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Autumnwatch Live 2011: Iconic wild places and a new band of Autumnwatch adventurers

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Roger Webb Roger Webb | 14:37 UK time, Tuesday, 13 September 2011

As well as reporting live from our base locations, Chris, Michaela and Martin will be on the road each week, visiting some of the UK's most iconic wild places. And also each week we're inviting a series of guest experts and presenters to tackle their own specialist topics and autumnal adventures.

On the road to the UK's iconic wild places

Chris, Michaela and Martin report on the best of the wildlife action as it happens from a different location each week, from the end of summer right through to the start of winter. They'll also meet some of the local people who have unique and insightful relationships with the wildlife on their patch.

Week one: As autumn starts, the first stop on this nationwide road trip will be the spectacular Wye Valley, where we'll explore the River Wye and the woodland world of the Forest of Dean. We're also hoping to investigate the wild boar, visit a breeding colony of bats and reveal nature's wild harvest. With a dry and sunny start to 2011, autumn has arrived early this year. We'll explain the implications for our wildlife.

Week two: At Spurn Point, a headland at the mouth of the Humber estuary which arches dramatically into the North Sea, we'll focus on migration, one of the wonders of autumn. This area is a real migrations hotspot, and we'll be following the latest arrival and departures, and exploring just how scientists make their groundbreaking discoveries on the birds' epic adventures. (You can start following all the migration news between now and the end of autumn on our weekly blog posts from the BTO.)

Week three: We'll then move on to Exmoor to explore this spectacular region's exposed hill tops, wooded river valleys, rugged cliffs and sheltered sandy coves. Along the way, we'll unveil the region's unique wildlife, and take part in the excitement of the annual Exmoor pony round up.

Week four: In the glorious Cotswolds, we'll watch the drama of the fallow deer rut, revel in the beauty of the autumn colours and explore the secrets of the famous Highgrove Estate.

Week five: It's all change as we journey north to the Scottish island of Islay. We'll witness the spectacular sight and sound of thousands of barnacle geese, meet resident otters and golden eagles, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the elusive merlin.

Week six: We'll be delving beneath the ocean's surface for a marine themed show, based in Anglesey.

Week seven: It's on to the urban jungle, where we'll meet the surprising wildlife in our cites and gardens, including intimate views of a pied wagtail roost.

Week eight: The final stop on the journey will be back in Scotland. As winter takes a grip on the far north, we'll explore the ancient Caledonian forests. We'll be hoping to meet red deer, black grouse and pine martens, and see how wildlife is preparing for the long winter ahead.

A new band of Autumnwatch adventurers...

Old friends and new faces will join us with a unique story that they are best placed to tell, and join Chris, Michaela and Martin live in the studio to introduce us to what they've discovered.

Roy Dennis is the world expert on ospreys, one of our most charismatic birds of prey. In June the Springwatch team witnessed the arrival of the three osprey chicks on the Dyfi Estuary, which represent just a handful of these birds to be born in Wales in the last 400 years. Now, for Autumnwatch, Roy is going to satellite tag the birds and follow them on their migration south as autumn progresses. (Read more about the osprey tagging.)

Charlie Hamilton James will be filming one of autumn's greatest spectacles, the Atlantic salmon run. He'll attempt to swim with the salmon underwater as he tracks their migration up river, using high speed cameras to film salmon doing what we love them for best in autumn: leaping up the waterfalls towards their spawning grounds.

Johnny Kingdom is Exmoor - he lives and breathes this West Country landscape. In a series of beautiful films, Johnny will recount his times filming what is by far his favourite season - autumn. As well as the red deer of Exmoor we'll find out what happens to a cast of other characters like the wild boar, the salmon and the kingfisher as autumn progresses.

Leah Gooding is going to get hands on with 25,000 slippery eels! She'll be helping box them up for release into a Welsh lake as part of one of Britain's most ambitious conservation projects. The project is setting out to help save this mysterious fish, whose population is crashing.

