Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games are at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's Slimbridge reserve. They explore the UK's spectacular coastline and marine life.
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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
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games broadcast live from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's Slimbridge reserve. The team explore the UK's spectacular coastline and marine life. They report on the dramatic rescue of fledging gannets, get to grips with our common lobster, and experience the autumn spectacle of thousands of waders gathering in our estuaries. There's an update on the migrating Bewicks's swans arriving at Slimbridge, and guest presenter and naturalist Iolo Williams takes to the high seas, searching for a giant of the deep, the fin whale.