UK wildlife series. Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan visit Spurn Point on the Humber Estuary to witness one of autumn's biggest events, migration.
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What do a scintillating stream full of sparkling salmon? A throng of
itchy badgers? Masses of migrating songbirds? All have in common? They
are all on Autumnwatch Live now, so Hello and welcome to Autumnwatch
Live coming to you from the beautiful National Arboretum at
Westonbirt in Gloucester. Last week, we were in the Forest of Dean. This
week we have chosen another location. We will be live every
week. Our objective is to bring you the best of British wildlife along
with some information and entertainment. We can promise that.
Autumn? Does it feel like autumn? It has been hot today. We have been
in T-shirts. Very mild. You have already sent us photographs of snow
in the Scottish highlands. It is feeling chillier tonight.
Definitely the temperature has dropped. Many of you have been
sending in images of how wildlife is coping with the change of
seasons. Our friends at the RSPB reserve in Scotland sent this
footage which is of pink-footed geese that have been migrating from
Iceland and they are just arriving. Many of them will stay there. Lots
of them will migrate further south. Do you know how many they had there
last week? 60,000 roosting. In a week? Yes. Must have been an
incredible sight. It's open 8.00 till 6.00. If I was you, I would
get yourself along. Where did we get ourselves to this week? This is
where we headed off to. This is Spurn Point in East Yorkshire. It
may look like a sliver of sand, but it has some of the finest birds
there. It is not just birds that are migrating. One of the most
impressive migrations that happens at this time of the year, for their
sheer determination and effort, has to be Atlantic salmon. We sent this
week's special guest presenter, Charlie Hamilton-James, off to
Scotland and he got some really fabulous footage. Look at that!
Brilliant stuff. Good shot. I have been on an adventure, too. First,
as is traditional, let us have our Autumnwatch quiz. This is a sound
quiz. Let us hear that magical sound. Very quiet. The epitome of
autumn. If you hear that... We are playing that in. In truth, we could
be listening to it now. Earlier, I thought I was! That was a clue!
on the blog and tell us what you think that sound is. Now, autumn is
a key time of year for one of our favourite animals, the badger. In
this year's Autumnwatch, we will get closer to badgers than we have
ever been before. This week, I have come to this beautiful valley
because in those woods over there is a family of badgers. These are a
is a family of badgers. These are a very special family of badgers.
They will allow us a more intimate look into their lives than we have
ever had before. Like most badgers, the ones we will be following live
in an extended family group, or clan. They emerge in the evening to
search for food. Their territory includes the woodland and much of
the neighbouring farmland. Andrew Cooper owns the farm and woods.
He's been watching and filming them for years. His quest, to find out
about every aspect of their lives, led him to do something we have
never seen on Autumnwatch before. He got special permission from
DEFRA to put cameras underground, inside the badgers' sett. You dug
down... Slowly moved down into it until we broke into a chamber.
Inserted a tube. And then dropped the camera down. Very clever. This
autumn, we have joined forces with Andrew setting up our own
specialist cameras around the badgers' territory, including an
area in Andrew's garden. Like many people, Andrew gives his badgers a
feed of peanuts which should be a great chance to meet the
individuals that we will be following. How fantastic! So you
know right away that that is the big guy. Yes. Big wide head. We
have called the big male badger Boris. He is smelling. Three now.
We have two boars. The closest one is the female. You can tell that by
the shape of the head? Yes. She's a bit more delicate in the face.
Andrew thinks this is the female that he's named Fancy Claws - you
will see why later! There's four. fourth badger coming in. Eventually,
seven of the badgers came out to feed. We have met our key
characters. All the cameras are in place. It's going to be fascinating
to go underground now and get a unique glimpse into the badgers'
world. Never get tired of seeing live badgers. It is such a thrill.
Anyway, we have these live cameras now. Let us have a look. We will go
to our live cameras. This is one of the Chambers in the sett. We are
looking sideways. That is looking down into that chamber. This is a
deeper chamber. The sett is full of lots of chambers. That is very dark.
That is outside. We will keep an eye on that. Nobody there at the
moment. They are probably out feeding. They will come back. Let's
have a look at some footage we recorded earlier. Here we are in
the sett. Here the badger comes in. She's a female. They are very
hygienic. They will move this bedding in-and-out of the sett.
They will try and dry it out on a sunny day. If it gets too mucky,
they will throw it outside the sett. Foxes won't take their bedding
outside. Remember, it is totally dark in here. It's only the
infrared that allows us to see this. This female here is Fancy Claws.
