Episode 10 Springwatch


Episode 10

The latest live updates from the Springwatch animal stars. Liz Bonnin is getting to grips with a family of foxes at a landfill site in Essex.


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Transcript


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Where do you get tales of incredible journeys? What happens

:00:15.:00:22.

when a little bird takes a mouthful to pick? A what did we see deep in

:00:22.:00:32.
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the woods last night? Find out on Hello, and welcome to Springwatch,

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coming to live from Wales. This evening we have Ben sconced

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ourselves in the rich woods of the RSPB's beautiful reserve. We have

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all the ingredients to promise you a top show, the best of British

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wildlife in real time. The we will be looking at one of our favourite

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little birds, dippers. How have they been getting on? And we are

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going to be bringing you news of these little babes in the ward. Did

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they survive the night? Our nest hang earth coming over from last

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night was this - wood warblers. The big question was what they or would

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they not fled to the lest -- the nest. Shall we have a quiz. There

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must be something round here. that do? What a spot of good luck.

:02:02.:02:12.
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Here is the quiz. What British animal did this come from? Get your

:02:13.:02:19.

answers in now, live on the web, on Twitter or Facebook. 10 programmes

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in, you are getting brilliant! Just look - it has very big guys. And

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something else that has big guys is Louis in Essex. A welcome to

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landfill live coming to you from Essex. We are making our way down

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from the active part of the landfill, and tonight is a mammal

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extravaganza because we are going to bring you a fox watching

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experience to remember, and we are also looking for Britain's fastest

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declining mammal. I am also going to show you what that is about - a

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green industry taking place on landfill.

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When queue. If you have been watching the programme over the

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last couple of weeks, you will know we have been watching warblers. We

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had grasshopper warblers, they left, but we also had other warblers

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which were doing terribly well. The adults had been very busy bringing

:03:24.:03:30.

a wealth of food up to 80 times an hour. Let's refresh our memories of

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just how active they were. We were talking about a brood bursting out

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of the nest. And sometimes bursting, and not being able to get out what

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they should out of the nest. It was unfortunate, but what I loved about

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this scene yesterday was that you can see just how those chicks are

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growing up, and that wonderful distinctive yellow stripe around

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their eyes has developed. It is already there, matching the adults.

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It is quite a cramped interior at this stage. They are hanging on for

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exactly the right time to go, making sure they have enough food.

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I think it was a slightly more adventurous exit than the

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grasshopper warblers, which scuttled off into the grass. Yes,

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they just decided to sit somewhere different! Of course we were

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keeping a very close eye on those wood warblers, and this morning

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this is what the story developer has caught on camera. At 8 o'clock,

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the first one took the plunge and flew the nest. Then, just

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afterwards, this mysterious shadow appeared in the corner of the frame.

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You can see the chicks have noticed it, they don't look overly

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concerned, but what is it? It is a blue tit. Clearly no threat to

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those chicks, but it was perhaps enough to encourage them out and

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the second chick left very soon after the blue tit left. Followed

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swiftly by the third, then let's have the 4th. We have one more to

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go, and there it goes. All out in a very energetic fashion, Chris. As

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we said, nothing like those grasshopper warblers, a much more

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decisive exit. The grasshopper warblers had been in the nest for

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11 days, these had been in for 15 so they were that much bigger. When

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we sent our cameraman out to find out what had happened to these

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birds - after all, they may not have made it - he observed this. He

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found the birds not on the ground, but already right up in the trees.

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Presumably because they have had that little bit longer in the nest,

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their flight feathers and their wings are looking almost as fully

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developed as an adult's wings, they were able to fly up into the can't

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be out of harm's way. Lookout its tail. The wing feathers are there

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tail. The wing feathers are there but the tail is still very short. I

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think this is because they don't want to develop the tale too much

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in such cramped space with the jostling going on because it might

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be damaged. I think they are putting their resources into their

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wing feathers, and it is now they will be growing their tails.

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Growing the tale is very important because these birds will not just

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be having a lovely lazy summer holiday. They are migratory species.

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What happens - do they migrate with the adults? The next few weeks they

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will be very busy. They have got to forage for themselves, the adults

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will feed them less and less. That will be possibly in another week to

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10 days. Then it is about putting on body weight because through

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until August there is a conspicuous migration when it comes to wood

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warblers. They kind of drift out of the UK and hang out in northern

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Italy, down through Spain, put on more weight before they make the

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leap to their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. Sierra Leone,

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through Niger, the top of Uganda, through to sit down. It is a

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phenomenal journey and now it is all about building up muscle

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strength and body weight. Do we know whether those little chicks

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that have been born in this ward, after that migration will they

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return? I don't know that but there has been a study going on here in

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these wards for the last few years. I wouldn't mind betting they do

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come back, although I have read reports of wood warblers turning up

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in other parts of the country, even southern Scotland. We will check it

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out. Those of you who have a very good memory may say hang on a

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second, there was wood warblers, I am sure they had six chicks but

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only five left, so what is going on? I will tell you - nature

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doesn't like hanging about. Look at this. One chick for some reason

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didn't make it. It was found in the nest, but you can see it moving.

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Not because it is alive, but because it is being recycled by one

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of nature's most extraordinary creatures, it is a beetle and I

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happen to know what is your favourite. It is, by a long way.

