Chris Packham, Kate Humble and Martin Hughes-Games return for the final week of the wildlife event. Plus Liz Bonnin begins her exploration of a landfill site in Essex.
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You know, a lot can happen in three days, and it did. We had reptiles
turning unwhere they shouldn't. Emergency fledglings. Smash and
grab raids by complete strangers. All that and lots and lots of rain.
But no matter what, it's Hello and welcome to Springwatch.
Coming to you from a beautiful clear... Hello and welcome to
Springwatch coming to you live on this beautiful summer's evening,
from the one and only RSPB's Ynys- hir reserve in Wales. The geography
of this place is quite impressive. We don't only havest ris but lots
of fresh water. Woodland, too, and if you look in there you can see
our studio. So tonight we've got real wildlife in real-time. And
we're going to be telling you not only about nuances and the ecology
and the behaviour of this wildlife but they are here to have fun, too.
We'll have time, will we? Excellent! And we were also here to
tell you about what happened over the weekend. One thing that
happened was that the weather took a dramatic turn for the worse. The
black clouds rolled in. The rain came down. And we were on tenter
hooks wondering how that was going to affect our Springwatch families.
Like our grasshopper warblers. Would they stay or would they go?
Last week there was an intruder annoying the barn owls, it was cat.
But something else has snuck in amount of stress. Now, as usual, we
shall have a quiz. It is a slightly smelly quiz. Come over here and
look underneath this pot. Something has left a little deposit in the
studio. A fine deposit, I should say. What did that and how do you
know what are the clues? If you know the answer, get on the web,
tweet us or go to our new Facebook site. By the end of the programme.
Absolutely. We'll reveal all at the end of the programme.
Every week we have a guest presenter with us. And this week
over in Essex is the lovely and extremely fragrant Liz Bonnin.
Thank you very much, Kate. It is so lovely to be back on the team, but
very a bit of a confession for you. I'm really sorry about this, but
all this week the Springwatch adventure team and I are going to
bring you a load of rubbish. And I'm not even skidding. It's a
massive load of rubbish. Welcome to pit Sealand fill site in Essex.
Come back to me very soon, when I'm going to show you how an incredible
amount of flora and fauna mansion to thrive here.
Thank you. I have to say I'm really looking forward to that. I like the
contrast between the mess we make and the way that wildlife can
thrive in it, and the picturesque beauty here.
If you were watching last week we were enjoying a feast of warblers.
You could have followed up the stories on the webcams over the
weekend. One of the stars was the grass hopper warblers. They had a
nest in the marsh. The question was, would these animals fledge or not?
This is how they started at the This is how they started at the
beginning of last week. Tiny little things, just about able to peep
over the cup of the nest. But just a few days later they got to this
size. That's an incredible growth rate, Kate. Unbelievable the
transformation. I think we were pretty right to say these were
birds to watch, when we left you on Thursday. However, what we couldn't
predict is what did happen over the weekend. So we were watching the
nest and, as ever, the adults were in feeding the cheeks. You can see
how active they are getting, looking really strong and lively.
But, look at this. Just watch carefully.
One chick goes. Why is that? Look at the back of the nest, in the
grass, and the adult is coming in and really seems agitated by
almost certainly that snake slithering through the grass behind
the nest that pushed out that chick, maybe forced it to fledge earlier
than it should have done, and caused the panic with the adults.
As you can seekers within the next ten minutes other chicks started to
fledge. Chris, what I wonder is, are they also doing a panic
response to that snake, or are they thinking, one of them's gone, so
why don't we go too? They can fledge at 11 days, sometimes 12,
sometimes 13. It seems the snake stimulated it and once one had gone
perhaps the others thought it was safer. Perhaps the adult was trying
to drive the snake away. For me it was a close shave. But two of them
did stay in the nest and they stayed inover night. You can see
the adult coming back and, presumably, Chris, the other four
will still be close by tucked in in the grass. They might come together
once the adults come back with food. In the fledging stakes this
probably has to rank as the most unspectacular fledging we've seen.