You can see - she is going to hold her arm up. You can see there
"fancy claws". Hopefully, Fancy Claws may turn up later tonight. It
is a very busy time of year for badgers. They put on three
kilograms of weight as winter approaches. That is port for the
females. They need that -- important for the females. They
need that weight to successfully breed. This is the last chance for
the badgers to breed because they will give birth in early spring so
we might see a bit of mating as well. I'm going to be watching,
keeping an eye on these all through the show. Of course, for the next
two or three weeks we will be watching the badgers. Back to Chris
and Michaela. I love a badger with a manicure!
You know why? Why? It allows us to identify it as an individual badger.
Which is really interesting. It hopefully will be interesting to
all of you, too. For the Next 11 days, you can tune in between 5.00
and 11.00 on our website and see and 11.00 on our website and see
these badgers live. You can monitor them yourselves. We are hoping you
will get to know them as individual animals. Through doing that, we
hope to learn a lot more about the hope to learn a lot more about the
intricacies of their behaviour. is a fab first for Autumnwatch Live.
We will be keeping a close eye on that. It is a very important time
for many birds, too. In fact, this is the time for the autumn bird
migration, so earlier this week Chris and I headed up to the North
East to one of the best places in the country to witness it.
headed to the mouth of the Humber estuary in East Yorkshire. Our
destination was the Spurn Point Nature Reserve which is managed by
the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. This is the most amazing view. Look
at this, Chris. Worth the climb. Wow! What a brilliant piece of
habitat. You must love it here? I do. It is very dynamic. This place
has been changing shape and form for hundreds of years. It is
fragile. Three miles long, in some places only 50 metres wide. Spurn
Point is famous for its birdlife. Huge flocks of water birds come to
spend the winter feeding in the rich mudflats. They make for a
stunning autumn spectacle. It is the range of species that is
staggering. Really, this has formed a migration hotspot. Doesn't matter
which direction the birds come from, they bump into this. It is the only
land so it is a great place to catch them. You know, birdwatchers
also flock to Spurn every year in the hope of seeing a rare species.
Top spot! It was an amazing place. It had a bleak beauty. I like it. I
like it. It is very primal. It is an amazing place for birds. Ticks
all my boxes. It feels very remote but it's very close to the busy
Port of Hull. You can see those big ships coming back. Huge tonnage of
goods imported every year. We saw migratory birds all the time.
got blown out the car. There was this constant stream of birds.
Sometimes they were in large flocks, sometimes they were in small groups.
There were geese and lots of other water fowl. There were lots of
waders. Lots of waders. There is a huge amount of mud there. It is one
of those places that will be busy at this time of year. This is a
place that you could head at the weekend if you wanted a mixture of
birds. I saw something rather unusual. Red-throated pip it?
People got very excited about that. Chris didn't see it. We did get
some real gems on camera as you will see. Hi. How you getting on?
You have been here for a few days. What have you seen? All the birds
communicate really well. The little bird bobbing a lot? Yes. That is a
migrant that's come over from Scandinavia. The majority of the
day he's been sat resting amongst the reeds. In the past hour, he's
come out to feed. He's put on a good show. He is doing a lot of
bobbing? He is next to water and a lot of water birds bob. It is one
of those characteristics... He is like a kangaroo. Very quick. But he
is having a good old feed. I guess he is hungry. I think you are doing
a fab job in this wind to get any steady shots! It is a challenge?
is warm, but it is windy. I will leave you to it. You have a few
more hours to get some gems. See you later. See you in a bit.
obvious question is, why do they bob? It is very easy to answer it.
I don't know! Apparently, nor does anyone else. If you have any ideas,
do send them into our blog. It is very complex and we should move on.
Another thing that our wildlife cameramen got were a couple of
these iconic birds of autumn. The first one is the brambling. The
first of these turned up on 4th September in the UK, on 27th
September at Spurn. Following after that were the redwings. The first
of these turned up on 27th of this month. These thrushes are easy to
spot. They move from the coast and move inland to our gardens,
particularly if we have lots of berries. You will see them in
supermarket car parks - I'm not joking! You might even find a
waxwing there. Anyway, has anyone else seen any redwings? People
really are seeing them right now. It is this week that they really
come in. Jenny Anderson, "I have come in. Jenny Anderson, "I have
seen 30 redwing today in Staffordshire." Adam has said, "I
was walking home from my friend's house and I could hear the
redwings." Pam Taylor saw redwings in Flamborough today. Already these
birds have started to move inland. Keep your eyes open. You will see
Keep your eyes open. You will see them. Eyes and ears. It is not just
the birds which are migrants. There are many other species which
migrate. This week, we have been very fortunate to be joined by our
guest presenter, Charlie Hamilton- James. We sent him off here to
Scotland to a place in Perthshire. There are many species we associate
with autumn. If you are visiting a river at this time of year it has
to be salmon that you are looking for. These salmon have come from
the sea and now they have got to run up these ferocious rivers to
get back to where they spawn. It is the classic autumn scene, salmon
leaping upriver. For the locals, it appears to be a stebg Tay Tor sport.
