Ynys-hir: Springwatch's new home for 2011
After three wonderful years at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk, Springwatch is moving its base and going wild in Wales! Our new home is the remote, breathtakingly beautiful and biologically fascinating RSPB Ynys-hir nature reserve in Ceredigion, Mid Wales. We're delighted to be in Wales this year, discovering the best that Welsh wildlife has to offer.
The fantastic 700 hectare reserve is set in a stunning location at the top of the Dyfi Estuary, flanked by the Cambrian Mountains. It's no exaggeration to say it's a veritable wildlife haven, with a huge variety of different habitats for us to explore - Welsh oak woodland, wet grassland, saltmarsh, reedbeds, heathland, rivers and ponds.
It's a perfect new home for us, complete with a new studio - and new sofa - for Chris, Kate and Martin.
This shed will be magically transformed into our studio
With a new location comes new challenges and this is our most ambitious rig yet. Our fibre optic cables will stretch further than ever before... nearly 40 miles! We're going to cover a wider area with our mini cameras than we've ever attempted, and our presenters will be broadcasting nearly a mile away from some of our nest cameras, which will all be streaming live in glorious high definition.
We'll also be looking out for great and lesser spotted woodpeckers, birds of prey like hen harriers, ospreys and goshawks... and of course we couldn't go to Wales without featuring red kites - so we're planning to get nest cameras on them too.
The rivers, waterfalls and freshwater ponds in and around the reserve are full of dippers, kingfishers, sedge, reed and grasshopper warblers and the occasional bearded tit. Our bankside cameras will be poised and ready for river inhabitants like otters and grebes.
But it's not just birds and mammals that our camera teams will be tracking down - Ynys-hir is home to 19 species of dragonfly, 26 species of butterflies and over 400 species of moths as well as reptiles like grass snakes.
So you can see why we chose it and why I'm so excited about this new chapter in the Springwatch story.
Roger Webb is the Springwatch Series Producer
Springwatch begins 8pm, Monday 30 May on BBC Two