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This is the Sexton or burying beetles. The males are tracked the

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females, the females lay their eggs on it, but then they stick with the

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eggs and a kind of power over the top of them until they hatch. Then

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they still stick with them because when the young hatch, they don't

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have functional mouth parts for the first two growth stages of their

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development so the adult beetles tulle up the decaying meat and

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feeds it to the developing larvae, showing parents will care. How

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fabulous is that? If I were a dead wood warbler, I would want to be

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recycled by one of those Beatles. Let's remind you of a very dramatic

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story which we witnessed yesterday. This was the nest of friends which

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was raided by a at jay. The jay went round the back of the nest and

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started removing some of the nesting material, and with it one

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of the chicks. It forced out the five remaining tricks and they have

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left earlier than they would have done naturally. They ended up

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hidden in the undergrowth just below the tree in which they were

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nesting. We wondered if they had any chance of surviving the night,

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because Jays are very clever birds. We sent our cameraman out on a

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mission to see if they were still there this morning. He spotted the

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adult bird with food so we thought that was a good sign. As it turned

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out, we were right. The chicks had survived and he found all five of

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them in the undergrowth. When we saw them last night, I thought life

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become a landslide frankly, a downhill slope but they seem to be

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OK at the moment. I have got to stick up for the jape at this stage.

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They typically only predate eggs and young birds during their own

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breeding season. Through the rest of the season they eat

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invertebrates and acorns in the wintertime. They are not all bad.

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Martin has a film coming up later in the programme about another

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member of this family, the magpie. Enough from us, let's move on to

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the guest naturalist this week and see where she is. She is in a

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landfill site, and I have got to say we have a very fine evening up

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in Wales. Is the weather beautiful for you down there? It has been a

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scorcher all day, so much so I had to put my sunglasses on. We are

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still on a mission to find out how landfill can contribute to wildlife

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conservation of the 21st century. Yesterday we found out landfill is

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not just about dumping rubbish, it also provides food and shelter for

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wild animals and we got a glimpse of those foxes. More about them

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later on, but you might be wondering what the noise is about.

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Shaun Taylor is over here, the site manager here. What is this? We have

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over 1000 wells in the landfill. All that gas is brought down to

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this compound here. What do you turn the gas into here? It is

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turned into electricity and then we have installed a cable that runs

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out of the front of the site, and then it is turned into electricity

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and taken off-site. How many homes do you provide electricity for?

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to 20,000 homes. How long will it last for? We expect to create

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electricity here for up to 50 years. Thank you. It is great to see how

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the strains of the modern world can be put to use. Remember those foxes

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yesterday that the cameras caught shots off over the spring? We

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decided it was time to get a little bit more up close and personal.

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Phil is an ecologist who works with the company that runs this site. As

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part of his work, he photographs foxes here and has studied them for

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30 years. I am hoping his long- standing relationship with them can

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help me and the adventure team have a close encounter we will not

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forget. How are we going to do this? How can we approach the foxes

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carefully? We are going to walk up to the bank here, and sit there and

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wait until they come out basically. This obviously helps. We feed them

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bits of pork to encourage them to come to the camera. I know what is

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a great incentive for them to come out, but does that mean we can

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bring the whole group? What is the maximum we can bring near to the

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foxes? We will just start with the two of us. Can they creep forward

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eventually? Yes. We will go ahead and see how it goes. Ready? Let's

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do this. OK. This isn't just for fun. We want to know how likely it

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is that we can film the foxes live at the end of the week. Call it

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field research, if you like. It soon becomes apparent that getting

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a film crew close to foxes here really isn't a problem. When I say

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So pretty. That's a cub chasing away an adult. He is bold as brass.

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How did these foxes become so tame in the first place? There were a

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crew of earth movers here, big truckers, you know, they never ate

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their crusts, right. They just threw their crusts where they were

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eating on site. There were two cubs like this, who were pretty bold,

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they started coming. What happens is, the foxes learn from each other.

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They watch what other foxes do and they learn. If one sees another one

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getting food, then it must be able to think, well, maybe I could do

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that as well. What are your thoughts about feeding the foxes?

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Feeding foxes, I think, is extremely controversial. I've got

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no problems with people feeding foxes, you need to think it through.

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If you are feeding foxs in your garden, then you need to think

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really about what your neighbours might think about that. On a site

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like this, then, I think, there's no harm in it. The population, you

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know, isn't sustainable without the food source up on the landfill,

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perhaps, without the handouts from people like me. There are more

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foxes per square mile here at the landfill than there are anywhere

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else in Britain. Being so tame, there really couldn't be a better

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place to try and get a film crew an intimate encounter. We succeeded

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:16:45.:16:48.

today, they're all around the crew, take a look. So beautiful. Safe to

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say, that was a fairly successful afternoon. I didn't think we were

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going to see so many foxes altogether. Now, the big challenge

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is to bring all of that to you, I still cannot believe that

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actually happened. I want to bring those foxes to you in the best

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possible way that we can. That does mean bringing them to you live. So,

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bear with us. We will do our best. By the end of the week we will be

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able to do just that. Thank you very much, Liz. Amazing to see all

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those foxes. Densely in the whole of the UK? Amazing. Beautiful

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animals too. Hold a torch to a tiger me the fox. Stunning creature.

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Shall we look at some of our foxes? Let's do that. This was yesterday

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night. Young, surprised to see such youngsters. Late in the year like,

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this they must have been late. It's difficult to age them. I would say

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they are probably about 12 weeks old. Maybe a little bit older, 12-

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15 weeks old. They are still quite young for this time of year. What

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surprised me, they seemed to be going into that badger's sett.

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Shall we look? Yes. This is what we got last night. I had said that, if

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I ever find that another badger turns up on the at the sett I will

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eat my coat. It did. Highlighted behind the foliage. It goes down

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one of the holes. Half an hour later, this wasn't immediately,

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carrying food and goes down the same hole. There is co-habituation

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going on here. It amazes me they will live side by side like this?

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They get something out of. It the badger Escude ka vaited a fine

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living space. Here they have luxury accommodation, lots of chambers.