That's quite typical of the bird itself, isn't it? They tend to move
through the grass like little mice. They will move under the grass,
like a rodent. The adults coming back to the nest are secretive. I'm
sure that's what the youngsters are doing at the moment. They might
have Frenched but they are not safe from the predators. I've seen a lot
of grass snakes here at Ynys-hir. It is pretty much a grass snake
Heaven. These are serious predators. They like to eat amphibians, small
mammals occasionally, even fish underwater. When I was about 17 I
found a willow warbler's nest on the side of the track and the
adults were making a terrible noise. They were going down to the opening
of the nest but not going Curiosity got the better of me. I looked into
the nest and curled up inside it was a grass snake. When I prodded
it, it slithered across the path and running down its body were a
number of little bumps. They were the young wibble o wash lers, so I
have no doubt these things have -- they were the young willow warblers,
so I have no doubt these things have had a close shave. Some of you
have mentioned the strange goings- on in your gardens. They noticed a
blackbird was taking newly-hatched chicks from a nest. Pat said she
saw a blackbird eating a shreview. We are all familiar with blackbirds
on the lawn pulling up worms, so what's happening here? We spoke to
our friends at the BTO and they told us that back birds are having
a tough time due to the dry weather. The worms have gone deep into the
ground. They are struggling. Their bood size that collapsed in some
places, so it is not surprising they will go after other food. They
will eat newts, small frogs, lizards, even baby grass snakes.
And occasionally nestlings too. That brings us on to our wood
warbler nest, the other wood woorb ler family in the woods. A
wonderful family. Both adults are feeding up to 80 times an hour the
six chicks. But this blackbird was caught on camera. When I first saw
this, it has got some sort of worm or insect in its beak. I thought,
hate got distracted by that huge gape which tells the it it has to
feed this chick? It could be it was out foraging and it heard the call
and thought, are those my chicks. But it could have picked up on that
and gone to investigate. Given the way it was peering into that nest
with intense curiosity I think it was getting a measure of the chicks.
Are these big enough for me to carry away in one go and will they
fit down the throat of my chicks? I think thankfully for our wood
warblers, they were just a bit too big for that blackbird. To see if
they are still there, let's go live to our wood warblers. They have
been a difficult nest to seekers because it is so beautifully
disguides. Fat, healthy chicks nestling in the moss, definitely
one to keep yours on. They will go in the next day or two. If you've
been watching for the also couple of weeks, you will have noticed
we've been joined by a guest naturalist. Initially Charlie
Hamilton James was looking in Scotland, but now we are going to
Essex, to join Liz Bonnin. Liz, how is life on the landfill?
Chris, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am loving this place.
It has to be said that a 50 tonne compactor isn't the run-of-the-mill
wildlife safari vehicle, but hey! This is not your normal Springwatch
location. We've covered urban wildlife before but we thought we
would bring awe human-created landscape that most of us would
rather forget about, maybe because we think of it as a blot on the
landscape, where we throw our rubbish and don't think of again.
The UK dumps 57 million tonnes of rubbish every year, more than any
other country in the European Union. There are a thousand landfill sites
in the UK and pit sea is one of the biggest. This skpactor is sitting
on top of 75 metres of landfill. Until we run out of space for these
places they are a going to remain a fact of life. It is part of how our
society operates. This week we are looking at what a landfill is, how
it works, and how wildlife can thrive. How did we come to be here?
Sean Taylor is a site manager here and I met him earlier.
Sean, so this is where all the action is, the top of the landfill?
Yes. What you can see there is the landfill site we are operating
today. It's a huge site. We are tipping in an area of about 400
acres. We have in the region of 5 00 lorries coming to use the
facilities each day. How many tonnes of waste a day? That relates
to around 2,000 to 3 ,000 tonnes a day. On top of that we have
restoration soil lorries as well. This is what I expected to see, but
that's only a small part of what you guys do here, is that right?
