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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.

michaela strachan

1. Moles have what looks like an extra finger. They have evolved a modified wrist bone to help them dig which externally resembles a 6th finger. I also learned that they eat around 50g of worms a day It was great to see footage of moles underground, very cool creatures and definitely a SW first.

2. Seeing what the inside of a kingfishers nest looks like. More wow factor at the shots than the facts I guess but it was incredible to see the female lay her eggs and then the chicks hatch out. We think it's the first time that's ever been filmed in the wild. The weather meant they had a tragic end but what an insight into their nest. I did learn about why they line their nest with fish bones. Apparently it's to stop the eggs rolling out of the nest, which slopes towards the opening so all the excrement can dribble out. Glad I know that now!?

3. Seeing a male rabbit urinate over a doe to attract her, then when the female is ready, she wafts pheromones into the males face!. Not my idea of dating but fortunately I'm not a rabbit. I was also one of those people who always thought it was male hares that boxed each other, and in fact it's the female hare boxing the male.

4. I didn't know that the goldcrest is our smallest breeding bird. I've never seen one before. I am amazed at how light they are, the same as a 10p piece, although Chris was arguing that it was actually a 5p. Whichever, it's an incredibly small bird.
Editor's note: it turns out they weigh about the same as an old 5p (or new 10p). Chris must be stuck in the 80's...

5. Being able to announce that we have a new breeding species in the UK, the Great White Egret. Isn't it great when there's really exciting news. For the first time ever, a pair of Great White Egrets have bred on the Somerset Levels. Let's hope more will follow.

6. I was amazed that what we all think might be just one blackbird in our garden is in fact many. As many as 30 blackbirds might visit an average garden in one day.

7. Lovely to see the beauty of the Somerset Levels and interesting to learn that the WW2 Vera Lynne song 'They'll Be Blue Birds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover' was written by an American who didn't realise that 'blue birds' are not indigenous to the UK. They're native to North America and we've never had blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover. But why let the facts get in the way of a good song!

8. On a day off I went to the Centre Of Alternative Technology, about 10 mins away from Ynys-hir. There was a diagram showing the amount of CO2 per capita of various countries. Now which country would you think had the highest result? I would say the USA. Well according to their diagram it was Australia with 26.9 tonnes. America was 23.5. I was also surprised to see that the UK was 10.6 and not far behind was South Africa with 9 tonnes! India was only 1.7 and China 5.5. Fascinating info on a day off.

9. I learned that there are 27 species of earthworms in the UK, mainly reds and dendras.

10. I've learned that Chris likes earl grey tea and a slice of cake at around 4pm and Martin likes cheese and biscuits after the show. I've also learned that 'Cygnet Committee', 'Be My Wife', 'Aladdin Sane' and 'Kooks' are all David Bowie songs, thanks to Chris mentioning them during the show, which some viewers like to spot.

And there at least another 20 things that make me go "oooooh", "aaaah and " really", because life as a SPRINGWATCH presenter means I never stop learning.


  • Comment number 1.

    Everyone keeps saying that the Goldcrest is Britains smallest breeding bird, but I just wondered how much larger the Firecrest is compared to it. I have looked in several bird books and on the internet and they all say that the Goldcrest has the same wingspan as a Firecrest.
    Could anyone let me know if ther is a difference in size?
    Ewan (13)

  • Comment number 2.

    I think the firecrest is smaller, but it doesn' breed here.

  • Comment number 3.

    1 The way Chwis pwonounces his r's.

    2 The way Martin wheezes when he 'laughs'.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi everyone at Springwatch, just like to say I think the show this year has been BRILLIANT. I didn't think that after Bill Oddie left that Springwatch could be so good again but this year IT IS. I love the presenters and their little jokes especially the 'boys' with their 'mate' and I think Chris's little asides are brilliant - keep up the good work and PLEASE BBC don't change a thing for next year! Also love that this show is 'live' unlike the recent show involving Richard Hammond!!!! But back to the wildlife - we had blue tits nesting in our garden this year but the bad weather meant that disaster struck and no babies survived! We're hoping for better next year!

  • Comment number 5.

    Ace 4 The new crew is nowhere near as goos as Bill Oddie and Kate Humble.

  • Comment number 6.

    The other night I was stopped in my tracks when I came face to face with a badger in my back garden. The thing that surprises me the most is that my garden is located in a an area just south of Birmingham. Is this usual? Are there other people who have badgers living in a garden within a built up area?

  • Comment number 7.

    That blackbird fact was staggering, though I still have one blackbird who keeps returning. He's a male and his beak is almost black so we know it's him. Also, our breeding pair returns year on year, so they don't just move randomly.

    Kes, I don't have badgers and I live in a fairly built up area, but I know people who do live in built up areas and get badgers- in the Buckinghamshire area.


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