Episode 5 Springwatch

Episode 5

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We haven't been on air since Thursday! Which means there is a


whole mass of great wildlife action to catch up with. Don't go anywhere.


Hang on to your hats for the rollercoaster ride that is


Welcome to Springwatch, coming to you live on a beautifulish evening


from the truly beautiful RSPB reserve in Wales. Where are we? We


have zoomed into Wales. This is an have zoomed into Wales. This is an


aerial view of the reserve. Lots of different habitats and that means a


great range of species. We met some of them last week and we have


plenty more to introduce you to this week as well. It will be a


great week. Let's remind you of one of our favourite characters of last


week, these are our barn owls. Now the chicks caused a great deal of


concern. How did they fare over the weekend? We will be telling you in


a moment. What about our waterfall dippers? There's been trouble at


nest. This is a mass of snakes on a compost heap. I'm so excited.


stop now. Otherwise I will have to do it for this week's guest


naturalist. He's the very special Wales' own Iolo Williams. Welcome


to my favourite place not just in Wales, not just in Britain, but in


the whole wide world. Where am I? Look behind me. You will get a big


clue. Wall-to-wall puffins. This place supports the biggest puffin


colony in the whole of southern Britain. There's a whole host of


other animals here besides. Come back to us later on. Top bloke, top


location. Fantastic. You don't think I have peaked too early?


might have done. If you were watching last week, you will


remember that we introduced you to a delightful family of barn owls, a


family that we haven't followed the for fuens of for quite some time. -


- fortunes of for quite some time. This is the scene we all watched in


horror on Thursday, they are nesting in that barn. It is a slate


roof. Chris, you said why not put a thermometer in there? Temperatures


did cool down a little bit over the weekend, peaking at 24. Which isn't


very hot. A lot of people were worried about the little baby.


Nothing to worry about there. The temperature that these things are


used to be can be much higher than that. Temperatures can get up to 40


degrees. They should be able to deal with it. You can see there's


one chick there that is a lot smaller than the others. There is a


very good reason for that, isn't there, Chris? There is. Some of the


young eat the smaller ones, it is a fairly frequent things. It occurs


in up to 33% of the barn owl nests. So 33% of all of the nests with


chicks in, they will be eating some of their chicks. The reason for


that - and we have seen it before - it is a survival mechanism and it's


due to the fact that some times there are bad years for barn owls,


there aren't enough voles around, or the weather is very bad which


means they find it very difficult to hunt. Those little chicks are


sort of like a lader in waiting. However, they have been bringing in


lots of food over the weekend. I know that all of you were very


worried about that very little chick who now relishes in his new


name, Bob - thank you to all of you on the message board. Baby Barn


Owl! That doesn't work - Bash Barnacle owl -- that doesn't work


Barn Owl Baby! Let's look at them live. There is a huge amount of


prey coming into the nest. I have no doubt the adults are stashing


field voles elsewhere, so it has cooled down now. They seem to be


doing very well. The only thing that we should be a little bit


concerned about is the weather forecast. Apparently, it could be


quite wet for the rest of the week. That stash presumably will last a


little bit? We hope so. Owls don't like hunting in the rain. They hunt


using their ears. If it is raining, it is very noisy and they can't


hear as well their small prey. Going back to the thermometers - we


have one close to the nest, we have another one outside as a control


thermometer. I think what we should do - we should monitor the


temperature three times a day outside and inside the nest so we


could develop a graph and we could maybe look at pants per minute! And


we could see if there is any correlation between temperature and


pants per minute in Bob! Something to look forward to later in the


week. I'm already breathless with anticipation. We tried to introduce


you to another new character at the end of last week, but failed


because we were utterly upstaged by beavers behaving beautifully and


live up in Scotland. So let's go now to this very pretty little bird.


It is a common sandpiper. She was - you can see she is feeding with


that characteristic bobbing. They bob about. They are pickers, not


probers. This was the nest that she had made. It's an open nest.


Normally they are deep in a tussock. She was doing very well at this


stage. She had been sat on those eggs for some time. We were hoping


they might hatch over the weekend. However... You probably noticed


Chris is using the past tense and, sadly, we had a bit of a dramatic


incident over the weekend. She is agitated here. This is the reason


why. It is not a ferocious predator, it is a herbivore. Here are the


eggs in the nest. She's been frightened off by the sheep which


was passing very close to it. Here she's obviously out of the way.


