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It's 8pm. It's bank holiday Monday. We're live and we're about to bring
you real wildlife in real time. Welcome to Springwatch. I'm not
Hello, good evening or should that be (in Welsh) I need to thank Jill
for their Welsh lessons and apologies if my accent was a bit
dodgy. I'm not going to apologise in any way for where we are. Look
at this, this is our new base. This is where we're going to be for the
next three weeks, bringing you live pictures and it is absolutely
gorgeous. We're on the coast of west Wales on the banks of the Dyfi
River where it meets cardigan Bay. This is Springwatch's new home of
the RSPB reserve at Ynys-hir. There are ancient oak woodland, meadows,
wetlands, and salt marsh. It's all just begging to be explored. It is
undenyably beautiful. It has a spectacular range of habitat. All
these habitats mean this place has a fantastic biodiversity. What is
that? It's a design for life. It's the number of different living
things, living in any given place and time. There is so much here for
us to see. Our job, of course, is to show it all to you. How will we
do it? We have a pretty good team. Of course, we've got the whole
place bugged. Plenty of cameras in nest boxes, revealing all the
action inside. Our wildlife cameramen are out and about, seing
what they can find, fabulous wood peckers here. Some of the cameras
have been placed for mods, revealing the insights of birds
like herons. Fingers crossed we might even see rare mammals.
Whatever, we have a great range of stars for you, some very attractive
little birds and of course, larger species too. And some, like this
buzzard, are certainly going to be feeding some others to their young,
potential bad guys. What we can promise you on Springwatch is real
drama, a real soap op ra. For me Springwatch is all about you
wha. Has your spring been like? We'd like to hear from you, your
questions, photos and videos. Get in contact with us on the web. You
can tweet us now. We're ot Twitter now! So modern. Listen to them, the
old folks. Look at that. Glorious. We have a new patio. Barbeque.
Quick. I know, and only a few days ago this was a shed for tractors,
now transformed into Springwatch's new home. New sofa. We have all our
monitors up and running. Don't get too close. We have got something on
those cameras. Lots of wood. Not short of wood. Kate, Kate. Oh, yes.
Very important piece of kit here. This giant screen is our link to
our wildlife man of the week. He is Charlie Hamilton-James.
Thanks guys G to be back on Springwatch. I'm loving your new
location down in Wales. But I'm not jealous. Because look at this: This
is the Knapdale Forest. This is classic Scottish landscape, right
in the heart of argyle. All the classic Scottish animals are here.
Including the midges. I've come to see one very special one. I've come
here specifically to see it. It is the beaver. It's the subject of the
first reintroduction of a mammal to Britain ever. Over the next week,
we're going bring you more detailed footage of these creatures than
anyone has ever got before. Join me later and I shall reveal all.
Thank you Charlie. Now some people have said to me, spring has come so
early this year that by the time you start Springwatch you may not
have any birds to show anyone. Do we look like fools? Don't answer
that. But we wouldn't let you down. Not only have we got some birds to
show you, we are going to start our first show with a first for
Springwatch. Let's go live to nest one and there it is. That's the
exterior. Who would be nesting in exterior. Who would be nesting in
this box? It looks like an average box. But the birds in it, I've got
to tell you, are absolute stunners. Let's look inside. There are
youngsters in there, six little youngsters, we'll tease you for a
moment. They look like robins. do, but a clue, when you saw that
youngster at the back there, spreading its tail feathers, you're
getting a little bit of colour. Any guesses? Six chicks in that nest,
they are red starts. They are stunning birds. SubSaharan migrants.
They arrive in the summer. The best place for them is Wales. Most of
the UK population north of the line from the Severn to the Humber.
We're in the heartland here. Let's look at the male. This thing scores
well I don't know, 6.5 at least. It's a very beautiful bird. You can
see the female a little bit duller, though I'm told she has a lovely
personality. Both birds are being very atentive parents. They're
feeding at about 54 times an hour at the moment. Both adults involved
in that. Yeah, they R the male there taking out a faecal sack.
We've seen it with the species on Springwatch before. The blue tits
and things like that, they have to keep the nest nice and clean on the
inside. All doing very well. Typically for Springwatch, we have
our story developers who monitor those little cameras, which you can
do too, viate web. Our story developers caught something unusual
on camera. Have a look at this. So bear in mind that, there we are,
the camera looks like it's not working terribly well. It had just
been set up. That's why it's juddery. It's producing a pellet.
