Episode 6 Autumnwatch

Episode 6

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It's Friday, it's 8.30, which means you're in for a treat of autumnal


wildlife. We have prer grin falcons, fiesty foxes. And we're be bringing


you the best of British wildlife. In 1969, Hal David and Burt


Bacharach wrote Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head. And they were


right. Welcome to the wetland! And wildlife Centre.


There are lots of birds here and they have a fabulous cafe, with top


carrot cake! It's been a very busy week here at


Slimbridge, lots of action and new arrivals. Including some more


Bewick's swans. They may be late, but they've started to fly in. Just


how many have arrived and which characters? We'll be giving you an


update later on. We'll also catch up with the family of foxes that we


first met back in the summer, in Springwatch. What has been going on


in their incident-filled lives? It's a regular soap opera.


you're regular viewers, you'll know we like to have a guest presenter


on board for the programmes. And this week, we have one of the best


birders, the one and only Iolo Williams. But instead of sending


him out after birds, we've sent him out after something much bigger.


And the whales show us how rich our waters are around the coastlines.


So we're going to focus on the glories of our seas in autumn. The


United Kingdom has 8,000 meals of coastline and a fantastic diversity


of marine life. Drk-8,000 miles. 28 species of


marine mammals and hundreds of beautiful invertebrates. But you


don't have to go underwater to see signs of it. It's a great time of


year for a walk along the shoreline. The autumn storms throw up all


sorts of treasure. This is a This is also the time of year when


some animals choose to give birth. Grey seal pups are apreering on the


beaches in ever- increasing - appearing on the beaches in ever-


increasing numbers. Meanwhile, the breeding season for our fabulous


sea birds has finished so now is the time to take stock of how


successful the season has been. The many birds, the season to see


them here in the UK is just getting started. Now is the time that many


waders come to Britain, and compared to where they've come from,


it's actually quite warm. We're lucky, aren't we? Our coast


is absolutely fantastic. In Europe, we have so much more coastline than


any other country. That's why it's so important for migratory birds.


Now, we're giving you a tricky quiz tonight. It's a sound. I've never


heard anything like it. CROAK-LIKE NOISE SKOPS


-We'll give you clues as we go through the programme, but if you


have any ideas, do get in contact. As it's a marine show, do get in


touch with your questions. We'd love to hear from you. You know


what I've got in my hand? A graphic. A chart! Fantastic. I have a


graphic representation. Let's start with the basics of marine life.


This was taken on Monday by the Met Office. This shows water


temperatures. Here we are, and we have pale green around the United


Kingdom, but on the same latitude, in Labrador, it's blue. Here we are


12 to 13 degrees, water temperature, but water temperature over here at


the same latitude is four degrees. And what makes the UK unique in


terms of its marine environment is that our seas very rarely freeze.


Water temperature is controlled by all sorts of things, salinity, but


the warm current. It comes up here and branches and some goes around


the top of Scotland, but some combs down and round here. And it's


fundamently important tot life in our seas. And the autumn winds have


a profound effect on what goes on in the seas. The winds churn up the


waves and cause currents on the sea beds. And that releases nutrients


which are picked up by the smallest creatures in the sea, the plankton.


This time of year, the seas become immensely rich. Which has a knock-


on effect, because the plankton are the base of the food chain, and if


you have tonnes of it in the water, you can have lots of other


creatures. One that literally scholes to our shores is the


herring. We get incredible scholes. Sometimes we've looked at these


things and you can get scholes which fill 4.8 cubic kilometres.


Three billion fish moving around in a dense mass. And they're always


listening out for predators. didn't know we had so many herrings


left They are one of the fish doing well. Now, the herrings and all


that marine life attracts lots of other fish, some of them - not fish,


I've done it wrong, other animals into the seas around our shores and


some are gigantic, epic creatures that I had no idea were here. And


this week's guest presenter, Iolo Williams, has set sail to find out


more. I've been watching wildlife across


Britain for far longer than I care to remember, so it's not often that


I'm asked to track down an animal that I've never before seen in the


British Isles, but this week, on Autumnwatch that's exactly what


I'll be doing. This is a fin whale. After the blue whale it's the


second-largest animal on the planet. They're found in every ocean on


Earth and to my surprise, I've been told a real hotspot to watch them


is off southern Ireland. Helping me track them down is Padraig from the


Irish wildlife research Centre. We have hundreds of miles of ocean out


here, how do you pinpoint where to find the whales? It's a great


challenge. We're in the right place and at the right time of the year.