Here you can see the nest. Watch this, the sheep is unbelievable -


the problt of that the probability of that happening! Shortly, after


that, the eggs had been kicked out of the nest and she deserted.


may be wondering what is a sheep doing in the middle of an RSPB


reserve? Well, this reserve is a huge area, 700 hectares. One of the


key management strategies of this reserve is for it to be grazed - it


is grazed by sheep and horses. As you saw, the sandpipers do nest on


the ground. So it is a bit of an occupational hazard. It is a bit of


a freak. It is rather sad. There are 200 pairs of these birds in


Wales. They live a long time. They are designed to reproduce over a


succession of years. I should imagine now that although they will


relay if they lose eggs - these ones were about to hatch - so I


think that they will probably hang around the adults and move back


towards their wintering grounds. These birds will migrate to western


Africa for the winter. That is what they will do at the end of June if


they fail. The sheep are performing an essential duty so no hate mail


for the sheep! Now, from a little bit of sad news to a really


wonderful find by one of our wildlife cameramen. It was this


gorgeous family, it is of course a dipper. Look at that shot. Isn't


that beautiful? Stunning! That is what they do. We saw there were


what we thought three chicks in the nest. We couldn't see any more than


that. This was on Thursday. So you can see that they looked well


developed. They had a bit of the tuft still on their heads.


couldn't rig them with a live camera. You can't put cameras in at


this stage because there is a chance they will burst out of the


nest. Nevertheless, our cameramen were able to get back there over


the weekend and this is some of the We have two that are having an


argument over some food. I think what's happened here is that the


male bird, at the top... We think these are the parents of our


chicks? I think it is undoubtedly the fact these are the parents of


those chicks. I think the male has come back, has started courtship


feeding the female, perhaps, because they do that. He's rather


changed his mind and thought, "No, I would rather have that myself!"


Eventually, he gets it from the female and flies off. We didn't see


whether he went to the chicks or not. Of course, what we were really


keen to know is whether those chicks were going to fledge and if


they did fledge, whether the cameraman who found this nest would


be able to catch the moment. Of course he was! We can see the adult


bird. Watch. It drops down into the water. Does that mean disaster? No.


Incredible that it manages to climb up that rock. They do like to nest


over water for security. A grey wagtail is very confused there.


Here is another one. Bit more of a struggle this one. Gets up on to a


very slippery rock. It is dipping already. It is out of the nest for


a few seconds and it has already got that dipping behaviour and


slipping-dipping! The other one comes in so the two are now


together, that is a gorgeous shot of being able to see the two of


them dipping in synchro nighisation. There, we have the adult just to


persuade the third one out - does it come? Yes. All three safely out


of the nest. We were so worried. This is extraordinary, Chris.


Straight into the water. These birds have a huge gland which is


their gland behind the tail and they are applying oil to their


feathers. I can only presume that the young have been doing the same


in the nest and they are waterproof when they come out for this very


reason. That dipping straightaway. There is still confusion over why


these animals that live near rushing water dips. Some people


think it is to camouflage themselves in amongst the turbulent


water. They have that characteristic bobbing stance.


Within seconds of getting out of the nest, it has to have an


advantage or it wouldn't happen. Thank you for getting those


beautiful pictures. Now, we like to challenge you always on Springwatch


as you know. We have a little question for you today. Have a


DISCORDANT CRY You can get your answers in. What


is that? Is it the Joker on Batman? No, it is definitely not that. Tell


us what you think was making that noise. I have heard that noise on a


number of occasions, when I tell you a joke in a caravan! Or is that


you slamming the door?! We are joined by a guest naturalist here


on Springwatch and this week we can join Iolo Williams. Last week we


were up here with Charlie Hamilton- James. This week we are down here


off the West Wales coast here on the Isle of Skomer. This is where


Iolo will be bringing us a number of treats when it comes to the


local wildlife. Hello, Chris. Welcome to Skomer Island where we


are broadcasting live from a veritable jewel in the Welsh crown.


