you identify them from the sound description given? Many thanks, folks. (Maybe by tomorrow they’ll have left to where there’s less worry for them (and may I add, greater wellbeing for all here’s ears), and this odd and puzzling incident shall remain forever a mystery).
    Today they seem to have gone. What was wondered was - were they oystercatchers?
    Still there, and still none the wiser as to what these visitors are. Thinks: “Must get batteries for camera”.

  • Comment number 54.

    Hi, 2 things very different this spring where i live. The Swifts arrived BEFORE the Swallows. Swifts seen exactly the same day as last year but Swallows 2 weeks later than the Swifts. Secondly, the Robins are STILL singing with abandance this late in the year. Is this common in other areas this year ??

  • Comment number 55.

    My wife and I have been watching two pairs of Blackbirds seemingly fighting over a nest site in our garden hedge for two days. Today there seems to be only one pair with the female very actively nest building. Never seen the competition between two separate pairs before? Is this typical?

  • Comment number 56.


    I've moved to Hampshire after living in Berkshire for a number of years. We have bats flying around the garden, as we did in Berkshire. However they seem much larger here, (wingspan 25-30cm?), and fly more slowly than the "Berkshire Bats".

    I've tried looking up what species they might be but have no idea how to identify them as they fly around.

    Is there an "easy" way to identify bats in flight?

    Keep up the good work

  • Comment number 57.

    The house martins have tried to build a nest in their usual spot this year but have abandoned the idea, presumably because there is no mud? If this is the case what happens next? We have only had rain today, the first for 2 or 3 months.Is it too late for them to build and raise a brood? And where do they live if they haven't got a nest?

  • Comment number 58.

    For about three years I have had a male blackbird in the area who we have named 'Barbie Girl' as it's song is the opening bars of the 'hit' song of that name ( 100 years ago). It is great to hear him each year but this year he has added a trill to the end of the Barbie bit. Is this likely to be the same bird 'bigging' himself up or is it chinese whispers amongst the offspring? Do the offspring even mimmick the song of the parents?

  • Comment number 59.

    Re red kite sightings. I work in a school[Personal details removed by Moderator] and have seen many, many kites circling over the playing fields. Sometimes one alone, but on occasions, 4, 5, 6, together. What a success story!

  • Comment number 60.

    Hi Team

    Our bird feeder has been like early springwatch "LIVE" over the weekend. Families with fledgling blue tits, sprarrows, wood pigeons, and starlings. We can't keep the feeders stocked for them all, as well as the magpie who's stealing fat balls and drinking all the water - fabulous, but why are the starlings so loud???

  • Comment number 61.

    We have had a pair of blue tits who have succesfully nested and fledged 4 chicks last week and the same pair have now started to bring more nesting materials to the same nest box, clearing out some of the old material, my question is will they lay another clutch of eggs?

  • Comment number 62.

    All about bees...
    In a recent BBC wildlife program, Chris Packham described "hived" honey bees as domesticated and said (I am certainly paraphrasing, I might be slightly mis-remembering!) that there are no wild honey bees in Britain. I have always thought that all honey bees are wild - despite man's attempt to engineer them... would it be more correct to say that there are no longer "native" honey bees in the UK and that they are all hybrids? After all, the fact that some colonies choose to live in man-provided hives doesn't mean they aren't "wild". Does it?

    I'm a beek... I want to know!

    Looking forward to Springwatch 2011. :-) Good luck and best regards to you all.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hi all,
    Really looking forward to the show again this year.
    our family have had a realy good start to the year. We were in Devon first week in April on a farm and helped with lambing, walked along the west coastal path,bumble bees everywhere! We saw our first perigrine falcon,watched greater horseshoe bats in the evening, fallow deer in the early morning.
    5 bluetits fledged from the box in the garden last week and are still being fed by mum and dad, went for a walk in our local wood in broxbourne this morning and saw my first male black cap!