That's my day job but yes, there is lots of other things that go to
make up a well-run landfill. that's your day job, what's the
rest of it? That's the important bit I have to take care of every
day but I actually love land film. Over the time I've been here I like
to look at this as my kind of mini wildlife park. I like to operate
this in a way that's beneficial to biodiversity and to the plants and
animals here. This is a vast area. No-one comes here. I'm the Earl of
this. I take care of this. This is my patch. When there is no landfill
going on there is an opportunity for different kinds of wildlife and
plants. It's a nice place to be. The wider site is 800 acres, much
of it landfill that's long since been restored, creating a complex
mix of waterways, woodlands, meadows and scrubland. These places
can never be built on because of the landfill that lies beneath, but
can they really be a haven for wildlife that chooses to live
above? If you drive around the soil, the time you are with us, you are
going to see a vast variety of wild life. So you see this, place is not
just a rubbish dump. This is massive. There is much more to it
than just this top active part. Have you wondered what happens to
the rubbish you throw away after five weeks? After five years? After
50 years even? This week the team and I are going to find out. We are
starting at the top and moving out and down to the areas that nature
has reclaimed. Here is a taster of on a landfill site, but this is
this week. Next up though, we're checking out the bird life at the
very top of this landfill site. See you very soon. Thank you very much,
Liz. You were right, Chris, it is teeming with wildlife. Lots of food.
We waste one-third of the food we buy in the UK. A lot is going to
the landfill. Most of it is potatoes I leave under... Never
mind! Right, we have had a brand new nest for you, absolutely brand
new. Some of you may have seen this over the weekend. It's a wren nest.
There's been high drama there. Let's look at this wren's nest.
Adults are coming in and feeding. That is what people have been
watching. We could not see exactly how many young are in there. I
think there's at least four in there. There is four in there. You
can definitely see four. Mum is trying to feed them a snail. That
is a little bit too big. My mum tried to do it with sprouts. They
wouldn't go in, to be honest with you. It was doing very, very well.
Then something strange you noticed about it. One thing we were able to
do was look at this at night. This allowed us to take a closer look at
the birds' behaviour whilst they were overnighting in there. We
don't normally get views like this of birds. Here is the adult with
the youngsters, no doubt keeping them warm. If you look closely,
what at what is crawling around on top of the youngsters, it is
mosquitos. What is all that about? I like moss
ket toes. I have -- mosquitos. I have an admiration for them. We
don't have to worry about malaria. There are 33 species in this
country. Some are rare, I have to say. The females of them now need
to suck the blood of other animals to get enough protein to produce
their eggs. For me it is part of being a community. I like sharing
myself. I offer a little bit of blood. That is what the WRENS were
doing too. Do you think they itch? Mosquitos have to find other hosts,
birds, mammals, they are bitten too. It is not just us. OK, the nest
started off, everything was calm, then things took a dramatic turn.
They are, everything seems calm, now the most enormous threat. There
it is. It is a jai. They will try to take -- jay. They will try and
take those fledglings. At this time of year they are keen on finding
eggs and youngsters. A hole appeared in the back. Now explos
sieve fledgling. -- expo sieve fledgling.
The jai did get one of those little chicks. That motivated the others
to burst out explosively. minutes later this bird came back.
Jay have phenomenal memories. Over the space of two minutes it is
obvious it will go back and try and harvest the rest of these chicks.
This happens every day. No matter what you say jays are not a bad
animal. It is part and parcel of the ecology. They only do this when
they have young to feed. The rest of the time they eat invertebrates.
If it had been a day earlier those chicks would not have been able to
go. It is the third close shave for our chicks we've had this evening.
What happened to them? We sent our cameraman, who got this fantastic
sequence out for us. The adult goes back. She finds them because they
produce a call of their own. Despite some searching around here,
they have moved to a spot where they are well hidden down on the
ground. Eventually she locates them. They are, tucked up under cover
down there. They are all back together. And being fed. We have
been out today. I will bring you an update tomorrow. We can still find
those chicks. I will tell you how they are. That is lovely to see.
Now, tomorrow I'm going to investigate about exactly that sort
of thing, jays, crows, particularly magpies. How much of an effect do
they have on our song bird populations? We will find out
tomorrow. We will try and get clear answers to this emotionally-charged
story. Who's poo? A quick update on the poo. Let's look at it now. I
have to say, quite a lot of you are getting it right.