Remarkably, it's not particularly big, a mile-long by a mile wide,


but it is jam-packed full of wildlife. We are here all week


thanks to the kindness of staff from the Wildlife Trust for south


and West Wales and the Countryside Council for Wales. Our wildlife


cameramen have been here throughout the spring. Filming what? Here is a


What a fantastic place and we will be seeing much more later on in the


week. What is it that makes Skomer so special? The fact that it is an


island. The Pembrokeshire mainland is over there and between us is a


treacherous piece of water called Jack Sound. That keeps away foxes,


stoats, weasels, rats so that means burrowing nesting birds can thrive


here. The there are 13,000 puffins. It's the biggest puffin colony in


the whole of southern Britain. The puffins at the moment are looking


pretty settled. Our wildlife cameraman was here to catch the


Through winter, Skomer is a lonely place, battered by Atlantic storms.


Things start to liven up in mid- March when the island's most


colourful residents return from a winter spent feeding far out at sea.


As breeding season approaches, the puffins start to re-colonise the


island. The birds reunite with their same mate from the previous


year. And they get to know each other again with a spot of bill


rubbing, that is a puffin foreplay. Puffins can live for up to 25 years


so these birds could have spent many breeding seasons together,


perhaps they first courted when Margaret Thatcher was still Prime


Minister. When the birds have rekindled their relationship, it is


The birds come back to the same part of the island every year. They


can dig a new burrow but usually they just make use of an already-


established one from a previous year. And this is where they will


settle down to make the next generation of puffins.


It all looks so peaceful, doesn't it? Don't be fooled. Puffins can be


neighbours from hell! Have a look at this. This is early in the


season, one puffin has already established territory around the


entrance to its burrow, another one encroachs and all of a sudden they


are fighting away. You thought those beaks were colourful and used


to love each other's partners, they are used for fighting as well,


intertwined beaks. These fights can go on for several minutes. This one


was over quite quickly and the victor takes the spoils! Beautiful


birds? They can be. On the mainland, we all know that the housing market


is in recession. But here on the island it isn't. Business is


booming. All the birds fighting for the best burrows. It is all about


breeding because the best burrows hold the more experienced birds and


they are the more successful breeders. We know the puffins here,


the first ones laid eggs around the middle of April and those first


eggs hatched roughly ten days ago. We will be following those puffins


through our cameraman, Steve - say hello - and before the end of the


week, we also hope to be able to show you a puffling! That is what a


baby puffin is called. We will also of course be showing you a lot more


birds from the island. For now, it is back to Kate and Chris. To help


you with your Welsh... Thanks! Martin, come in to Dick Squires'


and Fiona Evans Eagar den. What is that? That is an F91W alarm


chronograph! It is a crime against taste! Remember our buzzards? We


can go live to the nest. There it is. Chicks looking rather well-fed.


I think it is looking well-fed. It's changed a lot since we last


saw it. A lot more of the body feathers have come through. It is


looking browner. Still a speckling of down on its head. It has been


enjoying a great range of diet. Last week we saw it eating some


young tits, a duckling, a frog, but also snakes. In fact, today I


looked at this and it had brought in a snake that was still alive.


That is a bit unfortunate. It is for me. I'm a great fan of the


grass snake. Imagine swallowing it! What is this? This is a book. This


is my notebook from 1974. I'm not surprised! You can't put your arms


around a memory. Look at this. 23Rd March, 1974 - I was into grass


snakes. I caught it. He smelled immediately, he did not bite. I


measured him 24 inches long, and later, he was stolen the day before


I went to the Isle of Wight. who? Look, I know it was the best


part - it is more than 40 years ago now. A bloke called Dave came round


my garden and stole my grass snake. I will see you in court. He never


forgets! Look... Shall we go across here? We can see the place where


the snakes are. This is the snake - what would you call it? They have


all come here to lay their eggs. Now, they are in bed. It is too


cold for them. We can approach fairly close. We can move in. All


of the snakes would have disappeared in there, and this is


the... This is the live camera. There's a watch! Earlier in the day


- was it earlier? Have a look at what this looked like earlier as


well. You can see the snakes. This is a time lapse. Not one Chris, not


two, loads of snakes! It is not masses against the grasses here. We


have a huge number of female grass snakes that have come to this


compost heap to lay their eggs. It as ferments there, it generates


heat. They get in amongst that, lay between 10 and 40 - there could be


hundreds of eggs in there. Let's dig in! No, no! In August or


September, all of the young snakes will come out, about pencil-sized.


