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By Ruth Levis & Laura Thorne

All times stated are UK

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A Mar For All Seasons

Our time together for Winterwatch 2016 has come to an end. We've had a wonderful time here with the lovely folk and fascinating animals at Mar Lodge Estate, part of the National Trust for Scotland. Don't forget you can catch up with all four Winterwatch episodes and the three Unsprung shows at the top of this page.

Thanks for all your comments, questions and beautiful images, we've loved looking through them.

This is goodnight but not goodbye - we'll be back on your screens when winter turns to spring... 

Mar Lodge
Mar Lodge
Mar Lodge
Mar Lodge
Mar Lodge

Vote result: your favourite plasticine wildcat

The results are in, the nation has spoken, drum roll...

You voted overwhelmingly for 'Brown cat', lovingly made by Emily from the Winterwatch production crew.

Below are the final results with the sculptors revealed in brackets...

1st: Brown cat (Emily from the production team) - 60.7%

2nd: Yellow and black cat (presenter Lindsey Chapman) - 12.2%

3rd: Black cat with cucumber (Pat the cameraman) - 9.6%

4th:Orange cat (folk singer Martin Simpson) - 6.8%

5th: White cat (actor Mathew Horne) - 6.6%

6th: Black and white cat (photographer Pete Cairns) - 4%

A reminder of their squidgy moggies in pictures in order of your preference...

Emily's brown wildcat
Emily's brown wildcat
Lindsey Chapman's yellow and black wildcat
Lindsey Chapman's yellow and black wildcat
Pat's black cat with cucumber
Pat's black cat with cucumber
Martin Simpson's orange wildcat
Martin Simpson's orange wildcat
Mathew Horne's white wildcat
Mathew Horne's white wildcat
Pete Cairns' black and white wildcat
Pete Cairns' black and white wildcat

#Headshots #Fail

This is the Winterwatch team's attempt at a headshot - but the ferret wasn't playing ball.


People often talk about the follies of working with live animals on TV but in all honesty it's one of my favourite parts of the job. I just seem a little more keen on posing for a headshot than Riley was!

Aaron SandhuResearcher on Winterwatch


All week we've asked for your shots of animals going a bit Zoolander and doing their very best Blue Steel impression. Click on the play button above to see which shots Chris and Lindsay consider to have achieved the true Magnum magnificence...

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Tall tales


If you’re of a certain age you’ll have seen it in the American TV series, Flipper -  dolphins rescuing humans from drowning or sharks, keeping them safe from harm. In Greek legends and old sea stories we hear claims of dolphins helping drowning sailors, rescuing people from sharks, and making themselves useful as guides through treacherous waters.

But does it really happen? Click play at the top of this page to hear more of these tall tales.

And please do make sure you take some time to read one of the greatest stories of all time - in 2010, Dick Van Dyke fell asleep on a surf board and was rescued by a pod of friendly porpoises who helped bring him to the safety of the shore.

Dick Van Dyke
Stock Photo Alamy
Outrageous fortune: Porpoises take arms against Van Dyke's sea of troubles

Watch: We missed you hissed the wildcats

So wonderfully wonderfully wonderfully pretty...

Photographer Neil Anderson has been trailing wildcats in the Cairngorms for the last ten years. He showed Chris Packham some of his footage from the preceding decade as well as showing off his latest infrared barn stake-out designed to capture the behaviour of these most elusive of felines...

Watch: Raptors rescued from the floods

December 2015 was the wettest month since records began with an average month's rainfall falling in less than 24 hours in some areas. The resulting floods have had a devastating affect on our wildlife 

Winterwatch's Martin Hughes-Games visited Weirfield Wildlife Hospital in Lincoln, which has recently been inundated with dozens of birds of prey. Raptors struggle for food in winter under normal circumstances, so bad weather exacerbates their struggles...

Recent floods have resulted in an influx of birds of prey at the Weirfield Wildlife Hospital in Lincoln.

Watch: Trees for Life

Soon after the last Ice Age around 9000 years ago, the uplands of the UK were swathed in forest. However, in the last couple of thousand years, demand for wood, the expansion of farming and the desire for open hunting land has seen forest cover fall from 80% to 13%. Trees for Life in central Scotland is a conservation volunteering charity with a vision to restore the ancient Caledonian Forest to the Scottish Highlands. They have already already planted a million trees.

Winterwatch presenter Martin Hughes-Games has been to visit some Scots Pines planted by the charity in 2003...