Really? Yes. When I see it I think what a triumph of television we
have created! This is what real biology is all about. Particularly
some of the younger viewers. When it comes to younger viewers it is
time to celebrate a couple of lads from Suffolk, Paul and Ryan Edwards.
We met them in 200. They were 16. We joined up with them again. They
are 19, at their home in Suffolk, where they have taken a close look
at some barn owls. A beautiful film. Take a look.
When you spend so much time in an area you begin to get a bit like
the animals in it. You get territorial in a way, which is
silly, but you do. We're really lucky to have a place
where we can go. The oak will always be from where our passion
stemmed. It's only until you see them poking their heads out of the
box for the first time, the first time you make eye contact with them,
it's when you realise, wow, that's a really good moment. We think of
them as our owls. They are obviously not our owls, but we feel
we've played a part in rearing them in a way. They have a mystical
quality to them. You know, spending time with them, following them, you
soon realise they have different characters and different ways of
living to other creatures. It's all about their life cycle.
Not just seeing the creature, but realising there's another life
within the meadow. It's pretty breathtaking as they come towards
you and it looks almost as if they can feel the wind underneath their
wings. They are hunting. They have one thing on their mind. I don't
know, they are so in tune with what they want to do. They forget about
It's also there -- always there, whereas the river is constantly
changing with the creatures that come and go. When the kingfishers
start heading up-stream, it sort of slaps you in the face and you are
like, wow, there are kingfishers here, they are back. It is special
when he comes and chooses our area. When you are sitting waiting your
mind starts to wonder. You start this think about all the other
free-flowing in a way. Things come and go.
When you're filming the barn owl, when you are watching that life
cycle, and you tend to forget about all the other animals in the oaks.
You can see the little owls watching the barn owls. They
certainly know each other is there. When we're actually filming the
owls, it does seem to go on forever. It seems to take a long time. Then
when you actually think of how long ago these chicks you are watching
fledged, it was only 14 weeks ago they were eggs. I think that's
and diving down. It would be cool to be inside their head for a bit.
That is the way you are sucked into when you are filming them, you are
almost having a shared moment with hunting barn owl. A beautiful film.
Thank you guys. Thank you very much indeed. I've come out to the
estuary from the other end of the reserve. You can see absolutely
stunning views out here. If you could see just past the end of the
trees there, you'd be able to see our oystercatchers. We have a pair
of oystercatchers, sitting on two eggs. They've made a nest on top of
a wall. They've been sitting on those eggs. This is some glarryous
shots we got at the weekend -- glorious shots we got at the
weekend. They choose the spot not just because it is eight feet above
that wall, but I think they choose it because of that view. We caught
on camera two birds looking a bit distressed. That is a typical
oystercatcher call, something you'll recognise from beach
holidays. We think this was the culprit. It is a crow. We saw how
that jay behaved. A crow would certainly have a go at those
oystercatcher eggs if it managed to find them. You can see the adults
are being very attentive. Chris, Chris, perfect, come here, you've
got here, well done. I just wanted you to have a look.... Nice
dramatic entrance! Let's go to the oystercatchers live. I was watching
them earlier. If we can zoom in a bit. Is that possible? Perfect! We
are used to these birds looking very pristine. They are beautifully
turned out. They look like they are going to the opera, or something.
But uncharacteristically a bit scruffy. They seem to be ragged
around the edges. I notice their back feathers are looking a little
bit, as I say scruffy and brown. You can notice the brown feathers
really show up. These are last year's feathers which have aged and
weathered. What makes them stand out is the contour feathers are
coming through. This makes sense. The birds won't want to molt their
flight feathers at this time. They need to be able to fly, defend the
nest or forage for food. Since they sit around they are not using up a
lot of energy. That would be time to put it into their contour body
feathers. This is what has made them have this appearance. They are
using this inactive time to molt. You would never see that with the
smaller song birds because they have so much to do. I am going to
do an impersonation. I need a coat. Are you ready?