I am clearly not the -- to be a spectator sport. I am clearly not
the only one here to watch. You guys seen any? How big? That big?
Yeah. To capture these impressive beasts as they make their mighty
leaps, the Autumnwatch team have brought along the very latest
camera technology. When a salmon leaps, it is so fast to get up that
waterfall. We have a super-slow motion camera. This will slow
everything right down. Of course it doesn't matter how fancy your
camera is. If you are not paying attention, you don't get the shot.
Nearly add that one! But we hit things just at the right time of
the year and with salmon leaping every few minutes, it is not long
before I get lucky. I pressed the button. Let's hope I got it! I
certainly did get it and the slow motion reveals something of how the
salmon jump. As it flies upwards, this fish has its pectoral fins
tucked in. Clearly making itself as streamline as possible in the hope
of making a successful leap. But the fish hasn't done enough to
reach the top. So now it pushes those fins outwards to slow itself
down and cushion its blow as it hits the water. Something I never
would have seen with the naked eye. Looking at this, I would estimate
they have to jump about six feet to make that waterfall. But apparently
the world record for a salmon leap is 12 feet! Can you imagine a
salmon leaping 12 feet out the water? You might think it's the
raging torrent of water that stops the fish making it up these great
heights. Without all that water, they simply wouldn't have the depth
of river needed to make the fast underwater run that precedes the
spectacular leap. A fast-flowing river is essential to their success.
Even in these conditions, it can take a good few goes to make it up
the waterfall. Oh! He didn't make it either. I'm not going to film it
unless I think it's going to make it. It is interesting the
difference in some of these fish. Some are huge. Some are small. Some
are silver. Some are brown. The brown ones have been in the river
longer. Some of them have been here since the spring. They have been
waiting for these autumn rains to fill the rivers up to allow them to
head up to spawn. The more silvery fish, the more recent. Some of them
might have come from the sea but because the rivers are swollen,
they can get upriver to spawn. Did you see that?! That was massive.
Let's check I got it. This is clearly one of those fish straight
from the sea. It's a beautiful rich mix of silvers, blues and purples.
Witnessing so many of these salmon jumping has been great fun. I know
this species is facing a lot of threat and one in particular could
one day see them fail to leap these falls. I will be finding out why
next. Wow! He's delivered. I thought they were stunning pictures.
The fish was beautifully lit. Imagine that as a still. I would be
pleased with it! It was a big wow, for you to say that is something.
He's done brilliantly. It is a real marvel of nature, how those salmon
manage to migrate back from the sea to the exact same river they were
born in. I know. Start in fresh water, go to salt, come back to
fresh. More of the salmon coming up later. Martin, how are the live
badgers? The badgers are great. We haven't seen - here we are. These
are the cameras that are deep inside our badgers' sett. We have
seen a mouse. That seems - a mouse? So what? What is a mouse doing
inside the sett? Badgers are very tolerant. You often find rabbits
sharing the sett - bizarre. This sett, what is this sett? It is a
mesh of tunnels. In a normal sett you get between five and eight
badges. Sometimes they get enormous. One of them had 150 entrances to it,
880 metres of tunnels and 50 chambers within it. It is in the
chambers that all the action takes place. There are chambers high up
and chambers lowdown. During the day, they will sleep down here.
Then they will come up as evening wears on and they will come out of
the entrances. Also, they will mate, they will breed, they will fight.