November is the peak period. We need to make sure we have good


coverage on the four corners of the boat and the first tail- - tale-


tail sign will an big blow, to indicate the fin Wales in the area.


The blow is the steamy air that shoots away from the whale when it


exhails its lungs. And another clue is the common


dolphin. They're often associated with the fin whales, because they


eat the same prey. Within a few minutes we found them circling the


boat. Hello, boys!


One minute we've got half a dozen common dolphins, and the next


minute, the sea is boiling with them. There's a good eight, nine,


ten here, and another dozen or so out there.


The dolphins come to the boat to ride the bow wave created by the


hull in the water. They surf along the water at great speed and it's


thought it saves them energy. Although I find it hard to believe


that they don't just do this for fun!


With so many dolphins about, there must be plenty of fish, the same


prey that the fin whales will be looking for. And sure enough, word


has come that the whales are close by. We have the spoter on the boat


telling us there are whales nearby. Oh, look, two!


Look at the size of it! The dark colour and the fin is


about two-thirds of the way. See the fin coming now, about two-


thirds of the way down the back. What an experience! No sooner do


the whales surface than they disappear again to hunt. Whilst the


team watches for their return, Padraig has brought along a section


of the whale's mouth to explain how they catch their prey.


These hang from the top jaw and when the whale feeds it uses its


tongue. And the tongue pushes out all the water. So the water comes


out through this curtain and through these plates, and the whale


uses his enormous tongue to lick the moustache clean, and takes up


all the good stuff. It allows the animal to prey on


lots and lots of small animals. After a 12 minute wait we get our


second sighting. We're just going to park up and let the whales come


to us, nice and gentle. Look at that. Huge, huge animals. They look


about 25m long and they just keep coming.


And there's the fin. Being so close to the whales gives


Padraig a chance to photograph the animals. Each one has a uniquely


marked fin so the pictures allow him to build up a catalogue of


You could see the shape of the head then when he came up. They're right


by the boat. To date, Padraig has identified 67 different whales,


many of which return every year. His work proves that these waters


are vitally important for large numbers of the animals and it


should help to keep them protected well into the future. 20m away from


the second-biggest animal that has ever lived on this planet! You


ever lived on this planet! You cannot beat that!


I'm not easily given to envy, but that was phenomenal. It was. When I


was stood on that boat, bright sunshine, and flat-calm seas, and


fin whales emerging all around me. Have you never seen them before?


have once, but not in UK waters. I knew they came to UK waters, off


the Irish coast, but not in those numbers. We were there for a day-


and-a-half and we must have seen about 30. And they were enormous.


About 22m long. The thing is, you were looking at them on the surface,


to get a good idea of their form, you need to see them underwater?


You do. They're enormous ys huge things. A 15 tonne head. They're


incredible mammals. Three times the length of a double-decker bus,


apparently. When it emerges it nerver ends. More of it comes up


and then the fin and then more comes up. It's never-ending. I have


a chart here to give an idea of scale.


Here is the fin whale, and the humpedback, and some of the smaller


species. And this is you. It's a good job you stayed on the boat.


gives an idea of the scale. They are the second-biggest animal that


has ever lived.. There was lots of food there, did you see them


feeding? We saw this amazing thing called lunge feeding. That's the


schole of herring. That schole was three kilometres long. Three


kilometres! And it was herring from sea floor right up to the top. And


here we are, it thrusts itself up into the centre of the schole and


opens its mouth. 70 cubic metres of fish in one go. And it has a huge,


extended belly. It was absolutely incredible. We were surrounded by


them. Goodness me. And they're not the only whales that do the lunge


feeding, minkes, and humpbacked do it as well. Yes, these are some


minke whales lunge feeding as well. What's interesting, when you go


looking for whales, you find sea birds and dolphins feeding as well.


Often it's gannets, gulls and dolphins picking up the fish that


have been stunned by the whales and left behind. They always say if you


want to find whales or dolphins, look for the gannets. A lot of


people will be surprised that they are so close to the UK coast, but


what do we know about them? Are they well-known? Well, I'm quite


sad. Yes, they might be the second- biggest animal on earth, but very


little is known about them. But whilst I was in Ireland, I was in


the company of one of the best whale experts who is carrying out


research as we speak. Simon wants to build up a picture of where the


fin whales visiting the Irish shores are coming from and going to.


