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Archives for June 2012

...that was Springwatch 2012. What did you think?

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 18:09 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

Somehow, that's almost us for another year. And it's been eventful one and we feel genuinely privileged to have experienced it.

We were at the heart of a Welsh storm and watched, first hand, how wildlife is affected by an extreme weather event, while our own production site was flooded and abandoned.

We've seen predator attacks from a weasel, a mink, a woodpecker and a cat.

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Mull Sea Eagles - The Young Generation

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 13:29 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

On Springwatch tonight, Iolo Williams travels to the Isle of Mull to meet the RSPB's David Sexton and discover how white-tailed sea eagles are returning to the isles.

Here's David with a personal account of their work in Mull and we'll post the film here shortly.


Although we're focussing on Fingal and Iona, a new pair of Mull's awesome white-tailed eagles this year, 20 years ago a young chick in another nest had recently hatched and was well on her way to a successful fledging - and a life that would ultimately touch the lives of millions.

Her name was Frisa and she came from an amazing pedigree being the offspring of the eagle legend that was Blondie - the Norwegian white-tailed eagle who raised the first Scottish chick in 1985. About 5 years after she'd fledged, in 1997 Frisa paired up on Mull with a handsome young wanderer from the Isle of Skye and they've been together ever since. They are the eagle celebrity A-listers Skye and Frisa who were beamed live into the living rooms of millions on the first night of the first ever Springwatch in 2005. Many have visited Mull since to capture a glimpse of them soaring over the summer hills.

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Rate your garden

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Stephen Moss Stephen Moss | 16:22 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

SPRINGWATCH gave me a call a few weeks back and asked if I could design a quick garden audit, to help us all encourage more wild visitors into our gardens.

In ten easy steps (and a bonus question), you could be on your way to a having a haven for birds, mammals and insects, all within easy viewing of your kitchen window.

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How to grow your own butterflies

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 15:57 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Here at Ynys-hir RSPB Reserve, we've set up our very own butterfly house.

Thanks to SPRINGWATCH researcher, Dr Emma Brennand and our camera team, we now have 20 pupae ready to emerge into beautiful butterflies.

Watch closely and you'll see them emerge live on our webcams.

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10 things that make you go "...really?"

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Michaela Strachan Michaela Strachan | 14:05 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Springwatch. It's my first series and let me tell you there are many things that have wowed me. Yes I've learned a lot. I've learned that it rains a lot in Ynys-hir in Spring! I've learned that the Springwatch set up is really impressive and I've learned that it's a fabulous programme to work on.

Now I'm not a British Wildlife expert like my friend Chris Packham, when Chris was making bird boxes at the age of 8 and going badger watching, I was wearing a tutu and obsessed with ballet dancing. So I've also learned a lot about the UK's wildlife as I'm sure we all have this series. Let's face it, that's what Springwatch is all about. So I thought I'd give you my top 10 from SPRINGWATCH so far.

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Weather events and the effect on our wildlife?

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 19:47 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

Amazingly our goldcrests have survived. Their nest, in a leylandii tree was blown around, even more than usual in the wind, but they seem to be OK.

Meanwhile at the Dyfi Osprey project, we watched a drama unfold on Saturday. Having seen one chick perish in the terrible wind and rain, they chose to help the last remaining chick, which did not have the strength to beg for food. It was returned to the nest 15 minutes later and is now taking food from his parents again.

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Springwatch - in the eye of the storm

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 19:32 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

Well it's been an eventful few days here at Ynys-hir in west Wales.

Many of you will have seen the news reports of floods and our site was right in the middle of it.

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2012 mixtape: Bowie vs Springwatch

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Chris Packham Chris Packham | 11:21 UK time, Friday, 8 June 2012

'Aladdin Sane' was the first album I ever bought. I'd seen 'Starman' on the Christmas TOTP sat on the floor at my aunt's at the end of 1972 and was both bemused and entranced by Bowie's persona and performance. I was eleven and he was both weird and yet so wonderful. The album is on cassette and needless to say I still have it. I recall listening to it sat on my bedroom floor and studying the liquid pooling above the remodelled Ziggy's clavicle.

I went back to 'Hunky Dory' and on to 'Diamond Dogs' and 'Rebel, Rebel' remains a top ten all time favourite track. I got 'Young Americans' too but bought nothing beyond 'Low'. I remember being sat in that same bedroom, now with a record player, and playing 'Sound and Vision', getting up, and putting on 'Janie Jones' by the Clash. My world had changed and although I liked some of Bowie's stuff up till 1980, I have never got beyond that and remember loathing the rock gods 'Dancin' in the Street' in 1985. Can't argue with 'Suffragette City', 'The Jean Genie' and 'Drive In Saturday' though, and if you don't know the words to 'Space Oddity' then you've been committing 'Rock 'n' Roll Suicide'.