As it comes out, look carefully, because the end of it appears to
have what we thought was a bird's beak in it. If you saw, can we see
it again? Look at it carefully there, you can see the curved piece.
We were thinking, could it be a treecreeper, what on earth could it
be? Surely no adult bird is going to be feeding something like a red
start some sort of... We were in there for ages looking. We noted
what should have been the top mandible was shorter than the
bottom one. That ruled out a beak. I thought, this has to be
vegetation, that the youngster has swallowed by accident and is
regurgitating. It proved my theory was correct actually. Look at this.
This is what we saw today. The male is coming in. Look carefully, you
can see a green caterpillar, look what's left behind. It's shaking it
out. Watch carefully second time round. There's the green
caterpillar in the mouth and as it leaves, look there's a twig left in
the mouth of the youngster. seems what the male has done is
plucked a caterpillar out of the vegetation to feed the chicks, but
unwittingly brought a bit of vegetation, whatever that
caterpillar was sitting on with, it and fed it to the chick at the same
time. In that case the chick managed to get rid of it. In the
case of the other chick, producing a pel the was a natural thing to do.
They are eating a lot of insects with tougher outer bodies. They
have to produce pellets. We have been watching those all day. I have
come up with a graph here... Chris, we've been on air five minutes. We
can't do grafts. Really, no! Let's do another really beautiful bird.
Look, no! Look at this. It is pied flycatcher. What would you rather
have, graph or pied flycatcher? It's a stunner. We haven't seen one
of these since 2006. If you were watching back then, you'll remember
we uncovered this fantastic story of a male, that black and white
bird, but it was a cheater. It seemed to have any number of nests.
We actually named it Casanova in honour of it's frankly
dishonourable behaviour. They are polyterritorial. It's not unusual
for males to actually be servicing more than one female, although
there are down sides for that male as you'll find out. Of course, it's
not just these birds, our wildlife camera crew have been away from the
nest cams looking for what they can find. Earlier they found this bird.
Let's cut live to the nest tree. There it is! Perfect. This is live
pictures of a young great spotted woodpecker. The adults have been
trying to tease their brood out all day long. We were really worried
because this is, again, a first for us. We've never had a greater
spotted woodpecker nest on our mini cams before. Earlier today, well,
this started to happen. We were watching the nest, eagle eyed, or
woodpecker-eyed. The adult comes in. Now tip for you, this is the female.
She has no red on the back of her neck. You can see that the, all the
chicks... One went out there. That was 10.30am. All of them have the
red cap. Yes and the male has the red on the back of its head. It's
teasing that chick. Then we see, it's moving back down the tree. So
a lot of noise. To encourage this chick to come out. It's feeding it
there. There it goes. That came out at 11.12am. We thought oh, no, a
first for Springwatch and they're not even going to hang around for
the first show. But only two have fledged. We don't know how many are
in there. We know that there's at least one more because we just saw
it live. Is it still there, shall we have a look. There it is. Still
peeping. What my concern is, Chris, that we've got two out of the nest,
we've got maybe only one left in the nest. They have up to six young.
That would be quite common. There could be another three in there for
all we know. Doesn't that mean that the parents responsibilities will
be split. Are they going to be looking after the fledglings or the
chicks in the nest? Both. Given it's just day one, the fledglings
won't have moved too far from that nest. They will attend them. Their
job is to coax them out. Sometimes they're really reluctant to leave.
Sometimes they spend hours, teasing them, go up to the hole, offer the
food and then the youngster hangs out and it goes back in again. It
can be really entertaining. Something to look out for on the
web kams. Can you do that by going to bbc.co.uk/Springwatch. We've had
a complaint. Not already. We've only been on air for four minutes.
It was on the blog. Jennie is complaining, she says our birds,
why are they so dull. All British birds are basically brown. Jennie!
Stick with us girl. You'll see there's nothing dull about British
birds. Have you actually got a colour telly. No disrespect. What
about this spring then. We've had a number of stats actually which I
put together here if I can find them. I can tell you about this A
it's been 3.7% warmer than normal. It's been the warmest April since
1910. In central England it's been the warmest April for 350 years.
The highest temperature, stay awake, the highest temperature 27.8.
That's pretty amazing that. Was in Surrey. In terms of sunshine, 150%
more sunshine than the last sunnyest April. No, we know where
we are with spring. Rainfall, most places only 10% of the rainfall.
There we are. It has been an extraordinary spring. What has been
lovely is that our cameramen have been here since before spring
started. We can show you how spring developed here at this beautiful
RSPB reserve. This is what it looked like if February, exactly
the same place, this month. Look at this, the woodland here.