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Well cleaned out. Foxs are famous for bringing lots of carrying and

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food back to the den area. I wouldn't mind betting that the

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badgers might scavenge some of this. Both are benefiting? Badger is top

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dog. Stronger jaws and powerful teeth. So the badger will come off

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top. Would win. Definitely. Now a little bird that is loved by anyone,

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the dipper. Let's look. This was filmed by Lindsay again. This was

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filmed but the deluge on Sunday. He is learning his craft, he or she.

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He has to learn to hundred hunt under the water, hasn't he? He has

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to do it pretty quickly. After they fledge they can become independent

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from the parents in just a week. Parents still here now. I think

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that's the male. The male will sometimes continue to feed. It's

:19:59.:20:09.

funny you say that, I think that is comctly -- exactly what will happen.

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A big pause. He hand it to the youngster. The female may have

:20:16.:20:20.

started another clutch of eggs. They will have up to three in the

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season. That was before the deluge. They were doing very well. Over the

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course of the weekend we had a tremendous amount of rain. The

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river where the dippers are living went into full spate. They can't

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hunt in that? They say that. In the less turbulent parts the adults

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would do well. The youngster is no fool. It hasn't been able to learn

:20:45.:20:50.

how to hunt blow the surface. It is picking around on themoss. Walking

:20:50.:21:00.
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around on the rocks. They have extremely dense plumage. They can

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slow their heartbeat down when they go blow the water. They have strong

:21:06.:21:10.

legs. These are fantastic under water creatures. We have to say

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that. You would never guess it. What about the skull? Shall we do

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the skull? I think so. Where is it? Here is the skull. Answers have

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been coming in thick and fast. Would you hold it for me, Becky,

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please, thank you very much. Some people got it wrong. Lucy and Crazy

:21:30.:21:35.

Blue think it's a sheep. Show him the teeth. Facebook, Debbie thinks

:21:36.:21:43.

it's an otter. Interesting. Not quite there yet, I'd say. This is

:21:43.:21:53.
:21:53.:21:57.

the largest mamalion carnivore you will find in the UK. You will

:21:57.:22:02.

notice that Martin managed to tempt me away for a boy's weekend.he

:22:03.:22:08.

crammed me into the side car of a motorcycle. He kept trying to go

:22:08.:22:15.

faster. I managed to slow him down. He tempted me to a port hole that

:22:15.:22:22.

led to a beautiful place. You know, I have to say, I've been rather

:22:22.:22:32.
:22:32.:22:35.

impressed with Martin's boys' weekends so far. I've seen seals,

:22:36.:22:39.

and a species of dipper that I've never seen before and, frankly, I

:22:40.:22:47.

never want to see again. Barking, barking, barringing mad. Now, he's

:22:47.:22:57.
:22:57.:22:57.

taken me off-roading. I don't think my bum's going to take any more!

:22:57.:23:07.

Honestly! Honestly, what am I doing? I have to stop you now.

:23:07.:23:12.

Before we go through this doorway, I might almost call it a, "port

:23:12.:23:22.
:23:22.:23:35.

hole". We have seen a few cormorants. It's the middle of

:23:35.:23:40.

their breeding season. It gives us a great opportunity to have a great

:23:40.:23:46.

look at these splendid seabirds. Local expert, Chris Sharp, has been

:23:46.:23:51.

monitoring the colony. Hi, Chris. How do. Nice to see you. What is

:23:51.:23:56.

going on? It's quite quiet it at the moment. Birds are sitting tight

:23:56.:24:01.

on eggs. Birds are flying to-and- fro with nesting material. The male

:24:01.:24:07.

does all the work of building the nest. Pretty much. She just lays.

:24:07.:24:12.

Takes her time and makes the decision and decides if he's the

:24:12.:24:18.

right one. Extraordinary colours on them. They have electric green eyes.

:24:18.:24:25.

Yellow under neath the bill. I like their backs, burnish green and

:24:25.:24:30.

bronze like armour. They rfplt you can see the plates of the armour in

:24:30.:24:34.

the black. I haven't seen that before until we got this close.

:24:34.:24:44.
:24:44.:24:45.

Stunning birds. They are very hot. Basically, they pant because,

:24:45.:24:49.

obviously, birds can't sweat. The thing, is they have interesting

:24:49.:24:54.

displays, don't they, they flip their wings back and tip all their

:24:54.:24:58.

way back to their tail? Yes. Occasionally still now there is

:24:58.:25:01.

demonstrating going on, pair bonding and showing off,

:25:01.:25:05.

effectively, attracting the mate. Securing the partnership for the

:25:05.:25:10.

season. I imagine they are not good flyers. Do the cormorants who live

:25:10.:25:18.

they move further afield No, they move further afield. Birds have

:25:18.:25:25.

been found dead on the A30 in Devon. Not very good drivers. They got

:25:25.:25:30.

down to Devon and up into Scotland? Absolutely. I will no idea they do

:25:30.:25:33.

that. They use inland water bodies. They go to fresh water as well

:25:33.:25:37.

asthma rein. On that account, they will often be seen far from water

:25:37.:25:41.

as they move from the coast to reservoirs and things like this. I

:25:41.:25:45.

had them flying over the house. They are a long way from water.

:25:45.:25:51.

They are hopping from one food resource to another? Yes. High,

:25:51.:25:58.

good at gliding. Powerful flyers. They fly like geese. They are

:25:58.:26:02.

staggeringly beautiful. I could watch them all day. It's

:26:02.:26:06.

wonderfully peaceful up here on these cliffs. What a great weekend

:26:06.:26:12.

I've had. I've thoroughly enjoyed myself. More importantingly, has

:26:12.:26:17.

Chris? I've had a fantastic time. Great. It's a fantastic place.

:26:17.:26:25.