LAUGHTER I know what you are being. Shall we ask the crew? A heron. He
is being a heron, aren't you? being a heron. You know, our herons
are just over there. We have been following their progress throughout
the course of our series. Let's take a look at this because they've
been more active over the weekend. They have spepbtd an increasing
amount of time away from the -- spent an increasing amount of time
away from the nest. They have been practicing their stabbing and
foraging skills. They are still not brilliant at it. They are being
bullied a bit by some of the estuary's more belig grant
residents. The tables will turn when it realises how well armed it
is. It is investigating an object. Watch this one - if you watch
closely, it stabs and then it swallows a little silver fish it
has caught. We have been watching them. We did wonder, they've had
all those slightly useless attempts and you think, are they ever going
to find any type of prey they can catch? And are they ever going to
leave the nest? Let's go live to our herons to see what has happened.
posters, everything they can to get the teenagers out of the home.
Joking aside, I wouldn't mind betting that occasionally the
adults are coming back with food. Our sharp-eyed wildlife camera man
Mark Yeates spends a lot of time here at the estuary. We think it is
that he is not only a keen Fisherman but he likes the wildlife.
He spotted a ripple on the water and look at this, it's a grey seal
coming inland away from the sea. We were not 100 miles from the sea
here. It is just beyond where we can see from this point, but he
thinks it was probably coming up because there are a lot of sea
trout heading up this estuary, probably as a result of the rain at
the weekend. A big flush of rain is a real signal to sea trout and
other fish waiting to spawn up the river. They need to know there is
going to be enough water when they spawn. He was going up there
forehis meal. Liz Bonnin is going to introduce us
to some birds. I'm a keen birder myself.
Welcome back to pit Sealand fill site. Over the next few nights I'm
hoping to show you how a well- managed site like this one can have
all the makings of a nature reserve. It is some of the stuff that's been
thrown away here that's attracting probably the most obvious species
on show here at pit sea, the gulls. For them this is a massive fast
food outlet. There is food absolutely everywhere. Look at this,
a potato, and something else there I don't want to pick up! But
there's a lot of food here. We throw out 60 million tonnes or so
of food in the UK every year. That's ridiculous. Of this area,
36% of it is organic matter - that's garden and food waste. The
gulls seem to be doing very well on this diet, but it is not a happy
ever after story author these birds, as the site is set to close in five
years. What is going to happen to the gulls then? Scientists are
Pitsea during the spring and summer, but in the winter numbers can reach
40,000. It is one of the most astonishing collection of birds in
the whole of Britain. It is a contrasting mix of natural beauty
and the darker side of our human world. And this mass of swirling
feathers has an unfolding story to tell. The birds have been cannon
netted by the Thames gull group, who are involved with a major
scientific study to monitor the population here. Today they've got
an interesting catch. How many different types of gulls do we have
on this landfill site in general? Herring, lesser-blacked back and
great-blacked back. There are five. We'll get them bagged up, back to
the processing site. This is if Med gull? That's the Mediterranean Gull.
This colouring will allow bird watchers to see them easier in the
field. Mediterranean gull makes me think they come from the Med, but
do they? They don't actually. The population of Mediterranean gulls
in the UK probably came from Germany and central Europe. And now
we've got a population breeding in the UK as well. If we are getting
more Mediterranean gull this is this country it might be difficult
to differentiate between black- headed gulls and Med gulls?
Absolutely. The black-headed gulls has moor of a chocolate brown hood,
whereas the Mediterranean gull has a deep, blackhead and it goes
further down the Med. It is much more of a ver million red. Thank
you very much for all the information. It is so lovely for me
to see the gulls here, but the reason for this work is to monitor
how the population at the landfill site is changing, and ho help us
understand the wider problems facing these birds. Paul, is there
anywhere like this landfill site for helping you get this kind of
information in about these gulls? Absolutely not. In the winter
numbers that we are catching here, very large numbers, we had one
catch last year, our total in the net was 760 birds in one catch.
There is nowhere else you can catch that number of birds. Herring gulls
-- heron guls. These have declined in the last 30 or 40 years. The
number of girds the towns the hasn't matched the decrease in the
populations. When this landfill site is covered over, could you all
move out to the coastline and replenish the numbers there? It is
not as simple. This will help our understanding of how we can
understand population numbers without them crashing here once
this site is covered up. That information we are collecting now
we are bank sog that when the landfill sites close we understand
what happens to this population of birds. Will they all move to the
coast, or move to France or into London? We can hopefully monitor
that in future. One of the greatest birding spectacles in Britain.