    Best wishes dave

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Martin and team
    Is it normal for a hedgehog to still be hibernating at the end of May? If not, it may be that our dear little hedgehog, who was still out in the snow in December (and had a broken/dead back leg) may not have survived the winter or even made it through hibernation. The reason I ask this is because I went to clean out the hedgehog house today, and he/she is still buried deep within the leaves and hay but is motionless. I am going to leave it for a while longer and have put the roof back on the house, just in case. Can't wait for Springwatch and Unsprung. Quality TV! All the best with the show....

  • Comment number 65.

    We have a blue tit nest box with a camera fitted. Our baby blue tits hatched 2 weeks ago, we had 8. On saturday one died, then another yesterday, and now two today, leaving 4 healthy looking chicks. Should we be concerned about the 4 dead bodies in the nest? We have already seen a fly buzzing about in there. The parents have been feeding their young with seeds from our feeder, do you think this could be a problem?

  • Comment number 66.

    Hi Martin, every single one of our thousands of tadpoles and two of our little goldfish in our small garden pond have been eaten by Great Diving Beetle larvae. We still have lots of frogs and some common newts, as we usually do, but we're worried any baby newts may get eaten too. We've never had these fierce looking things in our pond before and had to look them up to see what they were - we thought they were dragonfly nymphs to start with. They're huge, there's lots of them and they've scoffed everything in our pond! Should we try and catch them and take them down to the river or let them be? We would like to see an adult Great Diving Beetle but don't want to lose all our frogs and newts. Would they eat our pond snails too? We usually have a couple of small goldfish which never seem to make any difference to our glut of tadpoles so we're pretty sure its the larvae that are to blame.

  • Comment number 67.

    Our next door neighbour has two bee hives and the bee's have found our bird bath. We have noticed that the birds do not come near as there can be as many as fifty bee's at anyone time. Are the birds frightend of the bee's.

  • Comment number 68.

    Just got outside after the all day rain today and saw a bluetit juvenile (it had no feathers on its tail) - hopping down the garden path. Will it survive or has it fledged too soon? Mum/Dad was around.

  • Comment number 69.

    Had the pleasure this afternoon of watching parent Starlings and their young together on our garden feeding station. A privlage to watch the parents taking the food and feeding it to their young!

  • Comment number 70.

    When we were out walking today,as we were walking beside a hedge on a bridlepath, near goodwood in west sussex, we heard a sort of growling noise from the hedge. any ideas what it may have been? There was no one else around, so it wasnt a dog, it could obviously see us but we couldnt see it. The noise was a cross between a growl and a snore, but was quite threatening!
    Also, we havent heard the cuckoo at all this year, any ideas where they are, or are the continentals netting and eating those now as well!

  • Comment number 71.

    Hello Unsprung! I love watching Swifts and House Martins catching insects but WHAT exactly are all the insects doing so high up in the air? I have seen low flying Swifts but mostly they seem to feed high up, above tree level.

    Great show, keep it coming!

  • Comment number 72.

    dear all at springwatch i need some help last year my young son and i spotted an unusual duck in our local city park and this year it is still here and just found out it is a mandarin duck is it normal for it to be on ts own as there are no more in the area we are really worried for its safety should it be in a protected area?please could you give me any advice on what to do thank you Sharonsafc

  • Comment number 73.

    Hi all
    I recently turned 50, and finally got around to joining the RSPB on 1st May. I have visited RSPB reserve at Dungeness 7 times this month and spotted 52 species of birds, 16 of which I have never seen before. It just goes to show, you're never too old to start!
    I am lucky to have plenty of wildlife in my garden, I watched parent goldfinches feeding 4 fledglings on our birdfeeders today. We also have resident fox and badger family that we feed on our patio every night, sometimes they even feed together -if badger is willing!