Here is a closer view of the snakes. The female is a bit more robust.


Their heads are a bit wider. There might be some males in here, too.


They do return to these breeding sites - sorry not breeding sites,


they mated a long time ago in April - these egg-laying sites. They are


very important. So many compost heaps have been lost. They won't


come to a compost heap if it is in a bucket! They need to be open like


this one. They travel enormous distances. Most mobile of all of


our snakes. They might have come half a kilometre at least to get to


this site. Now the snakes - we have noticed something curious about


them. If you look closely at them, can you see there are tiny animals


- mites - rushing around - they are infested. They are young ones


because they are white and adults would be brown. That is my guess.


Normally, you don't see this many on them. The mites are taking


advantage of the fact there are a large number of snakes here.


Perhaps there's been a hatch of these mites in the compost heap.


You don't find that many on them typically. Before we move on,


something I want to put down here. I will put that very gently there


like that. Martin, during the course of the year, snakes will eat


somewhere between four and five toads? This whole area is crammed


with amphibians and many different types. I went out and I saw a


remarkable sight. Have a look at this. Oh my Lord! Look, there are


literally hundreds, if not thousands of tiny toads here. Look


at this. I am going to wet my hands first. I have never ever seen


anything like this. They are Dick Whittington toads, if you like -


they are setting off to seek their fortune elsewhere! It is quite a


dangerous thing for them to do as well. The local blackbirds, all the


other things that will come down and eat them, they will find out


soon. A lot of these won't make it. I had no idea you would ever get so


many altogether. Extraordinary sight. I have never


ever seen anything like that. Kate, have you ever seen anything like


that? Absolutely never. I don't think I have ever seen such a mass


of new life all in one place. We have seen frogs hopping out of a


pond but never that great mass of toads. Springwatch is made thanks


to the help of an amazing number of wildlife experts. This year, we


have really taken advantage of the extraordinary expertise of two men


- Steve Roberts and Paul Hatfield. They are licensed nest-finders.


Because of their extraordinary knowledge of birds and their


nesting behaviour, they have been able to find a first for


Springwatch. Just to give you an idea of how skilful these two men


are, the nest is just down there in front of the water, Chris. I'm


going to point it out to you. You have the crescent of bushes. Then


there is a sick mother sapling just to the -- sycamore sapling just to


the right. It belongs to this bird. It is a grasshopper warbler. Isn't


that special? Very special. They are hard to find. I only found one


of these when I was a kid. A lot of people might think here is a little


brown bird, it is not a special species. It is a little brown bird.


It advertises itself in a very different way and that is through


its song. Take a listen to this. It's extraordinary. It's very


mechanical. It is two notes repeated. It goes on and on and on.


The males produce this when they get back here in the spring to


attract the females. They will sing for about four and a half minutes.


One bird made that noise for two hours! No way! Sometimes they will


produce 1,400 notes in an hour. During the course of a night, they


might produce 250,000 notes in one night. It can be terribly


ventriloqual! I now find it quite difficult to hear these things!


They can be, when you were younger, very loud, but difficult to locate.


Let's have an update on what our grasshopper warblers have been


doing so far. Here is the nest. They had six eggs. They have


hatched all six of their chicks. If you look very closely, what they


seem to be feeding them are lots of spiders. The white there is the egg


sac. So they are very busy and the young are doing... They have bright


orange gapes. If we are able to see their tongues, they have three


spots which further mark the target point where they have to get the


food into. The nest is so tucked away as well. The chicks are tiny.


They hatched just over the weekend. So the adults really do need that


target to come in and be able to teed them? They do. Fantastic --


be able to feed them? They do. Fantastic little birds. Look,


another bird that we haven't seen for a little while, the oyster


catcher. It's a beautiful scene. The sun dipping down. We don't know


whether that is the male or female. If you were watching last week, you


will know that one of them had a slight limp. That bird is sitting


on two eggs and the nest is sitting on a wall about eight foot off the


ground. Let's have a look at what they were up to over the weekend.