People were very friendly. The landscape is stunning. Highlight,

:26:25.:26:35.
:26:35.:26:37.

it will go to the should haves. What have you got lined up for me

:26:37.:26:41.

have something lined up, there is one thing I can assure you, there

:26:41.:26:47.

will be no camping. No camping or reckless driving. I have been

:26:47.:26:53.

driven by the seat of my pants. lent out. I was getting good at the

:26:53.:26:58.

leaning. Just for a moment, a tiny moment, I thought you had become a

:26:58.:27:04.

bit rugged. Not me me. Wait until you see tomorrow. Everything ends

:27:04.:27:09.

up more domesticated, we end up in a gallery. He will become civilised

:27:09.:27:17.

by the end of my boys' day out. These are our buzzard chicks. Two

:27:17.:27:24.

extremely well fed, well cared for chicks. Doing that astonishing bird

:27:24.:27:28.

of prey transformation, changing from little Downey things, the

:27:28.:27:33.

adult feathers are emerging. That is their second down coat

:27:33.:27:36.

disappearing fast. Their contour feat feathers are coming through.

:27:37.:27:42.

When they stand up they have their primaries and the stump of their

:27:43.:27:47.

teal tail. An amaids mazing transformation. We have seen some

:27:47.:27:51.

very good parenting. Perhaps this little chick bit off something

:27:52.:27:57.

rather more than he can chew. The leg of a rabbit. It seems to be set

:27:57.:28:02.

at a right angle. Uncompromising one, as you can see the chick

:28:02.:28:08.

thought too. Many people saw this on the webcams over the weekend and

:28:08.:28:11.

were concerned the chick was choking. Yes. No need to be

:28:11.:28:15.

concerned. They have adapted over millions of years to swallow large

:28:15.:28:20.

items of prey. Their throats, as such, have changed. Their windpipe

:28:20.:28:24.

as such a stiff covering of cartilage it's almost like a boney

:28:24.:28:29.

tube, when you look at it. It does manage to get it down. It doesn't

:28:29.:28:32.

look very happy afterwards. It's like calling for the heart burn

:28:32.:28:37.

pills, definitely. I had an Indian at the weekend, I did the same

:28:37.:28:45.

thing at the end of it, I have to say. Their throat has a series of

:28:45.:28:49.

very powerful longer muscles which crush and compress the thing as it

:28:49.:28:53.

is going down the throat before it gets to the gizzard. No worries. If

:28:53.:29:00.

it were to shobg choke it would recourage Tate it or and try again

:29:00.:29:02.

or give up hope altogether. Sometimes there are eating things

:29:02.:29:07.

that, sadly for me, are easier to get down. We have seen, during the

:29:07.:29:13.

course of making the programme, a whole stash, every time I look at

:29:13.:29:17.

the buzzard nest there was another grass snake. It's only five that

:29:17.:29:22.

they have eaten. This is all today. You know, they were bringing in

:29:22.:29:27.

grass snakes. This adult was bringing in grass snakes, it seemed,

:29:27.:29:33.

throughout this morning. She must have fond one of those bundles.

:29:34.:29:40.

Those knots of snakes. She must have thought, "I will have that one

:29:40.:29:46.

"requesting. They develop what we call a, "search image" they can

:29:46.:29:50.

find the prey more easily than if the process was random. Once they

:29:50.:29:54.

found, it they are easy to catch, they are going back for more and

:29:54.:30:00.

more and more. Let's move or over here. This is where our snake cam

:30:00.:30:05.

is set up. You can see the camera here. It's set up on this compost

:30:05.:30:10.

heap. It has seen a tremendous amount of activity. Before we see

:30:10.:30:14.

what we caught on snake cam this morning, let's just have a look at

:30:15.:30:20.

where this compost heap is and why it is good for grass snakes. One of

:30:20.:30:24.

the reasons they are attracted to it is that it's out in the open.

:30:24.:30:29.

It's not boxed in. Boxed in compost heaps, in plastic, no good for

:30:29.:30:39.
:30:39.:30:41.

Enough light coming in so it really does warm-up during the day.

:30:41.:30:47.

doesn't get too much sun, but this rotting vegetation is fermenting,

:30:47.:30:51.

which is generating heap. The reason the snakes have come here is

:30:51.:30:56.

to lay their eggs, this is like a natural incubator. If we came back

:30:56.:31:01.

in a couple of months' time, there could be as many as 200 eggs in

:31:01.:31:05.

there. Let's see what we caught on camera this morning because it was

:31:05.:31:10.

a beautifully warm day and the snakes were basking in the sunshine.

:31:10.:31:15.

Quite active as well, and we saw snakes moving about on the compost

:31:15.:31:20.

heap, but also leaving the compost heap altogether. Presumably, are

:31:20.:31:26.

they going off to hunt? At a think they are. May have laid their eggs

:31:26.:31:31.

and now they're moving off to hunt. Laying eggs is a very energetic

:31:31.:31:35.

exercise. These snakes will get some meals in them before they

:31:35.:31:40.

hibernate for the winter so that is what we are seeing them do now. The

:31:40.:31:44.

activity over the next few weeks I think we'll go down. If you have a

:31:44.:31:49.

garden pond and you have ever seen a grass snake, make a corner of

:31:49.:31:53.

your garden a place to dump your grass cuttings and they might stay

:31:53.:32:00.

to breed. We had another sighting of the great creature here on the

:32:00.:32:08.

reserve today. Again, thanks to the sunshine, and it was this little

:32:08.:32:13.

dinosaur, a common lizard. Look at this, they seem to be crawling

:32:13.:32:18.

along the wood and lifting up their feet. You have seen that with

:32:18.:32:22.

lizards in Africa in the desert, lifting their feet to cope with the

:32:22.:32:26.

hot sand - do you think that is what is happening here? It could be

:32:26.:32:31.

a display, but it was a very hot day. Those pieces of wood will be

:32:31.:32:34.

scorching so I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't similar

:32:34.:32:38.

behaviour. It is a bit like us walking on to the baking hot sandy

:32:38.:32:44.

beach. Some people put sandals on, I stick to my boots because I don't

:32:44.:32:49.

like sand between my toes. Let's go back to Liz at the landfill site.