Considering this location, it was so unexpectedly stunning. Paul's
work is so important. We've got to make sure these gulls have a
promising future in this country. Join me later to find out how
wildlife find foods here and also a home.
Thank you very much indeed, Liz. It is absolutely eye opening isn't it?
Teeming with life. We'll join Liz lafrplt
Now, no-one I think in the country escaped the weather. It was quite a
wet weekend. In fact here in Wales a quarter of the average rainfall
for June fell in a 24 hour period over this weekend. It was wellies
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 57 seconds
Isn't that what some people call jazz? Now stop. We've got a big
story to tell. You can't have weather like that without it having
some sort of impact on the wildlife. Last week we fold the -- followed
the tragic tale of the pied catchers. Things change. Initially
it was all good news. The sun was shining and the male was giving
food to the female and she was passing it to the chicks. But one
of the chicks started looking off- colour at the weekend. She carried
on feeding but it wasn't good. The weather had kicked in. She sensibly
removed the animal which had died. It was a small size, so it might
have begun to rot and cause a problem, but here the wind has come,
the sun has gone in, there is less food and it was another disaster in
this nest. But this morning sadly all the chicks had died. You can
see the female was coming back in to check, but to no avail. What on
earth was going on? Let's just have a look at what they were eating.
This was the thing that started leading us to suspect that it
wasn't the health of the adults, it was just the food that they were
able to find. You can see they are bringing in food but there are no
big fat protein-laden juicy caterpillars, just a few flies.
Sometimes you can't even see what's in the beak it was so small. So, it
came down obviously to the need of a bar chart. A rather useful bar
chart for Saturday Shows us that they started slowly with the number
of feeds being just over 20. That's not unusual. That's early in the
morning. It is not warm. As the day heats up you can see they are
bringing in plenty of food, but that peak doesn't last. It drops
off really quickly. By the end of the day, look here between 4 and 5,
it is light until after 9 o'clock, they should be really feeding those
chicks but they weren't. That was Saturday's picture. On Sunday the
rain came in, so the combination of the feeding really dropping off,
the bad quality of the food, and then the rain meaning that finding
any other food became in increasingly difficult probably led
to that nest failing. This continued on Sunday. This bar chart,
I'm giving you 10 for statistical accuracyy. 10 for presentation.
Thank you. We've got a theory, that food is at the centre of all of
this, but we are not experts the pied flycatcher but we know a man
who is. Earlier this afternoon I had a word
with him. Malcolm, in the last couple of
weeks we've seen both our broods of pied flycatchers fail is. This to
be expected at this time of year? It is. I mind on my own population
in Dartmoor. Later-nesting broods are much more likely to fail than
materialier-nesting ones. Why is it? Others have done terribly well.
In my population productivity is affected by the weather. They do
suffer with prolonged rain. But I think one of the main reasons
probably they are just breeding too late, so they've missed the peak in
abundance of food, with the catter pillars. Spring has been coming
earlier and if they don't time their brood with this, they will
suffer increased failure. If the birds are able to calibrate this in
anyway, why are these late ones bottering to raise a brood?
could be a second clutch, where the female has failed earlier in the
nesting cycle, either on eggs or small chicks. Or it could be they
are first-time breeders. And they just get it wrong. Thank you very
much Malcolm for that insight. We've got to say, it is not just
our nests that are failing. 19% of the broods here at Ynys-hir have
failed recently. But it is not all doom and gloom. Look at these
delightful pictures taken by our wildlife cameramen. These are pied
flycatcher fledglings, so not all the families here have failed. Some
of them are thriving and doing very well indeed. It is not a total
wipeout as far as that species is concerned. Not at all, if you go
out here in the morning it is alive explore the Isle of Man. If you
have suffered motorcycle emptiness over the weekend, here's our second
instalment of boy's weekend away. Martin, come on. Good morning. A
croissant and some lukewarm tea. Come on, mate!
A strange trail here. What's going on? Oh, my....! Come
on, Chris. The water's lovely. See what you're missing out on. Have
some decorum, man! It's a family programme.
