Episode 4 Autumnwatch

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Wild fallow deer rutting in our woods. Oh, yeah, yeah, of course,


but they're very sensitive and difficult to get close to.


Seeing the majesty of autumn from a hot-air balloon. Oh, that's very


sensitive to the weather. Eels migrating through our rivers.


Slippery customers difficult to get to grips with. Can we do it? Of


course we can. Welcome to Hello, and welcome to Autumnwatch


Live, coming to you from the beautiful National Arboretum here


at Westonbirt. The aim of our programme is to bring you the full


flavour of autumn all the way from John owe grots to Land's End and


over in Ireland. And we want to bring you the best


of British wildlife. We'll be going underground, for the last time,


sadly, to catch up with our badgers. What have they been up to? We'll be


catching up with our osprey chicks. How have they been getting on with


their migration to West Africa, a journey of 3,000 mile.. Eye and


it's my pleasure to introduce you to Leah Gooding this week, who is


getting up close to the European eel.


But what have we been up to? This week, we've been exploring our


great British woodlands and what better place to do that than here


Right now, the UK's woodlands are a blaze of colour. Everywhere you


look, it's a feast for the eyes. Now is the perfect time for a walk


in the woods. Here at Westonbirt there is one even better way to


take in the full splendour of autumn.


Of course, aside from the beauty, there's an awful lot going on here.


Animals are stocking up on autumn's rich bounty, whilst others are


preparing to hib hibernate. Look at this! What is a spectacle.


It's this time of year that iconic woodland spectaculars can be seen.


The temperatures have dropped and the fallow deer rut is now under


way. Here at Westonbirt, woodland


management reaches its peak and the tree team are out in force.


There's a down side to every balloon flight, and here it comes!


Well, I've get to say we do a lot of travelling for Autumnwatch, it's


usually planes, trains and autumn mobiles. But it was a first, a hot-


air balloon. Was it fun? It was fun. If you have any questions at all


for us, please get them in now and we will try to answer them, live,


in the show. We always say that, don't we, but we're going to make a


big effort tonight. OK, autumn colour, it's all around us in these


trees. What is it? How does it happen? I have been swatting up.


# Would you like to ride in my And now you can see the fabulous


variety here. Some leaves have already dropped off the trees. Some


are still green. You have wonderful oranges, reds, all the colours of


autumn. The change in autumn colour is quite a complicated process and


it depends on three things, rainfall, day length and


temperature. And they all interact. So you might get a beech tree in a


wet place that will hang on to its leaves much longer than a beech


tree in a very dry place. And the critical thing that happens is that


the green pigment in the leaves starts to break down and other


pigments start to show through. You've also got the variety of


trees from around the world so they are changing colour at different


times any way. There can't be a better way to see the full glory of


Westonbirt than from a hot-air balloon. Fabulous.


I love that music! I had you down as disco man.


jazz. It's been a curious autumn, this one. People are calling it a


double-dip autumn. And that's because it started and then it was


like the handbrake was pulled on and it stopped and then it started


again. And that's probably because it got very, very warm at the end


of September, but now, it's really got going. We've noticed the


changes in the leaves in the last few days. But I wonder how this


year compares to other years, because when you get the sunny,


warm days and the freezing nights, that's when you get the spectacular


colours, isn't it It gives us a chance to talk about the magic


chemical. Anthocyanine. It is a regular pigment and it needs warm


days and cold nights. Warm days produce glucose in the leaf. And


that glucose, when it is hit by sunshine starts to go red, and the


cold nights stop the glucose from going back into the tree. But if


it's just about to dump the leaf, why does it go to all the trouble


to produce the pigment. I'll tell you. It could be a warning sign for


insect, because scientists have found that far fewer insects fall


on red leaves than green leaves, and it helps the leaf to stay fully


functional before it falls off the tree. But autumn isn't all about


falling leaves it's about fruiting too. And this week, our cameramen


have been out and about here at Westonbirt and have seen lots of


birds feeding on berries. This is a chaffinch eating Yew berries, but


are thought to be poisonous, but the red on the outside is not.