It's transformed by the onset of spring. It really is a magical time
of year. It's a lfl time of year. - - lovely time of year.
We'd like to hear about your spring. If you've been taking photographs
please send them in. And we pinched an idea from our
unsprung programme, we're going to give a quiz. This magnificent
feather, almost completed surrounded by midges, what is this
feather? Get on the message board or get on tweet and tell us what it
is, please. I will get some clues. This is a large flight feather,
from a large bird. What you have to imagine is a little group of these
together, acting as fingers out on the edge of the wing. Now, every
week, we're going to be joined by a guest naturalist of great repute.
They're going to be not here in Wales with us, but other locations
across the country. This week we are going up here to Scotland to
argyleshire. I love the detail of this. Look at this, we're going
precisely to there. There we're going to be joined by the
incomparable Charlie Hamilton-James. Charlie, we've got a lot of midges
down here, mate, I'm sure you've probably got more than us.
Got a lot more. Thanks guys. I'm exceptionally privileged to be part
of the Springwatch adventure team. Because we've been given
unrestricted ak stos one of the most controversial and
consevenation projects happening in Britain today. The Scottish beaver
trial. It's a project that's been set up to see whether we should be
releasing beavers back into the wild in Britain. They've been
extinct here for 400 years. But two years ago, a few groups of them
were released onto remote lochs here. As you can see, they've
already been getting to work. There aren't many animals in the
world that can do this to a tree. So, our job on Springwatch this
year, is to reacquaint you with an animal that used to be familiar to
us all. But first, here's a taster of what these Springwatch adventure
This is the hottest, dryest spring on record in Britain, but not here.
We've lost power in the house. We have no edit suite and I'm supposed
to be filming beavers. Thankfully the storms didn't last long and
filming beavers is exactly what we've been doing, as well as
hearing the local debate that surrounds them. It brings a lot of
people to the area. I know it's a trial and there are mixed feelings,
but people are coming to see the beavers. It's another dimension,
something that people can see and enjoy. This farm has never had
beavers and as far as I'm concerned, it never will. To bring you the
story of British beavers we've brought the Springwatch adventure
team and all the kit to the heart of argyle to cover the story from
It's not just filming beavers, we want to investigate the response of
animals and people to these new creatures living in this project
area. Where do we start? Us modern Britons don't know the beaver.
We've got to get to know the beast. So, I went out with the Scottish
beaver trial to see if I could see a beaver for the first time and
It's not until the light begins to fade that beavers become active.
They're largely nocturnal, so just before night fall is the best time
to spot one. It's not long before I I can't quite believe I'm looking
at a new species of animal to Britain. It's right there. It's
just incredible. I've spent my whole life in Britain filming
animals and suddenly there's this enormous new one. Yeah, they're
large mammals. A fully grown adult could be up to a metre long, a good
20-30 kilos. What are they doing here? We've imported animals from
Norway as part of this trial reintroduction. It's not a full-
scale reintroduction. We're trialling it in the Scottish
environment. We have license to release up to four families of
beavers. It's a five-year scientific trial. We're going to
see how they get on in the Scottish environment and looking at how they
interact with the woodlands and other creatures and the socio-
economics effects on this ira. They're not fenced, these are
totally wild animals? Yeah, they're wild. We have a responsibility, we
monitor their health and how they're get ago long. So you know
each animal individually, who they are. You know everything about them.
We know everything about them. They're well monitored animals.
They have ear tags on. They're microchipped. So basically, they're
beavers on parole. Well, yes! Hopefully with a good outcome.
Well that was quite a moment for me. But for some avid followers of
British wildlife television, you're thinking, I've seen it before. And
we have. This story's been covered before. We've seen beavers floating
around. I know Chris has seen them here before. Hold on, what happened
next has never been seen before. In fact, most of what we've filmed
here this week has never been filmed before. So, come back later
and we'll give you some more. You see, Charlie, you think that
everyone wants to see beavers, but this is another Springwatch first,
chickens. Excellent. I've come down to the edge of one of the wetland
areas at this RSPB reserve. I'm with Lynsey Mccree, you're one of
our cameramen. Do some camera work. What have you been filming out here.
Is there anything in particular going on? It's been teeming with
life this week. Has it? Down at the moment, there's a lot of house
Martins and sand Martins. They're making the most, we are being
besieged by midges. We could do with them over here eating. They're
obviously feeding over the lake. We have horses in the background there.
Oh, duck scoot ing across the surface. A young mallard actually.