We did see, Chris, both adults in attendance and they are sharing the


incubation of those eggs? They have the two eggs there. They are very


well camouflaged on top of the wall. I am sure that is probably why they


put them there. It is a fantastic location. We don't know how long


they have been on those eggs. They may not hatch before the end of our


series. A hot weekend so they were cooling off there. We also saw a


little bit of housekeeping, Chris? The nest is pretty sparse to be


honest. They are picking there at those stones around the edge of the


nest. They lay them on bare ground typically. The eggs are well


camouflaged. They also are trying to stay cool in the warm weather.


We have seen a lot of very hot birds over the last couple of days.


You saw the owls panting, so, Chris, how do birds and animals regulate


temperature when the temperature gets extreme? I stroke my imaginary


The great British weather is a thermo-regulatory nightmare. We can


put on nice warm hats and coats. What about the wildlife? It is out


there 365 days a year. Some of those days it has to take all four


seasons in just 24 hours. How does it cope? The first thing that


wildlife can do is get big, get fat, get blubber. It is brilliant


insulation. Just ask the seals. The next thing that it can do - we can


do it too - is getting goosebumps. So other mammals have another neat


trick. They have a counter-current heat exchange system. The vessels


run very close to those carrying the very warm blood. The warm blood


heats up the cool blood so it doesn't shot the animal's


metabolism when it gets back to the core. What about when the sun comes


out? And it is all about staying cool when it is hot. Well, the


first thing you can do is get lazy. Think of all of those deer sat


around on a warm summer's afternoon. They are not moving so they don't


generate any heat which they have to lose. If they do get hot, you


might see them panting. Cue the poodle! We don't need to pant


because we can sweat. Both achieve the same thing, though. It is about


evaporating water from the skin surface to keep the body cool.


There is one other trick that mammals have. Basically, they can


pump the blood very close to the skin so any air currents that come


by cool it and the blood is transported back to the inner parts


of the body to keep it cool - it is called blushing! I used to tell all


the girls it was cool. Sadly, they never believed me! Have I ever made


you blush? There's still time! then, let's go back to Skomer and


to Iolo Williams. Welcome back to Skomer Island and I tell you, it's


all going on here now. Puffins galore, gulls every where. This


often happens when the puffins come back, they will spend a bit of time


on the water preening, cleaning the feathers. It is very important for


a bird that spends most of its time out at sea. Then they will come on


these cliffs in their hundreds. Also, a few fulmar here nesting. I


do like fulmar - stiff-winged birds. I went over to the far side of the


island to see how some of these nesting birds make use of the sea


cliffs. This is the Wick, the most impressive seabird colony on the


whole island. It's fascinating to watch the birds here. You have four


different species - they don't compete for nest sites. All four


nest in different areas on that one cliff. Guillemots are the most


numerous bird on this cliff, hundreds of them. They will nest


along long, narrow ledges packed tightly together there. Then you


have razorbills, they nest in a different place. They look for


smaller ledges and they nest in ones, twos, threes and fours. Then


the fulmar, they nest higher up towards the top. Sometimes two,


three, four in a row. Finally, the kittiwakes, the bravest of all.


They are nesting right down just above these crashing waves where


they have built their nests. So you have four different species nesting


in completely different sections of the cliff.


It is amazing how precarious some of those nests are. Not just the


kittiwakes, how about the guillemots? Hundreds of them


nesting on a very narrow ledge. How do they avoid kicking the eggs into


the sea? Here I have a guillemot egg - an old egg - and look at the


shape of it. It is almost triangular. Imagine this is a


narrow ledge. A guillemot kicks the egg. What happens? It goes round


and round and round. Thus avoiding being kicked into the sea. Those


birds we saw there, that footage was from two weeks' ago, but we


have got up-to-date footage from yesterday morning so let's have a


look and see how things have developed. You will see these are


razorbills, beautiful black-and- white birds with this wedge of a


bill. They have chicks. One of the adults has brought in probably a


sprat. That chick is well over a week old. They will be on those


cliffs for two weeks before they venture forth to the wide-open sea.