And this bluetit is pecking at the soft, fruity part of this Hawthorne


berry. And even cold tits, which through


the summer are pretty much insect- eating birds, are changing to being


herbivores in the winter as well. We've been talking a lot about the


changing of the leaves and that's one autumn spectacular, but one of


my favourite, which I have mentioned before, is the rutting


deer. Last week we talked about the Red deer, but what about the Fallow


Deer? This is the perfect time to find them rutting, as I found out.


The roaring of fallow deer bucks is a classic sound of British autumn.


In many deer parks around the country you can go and see the


bucks calling to try to attract as many Roe deer as they can. It has


been estimated that 100,000 fallow deer live deep in woods. They are


not used to people so to see the shy deer in their rut, I've gone


deep into the Cotswold woodland. Here is a classic example of a


fallow deer rutting, they're stamping their authority by


scraping this bark off. And another sign is a scrape. The ducks trample


the mud and urineate in it and roll around to spread their smell. A few


days before my visit, our camera team set some cameras out. They are


obviously awake and active at night? They are basically nocturnal.


The majority of their feeding is at night. Unlike the backs who will


fast during the rut. There is one of the bucks, moving away. He was


actually at the scrape. He was. could be catch a glimpse of one of


these elusive bucks calling deep in the woods?




CAN HEAR A BELLOWING NOISE. THAT IS That is the male fallow deer,


calling the females in. That was great! We actually saw,


saw him go past, chase the doe and his antlers just look spectacular.


And he's not stopping, he's not Here he comes. And it's great,


because those does haven't spotted us yet. You can pretty much see


what is happening here. The buck is trying to keep the does in this


area, because this is his territory. Every time the does go off, he


starts bellowing, to call them in and then tries to push them back.


Now, you do, occasionally, see a young male. It's called a pricket,


try to mate one of the does. This one is black, but his colour


difference it not unusual in fallow deer. He's been unsuccessful, but


they love to have a go. He's been here virtually all week calling


right through the night. He's a real good buck. For me, it's been a


brilliant day out. Michaela, I think he just said that


that buck was growning for a week, night and day? He was unbelievable.


He didn't stop. And he didn't stop trying to round the does in. And he


doesn't eat all this time. That sound, to you and eye, each one


sounds quite similar, but to the doe, they can tell how fit the duck


is by the quality of his roar, because of the size of his chest


cavity. And they choose to be with the buck, I know he goes round and


rounds them up. But it is sort of female choice. It's hard work being


a buck. I went to see those in an estate and I went with an expert.


And it was very, very difficult to see them. If you want to see the


deer in a much easier and accessible place it's eaters to go


to a deer park, somewhere like Richmond or Pet worth park. And we


don't want to discourage people from going out to look for deer,


but they are sensitive. Don't rush in there. So my top advice would be


to find someone who is experienced at watching them and go out with


at watching them and go out with them.


On our website, you'll find some guidance and tips on how to watch


deer without disturbing them and top spots to visit. When it comes


to larger animals in the UK there are fewer species which are poorlyy


underto do so, but there is still one species which is shrouded in


mystery and that's really exciting. So we asked Leah gooding to go out


and find out what she could about the European eel. With its snake-


like appearance, slimy skin and nocturnal habits, the European eel


is often the subject of fascination and revulsion. Living in the depths


of our murky rivers it's easily of our murky rivers it's easily


forgotten or ignored. But eels have been a big part of my


life, because we're Londoners. Readily available and cheap, eels


have been common fare in London since the 18th century. Jellied


eels became the symbol of London's working-class, Cockney cuisine and


they're still sold today. When I was younger, my mum used to


bring me and my family to this eel and pie shop.


Peter Hak's family have run the place since 1911 and recently he's


noticed things are changing. People aren't eating eels like they were


20 or 30 years ago. I think the price has sky rocketed. It's


cheaper now to eat pie and mash than eels. Where do you get them


from? Mine come from Holland. We used to get there from England, but


they've been in decline. So, if right in the heart of London


they're having to get their eels from Holland, what has happened to


the English eel? Well, the Autumnwatch team have sent me on a


mission to find out. First of all, I need to know more about what I'm


dealing with. I've come to meet Matt at the London Zoo aquarium.