Just bit horse. You've been with Springwatch for a number of years,
how are you finding our new home? It's stunning, heaving with life.
Fully the -- actually the first morning we are here I watched three
otters, a mum and two cubs, but I didn't have any kit with me.
schoolboy error. We haven't just got our manned cameras like Lynsey
with his camera here. Would you mind just going over, this is one
of our other remote cameras. We've called it rather imaginetively,
marsh cam. Can we see anything on that at the moment? It's a
that at the moment? It's a beautiful view. We have swans there.
That's another camera that we will be keeping an eye on. We've got a
camera set up on another part of the reserve having a lock at this
rather lovely bird. Let's go to it live. There it is. You can see, can
you see it? Can we go in a bit closer to just to see beautiful
bright orange, almost sword-like bill. Turn round. There you are.
That's nice. Little bit more maybe. It is of course an oystercatcher.
You can see the handsome black and white plumage. Just to give you an
idea of where that is actually nesting, let's cut to another view
of the nest. You can see the camera up there and it's pulling out to
reveal that the oystercatcher has actually nested on top of a wall.
It's eight feet above the ground. Now we tend to think of them as
ground-nesting birds. What they will do is find any sort of nest
site where the eggs are really beautifully camouflaged. They've
even been known to nest on the top of gravely roofs in towns. Now,
let's introduce you to the adult birds a bit better. Here's some
footage that we took earlier. You can see here's one of the adult
birds coming in. We get a really nice view of her two eggs. That's a
typical clutch for an oystercatcher. You can see how beautifully
camouflaged they are amongst the stones of the wall. Now that could
be she or he. Have a look at the other adult coming in. This bird is
giving a little bit of cause for concern. He or she is limping
rather. Now that might be the male at the back. He has a slightly
stubbier bill which is the only way you can tell the male from the
female. Both birds with incubate the eggs. The eggs should be fine.
But, that limping bird could get predated because it's not in great
shape F that happens we will lose the eggs. So already programme one,
we're on the edge of our seats keeping an eye on those oyster
catchers. But we have had all sorts of other lovely life. This area in
front of me has been teeming with life. Have a look at some of the
things that we've seen earlier today. Some Canada geese there with
their youngsters. Just youngsters everywhere, cygnets, swans and
their cygnets. Lovely shot of mall ardz with these huge families. They
have such huge broods. Now something's panicked these ducks.
We looked above usually something in the sky and what is it? A
buzzard. Now, Chris, were those ducklings right to panic? I think
they certainly were, Kate. I think they certainly were. Do you reckon?
Yeah, of course. Buzzards, are they magnificent hunters like eagles and
sparrowhawks. Wherever I see them they're eating worms. They will eat
worms. They're often seen in fields. Groups of up to 40 will go aworming.
Sometimes you'll see them dancing up and down on the soil. This is to
bring the worms to the surface. They will eat them. They are an
active predator. They have very broad tastes. They're Britain's
commonest rap tore now and Wales is a strong hold. We have a nest to
cut to now. Here it is, up in an oak tree. There's the adult bird
there as well. Mum or dad do you think? Difficult to say. He or she
has got one chick in the nest at the moment, about two-and-a-half
weeks old. So although it looks downy there, when it stands up you
can see there's quite a bit of feathering on the back. Is that
normal? How many chicks would you expect them to have? That's
interesting, they will lay clutches up to four eggs. They're one of
these birds designed to lay extra eggs, hatch extra young so that if
food runs short they've got a survival strategy where they will
weed them down. This nest did have two eggs but only one has hatched.
We have been following them really closely over the last few days to
see what they've been up to. Look at this, this is going to
illustrate the range of prey that these animals can take. Here we
have a mole. I thought they were distasteful to nearly everything.
Not normally eaten. Not trouble for rap tores and owls. That's a vole
Chris. That's a shrew I think. going down in one. You've got to
admire that. I've never tried it. It's quite a faet.
-- feat. Lots of mammals but should the ducklings be frightened. They
have a broad diet. They will go for frogs, worms and birds are on the
aJen da. We saw this earlier. This is a small bird and you can see if
you look at the head which... that's a bit gruesome. That's a
young moor hen. It can't get it down, like me trying to swalle a
golf ball. You haven't tried that have you? Not recently. Here's the
answer to the inquiry. That is a mallard duckling. I'm afraid it is.
Would it have actively hunted that? There's plenty of them. They're all
together in one place. They're not going to move far to. A buzzard
that duckling is a bird burger. Why so sad, it's part of life Martin.