They will even sometimes, it is said, bury their dead in their
chambers. We will be keeping an eye on this. Now, Chris and Michaela
saw lots of birds when they were at Spurn Point, migrating birds. Spurn
Point is not just about birdwatching. A lot of research
goes on up there as well. Some of the research needs a special kind
of trap. Here it is. This is a very special
trap. Called a heligoland trap. These were invented to catch
migrating thrushes. Basically, the bushes continue down into the mouth
of a funnel which is made of wire so the birds move through those
bushes, come down into these and finally follow right the way down
to what we call the capture box. You can hear the birdsong. This is
because these speakers are playing the calls of finches to lure them
in. This is a highly effective means of catching birds. These are
used all over the world. It's been doing a great job, this one. It
won't do with me in here disturbing the birds so I'm going to clear
out! It's a team effort to gently coax the birds into the trap. So I
join the what den of Spurn Bird Observatory, Paul Collins. At the
end of the funnel here, there is a trapdoor. If you pull that, Paul,
there is a piece of Perspex that looks clear. It looks as if there
is no mesh. The birds are drawn to it. They drop down into a box
that's beneath it. As you can see, it is now in the catching box. It
is in two tiers. The bigger birds will stay at the box. Top thinking!
It's still in molt, so it's an adult. The adults will change all
their flight feathers. Yeah. These go down to Spain and to southern
France. Do you think it might be a UK bird? Yes. Probably a British
bird. Wow. This is a young male. See the red spots? That is enough
to tell you it's male? That's enough. In the spring, it will have
a nice pink chest. Yeah. Each bird is ringed, logged and added to an
impressive database. Observations have been made here for well over
60 years, revealing a huge amount, especially about the movements of
birds into our country from Northern Europe and Scandinavia.
Today, though, we have been really lucky to get a close look at a
predator that's been following the migrants even more closely than we
have. Paul, you have caught one of my favourite birds, a mouse
sparrowhawk? He is a cracker. is not a lot of nesting habitat for
these things. This is presumably not a local bird? No. This will be
a Scandinavian bird following the thrushes coming over. This will
head further south as the finches go further south. Amazing. We
should say it is a juvenile. Yes. Some brown in the feathers there.
Yeah. They are a species that many people would think aren't migratory.
There could be other birds moving in. Yes. Look at those eyes. They
burn into the dark heart of your soul. It is watching you all right!
Look at that. That was a special moment for you. Fully paid up
member of the sparrowhawk fan club! Superb. Big thanks to the Yorkshire
Wildlife Trust. Also to the Spurn Bird Observatory. This is one of
the best years to go to Spurn because they have had the best
numbers of visible migration of small songbirds ever at Spurn which
is incredible. 190,000 birds have been counted already. That is twice
as many as last year and of course the migration hasn't finished. It
is still going. Those numbers will go up. What is extraordinary is
each day seems to bring in different birds and when we were
there, it was goldfinch day. 1,300. It was. There are volunteers that
go out every morning and count the birds coming through. They are
astonishing. They will see a flock like that and they will instantly
know how many that is. Also, they will be able to say exactly how
many goldfinches there are. So really impressive and it is
volunteers like that that give such important information. Conservation
couldn't work without that sort of volunteer workforce. And also their
fantastic expertise. If we don't know where things are, we can't
look after them. Goldfinches, you may not think of them as migrant
birds. You are used to seeing them in your back garden. They have
become more apparent when the RSPB and the BTO do their garden
birdwatchs. I think this is because they have got used to feeding. We
are seeing more of them. They don't stay in our gardens all year-round.
Those birds were on the move. When the food runs short, they move.
Some of them will hop over the Channel, down through France and
end up in southern Spain. They are not the same goldfinches in your
garden. Martin, you are a man who is a fan of these birds, aren't
you? I am, Chris. The goldfinches turned up in my garden this week,
right on cue. People say to me, why are British birds so dull and
brown? Look a a goldfinch! Exotic or what! Now, back to our badgers.
Here we are in the sett again. Nothing has come in. I'm a bit
surprised. When I was down there on Monday, right now they were - it
was full of badgers. There is breaking news. Before quay came on
air, I called Andrew -- before we came on air, I called Andrew and he
said a new badger has turned up. An old battered, Scarface male who has
been gone for two weeks, he's turned up tonight so watch this
space and watch at home. Now, let's remind ourselves about that quiz.
