Monday 23 January to Thursday 26 January
Winterwatch returns to the show’s Autumnwatch home at RSPB Arne in Dorset, across four days, from Monday 23 to Thursday 26 January. RSPB Arne is situated on Poole Harbour and is officially the most biodiverse region in the UK, with more species of animals and plants within 10 miles of Wareham than anywhere else in the country.
The area is a haven for wildlife over the winter months owing to:
- The incredible variety of different habitats: lowland heath and woodland, rivers and estuaries, marshes and coastal scenery.
- Poole Harbour's microclimate, which creates one of the warmest places in the UK and a real refuge for animals and plants against harsh weather. Dorset gets 364 more hours of sunshine than the UK average.
- Much of this area is managed and protected by a network of conservation organisations.
Winterwatch will visit many of the sites in the Isle of Purbeck (of which Arne is a part), which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as Brownsea Island, which is looked after by the National Trust and the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Remote cameras will capture the best of the wildlife on the reserve:
- Visual Feast: with cameras on an array of different coloured bird feeders, the team will conduct a fun experiment to see if garden birds are attracted to a particular colour of feeder first.
- Studio Owl: during Autumnwatch a local barn owl took up residence in the studio. Unperturbed by the presence of the team in the converted barn, the owl was a regular visitor - and now during the winter months, hidden studio cameras have been filming the owl's regular hunting trips.
- Woodland Waterhole: At Arne the team found a woodland watering hole which could be a winter destination for an array of different wildlife. A Winterwatch hidden camera is monitoring activity around the clock to see if this is meeting place for the likes of Sika deer, badgers, foxes, and many more residents.
- Return of Robo (and friend): Viewers of Autumnwatch 2016 will remember fondly Robo-spoonbill, the robotic spoonbill fitted with a hidden camera. He’s back by popular demand for winter, when even more wading birds are expected on the Arne mudflats. Robo will also be joined by a friend - decoy duck cam. While the spoonbill films the overwintering waders from the shoreline, the Winterwatch duck cam will float out on the water, bringing a new perspective to this busy winter wildlife area.
Meanwhile presenter Gillian Burke examines military pillboxes in Studland to explore the lives of hibernating butterflies in winter, while Martin Hughes-Games gets extremely muddy as he tries to understand the harbour's appeal for waders, particularly avocets, and has an incredible revelation.
As well as live reports from Dorset, this series of Winterwatch will feature a number of films recorded from across the UK.
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