Of course. Let's move on shall we. I must learn to be not so pragmatic.
You're hard, man. This feather, could it have been something that
we have just been seeing. Becky, have people been... Yes they V
have people been... Yes they V thank you very much. Jill Eccles on
Twitter, Lynsey Cook thought it was a buzzard. It's not. Keep them
coming in. It's something else. By the way, we're trending on Twitter.
What does that mean? It's important. Springwatch is not just about the
wildlife, it's about the people who enjoy the wildlife. All the viewers
at home, but also some great naturalists. We have been
privileged Chris and I to meet fantastic naturalists, British
naturalists. We've been out in the field over the last few weeks and
we met up with them. I met Sylvia Sheldon, a lady who's
been studying adders for 30 years. Richard everybodying natterjack
toad man, helping the hot hatches of the toad world to thrive on his
farm. Matt Hamilton is a student film maker who reveals the beauty
near his home in Hampshire. Charlie Elder manages to get his hands on a
fantastic finch. That's incredible. Ron Ho skins,
potentially the saviour of our honey bees. Astonishing. And Mickey
Smith, surfer, the human fish. Totally mind blowing experience
catching wave was dolphins. Can you tell she loves riding waves. She
can't fig it out, because we're obviously nowhere near as good as
she is. What a treat. We'll catch up with
those characters over the next couple of weeks to. Kick us off
those mark Everard, a lifelong angler. He has written a little
book about little fishes. He's going back to his first fishy
I think the first memories of nature are just deeply stay with us
forever. I first remember being around rivers from the age of about
one and I've never been far from them. Certainly some of my best
memories are of fish when I was really, really little. I suppose
it's natural that what you reach your teens or early 20s or whatever
and you get interested in cars and all the other things, you kind of
tend to think well, I'm just into big fish now. There's that macho
thing. You get a bit older and you think, actually the little guys are
just wonderful. It's these little guys that keep
the world ticking. They keep food webs linked up and they tell us
that rivers are healthy. Minnows are the barometer of the river.
Where minnows thrive water quality is good. Kingfishers eat them,
other fish eat them. They eat shrimps, insects and they keep the
engine of the ecosystem going F you run out of minnows, you probably
run out of minnows, you probably run out of river health as well.
They're one of the most curious fish you'll ever meet. If I was
that small and everything wanted to eat me, I don't think I'd be as
curious. They are irrepressible. Normally they're silvery with a
black line down them. These are females here. The males turn into
some of the most vivid staids. -- shade. This is what happens in the
spring, they're in spawning livery. This beautiful black chin strap,
gold on the sides, emerald and other colours in between. Whereas
the females, retain the winter colour and every now and again
those shows get together and spawn on the stones. Then they'll
separate again. They'll carry on all summer, through to July. Anyone
can walk along the river and spot minnows. If there are minnows there
They're generally displaying themselves in the edge If you've
got a net, got a mino trap, you can catch them as well.
One of the amazing things about the bull head, these guys, is that they
can live the whole of their lives under the same stone. To me there's
something slightly frogy about them with their big wide mouth and their
little eyes at the top of their head. Bullheads are difficult to
see normally. They don't venture out much fromer their stones, even
by night. The best way is to go into a streamy bit of river and
turn over stones and that's when put it back exactly where you found
it and put the stone that you turned over exactly where it was,
because that's its home. It will be totally disorient ed without it.
The stickle back was the first fish I ever caught with cotton and worms
tied to it. There's something about the face of
a stickle back that always reminds me of the knight in a chess set.
There's a pointy, slightly horsey face and the big eyes. They swim
around with a stiff body and fast moving fins in a stop, start way.
That's because they're armoured. Across their body are great big
scales which are effectively armour. It makes them tough, robust fish.
But they're also new men because it's the males that brood the eggs.
They form nests out of weed, typically out of vegetation and
twigs and whatever, glued together with secretions from the kidneys.
Into them they lure a female with a characteristic zig zag dance. Once
the females have laid the eggs, they'll drive them off and then,
he's got his nest, and the eggs, he fans fresh water through the nest
to brood the young until they're able to fend for themselves.
They're wonderful parents, wonderful fathers, should I say.
They've all got such different characters. The stickle backs live
in the still water on the edge. They're territorial, the males are.