The sound quiz. Let's have one more listen at the sound. BIRDSONG
Lynne things it might be a robin. Darren thinks it might be a
redstart. We will come back to that. Right, over the last few years,
there's been an awful lot of concern about salmon numbers in the
UK. In his next report, Charlie Every autumn, Atlantic salmon
return from the sea to mate in our British rivers. One of autumn's
greatest spectacles is seeing them leap up waterfalls to reach their
spawning grounds. But this spectacle could be trouble. In
recent years, there have been many alarming reports about declining
numbers of fish. Earlier in the year, during August, I took a
moment to investigate. At this time of the year, salmon are coming back
from their feeding ground way in the North Atlantic to here, the
most northern tip of mainland Scotland. That movement of fish has
created a fishing industry that dates back hundreds of years. Sea
fishing for salmon used to be very common, but nowadays only a handful
of working boats remain. The fish are caught as they arrive back from
the open ocean. Far from the decreasing numbers I have heard
about, James Mackay believes things are on the up. Is this
representative of the catch? Last year was the best season ever.
the quantities of salmon are increasing as James suggests, are
all the reports of the species being in trouble a myth? Apparently
not. Chris Todd and his team from St Andrews University have been
monitoring the fish from James' catch for over a decade. Their
Results Show that whilst quantity may not be a problem, the quality
of the fish certainly is. The first measure of quality is the weight of
the fish. What is of critical importance to the animal is the fat
reserves that it's stored up. All of these fish need that energy to
get up the river, to spawn, and get back to sea. And to give you an
idea, this is the fat that we have extracted from a plump high quality
fish. And by contrast, this is the fat we have extracted from a very
poor quality fish. Both of these at the point of return to coastal
waters. Low-fat reserves mean less energy for the salmon's migration
up river and that is not the only problem. Chris thinks size is an
issue, too. In this particular individual, it is a typical size
for a so-called one sea winter Scottish salmon. The average size
of these fish in 1997 was about 29% higher than it is now. Wow! These
fish are coming back almost a third smaller than they were 14 years ago.
Size is critically important to these animals because larger fish
produce more eggs than smaller fish. So you can see if the average size
of females for example is a third down, the actual numbers of eggs
being deposited in fresh water is likely to be compromised.
appears that Chris's work is showing us that despite salmon
numbers increasing, their physical quality, crucial to their ability
to reach their spawning grounds and mate, is going down. And for Chris,
there's an obvious reason why. seems to be very much a case of
climate change, ocean warming. Salmon are migrating out into the
Norwegian sea here. The distribution of their food seems to
be changing with temperature, so they are arriving in the right
place but the food simply isn't there. The frustration is what can
we do about it? Probably the answer is not a great deal except to
maximise the quality of the fresh water habitat, manage the right
habitat, make sure the adults have every opportunity to spawn and
rivers can produce as many juveniles as possible. I know it is
an old cliche but only time will tell if this change in the quality
of salmon will cause long-term problems. Getting back to this
autumn, I'm intrigued to know how many are making it back to those
crucially important spawning grounds and so that is where I am
headed next. So worrying statistics for our
salmon. A bit of mixed information about how they are doing? It is
very complex, the whole salmon issue. If there is one thing that
comes over very clearly from that film, it is that they are in urgent
need of conservation. We have got to keep our finger on that pulse.
What are we going to do? Have another look at badgers? I think so.
Why haven't they turned up? Of course, we have microphones in
there, too. They have gone out to food. They have gone out to food.
Because it's got darker earlier. That is probably the difference.
When you were down there, there was a week's difference. At this stage,
once they go out to feed, they do drift back to the sett. We saw that,
they came back. Shall we have a look at grooming badgers? Have a
look at this. They do an awful lot of this, Chris. Cleaning each other
up all the time. They are tremendously sociable animals.
There is is a close bond between all of them. A great deal of them
are interrelated - mothers and cubs. They do a lot of scenting. They
will mark each other so I guess in the dark they all know who each
other is. You can pick up the scent yourself. You can smell badger. I
catch a whiff when I am walking through the woods. The fox hits you
in the face. I had one mark my shoe once! Shall we have a look at a bit
more badger? What else have we got? This is very interesting. This is
Fancy Claws. She appears to be trying to get some sort of interest
out of Boris, the male. You know what? It is not going well. Do you
think he might... Oh dear. Disinterested! I'm off to eat
worms! It is interesting because they do - this time of year they
will mate. A full-on mating could last 15 to 60 minutes. Occasionally,
they will have a short copulation - maybe two minutes. A male will stay
in attendance with a female and mate repeatedly. Some people have
come up with the idea that this is mating for pleasure. Now, I would
dispute that. I don't think animals do anything for no reason
whatsoever. Pleasure will be not a good enough reason. What about
those short two-minute copulations? That could be a way of bonding the
pair together? There is bonding going on. I'm also thinking if a
female is able to encourage a male to mate he can't be off mating with
any other females. She's secured him. He is giving her all of his
attention. In birds, they get the males to make nests. So perhaps
this is a way of maintaining his attention so he doesn't stray.
feel the female badger is slightly naughty. She doesn't reciprocate.