Can you tell us what the eel is? Just in case anyone wasn't sure,


because they don't look obviously like a fish, they are a fish. Most


of these are yellow eels. They're the fresh-water version of the


European eel. Some of these are getting close to being silver eels,


and that's the marine form. amazing to discover the incredible


life of the European eel. Every year, they go to the Sargasso Sea


where they spawn and die. From there, the baby eels make the


incredible 3,000 mile journey back to our rivers where they grow big..


When they reach the estuaries of Europe, they elongate into what we


call glass eels, which are completely see-through. Then they


become elvers, and feed and grow to become the yellow eel and when this


is ready to go, it becomes a silver eel. So within the life cycle there


are four or five different stages, all of which are still the same


European eel. But they're not having a good time at the moment,


are they? No, in the past 30 or 40 years, the number of juvenile


elvers we've found returning is up to 30% to 35% less. So we're


worried about the populations in fresh water. The European eel is


facing a whole raft of problems. And next, I'm going to be looking


at some of the issues surrounding them. As well as trying to find out


what is being done to help the juvenile eels when they return from


the ocean to our British rivers. It's a first for Autumnwatch and


what fascinating animals. Extraordinary creatures and so much


still isn't known. Jellied eels? don't think so, it didn't look nice.


It's now our last time with our badgers underground. Ryan asks,


"How deep is a badger's sett?." Because badgers tend to go into the


side of hills, not straight down, but about eight metres.


Let's look at what has been going on in the sett in the past week.


This is Andrew Cooper's farm. He's been feeding this particular bunch


of badgers for many years. And they come out every night to have a


feast. He doesn't give them too much. He doesn't overfeed them,


because he has to be careful that they have their normal food as well


as the peanuts. They follow clear tracks. And now we're right inside


the sett. An awful lot of grooming. If we're quiet, we can hear them


snufling around. This is the bit that has been magical for me, to


see this. Have the hidden cameras in the sett. Badgers are very


solitary animals, the same group as stoats and weasles. So to have them


living socially is unusual. there's no mating going on, they're


just grooming. Yes, grooming and marking them with the sett scent.


We think this is Fancy Claws, and Boris here.


And what is fascinating is that Fancy Clause, here, she could have


conceived but not yet be pregnant. How does that work? Most badgers


will mate in spring time, but even though they conceive it doesn't


implant in the womb. It goes into suspended animation. And nearly all


the females, it will implant the egg into the womb in December and


it takes seven weeks to develop and all the baby badgers will be born


in the first couple of weeks in February. So they conceive at


different times but all have their babies at the same time. Yes.