Even the minos, here's some females and males, they have different
personalities. They're so important in the ecosystems. They're so
important also because we lose something of ourselves if we lose
our fascination with the tidlers What a lovely film. It's such a
crime just to dismiss wildlife because it's little or it's
overfamiliar. Those minnows are every bit as exotic and exciting as
something you might find in a coral reef. Someone that I don't need to
persuade of British river life is Charlie Hamilton-James who loves
the river, don't you? I do-a river. And I love a minnow. It's nice to
see a man championing the mighty minnow. At this time of year, when
they're in those colours, the vivid reds and that streak of turquoise
down them, they really are stunning. I'm going to stop wittering on. I'm
in nap Dale working with a Scottish beaver trial to reacquaint you with
an animal which was once skinningished. This is a beaver
pelt. It's surprisingly big. The reason this is so valuable to
people, and the reason they were hunted is because it's very warm.
You see these thick guard hairs. Underneath this soft, warm fur, now
that is very valuable to people. Because 400 years ago people wanted
to be warm. Now the funny thing about beavers is that people
thought they were very clever because they built dams and chopped
down trees and managed their landscape. So they had thought that
if they made hats out of them and wore this intelligent animal on
their head, it would make them very intelligent. There's a certain
irony in that. Beaver hunting is back in Britain now. The other
night we went out with the Scottish beaver trial to see if we could
into the night hunting beaver and I can't go with them because there's
no room in the boat. It's so frustrating. There's nothing I can
do about it. I'm stuck here. I will wait and hope that they actually
get one. The technique they're using to find
the beavers is a simple one. Using powerful torchs they scan the loch
hoping to pick up one of the reflective tags attached to the
beaver's ears. When One Shows up, because on that boat they've got a
It's massive! Do you want to scan it? Hold the button down.
We know that's Frank. Each beaver that's been released here has been
chipped, just like your pet dogs and cats. So that when the team
catch and scan them, they know which animals they're getting
information about. Why are we doing all this? We aim to trap each
individual at least once a year. We'll check its health and body
condition. We also take some samples for veterinary testing, if
we need to and replace any missing tags. He has an ear tag. Yeah, I
see his tag there. Would you like to take the tail length.
privileged to measure Frank's tail. You'd think he was a plait pus. --
platypus. 295 mm. What is this telling us so far? In car an teen
we lost a wee bit of body condition. Since the release they're all
putting on weight. He's in good condition. Good condition.
Watch all this going on and you realise this isn't a case of just
chucking some beavers out and hoping they do well. These guys are
really covering every single aspect of this. How he's coping with this
environment, is he in good health? They need to know everything if
this trial's going to work. The research is over within a matter of
minutes. Then Frank is free to go about his beavery business.
there. But it has to be serious research if we're going to find out
how and if beavers should be how and if beavers should be
reintroduced to Britain. Another problem for the scientists
here is observing beavers. They're very secretive. They're nocturnal
and difficult to see. So the Springwatch crew rolled into town
and we brought with us all sorts of gadgets and gizmos, so that
hopefully we'll be able to reveal the hidden lives of these secret
animals and get them doing all the things that you think beavers do,
chopping down trees and make doms and lodges Albuery that stuff. We
have astonishing footage. Come back later and have a look at some of it.
Thank you Charlie. We'll be doing that. Beavers are one thing, but
there is another British mammal which is far more widespread. OK,
it's a bit shy and it's nocturnal. It's also, at the moment, at the
centre of a long-running controversy. It has to be one of
the perennial stars of Springwatch. It is of course, the one and obl,
let's cut to badger cam. Looking a bit dark. It is becoming more and
more dusky outside. But we haven't just invested in one badger cam oh,
no. We have a second one. And here it is. You can see the wider view
of the set there. But is that the only one? No, I think we have a
third badger cam. We do. Optimism. We are not putting all our eggs in
We are not putting all our eggs in one badger cam basket. Can we
direct the camera? Can we pan to the right and zoom in on the soil
that's obviously at the mouth of that hole. What you'll see is that
there's a lot of leaf litter there, a lot of detritus. If there th was
a very active set with cubs, it would be scraped away. Are you
saying that basically it's a complete waste of time, there are
no badgers in that set? I wouldn't bet on a badger. I'm in the a
gambling man. Nothing's happening, have a look at this... Oh, doubters
amongst you. Look, look. There's a chaff finch. No wait, there's more.