He tends to be monogamous. Of the babies, over 50% of them have been
fathered by male badgers from other setts. That makes sense. It is not
good! Look, the females largely stay within the territories. Yes.
Some of the males move out. This would mean if they all just mated
with the males that were in the territory very soon they would be
inbreeding. By mating with a few rogue males, it increases the
genetic diversity. They are doing a good thing? They are. It is a
biological function. We will be keeping an eye on them. It will
continue as well after the programme. Those cameras will keep
running until what time? 11.00pm. You can hear them. I love that.
think you two could do a whole hour on badgers. We could if we get some
badgers! LAUGHTER Stop it! We have been talking during the show about
migrating birds. Let's check and see how our osprey chicks are doing.
We started to track them to see where they are going. Thigh are
migrating from Wales to Africa, but where? Back in July, osprey expert
Roy Dennis fitted each chick with its own satellite transmitter.
These are clever devices that allow us to follow the chicks when they
set off on their first migration to West Africa. Now, when Roy visited
the Dyfi Osprey Project in Wales, all chicks were there. Five days
after Roy saw the chicks at their home in Wales, the oldest chick set
off on his migration. There he goes. On the morning of 31st August, he
left the Dyfi estuary, flew down over the Bristol Channel and spent
the night around Plymouth. On 1st September, he crossed the English
Channel and made it safely to the north-west tip of France. Now, at
this point he faced the hardest challenge of his journey - he has
to cross the Bay of Biscay. Not really sure where he would go.
Obviously, it was very very weather dependent. Roy was keeping his eye
on him. He's sent us a report of how he got on. This is the Bay of
Biscay. I'm on the north coast of Spain. The Bay of Biscay is the
first big challenge these young ospreys have. They can run into
real problems if it is bad weather over this bit of the ocean. Even in
good weather, if the wind is strong and from the east, they get drifted
across this bay and can miss the north-west coast of Spain. It is a
hard job sometimes even to get from the United Kingdom to north Spain.
So how did he cope with this potentially treacherous sea
crossing? We always thought he was the brave and confident chick and
he proved that. Thanks to the GPS data from his satellite transmitter,
we know he went for it, making the 300 mile crossing in a single day.
I have met up with my friend who lives on this part of the Spanish
coast. We are looking for the spot where he spent his first night in
Spain. You can see exactly where it came. He would have been very tired
by this time. They would have climbed off the sea and roosted in
the wood here. After a night spent in these trees, the data shows that
he flew along the coast towards an estuary that my friend knows well.
It is a tiny estuary. It is used by ospreys. You have seen ospreys
there? Yes. Ospreys from Scotland, we have seen them. Great. There are
lots of estuaries on this part of the coast and although the ospreys
don't breed here, they use them twice a year on their spring and
autumn migrations. There is is a very good reason why these Spanish
estuaries are so fantastic for our ospreys flying south. Come over
here. Looking down into the estuary. Have you seen as many fish as
that?! That is a mass of mullet. These are just perfect for ospreys.
These estuaries are full of birds like spoonbills. They are all
looking for a good meal and a safe place to roost. But my trip to
Spain is really all about one species. A little further down the
coast, we saw the familiar shape of an osprey flying overhead. We are
keeping off the skyline. If we creep along this - we can look over
the edge and get really good views of this bird. Do you see it? Just
there. Can you see? I've got it. It's got a ring on it. The ring is
black with white letters. It tells me the osprey is from Germany and
with a scope my friend is able to read the letters. R and S. When we
give that information to the ringer in charge in Germany, who is a
friend of ours, he will be able to tell where that bird was ringed. It
has been ringed this summer. This is a young bird on its first autumn
migration. So just like our bird, he stopped here to rest and refuel
before continuing on his journey south. Unfortunately, we didn't
manage to catch up with our bird itself, he had moved on. It has
been fantastic to see some of the places he had stopped on this stage
of his migration. How amazing is that, to spot a German osprey with
a ring on! Proving that science works. The information that came
back from that was that the chicks have only - well, the osprey have
only just colonised Bavaria and that is the first osprey that's
been seen outside Bavaria and it was a juvenile which shows that
they are doing well and they are breeding. Fantastic. OK. It is very
good news. We have had lots of very big and exciting animals. Let's
move on to another organism which I do find particularly exciting. I
have been out and about at Westonbirt looking at the fantastic
spread of fungi that have sprouted. Look at that. These are the
fruiting... Orange peel fungus. Beautiful things. If you are going
out to look at them, many people look and they also harvest. 1% of
these things are deadly. 1% are edible. The other 98% don't taste
any good. If you are harvesting them, do remember that these are
the fruiting bodies, they are producing spores which are seeds
and if you take them all, at some stage there won't be any more fungi.