We should also have some guillemots to show you here. Here we are,


packed in their hundreds. These if the razorbills are black-and-white,


these are chocolate brown and white. A chick there again. That chick


probably about a week old. That will be there for another week. We


will watch these birds. Scientists have been telling me that some of


the birds are much earlier this year. Is that because it has been


warmer? Who knows. I would like to introduce you to one of the great


characters here on the island. I mentioned we have no foxes, no


stoats, rats. There is a particularly avian predator, the


biggest bird on the island and here it is. This is the great black-


backed gull. To give you an indication of its size, it is about


as big as a red kite. It is huge. They cruise the area looking for


food. This one is walking through a puffin colony. I have seen them eat


puffins whole. This puffin is made of sterner stuff. Look at it,


battling away. It is only about the third of the size of that gull yet


it is standing up to it. Isn't that amazing? If it tried to fly off,


the gull would eat it whole. If it tried to dash into a whole, the


gull would have it. So it is standing there, looking at it,


looking quite hard! Now the gull has moved away. You watch what


happens. The puffin dashes into its hole and makes its escape. Isn't


that fantastic? I have never seen that before. Every other time the


puffin has come off worse. This is another clue to our sound quiz.


Locally, these are known as "angels' wings". Everything else


has been eaten by a great black- backed gull. This belongs to the


commonest bird on this island. By day, all you see are these wings.


What is it? I know we gave you a clue - we gave you the noise of


this bird earlier on. Let's hear that again. DISCORDANT CRY Another


fantastic noise. It is an amazing noise. If you come back to us later


on, we will reveal what our mystery bird is.


Thank you very much. We have had a few answers in. Robert got in touch


with us via Twitter. He thinks it is bats. It is not. Iolo did say it


was a bird. Another one thinking it might be starlings. He will give


you those answers in just a little bit. We are out on the estuary and


our heronry is just over there. Let's see how they are doing. The


sun is setting behind them. They have been really active jumping


about over the course of the weekend. They have both come back


to the nest this evening. We will see that sort of behaviour over the


next few days as they build-up their confidence and their flying


abilities. The adults will continue to feed them there. We haven't come


all the way down here tonight to look at the heir Rons -- to look at


the herons, but to introduce you to another fantastic bird. The studio


is up here. That is where we are. That is where our studio is. If we


move up the estuary by about a kilometre, moving inland following


the estuary up here, past the railway line, you will see here is


another reserve where a very special couple of birds have turned


up after a long wait. I couldn't wait any longer. I went down there


this morning to see them and to find out what had happened. Take a


look at this. The magnificent osprey, a bird that we very much


come to think of as a Scottish speciality but now it's come to


this part of Wales. In fact, it's come to a Montgomeryshire Wild Life


Trust reserve just necks door. Four years ago, they put up an


artificial nest to tempt them to stay. It took a year to get a male,


but it's taken another three years to find him a female. Then in April


this year, the first ospreys' eggs were laid in Wales for 470 years.


After 33 days of waiting, yesterday the first one hatched. So this


morning with great excitement I went to meet Emma Evans, the warden.


It all kicked off yesterday. It must have been amazingly exciting


here? We got a thousand people here for the first time ever. A lot of


excitement. We witnessed history in the making yesterday. Last time the


ospreys bred on the estuary was 1604. To witness this live is a day


I will never forget. Round about midday, one of the volunteers


shouted down, "I think I can see a hole in the egg." By 3.00, 3.30pm,


this tiny osprey chick made its way out into the world. What about the


second one? The second one was slower. At 3.00 we saw another hole


in another egg and that is when the excitement hotted up. This chick


didn't emerge until 4.30 this morning. What a sight! Fantastic.