:32:50.:32:54.

I'm sure you have some pretty rugged footwear on down there. I

:32:54.:32:59.

her got all the gear, the boots, the jacket, the hard hat, it is

:32:59.:33:09.

under control. Below me, that gas generation plant, using carbon

:33:09.:33:14.

dioxide generated from the landfill. I looked at another by-product of

:33:14.:33:23.

landfill earlier on. Again, not the first thing I would have expected

:33:23.:33:28.

to see at a landfill site - what is this? We are probably getting on

:33:28.:33:32.

for half a mile away from the tip face which we saw today.

:33:32.:33:36.

Nevertheless, this is part of the landfill site which we have to

:33:36.:33:46.
:33:46.:33:48.

control. What we have here is best described by, if the bin man

:33:48.:33:51.

doesn't come for a couple of weeks, when he finally does come you drag

:33:51.:33:56.

the backs out and the liquid that drops out of the backs, that is

:33:56.:34:00.

what we have here - the breaking down of the waist, and it is a

:34:00.:34:05.

liquid that you get on landfill. can imagine that is a lot on a

:34:05.:34:10.

landfill site. The two is also the rain fall because any rain that

:34:10.:34:15.

hits the site, we have to control that as well. That comes from the

:34:15.:34:21.

waist. Yes, so that permeates through, and we have a ditch that

:34:21.:34:29.

runs all round the site. Eventually it ends up in these two lagoons.

:34:29.:34:33.

we have a very watery world around the land deal, but can anything

:34:33.:34:39.

live in this? It is looking fairly murky, but it is quite toxic as

:34:39.:34:45.

well. It has a lot of ammonia and no oxygen in it whatsoever so it is

:34:45.:34:49.

bad news for anything it wants to live in it, but there are a lot of

:34:49.:34:53.

reed beds surrounding these ditches and they are an important part of

:34:53.:34:57.

this land fell because they are part of a natural filtering system

:34:57.:35:02.

that cleans up this stuff. Within those reed beds, the bird life get

:35:02.:35:09.

very interesting. Cuckoos love to lay their eggs in reed warblers

:35:09.:35:14.

nests. They are such an attraction that we have more than just this

:35:14.:35:22.

one here. Look at the posture, the lowered wings and the wagging tail

:35:22.:35:28.

are a threat to another male working nearby. Both want to claim

:35:28.:35:32.

this territory, knowing it will be very attractive to a female looking

:35:32.:35:39.

to lay her eggs in a warbler nest. The cuckoo is clearly agitated, and

:35:39.:35:49.
:35:49.:35:52.

just watch as he looks down to avoid a dive bomb by the other male.

:35:52.:35:56.

We watched this fighting go on for several minutes and it turned into

:35:56.:36:06.
:36:06.:36:09.

With cuckoos in steep decline across the UK, it was a real coup

:36:09.:36:14.

to get not one but two birds on camera, and really encouraging to

:36:14.:36:18.

know they seem to be doing very well in this unusual part of wild

:36:18.:36:26.

Essex. It was a big surprise to find one of Britain's most

:36:26.:36:31.

endangered birds here. It is a land fill that just keeps giving and

:36:31.:36:35.

there is even more wild life to come from those ditches a little

:36:35.:36:45.
:36:45.:36:46.

bit later on. Thank you, Liz. Martin, I know has got a bit of

:36:46.:36:50.

cocoon news for us in a bit, but hold on because I want to share

:36:50.:36:57.

with you one of my favourite birds and it is this one. It is the red

:36:57.:37:01.

kite, and these were filmed - thank you to everyone at the Forestry

:37:02.:37:08.

Commission of Wales. This was just for me, I have to confess. I said

:37:08.:37:13.

we haven't seen enough of these birds and they are so beautiful,

:37:13.:37:17.

particularly in flight. Those long fingers of their flight feathers

:37:17.:37:23.

and that incredibly easy to spot tale which just allows them to be

:37:23.:37:28.

so acrobatic in flight. That was just for me, that is it. You

:37:28.:37:33.

obviously want to know about the red kite chick. It has grown up

:37:33.:37:37.

quite substantially since we last caught up with it, and so today it

:37:37.:37:45.

was a big stage in its little life. Tony Cross went up to the nest to

:37:45.:37:51.

ring the bird, he was doing this and as you can see he is attaching

:37:52.:38:01.
:38:02.:38:02.

attack to its wing. That is the right hand wing and I believe the

:38:02.:38:07.

letter stands for Springwatch. Tagging birds is very important for

:38:07.:38:11.

general research, but for anybody visiting this area of Wales, it

:38:11.:38:17.

allows them a very good chance of identifying our very chick. It does

:38:17.:38:22.

indeed. With the wing tack, they are highly visible. If the bird is

:38:22.:38:27.

perched, you will be able to see that. It is important, if you get

:38:27.:38:35.

records, to send them into the appropriate organisations.

:38:35.:38:39.

probably will stick around because they do tend to stay in the area

:38:39.:38:44.

where they were born. They do, they move away but then they come back

:38:44.:38:50.

to this area. He gives a problem when they are reintroduced because

:38:50.:38:55.

they are not spreading quickly. There are better birds in my humble

:38:55.:39:02.

opinion however. I have a crazy love for one called the woodcock.

:39:02.:39:07.