We have a vision for a thousand square miles of continuous forest in Scotland

Doug GilbertOperations Manager, Trees for Life

Watch: Polecats in the wild

The Watches team have tried and failed to film polecats many times before but Richard Bowler, a wildlife photographer from Corwen in North Wales, succeeded in last night's show... 

Cousins of stoats and pine martens, these secretive, nocturnal creatures are seldom seen.

The good news is that more and more of us could soon have polecats in our gardens. Persecuted for centuries they're now spreading from their last refuge in Wales back across the country

Michaela Strachan

Birdseye eagle view

Here's that wonderful footage filmed by eagle cam again as shown on Unsprung just now. Scroll down the page for more details...

A golden eagle fitted with a revolutionary 9 gram GPS reveals the secrets of its stoop

Live now: Winterwatch Unsprung

Click on or press the play button above to watch the third and final episode of Unsprung. Special guests tonight are folkster Martin Simpson and Peter Cairns, photographer and environmental campaigner.

Winterwatching - and winter listening

Gary Moore

BBC Winterwatch sound recordist

Here on Winterwatch it's all about attention to detail. With our remote cameras giving us such great shots it's vital to also capture the best audio to give you the best all-round experience. 

For this series, we have placed a live camera pointing at a deer carcass - and today I'm going to share a little trick on how to get the best audio out of this rather gruesome set up. 

When I was told that we had seen a tawny owl on the camera, I decided to head down there with an extra microphone, a plastic bottle and a bit of gaffer tape to see if I could capture something a bit special.

Putting microphone under carcass
Gary places the microphone carefully under the carcass

I put the small microphone inside the plastic bottle to help protect the it from the worst of the Scottish weather. I then placed it under one of the hind legs of the carcass so that when the owl arrived to feed we should all the great sound of the owl feeding. 

Plastic bottle with microphone
The microphone inside its protective plastic bottle

Despite the high winds blowing through the tops of the trees I still think I got the desired results - watch (and listen, of course!) to this video in which the owl's eating is captured up close in image and sound...

Close-up footage of a tawny owl feasting on a carcass on the Mar Lodge Estate.

Watch: Moustermind outwits Carol Volederman

Here's our video analysis of yesterday's behaviour of the mouse and the vole in the maze...

Mouse vs Vole. Who is the quicker learner?

Today's temperatures

Braemar has been knocked off the UK coldness podium today by Aviemore, about 30 miles north west of Mar Lodge. Although Braemar feels pretty chilly today, we must say. 

Weather 29 Jan

And here's the view of what's to come from BBC Weather...

UK Outlook for Saturday 30 Jan 2016 to Monday 8 Feb 2016:

On Saturday 30th January there is likely to be an area of rain for a time across southern areas with brighter, colder, showery weather following across northern and central parts. 

These showers will be wintry at times, especially across Scotland. Then the latest indications are that another frontal system will arrive from the west at some point during Sunday, bringing further rain and a return to milder conditions. 

Thereafter it looks likely to remain changeable and often unsettled with various depressions running in from the Atlantic, bringing further bands of rain interspersed by colder, showery conditions. Most areas will often be windy and gales are likely at times. 

Overall the temperature should be near or above average, though brief overnight frost and fog is still possible between frontal systems.

Where to watch birds in winter

Chris Packham

BBC Winterwatch presenter

Winterwatch presenter Chris Packham has put together a list of his top five UK bird watching places...

Farlington Marshes, Portsmouth 

Snettisham, Norfolk

Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Caerlaverock, Scotland

Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve, Northern Ireland

Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire

Read the full article.

The Big Garden Birdwatch

House sparrow, Passer domesticus (credit: Ray Kennedy /
House sparrow, Passer domesticus (credit: Ray Kennedy /

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) launches their annual Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend. And it’s your chance to contribute to the world’s largest wildlife survey by recording birds and other wildlife, helping paint a picture of how our nature is coping.  

Here's a handy a visual guide from BBC Earth for anyone joining an estimated half a million people taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch  

Playing cat and mouse

Last night, we asked if you could beat the mouse and vole in the maze challenge. And it looks like the animals in the house were very keen to get involved!

Mouse maze
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View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Watch: The tale of the hare and the mouse

I saw a mouse! Where? There by the hare, right there!

Our night cams captured this very brave little mouse - although he wasn't wearing clogs - joining a mountain hare for a midnight feast...

Winterwatch wildlife cameras capture a brave mouse feeding alongside a mountain hare.