Think responsibly. The other thing is, get some decent pictures!
Chris! I'm saying they are a fantastic subject. You do have to
get down on the ground. Take a bin bag, you can lie down. You won't
get wet. Another thing I tried once - I had the fungus on the ground
like this, I got a mirror and I rested it at an angle and I
photographed the reflection of the fungi in the mirror. It was as if I
had dug a hole in the ground and looking underneath it. Send them
into Flickr. One other point. The fungi that we see are the fruiting
bodies. The main fungus is underground and that can be - it
can weigh tonnes and be thousands of years old, or 1,000 years old.
And stretch for many kilometres underneath the woodland. They have
been on Twitter. Have they? That Andy Walker says - this is
interesting - are badger setts built in alignment with the
prevailing wind? How do they ensure airflow? That huge one - how does
the air get through? They like to build them on a slope. They like
drainage. They also need them to be ventilated. They need to breathe.
So they use - O-level physics - if you have a hole at one level and
another at a higher level, when the wind blows across it, there is a
pressure difference which ensures ventilation. Are you happy?!
Brilliant. Shall we move on? I bet he wished he had never asked!
for Charlie. It is time for our last visit to Charlie Hamilton-
James - I got the name right! He's there by the waters of the Bacanti
Spout! I have been watching the salmon leaping up this river in
Scotland. And also I heard about concerns surrounding the speesee's
long-term health. The average -- Species' long-term health.
average size of this... There are still good numbers of salmon
leaping this autumn. But how many have made it up to the spawning
grounds? I think I found a potentially suitable spot to find
them. What the fish are looking for are areas of shallow, fast-flowing
water, like this. This is really well oxygenated water. That is
vitally important. So this area of the river seems ideal. But are
there any salmon lurking about? There's only one way to find out.
Get in the river. I'm obsessed with getting in the water and swimming
with wild animals. I have never done it with salmon so this is an
exciting moment for me. Within moments, I find some fish. Small
ones. They are not the salmon I'm looking for. But then lurking
amongst them is this stripy character. This is my first salmon.
It is a few months old. They can stay in the river for up to three
years before heading out to sea to mature. Then, suddenly, out of the
gloom, I spot a much, much bigger fish. It's stunning! Although not
the big one I was hoping for, I'm still really chuffed. Just here is
the most enormous salmon a few feet away. He is like this. I'm guessing
it is a spring fish. It is hanging out. It is not in any hurry to do
anything. I guess what he is doing is saving his energy. Salmon don't
eat when they come into the rivers. They are relying on their fat
reserves. This guy has travelled all the way up here, now it is just
waiting until it is time to spawn. As I reach a deep pool further
upriver, suddenly, I swim into the encounter I had been dreaming of -
a large group of adult salmon. They are all quite dark and strong spots
running down their flanks. These are their spawning colours. The
timing of salmon spawning is crucial as the fertilised eggs need
to hatch at just the right moment in spring. By the looks of them, I
suspect these fish will be breeding very soon. Although there are
concerns about the long-term future of salmon, seeing so many fish here
would seem to tie in with the idea that in some rivers salmon numbers
are doing OK. And I feel very lucky to have swum with them.
Well, that really tops it off. I have had an amazing week the week.
To see those fish leaping out of the water and then to swim with
them, just stunning! This is an autumn spectacle that will get
better and better and better over the next few weeks. As fish start
travelling up rivers all over Fantastic stuff. It is an amazing
sight to see them leaping up those waterfalls. Charlie said that the
salmon, the record is 12 foot vertically. I think he is talking
about the Orange Falls in Russia. The record in Scotland is 3.7
metres. Even more - Chris, imagine that vertically, it is worth having
a look at! It does depend on the size of the salmon. If you have a
30 centimetre salmon, that is impress Si. If you have a salmon
that is that big, it is -- impressive. If you have a salmon
that is that big, it is only jumping twice its length. I would
really encourage you to get out and see the spawning salmon. It is
quite a spectator sport. It is really funny to see everyone
standing on the side of the river cheering on the salmon as they go
upstream and particularly when they are doing the jumping. If you get a
chance, go and have a look. You can chance, go and have a look. You can
find out the best places on the website. You can check out
Charlie's salmon blog. If you are going to do that, you will want to
know what the weather is going to be like this weekend. Let's go live
be like this weekend. Let's go live to Matt. It's been an interesting
week. We started off this Spurn with wind, it has been really mild
down south today. We have had snow in Scotland. It has been a mixture.