Last winter, I was fortunate to meet the scientist called Andrew

:39:07.:39:11.

who works for the game conservation and wildlife trust, and he went out

:39:11.:39:17.

in the night, court a woodcock, and I was able to hold the bird whilst

:39:17.:39:23.

he attached a data logger to the bird. He then released this bird

:39:23.:39:28.

and it disappeared into the night. What was it all about? The 74%

:39:29.:39:32.

decline in would Cox had been measured, they are now on the Amber

:39:32.:39:37.

List and we want to find out more about them. Andrew caught another

:39:37.:39:41.

bird in Cornwall, and in the springtime it flew all the way

:39:41.:39:48.

across to Austria, then it flew across to part of southern Russia,

:39:48.:39:55.

and then by 23rd April it had returned to the south of Moscow

:39:56.:40:02.

where it bred. It then came down to part of the Ukraine, across to

:40:02.:40:09.

Belgium where it stayed only for a fleeting visit. It then moved to

:40:09.:40:14.

Kent, before going back to Cornwall where the data logger was recovered.

:40:14.:40:21.

This was a journey of 9179 kilometres. I used: it is because

:40:21.:40:29.

most of it was across the modern world. That was 5702 miles. An

:40:29.:40:32.

incredible piece of technology telling us so much about these

:40:32.:40:39.

birds. It is not the only piece of gadgetry helping us through this.

:40:39.:40:44.

can talk your technology. We saw some fantastic pictures of cuckoos

:40:44.:40:49.

from Liz, but what about our cuckoos. They had been tagged with

:40:49.:40:55.

a very special Tracker. This is where they were yesterday. Slightly

:40:55.:41:00.

bad news for me, but first of all - remember they had been named after

:41:00.:41:08.

Chris and myself - Chris is down here and almost ready to make the

:41:08.:41:16.

jump. That is how I feel! I was ready to move north. It was like

:41:16.:41:20.

this on the Isle of Man, always moving in one direction. But this

:41:20.:41:26.

one has gone further south. What I love about this is that you get the

:41:26.:41:31.

data and then that tracker switches itself off and it takes 48 hours to

:41:31.:41:38.

recharge the batteries, then we get another dose of data. We can follow

:41:38.:41:44.

this on our website. We have had only one winning recovery from sub-

:41:44.:41:49.

Saharan. In a few months' time we will have so much data, it is so

:41:49.:41:59.
:41:59.:42:00.

exciting. Now, the quiz. Correct on the website, Nicola, Louise on

:42:00.:42:07.

Facebook - it is a grey seal. To all of you who thought it was a

:42:07.:42:16.

badger, here is a badger. A lot smaller. There are badgers this big

:42:16.:42:21.

out at night, I wouldn't be walking...! It is now time for

:42:21.:42:25.

another Springwatch investigation, into a bird which court controversy,

:42:25.:42:31.

one which we all have an opinion on. Magpies. None of us likes to see a

:42:31.:42:36.

little trick being killed in the back garden by a magpie. But do

:42:36.:42:42.

they have any overall effect on our songbird numbers? Should we kill

:42:42.:42:52.
:42:52.:42:54.

Magpies, like the rest of the crow family, are known for their

:42:54.:42:58.

intelligence and adaptability, but there is no getting away from it -

:42:58.:43:02.

they are also unpopular with many people because they raid nests

:43:02.:43:07.

taking eggs and chicks. Magpie numbers have doubled since the

:43:07.:43:11.

1970s, whilst many farmland and garden birds have suffered dramatic

:43:11.:43:19.

declines. So, is there a link? Are magpies responsible? I am going to

:43:19.:43:28.

ask the experts, first up the RSPB. Here is the crucial question - do

:43:28.:43:33.

magpies make any difference at all to overall survival rates for

:43:33.:43:43.
:43:43.:43:47.

garden songbirds? No. That is great, how can you say that? My pies have

:43:48.:43:52.

lived alongside songbirds for millennia and songbirds can deal

:43:52.:43:57.

with the present. Their strategy is to have lots of youngsters. They

:43:57.:44:01.

are masters of probability. They know that having lots of youngsters

:44:01.:44:05.

means they can cope with the presence of predators. Simple as

:44:05.:44:12.

that. That seems pretty clear cut but there are still many people

:44:12.:44:18.

culling magpies. I am here to one of them from the Conservation Trust,

:44:18.:44:24.

who trains people to use these traps. There is the catching half,

:44:24.:44:32.

and that is the half where the decoy bird lives. How does this

:44:32.:44:36.

work? We put this out in the countryside,

:44:36.:44:41.

and the crow or a magpie comes to trace the intruder away. In the

:44:42.:44:48.

process, they get themselves caught in one of these catches. So it

:44:48.:44:51.

lands on that and it is nailed in there. The captured birds are

:44:51.:44:58.

killed but Mike is convinced Colin magpies is necessary. We are

:44:58.:45:05.

confident that this is important in mushing populations of -- managing

:45:06.:45:10.

populations. Your main focus will be on game birds which you are

:45:10.:45:14.

breeding for shooting round here, but are you also concerned with the

:45:14.:45:24.
:45:24.:45:28.

I don't know how important the control might be in relation to the

:45:28.:45:33.

other species. It turned out to be more complicated than I thought

:45:33.:45:39.

this question, now I'm about to go to the BTO, the headquarters of the

:45:39.:45:45.

British Trust for orntholing. If we are going to clet clarity, it's

:45:45.:45:50.

going to be here. The BTO undertook some very, very detailed research.

:45:50.:45:54.