That chick has got meat on the edge of its beak there. Go on. They are


so close to it. Everything is here ready to happen. They are begging


for food. She's got food. She's taking it in her beak. She is not


quite getting it in their mouth. is all in the genes. It is


translating that into behaviour and doing what the genes are meant to


tell her to do. No shortage of food and the male, it is a question of


practice making perfect? It is. New behaviours, will they get it right


the first time? Who knows. Time will only tell. Kate, before we


came on air, I spoke to him, and he told me they had a successful feed


at 11.00 this morning. We are going to have to keep our eyes on those


birds. Now, our next film was made by a man who is a surfer and a


photographer, his name is Mickey Smith and this celebrates the glory


of the seas around the British I spent a lot of years kind of


trying to learn to be comfortable in the sea in all sorts of


different situations. Some of the most interesting situations are


around big heavy waves. I think some of the movement of waves is


quite unique. The power of waves like that is one of the great


forces of nature, I suppose. I have always been around the sea since I


was born, I guess. I seem to spend half of my life stairing du'


staring out at sea. -- staring out at sea. The other half swimming


back! Filming, photographing the sea has always come naturally to me.


I like to try and open people's eyes a little bit of different


perspectives of life around the sea. Photographing waves and the ocean


has made me take into account more of the details of every single one


of those waves, it is completely individual. No one wave breaks the


same. It is like this crazy ever- changing canvas. I like to set


myself a challenge of going out and trying to capture one beautiful


moment from it each time I'm in the sea, you know. A little thing


around you, little details and light moving on the surface of the


ocean, kind of the mist hanging in the air after a wave or the


rainbows through the spray off the back of a wave, even over a couple


of hours things can change, a storm front can move in. The sky can go


from purple, to gold, to black, to grey, to a beautiful blue. It is


all the stuff is constantly moving. It is nice to be part of that. It


is an amazing environment. It is so full of life. Totally mind-blowing


experience catching waves with dolphins. They seem to be doing it


for fun and enjoying themselves. Sometimes you meet solo dolphins


who are like cruising around the coastlines on their own. There is


one called Dusty. You can tell she just loves riding waves. She can't


really figure it out. We are nowhere near as good at it as she


is. She is trying to help us out and teach us a few tricks. Yeah, we


are not cut out for it, really. A lot of the time you see birds using


waves. Obviously, as the waves move through the ocean, a big wave


anyway, it must create some kind of updraft and the birds seem to come


along the face of the wave for ages gliding along it. I can't tell


whether they are doing that for fun or whether they are doing it


looking for fish. It looks fun to me! I wish I could do it. I like


that feeling of isolation and being around the wilderness. There's a


lot of energy flying around all over the place. I think you end up


feeling scared a lot. You are in an environment that is totally beyond


your control. If there was no fear involved, it wouldn't be half as


much fun most of the time. You learn good lessons for life in


general from putting yourself in those situations, really. You can't


help but be humbled by that. It is good for you. It is good for you to


be taken out of thinking you are in control of your life and put into a


situation where you are not. And learn to be OK with that. What a


fabulous film! If that doesn't inspire you to get out to the coast,


I don't know what will. I know at home you are all itching to find


out what our mystery bird is. Well, it's a Manx shearwater. What I hear


you say is one of those? All will be revealed in this footage using


special night-time cameras. From the middle of April onwards, Skomer


starts to come alive at sunset. The greater black-backed gulls can't


see to hunt at night. Seen the blackness is pierced by bizarre


calls. DISCORDANT CRY Our infrared cameras can reveal the source of


this noise. These birds are Manx shearwaters. They are relatives of


albatrosses and this is the largest breeding colony of them in the


world, 250,000 come here every year. The birds manage to find out


exactly the same burrow that they used the previous year. Nobody


really knows how they do this, but we think it might be by smell. Just


like the puffins, they get very aggressive if another bird tries to


occupy their burrow. The fights are serious because the stakes are high.


If a pair bred successfully in the previous year, they know it is a


good burrow and they will want to use it again. It is the males that


arrive back first and a few days later, the females come in. Like


the puffins, the birds mate with the same partner every year. Even


though they haven't seen each other for six months, somehow in the dark,


they manage to find the very same bird they mated with the previous


year. That is the pair greeting each other after half a year apart.


Isn't that sweet! Some incredible images there. I


have spent many a time here on Skomer and it is incredible how the


whole atmosphere of the place changes after dark, thousands of


Manx shearwaters, that incredible noise, it is a very odd place.