That's the last we're going to see of them and we hope you have


enjoyed our badgercam. But although lots of people love watching


badgers, they have been a contentious subject in the


countryside. We've had a lot of people on the message board. Many


want to know more about the more serious, controversial story that


surrounds badgers. It is a complex issue that concerns a lot of


farmers. We've tried to unravel it for you. Here is Martin with an


update. The number of badger setts, like


this, have been increasing all over the UK in the past few decades. And


that's because in the '70s, the law was changed to protect badgers and


since then their numbers have gradually increased. But at the


same time the number of badgers have increased so too as the number


of bovine TB. It accounted for the slaughter of 29,000 cattle last


year, at a cost of �90 million to the taxpayer last year. Badgers


often dig for earthworms in the farmers' fields and there is some


evidence that they play a role in spreading the disease. The


Government's badger culling trials ran between 1988 and 2005. It


showed that culling badgers intensively within an area could


lead to a drop of bovine TB cases of 28%. But the same experiment


also showed an increase in cattle TB of up to 9% in the areas


surrounding the culling zones. That's probably because the


badgers' territorial boundaries had broken down, so the badgers were


able to travel further afield and spread the disease. We looked into


this in detail in last year's Christmas special. And we reported


that any such cull would have to be widespread, rigorous and repeated


over a number of years to be effective. That could be expensive


and the Government are considering its options. So what has happened


since Christmas? Well, in July, Caroline Spelman, the English


Environment Minister, said she was strongly minded to allow a badger


cull to go ahead in areas with a high instance of TB some time in


20126789 We spoke to DEFRA, the department, this week and their


spokesman said the decision on whether that cull would go ahead


would be expected some time later this year. DEFRA also said they


were working hard to develop a vaccine for both badgers and cattle


that was affordable and practical. We've been out to find out more


about that. Here in Gloucestershire, there is a trial going on to see


how effective vaccinating badgers might be. Traps are set out in the


evening and baited with peanuts. In the morning, any badgers that are


caught are vaccinated. They are then marked to make sure they are


not vaccinated twice if they get trapped again. It will probably be


at least five years before we can expect to see a drop in the


instance of TB in the vaccination trial area. It could turn out to be


very effective. But there are concerns that it may be an


expensive solution in the long-term. Other researchers are trying to


develop an oral vaccine for badgers. But they will also have to work out


how to get the badgers to eat enough of the baited food. Perhaps


the best solution is a vaccine for cattle. But it could take a number


of years for such a vaccine to be developed and regulated. Meanwhile,


the debate rages on. And the problem is this: No-one can be surn


how effective a badger cull will be certain how effective a badger cull


will be in the control of cattle TB. The Government is under pressure to


do something. The question is, will that something be effective in


helping our beleaguered farmers? It is a very complex issue and an


emotive one as well. We would like to know what you think. Please let


us know on the blog This year, we've been lucky enough to visit


one of Westonbirt's neighbours. Prince Charles lives just down the


road at Highgrove, and he manages his gardens very much with wildlife


in mind. The Highgrove Estate is the home of


the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. For many years now,


the gardens have been managed organically and sustainably and


they have become a haven for wildlife. John ridgely is the


assistant head gardener and he has a lifetime's experience of


gardening with wildlife in mind. I'm tidying up the herbaceous


border for winter. But taking out the untidy stuff and dead stuff and


leaving plenty of habitat and environment for wildlife to


overwinter. You find ladybirds, hover flies, lace wings. Solitary


bees that live inside hollow stems. So it is really important to leave


room for hem to overwinter. Frogs and toads, newts, even possibly


slow worms live in the undergrowth w' often uncover them when we're


clearing the beds. And if leaves blow into hedgerows that's a good


habitat for hedgehogs. All the cleared vegetation is put to good


use. All the vegetation goes into compost. Nothing is wasted at


Highgrove. Anyone with a garden can create a compost heap. It provides


habitats for invertebrates, which in turn attract their pred -


predators. And if you're lucky a habitat for low worms. It's easy to


have a little corner where you can pile twigs that fall out of the


trees, pruning, or blown down leaves. You can create little


habitat piles, it doesn't have to look a mess, but it has the same


benefit. The gardening team are busy throughout the harvest in


autumn. We're picking crab apples, but the birds do well, because we


can only reach so far to leave lots for the birds, the thushes and the


lapwings. And of course, autumn is a great time to start planning for


spring with wildlife in mind and there's nolg better than planting


crocus bulbs. One of the reasons why we plant crocuses, apart from


they look beautiful, is that they provide early nectar for the bees


in the spring. Other bulb plants for bees are the early-flowering


daffodils, snowdrops, that provides lots of food for them. This might


be a grand estate but there are things that everyone can do to help


make space for wildlife in the garden.


What I like about wildlife gardening is that we are all


managers of that resource. And we can do whatever we like in our back


gardens, within reason. So it's your chance to be a nature


your chance to be a nature reservist.


Go to our website for lots of tips and hints. And a lady from the


wildlife truffle has written a blog on how best to prepare your garden


for wildlife for the winter. A question from squeaky Ted. He says


how many badgers can live together? The most I've seen from my study of


setts is 15. But I have known of 50-odd. But it doesn't last long,


because they fight with each other and disperse. Thank you very much


for that. Squeaky Ted, what have Fleur, fox, 57y and many others of


you got in common? It is because you have heard, as we have, strange


sounds emanating from the woods all I set off in the dark of the night,


with Camillaman Mark to find....tawny owls. And you may


well be hearing tawny owls a lot this year, because this is the time


they're most vocal. And the established breeding pairs are


saying, "Don't come here, this is our territory" and they will defend


that place. But at the same time, the youngsters are trying to find


their own area, and sadly if they don't find an area, they will die.


So a lot of this calling is saying, "Don't come here, this is ours."


Tawny owls donth just - don't just to-twit-to-woo. They have 12 basic


calls. Get out there and listen to them, it's magic.