Here is the paper. Can you summarise, what were the results of

:45:54.:46:03.

that research? We looked at 3 0 song bird species and seven

:46:03.:46:08.

predator species, both predators on adult birds, sparrowhawks and

:46:08.:46:17.

kestrels and predators of eggs and nestlingings. There were very few

:46:17.:46:20.

significant relationships between the growth in the predator

:46:20.:46:24.

population and decline in the song population and decline in the song

:46:24.:46:26.

bird population. The bottom line, from this evidence, seems to be

:46:26.:46:32.

that magpies, which is what we started off looking into, probably

:46:32.:46:40.

have little or no affect on overall countrywide population of our song

:46:40.:46:44.

birds? That is right. Another organisation isn't convinced that

:46:44.:46:50.

it can be dismissed entirely. don't pretend it's the major factor

:46:50.:46:55.

necessarily because habitat, nest site, food supply is probably as

:46:55.:46:59.

important, if not more important. It's an important factor which

:46:59.:47:05.

hasn't been looked at thoroughly. That's really tricky. There's paper

:47:05.:47:12.

after paper, this is 21 different organisations, all of them are

:47:12.:47:16.

coming up with the same, the principle cause of song bird

:47:16.:47:23.

decline is more about changes in land use use. More likely to be, is

:47:23.:47:27.

that actual? Even though song bird survival aren't yet satisfied

:47:27.:47:32.

nearly all the papers I have read conclude that song bird declines

:47:32.:47:39.

are duh to habitat issues. It seems it can be a problem at local level.

:47:39.:47:47.

Even the RSPB control magpies and crows on some of their reserves.

:47:47.:47:52.

Some occasions the bird populations have fallen to such an extent duh

:47:52.:47:55.

to changes in habitat that a predator can be the final straw.

:47:55.:48:00.

You are talking about a small isolated population that is on

:48:00.:48:04.

their knees. There we look to reduce the potential impact. I have

:48:04.:48:09.

spoken to the experts. One thing is clear, unlike the magpie itself,

:48:09.:48:14.

this issue is far from black-and- white. I still think there is an

:48:14.:48:19.

overwhelming weight of evidence to show that magpies have no overall

:48:19.:48:24.

effect on our song bird populations. Last night I was at home, looked

:48:24.:48:29.

out the window, at the nest box, a magpie flu in and sat on the branch

:48:29.:48:34.

next to. It I knew what was going through that magpie's head, it was

:48:34.:48:39.

checking it out. I was outraged. I would have rushed out and knead fly

:48:39.:48:43.

away. I stopped and thought, it doesn't matter how much I know, my

:48:43.:48:53.
:48:53.:48:59.

I have to say, I agree with Martin. It's one of those issues use. You

:48:59.:49:03.

know magpies are doing it to survive. Every bird has a right to

:49:03.:49:10.

survive, it doesn't make it ease wrer when you see a magpie raiding

:49:10.:49:16.

the rest in the garden. Under dogs I'm a fan of magpie and nature

:49:16.:49:20.

finding its own balance. This debate could go on and on, it will

:49:20.:49:27.

do. You can join our message boards. Take a bg a look at this piece of

:49:27.:49:31.

Take a bg a look at this piece of film that has been sent in this is

:49:31.:49:35.

a sparrowhawk chased off of its eggs by a crow. The crow then comes

:49:36.:49:40.

in, the hawk grabs hold of it and pulse it away. It comes back for a

:49:40.:49:46.

second attempt. When you think it's about to peck, in comes the female

:49:46.:49:50.

sparrowhawk again. A great tussle takes place. It's very brave of her.

:49:50.:49:57.

She is smaller and lighter than that crow. She is. She is trying to

:49:57.:50:01.

protect her resource. Neither seem to want to give up. There is a sad

:50:01.:50:07.

end to this story. We don't see it here, the crow came back. They are

:50:07.:50:14.

so persistent. It came back and was seen pecking out the sparrowhawk

:50:14.:50:19.

eggs. They have a place in the grand scheme of things. He is

:50:19.:50:22.

absolutely heartbroken. Another bird we have been following, since

:50:22.:50:30.

we have been here on site, is the osprey. It's not actually on this

:50:30.:50:37.

reserve. It's a kilometer down the estuary. It's part of the Osprey

:50:37.:50:43.

Project. It is incredibly exciting. This is the first time that ospreys

:50:43.:50:48.

have nested here in Wales for 400 years. That is four centuries. She

:50:48.:50:54.

hatched out three chicks. We were worried initially. This is a first

:50:54.:50:58.

time mum. She didn't seem to be getting feeding very right. Chris,

:50:58.:51:02.

we can see, not only are they catching fantastic prey, this

:51:02.:51:05.

estuary is full of fish, particularly at the moment, after

:51:05.:51:10.

all that rain, sea trot and salmon running up the estuary, those

:51:10.:51:14.

chicks are doing really well indeed. Productive waters here. We are

:51:14.:51:19.

running short of time. Liz down there in Essex, are the Pitsea

:51:19.:51:25.

waterways proving fruitful too? They really are, Chris. Not just

:51:25.:51:34.

the Riverways, the ditchs as well. They form part of a water treatment

:51:34.:51:41.

system. When it's clean enough it returns back to the Thames. Within

:51:41.:51:46.

the ditchs we found cuckoos, rumour has it that a special little mammal

:51:46.:51:54.

is lurking in amongst the reeds as When you are tracking wildlife you

:51:54.:52:01.

have to know what signs to look out for. This rare mammal makes its

:52:01.:52:06.

small burrows around four to eight centimetres in die amateur on the

:52:06.:52:09.

bank's edge. If the burrow is inhas been ated there may be a grazed

:52:10.:52:14.

area around the entrance. The animal I'm looking for is the

:52:14.:52:19.

elusive water vole. It might be the UK's fastest declining mammal,

:52:19.:52:24.

there is plenty of evidence of there is plenty of evidence of

:52:24.:52:28.

their presence here. This is really interesting, classic tell-tale

:52:28.:52:34.

signs of water vole activity. This is one of the favourite food of the

:52:34.:52:40.

water vole. All around here are nice broken munched on pieces.