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    Help! Our entire neighbourhood is being terrorised by a blackbird who is obsessed with our next door neighbour's two cats. He spends all day EVERY day creating a noise nuisance with his incessant alarm calls (from 4am to 9pm), not only when the cats are out, but even when they are nowhere to be seen. He can't possibly be feeding his chicks as he doesn't even stop to feed himself, let alone the chicks! This has been going on for 10 days now. The 2 cats have no idea what all the fuss is about, they are not the least bit interested in birds. I love blackbirds ordinarily but this is absolutely torture and I am tempted to get a gun licence! Please help - what can we do?? See the video evidence here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b_9loAwxZk

  • Comment number 76.

    Hello Team Unsprung!
    We have a little bit of a question for you, which we're sure you'll be able to solve!
    We recently saw this bird in our garden [LINK: https://i56.tinypic.com/2ex66tu.png%5D and we can't determine what it is. We found a bird that resembles it but that is a Yellowhammer and as far as we know, they're very rare. Can you identify this for us? Many thanks!

  • Comment number 77.

    I watched another great program last night.... Countryfile. The subject in particular was controlling magpies, using Larsen traps. A corvid, which falls easy prey to this form of trapping and a form of trapping I totally agree with and have used with great success. The program blamed magpies as one of the biggest causes of songbird loss in the countryside. I am not so sure this is the case since I have worked on golf courses for the best part of 40 years and seen an equally cunning corvid.... the carrion crow. My current golf course has many established Leylandii trees, which make perfect nesting sites for many songbirds. Unfortunately, over the years I have witnessed carrion crows cause havoc on bird life, from pulling out and eating linnets, greenfinches, chaffinches, blackbird and song-thrush nests to name but a few and in the last 18 months I have seen them take unfledged wood-pigeon from the nest, attack newly hatched mallard duckings trying to get to water and most surprising of all, take newly hatched day old signets from a mute swan sitting tight on her nest. To be honest I have never seen a magpie do any of this! Carrion crows are so cunning..... They sit at the tops of tall tees and watch the various birds travel back and forth feeding their young and then home in on them! The trouble is that carrion crows will not be falled or coaxed by Larsen traps and they only work with magpies during the nesting season because they are so territorial!

    Keep up the great work and continue to inspire young and old people alike to enjoy and help in conserving nature.

  • Comment number 78.

    We set up a webcam over a blackbird nest and watched it for 2 weeks as it looked after 4 eggs, but then sunday morning it had gone and still hasn't returned. Does that mean it's been injured or could it have given up on the eggs? the father was not present often.

  • Comment number 79.

    Hello Unsprung Team,

    I just wanted to know whether it was common for blue tits to nest in traffic cones?

    At work we heard chirping coming from the traffic cone outside our office and noticed the parents flying in and out throughout the day. Unfortunetly about two weeks later the parents hadn't been spotted for a number of days and the chirping had stopped. We lifted the cone to find three dead (what looked like ready to fledge) chicks and a rather large nest comprising of moss, twigs and other vegetation. One pressumes the chicks could not fledge through the tiny traffic cone hole or something happened to the parents?

  • Comment number 80.

    Hi Folks.
    Can you tell us why it has been so bloomin windy lately!! the winds up here in North East Scotland have been horrendous, i don't remember winds like this at this time of year before.
    I would love some nice calm warm days!!!


  • Comment number 81.

    Hi Martin, I live in Cheddar and we had a Great Spotted Woodpecker in our garden , it didnt have the red mark so i think it may have been a Female, very pretty bird.Lovely to see them on SpringWatch this year, and Fantastic new Home in Wales.

  • Comment number 82.

    Hello to the new location Spring Watch from Germany! I am an ex-pat now living in Ahrensburg and me, my Hamburger husband and five year old son watch Spring Watch without fail!!!!! This year is very exciting for us as we also have Pied Fly Catchers nesting in one of our bird boxes, flying in and out all day long. I have never seen them before and it`s such a joy to watch them! Just gorgeous little birds! From Jacqui,Hauke and Eric Wendt

  • Comment number 83.