The best way for him to do this is to get DNA samples. If he can find


a DNA match from fin whales that have spwn sampled elsewhere in the


world, it is a clue as to which populations these animals belong to.


He gets the samples by firing an arrow into the whale's skin. This


is like a little corerer, and it's fired into the blubber of the whale,


and it take as small amount. About a centimetre. The biggest trouble


is actually hitting the whales. They move at 25 knots, which is


fast, and more often than not the arrow misses. But on this attempt,


there is success. With an average of only three samples a year, this


piece of blubber and skin is very valuable. One of only 28 samples


recovered over an eight-year period. It is wrapped up, free of


contamination and sent to a lab in Holland for analysis. How important


is this research? I think it's critical. I still find it amazing


that we're only three or four miles off the coast and we're so close to


the biggest animal. It's a project we should keep a close eye on to


learn more about these magnificent whales that we know so little B And


that, Chris, is ground-breaking research. Hopefully, before too


long, we'll have an idea, not only of sex, but what they're eating and


where they come from and where they're going to, to help us


preserve these whales. And we have other species in British water?


killer whales, humpbacked whales, minke whales, and recently there


was a dwarf sperm whale seen off the coast of Wales. And they are


actually quite accessible, because if you're on a ferry crossing,


especially one I was on, across the Bay of Biscay, you see loads of


these animals. You do. But you only have to go over to Ireland and


you'll see them. You're enthusiasm means I've almost forgiven you.


Stick around because we'll see you later in the programme. All


afternoon, I've been trying to think of a clever link, but I


haven't come up with one, the best I can think of is that baby swans


grow into the most attractive birds we have, don't they Michaela.


swans are here in their numbers at Slimbridge, and we're talking about


Bewick's, and they should be arriving in their hundreds here.


These swans behind us are mute swans. They are resident birds here


at Slimbridge, so there are often many on the lake. Their beaks are


orange, whereas the Bewick's are yellow. So, how many turned up? I


came to Slimbridge yesterday, which my Britain clars to find out.


-- binoculars to find out. Julie, it was looking a bit thin for


Bewick's last week, but now it's looking good. Yes, a lot have


suddenly turned up. You've been studying them for years, which have


turned up? Yesterday, Ridler turned up. He's 20 years old and he's been


visiting Slimbridge since 1991. And Winky turned up, but sadly without


his mate, Tinky. With all the new arrivals jostling for position on


the lake, things can get heated. As Winky no longer has a mate, it


looks like he might be slipping down the pecking order. We featured


Dario last week as the first arrival, how he is getting on now?


He's doing well. He was making the most of the food whilst there


weren't many birds here. Now, Dario will be slipping down the pecking


order as more arrive. As a single bird he'll slip down. It's the


families that pull the weight on the pond. Do you have favourites?


I'm particularly hoping that one swan will come back this winter.


She's called Winterling. And she is 28. If she comes back, she'll equal


the record for the oldest Bewick's swan on record if she comes back.


So fingers crossed That was fascinating. And that last bit of


behaviour that we saw, I don't think those swans were being


aggressive, I think it was pair bonding. I think you're right.


Because they have to get all that bonding and pairing up here,


because by the time they fly back to the Arctic to do the breeding


there isn't time, the Arctic summer is so short, they have to get on


with the pairing up here. And it's beautiful to watch. So what are the


numbers? Last night, seven turned numbers? Last night, seven turned


up and that's the first family. There are two adults that have come


with five cygnets. Eye and one of the adult's ancestors have been


coming to Slimbridge since the 196s. And now, winterling could come back


and she would be 28 years old. But they're doing well, because that


was a fantastic family that returned. And next Friday we're


going to have Swancam. So you can watch them! Swancam. Yes.


There are so many birds around here, which will act as a magnet for


predators. One of the guys here, James, set up a camera on a low


perch to see if he could get any footage of a spectacular predator.


There it is, a peregrin falcon. The fastest living creature.


And not only did our cameraman get this fabulous shot, but in


beautiful light! Yes, hard to measure, but possibly exceeding 200


miles an hour when they go off for their prey. That was brilliant.


our cameraman, Lindsey, got the peregrin doing a bit of hunting.


Let's look at that. You can see it's highlighted there.