:52:40.:52:45.

Small piles of cut rushs are good clues, to be 100% sure it's a water

:52:45.:52:51.

vole look for the tell-tale 45 degree cuts to the stems. Niche

:52:52.:52:58.

areas, full of scat, mark breeding territories with droppings around

:52:58.:53:03.

eight to ten millimetres lock long with a distinctive green colour

:53:03.:53:07.

when you crush them. That is, definitely, definitely very fresh.

:53:07.:53:11.

Which means there's lots of water vole activity here. Time to get the

:53:11.:53:21.
:53:21.:53:24.

traps all over this area. I'm going to put some bait down, in the form

:53:24.:53:30.

to put some bait down, in the form of apples, let's see what we get.

:53:30.:53:35.

So all the signs were there. We had our cameras set up, everything was

:53:35.:53:40.

looking rosy am we were putting apples out there it attract the

:53:40.:53:44.

water voles. There is another well- known rodent who is partial to

:53:44.:53:54.
:53:54.:53:54.

coming up to the bank, what is it? It's furry, it's a mammal. Look at

:53:54.:53:58.

the tail. It's very long, it has no fur on it. Those ears are fairly

:53:58.:54:05.

obvious, they are protrudeing, the nose is long. That is a brown rat.

:54:05.:54:09.

Look at what it's trying to do. It's trying to get into the water.

:54:09.:54:13.

That is why it's often confused with the water vole, like the vole,

:54:13.:54:17.

with the water vole, like the vole, it likes water, it likes to swim.

:54:17.:54:21.

Yes. No real surprise there. Where ever you find water voles you tend

:54:21.:54:25.

to find brown vat rats. You will find it happens all the time. So

:54:25.:54:29.

did we give up? I tell you something, the Springwatch

:54:29.:54:34.

adventure team never gives up. It's a mantra of ours. Take a look at

:54:34.:54:37.

a mantra of ours. Take a look at this. Now, it may have taken them a

:54:37.:54:42.

few days, our specialist camera man, Sam, I think, has got what we are

:54:42.:54:46.

looking for. Where did you get these images? Earlier this morning.

:54:46.:54:52.

R Look at that. You can see it coming out of the hole there.

:54:52.:54:59.

Devine. A little water vole face poking its head out. Ah! That is

:54:59.:55:09.
:55:09.:55:10.

the apple we baited. Finally. cute is that? Excellent. Such a

:55:10.:55:18.

result. So glad to see that. It's very clearly a water vole, not a

:55:18.:55:23.

brown rat. Look at that rounded blunt nose and orange teeth and the

:55:23.:55:29.

lack of protrudeing ears, all a dead givaway. How many days did it

:55:29.:55:35.

take you to get that? About three. That is good footage here. How

:55:35.:55:41.

gorgeous is that? Brilliant. Good job, well done, Sam. That is lovely

:55:41.:55:51.
:55:51.:55:52.

to see. Our ditchs do have lots of ammonia can live in them. Insects

:55:52.:55:58.

living in it because they can get oxygen from the air. Mammals are

:55:58.:56:03.

living around the water at PH, it's not really toxic. The bacterial

:56:03.:56:07.

load would be our problem with our humans. We couldn't handle that.

:56:07.:56:12.

Mammals are tougher than that. The wildlife here is tougher. Water

:56:12.:56:17.

voles can live around this area. That is good news. They are the

:56:17.:56:20.

UK's fastest declining mammal. Great to see them making a home

:56:20.:56:28.

Great to see them making a home So where are we so far with our

:56:28.:56:32.

landfill adventure? We have seen how we throwaway far too much

:56:32.:56:36.

rubbish. We have seen how it provides food and shelter for

:56:36.:56:43.

wildlife. We have seen how the landfill produces gases leechate.

:56:43.:56:48.

We will see how the land is giving back to nature. We are also going

:56:48.:56:52.

to laugh in the face of fear because we are taking on the curse

:56:52.:56:57.

of Springwatch Badger watching. We will see you tomorrow. Liz, you are

:56:58.:57:03.

one brave girl, I can tell you. If you get badgers, we will be

:57:03.:57:11.

extremely happy. Can I say thank you to ab ris with University for

:57:11.:57:19.

the loan of this skull. Let's go to our herons. Yesterday both were off

:57:19.:57:23.

our herons. Yesterday both were off the nest. Now the two are back.

:57:23.:57:27.

Maybe being attended by their parents from time to time. If I was

:57:27.:57:32.

a heron I would head back there too, frankly. Have a look at our

:57:32.:57:36.

oystercatcher. Let's go to it live now. The reason that I want you to

:57:36.:57:42.

look at this bird. You are thinking, "Kate, it never really does

:57:42.:57:45.

anything" tfplts has been behaving Audley. I think those eggs are

:57:45.:57:51.

about to hatch. Keep an eye on them. I might be completely wrong. Never

:57:51.:57:55.

in a million years. Bbc.co.uk/springwatch. Now

:57:55.:57:59.

tomorrow? Tomorrow, after three weeks we get to grips with some

:57:59.:58:04.

plants. I meet astonishing orchids. Chris and I leave the Isle of Man

:58:04.:58:11.

and go somewhere else to continue our adventure. Four! Why play golf

:58:11.:58:17.

The latest live updates from the Springwatch animal stars - herons, swallows, red kites and many more - as their real-life dramas unfold.

Liz Bonnin is getting to grips with a family of foxes at a landfill site in Essex. On the Isle of Man, Chris and Martin are on their boys weekend. Martin reveals the largest breeding colony of cormorants on the island.


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