They're super. I've become addicted to them. You're a little bit deaf,


Chris, so you can't hear them. But tawny owls, fantastic to see them.


Have a look at this tawny owl hunting. Now, you would think,


wouldn't you - look at those enormous eyes, not the mouse, the


tawny owl. You'd think they'd use sight - great shot! But no, it's


their ears that they use. And that facial disc is like the gristley


bit of our ears, so that's used to channel the sound down. So they're


out listening to mice rustle on the floor. And they have a really


problem in the rain, because they can't hear because of the rain and


afterwards they can't here because the leaves are all sauftened by the


rain. And if it's raining the call is reduced by 40%. So it carries


far further when it's die. So when it's raining only about 5% of the


owls actually call. So a rain storm may be inconvenient Foro us, but


for owls it could mean life and death Now, there is a lot of hard


work that goes into Westonbirt. And I went out with the curator here,


especially about looking after trees that might have some problem.


Here is your beech getting some high tech treatment. I presume this


is what led you to investigate this further? Yes, this is a fungus that


is causing decay inside the tree. But it is only one bill body on a


huge tree. Is this enough to cause a lot of damage? It is. All the rot


is from the base, from the buttresses, into the roots. This is


a picus sonic tomograph, which allows sound waves to pick up


sounds inside the tree. And when the results are annualised, a


decision is made to fell the tree because of the decay inside it.


You can see how spongey that is. Yes, it is. Look at this, the data


revealed by the tomograph was very, very accurate. Although the fungus


has led to the death of this tree, death isn't the end of its value in


terms of wildlife. Westonbirt has a large area of natural woodland. You


may think this is looking pretty sterile and inert, but look again.


On the surface there's lots of algae and liken and lower down


there is ddlichen And lower done there is a lot of


moss. To see lava of the insects we'd have to break this open, so


we've not going flood that. But you can see the holes where they have


gone in or, more likely, come out. So this is still a very, very


valuable piece of the woodland eco- system, despite the fact that it


has been dead for a long time. So there is plenty of dead wood here


at Westonbirt. But they have a very active tree nursery, so once that


tree has been cut down, they're going to replace it with another


tree. We're surrounded by trees here, but that's not the same


elsewhere in the UK. The UK has only 12% of tree cover so we need


more trees. And you can do something about it. If you have a


garden, you could put a tree in it, or lots of trees. The woodland


Trust are up for giving away 1.6 million trees. You can apply for


these and you can plant them in community areas, and the Government


community areas, and the Government is backing it.


Take a look at our website. planting trees, I've asked for them


for Christmas It's time now to go to Leah. Yes, to learn more about


to Leah. Yes, to learn more about the European eels.


The European eel is in terrible decline. Numbers of juvenile eels


reaching the UK from their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea are


down an aastonishing 90% since the 1970s. And for those that do reach


the UK, the rivers ahead are fraught with challenges. When the


young eels first enter our rivers it is there they first face the


problems. Sluice gates act as a barrier for eels trying to migrate


up river. The problem is, eels cannot jump. There is a cascade


there, which the eels can't get over. Andy Don from the Environment


Agency has come up with the idea of eel passes to help them navigate


this obstacle. We have them on each bank, because eels, as they migrate


hug the banks as they go upstream. So we're trying to replicate what


happens naturally with the moss and weeds on the banks, with this


artificial substrate. We get elvers using this, but we've


seen some big eels of two feet using this pass. And this is a


camera that counts on a daily basis how many eels pass, because all the


action happens in the night-time. It's not unusual to have several


thousand eels using the passes. With more eel passes on thousands


of obstacles in English waterways, the migrating eels are happened


every year. But eel passes are not the only way to boost our eel


population. Businessman, Peter Wood makes his money exporting eels for


restocking projects. Today, for the first time, he's going to be


restocking a lake in written. I've heard you're about to release


25,000 eels back into the wild. To be honest, it only looks like


you've got a few hundred here. you look on the screen, you can see


thousands and thousands with their little heads sticking out of the


box. Peter has spent the past few months raising thousands and


thousands of tiny elvers in these tanks and they can be released


today. Time to pull the plug. We're ready. The elvers shoot down


the plug hole and pour into the packing area, where they're boxed,


ready for the journey. commercial value of these juveniles


is, say, 50p a piece. For every 10,000 eels, it will be �5,000. So


altogether more than �10,000 worth of eels going into the lake. So, as


a businessman, what does it feel chucking �10,000 into a lake?


have to invest in our future. We can't take things out without


putting something back. By catching the tiny glass eels and bringing


them on in captivity, Peter has dramatically improved their


survival rate. Hepatitising me release them is Julian. Why is this


such a good lake to release the eels? Here you have swamp areas and


reed beds which is great for fish like this to take refuge in.