And it's chasing gulls on the beach on the estuary. Very hard for the


peregrin here. It would much rather catch the birds higher off the


water. It's an aerial predator. It doesn't like to take them off the


water, because it's dangerous and it could end up in the water.


the gulls are flocking together. Safety in numbers. I guess their


best strategy would be to go down and sit on the water, if they can.


Which they're doing there. And now they're following the predator.


This is interesting. Often they follow the predator. They want to


keep their eyes on the biver, because if they can't see it, they


don't know what it's up to. Some peregrins, they have different


characters. Some are lazy and go after small birds, but some will go


after whopping great prey. They're all individuals. An update on the


quiz. Yes, I think it's hard. freckle says is it orcas? Wrong.


And another says it could be a corncrake. None of those are right


yet. Let's give a clue. Whatever it is, you'll see in the programme


today. Good clue. And also, maybe the bubbles you heard in the sound


clue, that's another one. Here at Slimbridge we enjoy watching birds


in great numbers and when you see them in large numbers, it's easy to


forget they face a lot of threats. Chris has been out and about


finding out about some of them. At this time of year, our sea birds


have finished breeding and many have headed far out to sea. But


this gives our scientists a chance to assess what sort of breeding


season they've had and in 2011 it's been mixed. Razorbills and


guillemots have done well in England and Wales and on the north-


east side of Scotland, but on the western side of Scotland and up in


the islands, they have not fared as well. The Orkneys have had a


particularly bad season for nearly all of the sea birds. Kittiwakes


were badly hit. In some places no chicks were raised at all. So why


is this happening? It's complicated. Sometimes breeding success or


failure can just be down to a bad storm striking at the wrong time.


But there are other factors at work too. Warming sea temperatures and


changing fishing picturess probably change the availability of prey.


One thing is for sure, sea birds need protection more than ever. But


it's not just governments that need to act. Now, one thing we could all


do to look after our sea birds a little better, in fact, all marine


life, is to be more careful with all of our litter. I've collected


this in the last ten minutes on this very remote Hebredian beach.


And look at the tile I've got here. Plastic of all kinds, milk bottles,


juice bottles and this nylon cord, which is particularly dangerous. A


couple of weeks ago, we went out with a team from the RSPB to see


just how damaging this stuff can be for wildlifement


It's 15th October and a boat load of dedicated bird lovers is leaving


the west coast of Wales to travel out to a colony of our largest and


most spectacular sea birds. Northern gannets, these are the


missiles of the SeaWorld, diving deep to catch their fish. About


two-thirds of the population of gannets come to breed off rocky


islands off our coasts packing together in large numbers. They


breed and then fledge in the early autumn. The RSPB team have dome


Grassholm Island, the third largest colony in the UK, with 30,000 pairs


of gannets. By mid-October, all of the chicks should have left the


nest but some have not been able to go, because of a man-made problem.


We estimate that there's around 20 tonnes of plastic on the island.


About four hundred to 500 grams per nest on average. Some say, "Why


don't you clear it away" but the nests are interwoven with it, it


would be an impossible task. for the baby gannets, it's much


more than an eyesore. We're too late getting to this one. Look at


the plastic around the leg. This is one of this year's youngsters.


These birds sit on the nest for 90 days, and as they grow they're


turning all the time and it twists around the leg and this one has


starved to death. The team has only been able to come ashore now that


most of the adult birds have left and their job is to set free as


many of the remaining trapped birds as they possibly K


This season, they successfully freed 27 birds, although in some


It's an animal welfare issue now. It's a man-made issue and we come


here to prevent these birds starving to death. It happens to


the adults as well. Not as many, but we do find it. He's not very


grateful for it, but there you go! I don't know about you, but that


was harrowing. You could feel the pain of those little birds. I think


it's really shocking to see how much damage our rubbish does to the


birds. That's a sobering thought. You've seen that first-hand,


because you've been to grassome. Yes, I worked with the RSPB and one


of my jobs was to go and stay with these birds. And it breaks your


heart. The parents have put so much effort in that one chick, three


months before it fries off, and it's caught by the legs and unless


we go there and free it, it dies. But when you go there, you come


away with a sense that you've achieved something. You've done


something successful. You've let the birds go and they could live a


long life. But it's so sad that eight miles off shore they're not


immune to man's pollution. I think you've made a point there,


sometimes we feel so helpless. But we're not going to focus on what


man does, but it's simple what we can do to help. You go to the beach


with a bag and pick the rubbish up. They do have beach clean-up days


and I went with my son. And we went with a bin liner and filled it


within half an hour. But you don't have to wait for an official day,


you can go for a walk with the kids or the daughter, and pick up the


liter I It's no point moaning about it, empower yourself to make a


it, empower yourself to make a difference.