Right, the competition. Congratulations to those who got it


right. Two winners - Alex Berryman and also to Ranger Bob. Some of you


correctly identified that call as that of a male Manx shearwater.


They come to Skomer of course to breed. So watch this. We have a


Springwatch first for you. If you read the books, they will all tell


you that they breed underground in their burrows. Thankfully for us,


they don't read the books. Here, thanks to our tight camera, here is


a pair mating out in the open at night. It is pitch-dark. We can see


it only because of the infrared camera. Isn't that amazing? I have


spoken to some experts. All of them say that is the first time they


have ever seen that. What I find incredible is as I talk to you, as


I walk, there are thousands of Manx shearwaters underground now in


their burrows. Most of the burrows will be occupied by these birds.


This being Springwatch, we have a camera in one of those burrows.


Let's look at some of the footage from earlier on. This bird, we


don't know if it is a male or a female. It is incubating a single


egg down there in that burrow. Its mate might not come back for up to


ten days so it has to sit there and if we look carefully, she will move,


or he, and we will see that egg. It is quite a big egg considering the


size of the bird. That egg is about the size of a hen's egg. They


really are incredible birds with an amazing life history. We learn more


about those birds and several of the other birds here on the island


later on in the week. For now, from Skomer Island, goodbye. Thank you


very much. A Welsh lesson at the same time! Now we have come back


into our lovely studio and let's go to our flycatcher. If you were


watching last week, we introduced you to this lovely bird. It is a


pied flycatcher. It is in that box. There you can see the female tucked


down on her chicks. She laid six eggs, four of them hatched. They


were absolutely tiny when we left them last week. But they are


feeding very well. Yes, every two minutes during the peak of the


feeding during the daytime. Not just fly catching. If you were


watching last week, you saw some strange behaviour from the male


which had been attending this nest. Look at this. We were worried


because he disappeared. Here is the female. She was doing her duty. He


did appear from time to time. And he turned up with food. He would


come into the nest, she would not be too keen to see him and he would


disappear with the food. She was doing her duty. She kept the young


fed. He does come in later on and he did start to feed them from time


to time. Things then took another twist. Take a look at this. There


is one male outside here. If you look on the right-hand side, you


can see another male fluttering about. They are territorial birds.


The epicentre of their territory of course is the nest hole. I do have


a few theories. One of them is poly-territoriality! I promise you


I will explain it tomorrow and we can have a good old hard piece of


science! So stay tuned for geek behaviour tomorrow. From me and the


birds! Now, Martin is going to show us another nest. I am, Kate. First,


I have to make a confession. You may remember last thursz I talked


about hedgehog -- last Thursday I talked about Hedgehog Street. You


linked up Britain's gardens by cutting a hole in your hedge to


allow hedgehogs to move between the gardens. I said that the hole


should be 15 inches round, I meant 15 centimetres. That was the bad


news. When we made the film, there were 15 hedgehog champions in the


UK. There are now 3,335 hedgehog champions. Thank you to everyone!


Now, have a look in here. I don't know if you can see up here. We


have got a swallow's nest. We have two parents there sitting up on the


top. That is a slightly crazy place to build the nest. They are


settling down for the night. You know where we are going with this.


We have asked you to tell us the most extraordinary nest sites in


the UK. This is last year's winner. This was sent to us by Vanessa


Hague. Despite building the nest in a fire training station, where they


were regularly inundated by fire and doused with foam, they hatched


out the eggs and they all fledged safely. My personal favourite was


the year before from the Alan family, a family of bluetits in a


level crossing. They came in-and- out and the whole world changed


through 90 degrees every time the train west past. Please tell us


about your nest sites. We will beat those! Straight back to Kate. How


are you? Thank you very much. We are going to have a very quick look


at our grasshopper warbler. She is our latest star of Springwatch.


Beautifully crouched down on her nest keeping her chicks warm. You


can keep an eye on all of our live cameras by going to


bbc.co.uk/springwatch. What have we got tomorrow? Cutting-edge science


will tell us a lot more about the cuckoo. This will be tremendously


exciting. Even more exciting I think is otters. Right here on the


reserve, caught on camera, more of them tomorrow. What about you,


Martin? The ospreys. Looks pretty good. We don't know. The latest


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