Richard Taylor-Jones is on a mission to raise awareness about Britain's least understood grey and common seals - those living in the south-east of England. Ten years ago no one seemed to know they were there, but ongoing research by passionate volunteers has revealed a population of almost a thousand individuals, all living amongst Britain's busiest seaways.

Iolo Williams is on an epic nautical adventure trying to track down the second biggest animal on the planet, the fin whale. These migrating whales pass through British waters every autumn. Iolo will team up with a group of scientists who have been studying the population in the hope of having a first hand encounter.

Liz Bonnin is off to Scotland to explore the Caledonian pine forest - home to red squirrels, wildcats, capercaille, red deer and many more superstars of the wildlife world. Sadly, very little original forest remains, and Liz is going to find out why it's been lost, and what's being done to help.

A new anchor presenter, new guests, new locations, new features and more.. Read more about this year's Autumnwatch Live.

Roger Webb is the Series Producer of Autumnwatch. Autumnwatch Live returns 8.30pm, Friday 7 October on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


  • Comment number 2.

    I am very lucky living where I do, I have a large garden about half an acre next to a national nature reserve. We have Barn Owls nesting in the owl box above the garage, they did not use the box the first year but have used it every year since, three or four owls fledge each year. We have a badger set under the concrete base of the old garage. This has become a shed now that we have the new garage, I love watching them at night, there is a camera at the edge of the entrance and another one under the bird feeders where the come to clear up the peanuts. We have seventeen bird boxes and most of them are used and fledge each year.

  • Comment number 3.

    So... mammal, mammal, birds, mammal, mammal, bird, mammal, bird, bird, fish, bird, mammal, bird, mammal, bird, fish, mammal, mammal, fish, bird, fish, mammal, mammal, mammal, mammal, mammal, bird, mammal. Hurrah for diversity...

  • Comment number 4.

    Loving the week seven theme. Theres some great wildlife in 'suberbia' and most people are totally unaware of it. It was only this year I became aware of all my backgarden species. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do the social wasps some justice so misunderstood :-(

  • Comment number 5.

    I live in the Forest of Dean, am a very keen amature naturalist and a huge fan of the show. I'm guessing it was the autumn watch crew and trailors parked up at Beechenhurst this evening? If so they couldn't be better placed to spot a few boar. I spent the evening watching 4 boar, at very close range, at Cannop ponds just down the road from Beechenhurst. Happy hunting guys!

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi, I need some help, I have just been in my garden at 7.45am hanging out the washing. I could hear a strange sound coming from my kitchen extension fascia board area where I know I have bats roosting. It was a cross between a bird noise and a cricket sort of sound. I've searched the internet but could not find any bat noises other than echo location. I believe they make communication sounds but I don't remember hearing any on any nature programmes, can anyone shed any light on this. ( not on the bat, it might disturb it!!!)

  • Comment number 7.

    @toadflax #6 I've heard bats chitter as they wake up and get ready to emerge form a roost - to my knowledge they make social calls at both sonic and ultrasonic frequecies - so it is quite possible you are hearing them socialse. Afraid I don't know of a site with examples of sonic frequency social calls.

  • Comment number 8.

    hi guys, i was just wondering why kate isnt on the show this year?

  • Comment number 9.

    still no reply on the badger cull re bovine tb the devastation to livestock & cost to us all. no one on the programme has the balls to even mention it.

  • Comment number 10.

    Not sure if last question got through, so in brief....
    Can swans only land and take off from water?

  • Comment number 11.

    I am so sos lucky living where I live in an AONB and the ability to see the lambs born watch those fleeces grow, take the clip and turn it into beautiful local yarn to design with,and see people appreciate what is on our door step. I have wading birds,peewits,black grouse,pheasants,grouse,partridge,water vole in my stream ,a proper winter and 360 degrees of big sky -----I am blessed.


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