Iolo, you're a diver. You must have dived with loads of animals,


including seals, but have you ever seen them mating? Well, yes, I've


seen them mating is shallow water, but look at this wonderful footage,


seals mating underwater. Something seals mating underwater. Something


I've never seen beforement At this time of year, grey seal


pups are being born around our coasts. Males fight for the chance


to mate. Usely copulation is a very torrid


affair. But we've been sent this, by underwater cameraman, Ben.


You can see the male and the female in the kelp there. One or two


females in the background. Now I've been watching grey seals for


decades and I've never seen anything like this before. They


emerge out of the kelp into mid- water. And the male grasps the


water, and gently caresses her. Usely they force themselves upon


the female. But here, they grasp together. Using the flippers. And


successful mating takes place. And of course he won't just mate with


this one female, he'll have a harem of anything up to six, seven or


eight, maybe even ten females. And then gentle biting there. She's had


enough, and he'll go off and look for other females. Amazing footage


there, and they did mate there. It wasn't clear there. They did mate.


And I've never seen anything quite like that before. I've always


watched it from land. They were incredibly gentle. Usually the male


gives such a rough time, but he was very tender there. Now, watching


underwater is incedsable, but you have to be - incredible, but you


have to be careful, and respect the fact that they're wild animals.


go down very gently and don't interfere with the seals, because,


please, they have a nasty bite. Leave them well alone.


sometimes they don't leave you alone, as they didn't to me in


Scilly Isles. Now, you may remember back in


Springwatch, back in the summer, we were featuring a very special


family of foxes. Let's remind ourselves about the Springwatch


foxes. They were actually down in a


landfill site, Pitsea, in Essex. And there was a very high density


of them. There was so much food around, it there were foxes


everywhere. Here is the vixen, and she had four cubs, three males and


one female. And because they were so used to humans, we got very


privileged views into their secret lives. Sweet little foxes! But it


turned out that she was kind of a single parent. There was no dog fox


apparently around there. She was trying to bring those cubs up all


on her own. But then a male did turn up. And she seemed happy about


it, but things didn't go well with the cubs. This is Judge, who got a


nasty bite from that male. So we had to try to find out what


happened next. Would Judge be OK? So we went back to Pitsea to try to


catch up with the storyment It's business as usual, here at


Pitsea. This is one of the biggest landfill sites in the whole country


and that is what supports the large There were certainly lots of foxes


around, but where is jap junior, our injured cub? There me is, a bit


battle scarred around his ears, but the wound on his forehead has


healed well. He's a youngster with an inquisitive streak. He's always


investigating things he finds on the tip.


Of the four cubs, Junior is the only one still looking for his


mum's attention. His brothers and sister are hanging back in the


bushes, perhaps, because the new adult male that injured Junior is


still very much around. Junior is often out in the open so he's an


easy target. This new male is trying to establish himself in the


area, so he'll have a good chance of breeding next season. And the


Springwatch family's mum seems quite happy to have him around.


They're even picking blackberries together!


This is the new male scent marking, a clear sign that he's feeling at


home here, and the mum goes right in and marks in the same place. Any


other foxes in the area will definitely know they have


competition. Raggedy- eared Junior has learnt from watching the others


that blackberries are good to eat. But what will the presence of the


new male mean for him and his brothers and sisters. He's not


their biological father, so perhaps he sees them as competition.


Fox cubs, especially male ones, do usually leave the territory where


they are born towards the ends of the year, and with this level of


harassment it looks like Junior and the others might be pushed out


sooner rather than later. But can the new Springwatch family male


stay as top fox in the area? When there's a standoff with another


adult male it looks like things are about to get serious.


Fascinating to see that out in the open, Chris. It is a rare treat.


Beautiful animals as well. I know they have a mixed reputation with


some people, but for me, they hold a torch to the tiger. You look


better without the hat. Out there it was useful!