Squirrels. OK. Nice. And after dark, gone to infrared, mouse. Wait for
it. Look at that. That's difficult to
see, it must be a tawny owl. would say it is a tawny oil. Hold
on, a glimpse. What do you think? It's quite difficult that one. I'm
going to say tawny owl. OK I'll give you a point for tawny owl.
may not be a badger, it's not say we won't see badgers. Can you keep
an eye on those cameras. They will go, when it gets darker, they will
go to black and white. They will go to infrared. Have a look on
bbc.co.uk/Springwatch. Can you keep an eye on those badger cams. You
can see if the owl reappears and can see if the owl reappears and
keep an eye on our other nests as well. For those of you who love
owls and think, hmm, Springwatch hasn't had any owls live on air for
some time, watch tomorrow. That's all I'll say. If you want my
advice and have you anything that you can, cross it. If you want to
see those badgers you might need to. Of course, there's more than
badgers here. There are a wealth of other mammals. These are the sorts
of things that our camera mn are looking for. Fox cubs, in the a
looking for. Fox cubs, in the a finer sight. Fantastic. Stoats,
look at this. Always entertaining. Top value. Ferocious Karin vorz of
course. There's lots of rabbits here. And water voles. Wouldn't
that be lovely. You mentioned with Lynsey that otters are about.
did mention that. Mark Yates said there are otters about. That brings
us to... The challenge. challenge. We all get on very well.
But there is a competitive streak. We thought we'd get one of these
remote cameras that you can buy, and each one would set it up and
try to get a photograph of one of the mammals that lives on the site.
in fact. To win the war, I have to find an otter and to do that I've
come to an area of the reserve known as the wet modo, which sounds
like quite a good place, if you're an otter.
Maybe a weasel would be better? Long, slim body, yes. Summer coat,
edge of ears white. I don't like to try too hard. After all, why would
I? It's in the bag. Oh, nice! Mark Yates, otter
cameraman extraordinaire said that if I came down here to the end of
this bit of water, I would see something that looks like an otter
footprint. Four very distinct toes. OK, this is a long shot Stoats and
weezels, will we get a photo of them. Imagine the prize if I do.
See there, that could be the same tree! It's perfect.
I've got this in the bag. Chris and Martin, you don't stand a
chance. My philosophy is when it comes to
wildlife photography, it doesn't matter how hard you try, it's
results that count. I suppose I'd OK. You are so smart! We set up
those cameras just a couple of days ago. We've got our first results in.
Do you want to see mine first. You will remember that I set up my
camera just at the edge of that camera just at the edge of that
water. I caught a pair of mallards, walking through. It's a start.
They're watery. This one, beautiful picture I think you'll find, top
bird. Lovely. And just wait for it... The otter? I'm waiting for
the otter? Nearly... Look. A squirrel's tail. What's wrong with
that. That's brilliant. Look how sharp that is. It's well framed.
You'd love that sort of photograph. That is some kind of nothingness.
didn't get my animal initially. I got something quite scary.
LAUGHTER I was testing it. Is that it?
how did you get on? It's a start. We're going to let them go on. I've
got something else to show you. Let's lock at yours. Are you ready?
Let's see. Look at that! Beautiful. Absolutely
beautiful. I despair. What about that then? Couple of squirrels.
put it under a bird feeder. That's so cheating. What about this
squirrel I'm teaching to pole dance. It's got a great future. I did get
a bit of luck. It happened right at the end. I did just manage to...
That's a lie. You cut that out... That happens all the time. This
will run and run. Both of you are horrible cheats. Shall we do this?
I think we should. Becky, the feather, please may we have a look
and see. Thank you very much. A lot of people responding? Yes.
Brilliant. Most people got it brong. They thought it was an osprey or a
heron, Debbie thought it was an osprey, kite springer on the blog
thought it was a heron. Correct answers, Trystan, and Ron Lag were
right, a receipt kite feather. done to you. That brings us to the
next brand new first for Springwatch. Have a look at this
lovely lady. This is, of course, a red kite, an
iconic bird for Wales. She's nesting just a little way away from
the reserve. And thanks to the Welsh kite trust, who've been just
so helpful, we can get this amazing access and beautiful pictures.
She's got just one chick. The red is just beginning to come through
on the down. It's about two-and-a- half weeks old. Absolutely glorious.
I think you can just... A classic kite's nest. It really is. A big
tangle of material in the oak tree there. Lovely view that we've got
down onto it. How do you tell the difference between male and female
red kites? The male is generally a bit paler, age is difficult,
because males... We have both of them on this next bit of film. See
if you can see. The chick is scruffy. No, it's not.
There we are. This is the female. would suggest. So it's likely that
the male is collecting the food, passing it to the female close to
the nest and then she's bringing it in and breaking it up for the
youngster. It's still a time when the youngster might be picking at
the food but it can't successfully eat it for itself. She's being very
atentive tearing up what a rabbit there. Oh, here's the male.