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Unsprung mystery objects quiz

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 20:14 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2012

We've got 3 mystery objects on Springwatch Unsprung tonight. 2 from Chris' collection and one from our soundman.

Can you tell what they are and what's the link?

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Changes for Cat People?

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Chris Packham Chris Packham | 19:34 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2012

Let me say, first and foremost. I'm not 'anti-cat' - what nature lover couldn't admire these supreme little hunters. I don't want to see any harm come to any cats or stop people enjoying them.

We knew we wanted to look into this issue on Springwatch this year. We didn't expect to see a cat take a nest of wood warblers on our live webcams.

But that's the reality. Right there, in front of our eyes.

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Getting to know your newts

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 19:08 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2012

Since the 1970s great crested newts have been declining at alarming rates. The numbers are starting to recover now, but in order to secure their future we need to find out much more about them.

Organisations like Froglife are surveying public areas, but some of the key habitats for these little guys is actually in your back garden. Garden ponds are important for many amphibian species.

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Mice, shrews and voles - a quick guide

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 17:53 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2012

Although these three can be mistaken for each other, there are some key characteristics that will help you spot them at a glance.

So here's a quick guide to distinguishing a vole, a shrew and a mouse as it races past.

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Birds of the UK in Lego

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 17:12 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2012

We're lucky enough to have lego genius Tom Poulsom with us on Unsprung.

Here's some of the his incredible creations, spotted earlier around the Ynys-hir reserve.

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Peregrines are keeping it in the family...

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 20:21 UK time, Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Hawk and Owl Trust fitted a nest box in St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Bath, and peregrine falcons have been nesting there since 2006. From March this year we've been following the intimate lives of this family. Genetic tests and close observation has revealed some extraordinary, rare behaviour.

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Fair Isle diary

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 16:57 UK time, Wednesday, 6 June 2012

On Springwatch tonight, renowned ornithologist and presenter Roy Dennis brings us a beautiful film about Fair Isle, Britain's most isolated inhabited island and home to an internationally important population of seabirds. Here's Nicola Merrett, a researcher on her first Springwatch, to paint us a picture of their filming trip and we'll post their film here shortly.

Four members of the Springwatch team were hand-picked to travel to the island; by coincidence these four people probably averaged 5ft 4in meaning that the tiny plane, which flies from mainland Shetland to Fair Isle itself, was able to accommodate the hobbit-sized humans as well as heavy camera kit!

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Kingfisher mink predation last night

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 10:56 UK time, Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Last night we had another predator attack, this time something very rarely seen, let alone filmed - a mink raiding a kingfisher nest.

The camera wasn't live on the web at the time, but the footage was recorded.

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Cat predation

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 19:51 UK time, Tuesday, 5 June 2012

As many of you are aware, or indeed watched live, our wood warbler nest was predated last night by a cat. It seems that all of the nestlings were taken and possibly one of the adults.

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Knowing your damselflies - an apology and a quick ID guide

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 17:42 UK time, Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Q - How do you tell the difference between an azure and a common blue damselfly?
A - Well we didn't get it right...

In last night's programme we ran a Jubilee-themed quiz where we asked you to identify three species that were partly distorted under a Union Jack flag. The theme was 'Red, White and Blue' and we had thought we'd picked a redstart, a white-tailed fish eagle, and a common blue damselfly.

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Your barmy nests

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 16:59 UK time, Tuesday, 5 June 2012

It's become a bit of a Springwatch tradition, so here's the best of your barmy nest photos for 2012.

Thanks to everyone who sent their pictures in.

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Jubilee quiz

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 19:50 UK time, Monday, 4 June 2012

To keep in line with current celebrations we thought we'd give today's quiz a Jubilee theme.

Here's a montage of 3 photos from the enormous collection of great wildlife photography that you have posted on our Flickr group.

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Turning the worm - meet a lady on a mission

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 12:19 UK time, Monday, 4 June 2012

On Springwatch tonight we're meeting Emma Sherlock - the free-living worm curator (as opposed to parasitic worms) at the Natural History Museum London and the President of the Earthworm Society of Britain. Here's Emma to introduce herself and her work.

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If I have a real goal or mission in life, it's that by the time I hang up my forceps and spade at the end of my career I have changed the public's perception of the humble earthworm for good.

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