    Yesterday whilst walking with my sister on the North Devon Coast Path, between Peppercombe and Bucks Mills, we saw a large black bird with a red head. It seemed almost goose size. The only thing that I have seen in a bird book is a Black Grouse, but I don't think this is common for the area. Any ideas?

  • Comment number 84.

    I was in the sea off the north Cornish coast today when I saw about 20 small blue jelly-like animals, ranging from a few milimetres to about 3 centimetres across, floating near the shore. They very much resembled Portugese man o' war babies in shape and colour. Is there anything else they could have been? I noticed after leaving the beach that a tiny cut on my hand had swollen up and was stinging greatly, and I wonder if they could be the cause. Best wishes, Matt.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hi I'm struggling to tell the difference between warblers. I think I have seen a sedge warbler and a reed warbler. To me they both look the same. Wondered if you could tell me how to identify them and put a picture to the sound they make. Thanks Paul

  • Comment number 86.

    Hi Martin,
    You always seem to have trouble seeing badgers, we have them in the garden every night without fail, if you'd like to come and film them please let us know!
    thanks Lynne.

  • Comment number 87.

    We have a bluetit nesting in one of our boxes,she laid 11 eggs,hatched 7 one hatched quite a bit later than the others and soon died the other 6 seemed to be doing well when 1 other died 2 days later 2 others died the night befofe last and 1 other appears to be going the same way leaving 2.!!!!! Both parents are feeding regulary. Any idea why this is happening.

  • Comment number 88.

    We have a nest box in the garden that has been used for several years by blue tits but this year is home to bumble bees! They're great to see but how long will they stay? Thanks Roger

  • Comment number 89.

    Hi Team

    I have sent an email but when i seen this board, I thought I would post this on here too. I live in Whalley Range, Manchester, & my flat over looks a neglected field which is home to a family of foxes (2 adults & 4 cubs). On occasion I have seen 3 other foxes in addition to this.

    All day long these foxes are out on the field hunting & playing, is this common in the daylight?

    For the past week, 1 of the adults has had a magpie following it round, pecking it & annoying it. Would this be the result of the fox possibly harming the magpie's mate?


  • Comment number 90.

    hi can you please tell me why sparrows like eating the flowers from the lupins?
    from louise taylor halesowen

  • Comment number 91.

    Where's Simon King this year???????

  • Comment number 92.

    in March, on my way to the station going to work, I noticed about 15-20 carrion crows, having a 'chat' - cawing and squawking really loudly, each trying to get to the uppermost tips of the tree branches they were in. As I watched, pairs of crows were zeroing in from all directions, and after another 5mins, there must have been 40-50 crows in those trees. What was going on?

  • Comment number 93.

    hi springwatch team .
    can you please tell me why sparrows like to eat flowers from lupins?
    louise taylor halesowen

  • Comment number 94.

    i am keisha aged 10 and i would like to know what is the difference between a beaver and a platapus??

  • Comment number 95.

    We have a lone Red Kite in Cranborne, East Dorset. It's been here a year or so. Would it possibly have drifted down from Wales?

  • Comment number 96.

    @Mandie - its probably come down from Oxfordshire/Berkshire - there are LOADS of them there now.
    @Louise - the sparrows might be ripping open the flowers looking for bugs they feed to their chicks

  • Comment number 97.

    Since 6pm this evening, my resident hedgehog has been walking around in circles at the bottom of the garden, he seems ok, but its so unusual to see one out when its so light. Can you explain why?
    Thanks, (love the programme)

  • Comment number 98.

    Do fox families contain youngsters from different years in the same den? And, if they do, do the older cubs play any part in rearing their young siblings?
    Alan Ferry

  • Comment number 99.

    i have read in a news paper , that the army use avon skin so soft. it repels midges, can you try this out,

  • Comment number 100.

    Martin - Can you please help me. Do Starlings like scented nests? Earlier this spring I saw a couple of starlings pulling bits out of my lavender bush and flying off with them, at about the time that they were nesting. Can only assume they like the smell. By the way, I now have approx 50 starlings - adults and young feeding in my small town garden.




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