Especially at this young stage in their lives, where there are a lot


of things that want to eat them. When we're releasing this


significant number there will be a lot that will survive into


adulthood. These elvers will spend the next seven to 12 years here


growing up into silver eels and then in the autumn they'll migrate


3,000 miles into the Sargasso Sea to spawn. And it's the problems


they face on that journey that I'll And Camilla will serve the


breakfast "here you are, love". Apparently Charles will have


specialised servants in the hotel. What is one particularly good at?


The chap who squeezes the toothpaste. Or gives you the


naughty images on the TV. Such a great image of your life. Is that


some sort of slang? According to a book on the history of Buckingham


According to the same book, what is so special about the white drawing


room at Buckingham Palace? It's black. The actual answer is that


it's yellow, but also it has a full length mirror in one corner and


during functions, a footman is A quarter of a million migrant


birds of prey fly over here every autumn on their way south. Some


will have come all the way from the United Kingdom. They congregate on


this part of the coastline, looking for the shortest sea crossing to


Africa. So they funnel down from western and northern Europe and


choose this point to make their exit from Europe into Africa. Which


is just about nine miles across the straits of glib tar. You can see


the ships going into the Mediterranean. Just like the watch


point I was at in the Pyrenees, on throlgss have been watching birds


here for decades. Today, it seems to be short-tailed


eagles. How many do you think might go through today? How many? Perhaps


3,000. 3,000. That's more than I've ever seen in my life, by a long,


long way. But it's not just raptors that come here to cross the waters


to Africa. It's also a famous crossing for storks. 150,000 of


them pass over this point every autumn. Many of these birds rely on


the uplift created by warm air rising from the land. So the birds


circle upwards until they gain enough height to soar across the


sea and land in Africa. But not all birds have the same strategy for


crossing. Ospreys are very strong flyers and don't rely on thermals


in the same way. They can leave Europe anywhere along the Spanish


coast and make slightly longer sea crossings to Africa. But what about


our ospreys? What did they do? Eamonn was the first one to set off


on his miing glags, and he was also migration and he was the first one


to make this crossing. This is the spot where Einion left. He flew


across Malaga and passed over here at exactly two o'clock in the


afternoon and flew out over the coast and on to Morocco. So great


news, Einion made it successfully to North Africa. But what about his


brother Dulas, and we haven't even mentionedlery, the sister.


Einion got to Africa on 6th December. Dulas made it to north


Africa on 19 September, because he blew a little off course.Lery left


the nest in Wales a week after her brother got to North Africa. She


left on 13th September and made quite quick progress through Europe,


but she got to North Africa on 20th September. So all three of them


have made it this far. Where do they have to go now? They go down


the west coast of Africa and their biggest obstacle and biggest


challenge will be if they cross the Sahara desert. How will they get


on? We'll find out next week. Isn't it amazing that they have all made


it. It is. Why do beech hedges hold on to their leaves but a tree dunts.