What is it going to change into next week? All part of the joy, the
transition season that is autumn! We go from the warmth of the summer
to the chill of the winter and along the way we get these
interesting contrasts. Even tonight, we have some contrasts across the
United Kingdom. Scotland, Northern Ireland, you have a lot of cloud.
There will be outbreaks of rain pushing southwards and eastwards.
The clearing skies for England and Wales, a real chill to take us into
Saturday morning. If you are out in the countryside, you could get as
low as 2 Celsius. You will be rewarding with the sunshine. Lots
of it tomorrow. Clear blue skies through England and Wales. A
cracking day. Scotland and Northern Ireland, not just cloudy, but most,
except for eastern Scotland, will see some wet weather. That wet
weather will push southwards through tomorrow night. We will
start off with some sunshine in the South East. For most, much more
cloud around. The odd brighter spell. A few showers here and there.
For Scotland and Northern Ireland, your patience will be rewarded - a
lot more sunshine. There will be a strengthening breeze.
Sounds like a good weekend for looking at wildlife. You know what
I'm going to ask, it is the old birders' question, what about the
winds? What will they be doing during the weekend? That's right.
Across last week we saw westerly winds pushing in. That really
lifted the temperature. The difference this weekend - we have
the winds coming in from the south- east. If you cast your mind back a
couple of weeks ago, that brought temperatures close to 30 degrees.
The difference this time, instead of the winds coming from southern
Europe, they have come a different direction. They have been tracking
from Scandinavia, through Poland, Germany and into our shores. That
has brought the fresher conditions. It will bring the chill to the air
first thing in the morning. I am sure it has brought a few other
changes. Thank you very much. See you again next week. Here we are
with the infamous magnetic map. We had those westerly winds. We have
had huge numbers of pink-footed geese. They will be moving down the
coast throughout the course of the winter. Some of them have already
got down as low as this. The hooper swans were in already. As Matt said,
the winds have switched around from the westerlies to the south-
easterlys. They have had some good birds. At Spurn, they had a yellow-
browed warbler. We will see many more bramblings. Now they have
backed off, these south-easterly winds will mean the brambles and
the fieldfares and the redwings will be sweeping across here. I'm
going to see on Saturday we might have a little bit of a migration
spectacle. I'm going to predict big numbers of finches will sweep
across the magnetic board. Some of the best birds in Europe, the
woodcock might move from this part of Europe carried around by these
winds. Keep your eyes peeled on Saturday for the woodcock - that
was brave! That ended up in Holland! It's fallen again. The
redwings should be arriving on mass this weekend which brings us nicely
to our quiz. We asked you what this sound was. BIRDSONG We had a lot of
correct answers. They all said it was a... Redwing. A beautiful sound.
Exactly. Lovely. They call at night. If it is quiet at night, and you go
out into the garden, even if they are flying quite high, you can hear
that call. Over the next few weeks, that is something to listen out for.
Time for a quick question? Go on. How do you tell the difference
between a male and a female badger? Quick. Females are sleek. Males are
much fatter and a clear stockier animal. That's all we have got time
for. We have to move on. Where will we be next week? I'm heading to
Exmoor. It is a place that is underestimated for its wildlife. We
will prove otherwise. Our guest presenter Johnny Kingdom will be
giving us his unique view on wildlife. There will be a lot more
from Boris, Fancy Claws and Scarface! So, until then, do stay
with us. Check out the badgers. with us. Check out the badgers.
They will be live on our website. If you get any great photographs,
Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan visit Spurn Point on the Humber Estuary to witness one of autumn's biggest events, migration. They'll be tracking our winter visitors like redwings and fieldfares as they arrive, and there's also an update on the Springwatch ospreys as they head south for the winter.
Martin Hughes-Games reveals unique insights into the lives of badgers with the help of special cameras installed deep within a sett. And in Scotland, wildlife cameraman Charlie Hamilton James is following the epic journey of the salmon, from the sea to their spawning grounds.