Bringing in a stick by the looks of things. Is that the male being
absolutely rubbish, why is he bringing in a stick to the nest?
It's not a terribly well made nest. They tend to disintegrate through
the breeding process. I suppose running repairs. Bit of DIY.
like dad doing something on the roof, just hope he doesn't fall off
like mine used to. Fantastic to see. And of course, they are the result
of a fantastic reintroduction project. The kites hung on here but
they've supplemented their numbers through reintroductions. When it
comes to reintroductions our top ibic -- topic of the day is beavers.
Charlie, the midges down here, I don't want to go on about, that
I've been savaged. I've lost pints. I think it's a lot worse here,
Chris! Welcome back to Knadale. We're here trying to film the first
reintroduction of beavers to Britain. We've seen them floating
around in the daytime, caught one in the net. Behind me, this is
Frank and his family's handiwork. The beaver researchers here they
study and tag every single one of these trees that's felled as part
of their resarch here. But they've never actually seen a tree felled.
So, we set ourselves a mission, can we film a beaver felling a tree?
You'd think it would be easy, but it's not. Because take a look
around me. There are thousands of trees here. So which do you choose?
Which do you point your lens at? I shirt, I found a tree no beaver
would be able to resist. Just like we have our favourite foods,
beavers have their favourites. What I've got here is a great big aspen
sprig, which they just love. We're going to stick it in here. I'm
going to sit over there all night and see if we can get the shot of
Hopefully, when they get out of bed, they'll be able to smell this aspen,
which we can't smell at all. It doesn't smell of anything to me. It
smells of leaves. They apparently can distinguish this from all the
other trees in the area. Because there isn't any Aspen in this
immediate area, hopefully they'll come straight for it. It could be a
long wait, but I think it's worth a So, did I get the beaver? Well, I
waited. I got cold. I got bored. I got tired and I got nothing. But
being Springwatch, we weren't daunted. We sent specialist
wildlife cameraman into the hide and he sat there until 1am and just
this guy is called Christian. You can see he's amongst our kit having
a good old sniff around. Our scent, the camera crew's scent is probably
still there. He's being a bit cautious. Then look, he locks onto
our tree trunk that we stuck in. There it is, stuck into the mud
there. The first thing he does look, have
a good sniff. He's trying to work out what he can about that trunk.
He's reading all the information off it like a barcode. He's
stretching as high as he can, probably getting a sniff of the
leaves. Everything is too high. He won't stretch high enough. He will
have to chop this tree down to get to the yummy leaves up there.
No, don't go! No, no. He's started sniffing another branch. Come back.
Come on, come back. Yes, come on.
That's lovely. It's your favourite. Look at that. He's having another
sniff, a little taste. No, that's not a taste, that's a bite. He's
He's getting stuck in now. We've sped this up so you can see
it. He's going for it. He's going to strip that bark around the tree
and then go for the wood inside. He's really going for it, look.
He's chopping in. He's using an angle of 135 degrees from the
bottom and 45 degrees from the top. That's the optimum angles for
cutting down a tree trunk. If you fancy trying to cut down a tree
with your teeth at home. He's showing you how. He's stopped and
listening. If that tree trunk falls on him, it could crush him and kill
him. He has to get out of the way. He reckons it's safe. He's back in
again. He's nearly through it. I wonder how far he will get. So,
will Christian fell the tree? Or will Christian get squashed? We've
run out of time today. So you'll have to come back tomorrow to find
out. Thank you Charlie. Of course, more
on -- of Charlie, no he's enough as he is, but more from Charlie
through the week. We've just had the most enormous thunder storm.
And the train. We love to have your photographs and videos too, like
this one sent in by Katie Frampton. She had a surprise guest at a hot
cross bun picnic. A black adder. that unusual? They're relatively
rare. Can you always tell adders they always have a zig zag running
down their back. Even if they're black. They're not very good at
riding bikes. They don't usually steal them. We want lots of photos
and lots of film from you. Of course our webcams are going to be
up and running all night or most of the night. You can keep an eye on
that. And you can make contact with us by going to bbc.co.uk
Springwatch. Now that was the first show. We have plenty for you for
the second. We certainly have. Adders are on the menu tomorrow as
I meet a lady who's been studying femme for 30 years. I promised owls
and we will bring you owls. We have barn owls right here on the RSPB
reserve. We'll bring you those live. We're going up into the tree tops