But we did see a lot of complicated aggressive interactions. Yes, let's


go back to the step-father and the cub. Look at this posture, where


the tail has been brought round underneath it, and the head is


going round. Now, a sub missive fox will get the head lower and lower


and lower. I've seen them put their head on the ground and rub their


chin on the ground. They can't get lower than that. And they're


offering the other animal the back of the neck to bite. He didn't look


totally convinced by his submissive behaviour. He was keeping an eye


all the way through. But I think the other adult knew. They don't


want to fight. They'll give as many signals as they can. The golden


rule is don't cry wolf, don't pretend to be something you're not,


because you could get injured. That's interesting, because another


big male came along and they did face up to each other. Look at that,


fabulous. Look at the ears back, that's another submissive sign. And


when I've seen some go for each over, they start with the ears down


and as soon as they decide who is top fox, the ears will come up.


This is unusual, because typically, if they're having these


altercations it's under deep cover, in bram - brambles, not in the open.


But it could be because this is such a big site they are outs in


the open. In fact, that did not stop there, it did progress to


something far more dramatic, so we'll show you that next week, and


there is a lot more to come. As well as a punch-up. Now, Michaela


is out in the pouring rain. It has been noted, boys, that you've left


me in the rain! Today we've been focusing on marine life and one of


the major issues facing our marine life is the fishing industry. There


are many neem this country who rely on fishing for their - many people


in this country who rely on fishing for their livelihood. So, how can


we preserve the future of one of our many fascinating marine


creatures? The lobster. It's a remarkable


animal. Ten legs, three stomachs, one with teeth. Its blood is blue.


It can live for 50 years, maybe 100 years. And some scientists think


that if they are not disturbed they can live indefinitely.


4 But of course, they are disturbed. Because lobsters are at the heart


of a thriving fishing industry. In the late 1980s and early '90s,


the fishery around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly saw a declining


catch, despite an increased fishing effort. A by law was passed that


prevented fishermen from catching a lobster below a certain size, but


it hasn't stopped there. Don has run a lobster breeding project for


the past six years, with the key objective to increase numbers. This


is the starting point of the process. What's the first step?


get pregnant, or egg- bearing females from the fishermen.


Normally we get them in just before they are ready to hatch. And this


one, the eggs are just about to hatch. Can we have a look? Yes,


they're attached to these feathery structures under the tail. And


they'll hatch over the next week or two. Into what? Into lava. Which


float around in the surface layers of the sea. And they're very


vulnerable to predation. So we're taking them through that vulnerable


stage in life, where they can be eaten by sardines, and mackerel,


and taking them through to a less vulnerable stage. So in the wild,


how many of the eggs would survive to the lava stage? It's difficult


to quantify, but something like 0.006% survival. Very, very low.


Many more survive here. Once they've gone through the lava stage,


what do they turn into? Juveniles. The hatchry has juveniles ranging


from just hatched to one to two days, like this one. He's sensing


things all the time. Yes, they have taste buds on their antenna.


what stage do you think about releasing them? How big do they


have to get? We've been releasing them at a variety of ages. Some are


released a little older than this. That's tiny. And this sort of size.


What we'd like to do is release all of our juveniles at this sort of


stage. Research indicates that once the juveniles are released back


into the sea they stand a 50% to 80% chance of survival. So this


work may become an important part in preserving the lobster's future.


About 30 years ago in Norway and many other Scandinavian countries,


lobster numbers crashed and they never recovered. But hopefully the


work going on here in Cornwall will help its future.


What a fascinate be animal. And it's great to see a project where


fishermen see the need to put something back into the ocean.


it's hard for me, a committed vegetarian to talk about lobsters.


But it is great. That research sproj ongoing work. Very hard. What


do - that research project is ongoing work. It's very hard,


because what do you feed the tiny lobster. And they use people going


out on a pleasure dive to put them back into the water. But that


lobster film leads us nicely into the quiz reveal. Was that a set-up?


Amazingly, lots of you have got it right. Carol, a purple centipede


and Adam and others all got the right answer. You're right. Thanks


for giving it away. It's a lobster. They make that noise by rubbing


hard pads on their antenna against their scales to day tract a meat.


Now, what has happened to the three osprey we've been following on


their migration to West Africa? We haven't really caught up with


them for a while. So last week, we sent Roy to West Africa. He went to


Senegal. And told us it was heaving with osprey. They're all fishing.


He thinks he probably saw one of them, but he's not sure. So we'll


give you the final update of our three ospreys next week. Let's hope


they've all survived. It wasn't looking good for one of them last


week, was it. Now, I'm glad to be in the studio


now because of the rain outside. It is still mild at the moment. But


what does the weather have in store for us. John, what will it be


doing? In the short term, it is going to


stop raining, but not before the end of the show.