I'm not a tree person. But apparently if a tree is stressed


they hang on to their leaves. So if you've trimmed a beech tree to


become a hedge, that's why they hang on to them.. Now the final


report about efforts across the UK There were claims that he had an


affair with his first wife while married to his second wife. He's


lifting the injunction now. No-one was allowed the talk about it or


report it. Was it generally known? Yes. Did you know it Yes. Did you


know it? Yes, Ian told me. Did you You have two big bags of eels. Why


are we catching them? We catch these eels as they migrate out so


that they can go to sea and spawn. It's a big effort to make sure


these guys get on their way. It is a huge effort. Last year we caught


39 tonnes of eels. Although this trap and release plan only occurs


in Ireland it is helping scientists in England. David is running a


satellite tracking programme to see what happens to the eels when they


go out to sea. This trapping project is the best way he can get


the large silver eels he can fit with the tags. These eels have


eaten their last meal and they'll get to the Sargasso Sea without any


food so we can pop these tags into their bodies, and they'll record


the depths and temperatures. And when the eel dies this tag will


come to the surface, where it might be collected by a beachcomber, who


returns it to us. But this eel had an unfortunate end. He was eaten by


a whale. How do you know that? dive pattern is similar to that of


a short-fined whale. The eel kept diving, then had a siesta before


lunch, and then it kept diving again, following the same pattern


as the whole, so we think it was inside.


But people must keep sending us these tags, because it unlocks


crucial information for us. Now the rest of the tagged eels are


sent off to the release site. They're not going to be released


into the sea, but back into the river just below the dam. Why don't


we put them into the sea, why do we do this process? These are released


into the fresh water to give those eels a period of adjustment before


they hit the saltwater. Let's do it. Finally, it's time to release the


eels. They're about to undergo some huge physiological changes as they


people to go into the sea water, but they no longer face any more


man-made obstacles. How does it make you feel? It's a good job, a


good story, the conservation of fish and it works. How many will


reach their spawning grounds, we simply don't know, but Denis and


his team have helped them on their way Now, I was watching that and I


thought to myself, it's inside a whale and then all of a sudden


they've recovered it. How did they do that? So we thought possibly it


had passed right through the whale and poo-ed out into the sea and


recovered on the beach. So you won't be surprised to find that if


you recover one of these things, you get a �50 reward. 40 have been


recovered and that's really, really, really good. That is impressive.


can learn a lot from these tags. I put a tag in a piece of carrot cake


I gave to Michaela in 1992, and I know everywhere she has been ever


since. We also have a blog, which you should check out. Which with


Leah has written into all about the eels and the tagging.


What a thing! I will have travelled all over the world since 19926789.


But if you're out travelling you'll want to know the weather this


weekend. And I think for some of us it might be wet. What do you think?


I think it will be a wet weekend, but it depends where you are?


whole country is going to be different. I think it's going to be


pouring with rain where you're going. To find out exactly what is


going on. Let's see from the professionals. What has John


Hammond got to say? I'm going to confuse you even more,


because depending where you live, you might want your wet things or


warm things. Tonight, it will be turning wet


across Scotland. Wet and windy coming up from the


south-west. The best of the sunshine tomorrow across eastern


parts of England and pretty mild. 16 degrees. So quite pleasant. On


Sunday, we keep the mild south- westerly winds. A lot of cloud


around but it dampens across the south for a time and then rain


returning to Scotland. So, yes, this weekend, variety is the spice


of life. Thank you very much. Obviously a


mixed weekend, but we all have coats and wellies, so plenty of


chance to still get out tonight, but what about the wind for the


migrating birds? Yes, wind is a key feature. This


October we've had weather fronts in the north bringing a lot of rain to


northern parts of the UK. Further south, not much rain, but we've had


strong southerly winds in the early part of next week, and mild ones


too. How mild? Much, much milder than it should be this time of year.


In fact, if we look back at October this year, the average temperature


has been 11.5 Celsius. It looks like it will come in as the seventh


warmest October on record, a record that goes back 100 years. So


significant, windy and pretty warm. Thank you, John. Windy and warm,


what sort of impact will that have? With the lessening of the winds, we


might see some of the birds that have been hanging on in Scandinavia


and Iceland, they might use this decrease in wind to come over. And


a few birds moving in from the low countries. Perhaps some of the


blackbirds from Germany and Poland might come over. But equally


swallows from the UK might depart from the southern shores. But I


think we're going to have a massive surge of moths coming up on the


southerly winds. So if you're a mother out there, tell us if there


are lots of moths coming up this weekend. So, what about next week?


We're heading to the isles of Islay. To see thousands and thousands of


barnacle geese. And Richard Tailor- Jones will be investigating seals.


And we're going to slim bridge for four weeks, and we're interested in


the Bewick's swans. They did have four, but they're now down to three.


But we'd like to thank all the staff at Westonbirt here. They've


made us all very welcome. Thank you made us all very welcome. Thank you


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