This rain should clear through by tomorrow. This belt, some of it is


heavy, will continue through to the east coast but clear away from the


east by morning time. And yet again not cold. Saturday is going to an


lovely day. Any showers across western areas will fade away and


nearly all of us can look forward to a dry, bright and mild day.


Tomorrow, temperatures should get up into the mid-teens. Sunday, more


of the same. It will start cloudy along the eastern coast, but once


more, the sunshine should come out and the temperatures should climb.


It will be a good weekend. Very, very mild, John. Last week, you


promised cold weather over Russia, which we were hoping would organise


some migration. What happened? the cold weather stayed over Russia.


Look at the dark blue colours, that is where the winter is arriving.


And unusually across much of Scandinavia and Europe temperatures


are higher than they should be. So the migrating birds are not


encouraged by the mild weather. Closer to home, we're not going to


get the cold air in the near future, that's for sure, but we will get


some easterly winds, so there will be some migration. I'll be here


next week to see if there is a change, but in the near week, not


much changing. Now, I got the prediction wrong


last week. We thought the cold weather would push the water foul


over here, but only a few Bewick's swans have got here to Slimbridge.


And we thought there might be pigeons to the east side of the


country, by this week, but I was wrong again. I also said the


Woodcock wouldn't arrive either. But I was wrong about that as well.


Some have arrived in the east of England and one in Scotland was


found in a lady's wardrobe. Actually I just made that up,


because I couldn't think about anything interesting to say about


that lonely Woodcock. We had lots of waxwings last year,


and some have arrived this year. That's super. All of this migration,


I think what is happening at the moment, the weather isn't hard


enough to push these birds over. So the fidgety ones are moving over


any way and coming to the UK. If you're at the coast it's a good


place to spot them, but if you are in the middle of the North Sea,


that's an equally good place to spot them. They are on container


ships which have been converted into oil rigs. We have this


Lenny Simpson has worked on oil rigs for 29 years but his passion


is birds. I've been a bird watching, really,


since I was a child. A seven or eight-year-old when I got my first


pair of binoculars. Working out here we work three weeks on and


three weeks off, on rota. So it can be a long time away from your


friends and family, but watching the birds helps me get through long


hours on board. There are sea birds to watch all year, but autumn is


Lenny's favourite time of year, because many migrating birds from


the mainland of Northern Europe stop off to rest on the rig on


their way to the UK. I've seen about 170 species of birds. Many


are common, but quite a few are rare. Early arrivals this year


included Blackcap and wheat ear. But he's also seen some hunting the


smaller birds. The peregrins have taken some of the other species.


You find feathers and bits of birds lying everywhere. A peregrin falcon


is a fantastic sighting, but this is his top sighting so far this


year. A short-eared owl. He stayed and rested for a few days before


continuing on to the UK where he'll spend the winter. What a fabulous


sight 120 miles from land. members of the bird club that I


belong to will probably never meet up, because we all work in


different areas. The members of the oil rig bird club have been


recorded all the species over the years and Lenny has been


responsible for one or two records himself. Up until now I've put in


16,000 records. So a few over the years!


Clearly a great place to go birding, but not one we all have access to.


But he's given us an update. 23 species in one day, including a


Woodcock. He had a bat for a week hanging under the helipad. Three


short-eared owls at the same time and a Merlin chasing redwings.


That's a real variety. It's astonishing. Pretty good.


Thank you very much. Very curious thing, when I was down looking at


the lobsters in Cornwall, I noticed something extraordinary I'd never


seen before. Lots of little turn stones running around in amongst


people's feet. I've nerve seen that, just acting like scavengers. Just


eating anything they could get their teeth into. They are strange


little birds. I remember in the 1980s, being a subscriber of


British Birds, the journal. There was a writer, Mr King who always


wrote in little notes about turn Stones eating strange things, the


first one was eating human excrement. And the next was picking


at a condom. And another was turn Stones picking at a human corpse.


Check it out. It just shows how they take advantage of things.


Have you got a question? A quick question. How do barnacles get


attached to whales' skin. Sometimes they form clocities and the


barnacles attach to these lumps on the head. We're running out of time.


Coming up next week, an old friend of Springwatch comes back to act as


an urban correspondent for us. And we'll look deeper still into the


lives of the Pitsea foxes. And Roy Davies will be giving our final


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