He's barking - absolutely barking! Now, Chris, you may have noticed
that in the Isle of Man there are beautiful rivers. Can't argue with
that. Look at this! I would like to show you something which has been
rediscovered living in the river. Not that something I found living
in the river this morning, I hope! I seriously think Martin's trying
to freak me out. What's this? Ghostbusters? This team from the
department of environment, food and agriculture are electro fishing.
This sends a small charge into the water. It does not harm the fish,
it stuns them briefly, so they can be safely caught. This gives us an
ideal chance to study them. We look at this evolutionary
throwback. I can see you have something. We are trying to put
them into different categories. The very small ones there we are
looking at they could be one-plus stage. One year? These ones here
then? Two-plus. They are getting more defined tails. There's a
massive change as they go through - it's a proper met more foe sis.
This one here? That is an adult, looking at the definition of the
fins. There are clear gill openings. It has developed eyes. Obviously
that will be in preparation nor the spawning period. Once mature the
adults stop eating. That sucker- like mouth becomes a tool used in
breeding and nest building. They will use their suckers in the
current of the water. They will move their bodies and move the
stones. You get clumps of them. There has been up to 50 recorded in
some surveys. Sometimes they are referred to as a ball of spawning
activity. A ball of spawning activity. We caught one once, under
a stone. I remember all the little kids coming around when kids looked
at lamprays. They are slightly intimidating.
Even thoi they are not going to feed, that does mean they are a
little important. Why are they doing this? J they spawn they will
be in the same areas as other fish, brown trout. It is good for other
fish to spawn in as well. The water has to be good quality for them to
stay in that area. It has been a treat to see these lamprays. I have
never seen them before. It has been fascinating. Thank you.
You know, all this fresh air and fishing has given me an appetite.
There's no doubt the Isle of Man is a feast for the senses. Frankly
there's something distinct lilacing in this trip so far - the lesser
spotted toasted tea cake. At last! That is amazing. Definitely the
closest thing we've got to river monsters in the UK. The sun is
setting over the pit. It is a beautiful site. Who would have
thought it? We talked about the gulls coming here to get their food.
They are not the only to do so. A beautiful popular mammal does that
as well. More of that in a little bit. Animals don't just need food
to survive, they also need shelter. Can our discarded rubbish provide a
home for wildlife. Take a look at this.
Thanks a million. So, we were having lunch here yesterday. Two of
the team spotted something interesting over here. This is Rod,
our special macro-cameraman. This is an old disused road sweeper
brush. If you wait you may see it. We will stick a mic in there as
well. Make-Sinn Fein boom. I love it! Now we -- make shift boom. I
love it. It's not long before our mystery animals emerge. It is the
sound which gives them away. That's what we've been waiting for
- bumblebees. Loads of them, coming in and out of this bit of discarded
rubbish. That is what is interesting. Here, this is part of
the site which is not managed at all. It has been over grown. These
amazing little bumblebees are adding to the biodiversity of this
entire site. Bumblebees do well here because a
lot of wiltd flowers, many of which we -- wild flowers, many of which
we may think of as weeds, are flour Irishing. I am not sure --
flourishing. The clue is in their legs. Sarah
from Bug skaf Life is here to help. Can you identify what is on you?
What we are looking for.... There you go, you've got it.
So, she sat still for a minute there. The hind legs are black, are
they? They are not black, they are red. The red-tailed bumblebee. We
have 24 species. Generally their experience is declining in range
and numbers, which is a shame. are in decline because of what
factors? Loss of habitat. There are not enough wild flowers to support
these wonderful creatures. Great news then for the bumblebees here.
There are plenty of these waste land flowers. Shall we let it go
then? Yes. Back to the nest. Fly, fly, fly.
It goes to show, lovers of wildlife don't have to keep everything neat
and tidy. Sometimes a little bit of scruffyness can -- scruffiness can
go a long way. We did not plan it, we came across it. That is what
Springwatch is all about. To mammals who woman here to feed, I
am talking about red foxes. Watching them here is an incredible
experience, I can tell you. Look at what the cameras managed to capture.
Just like the gulls, the foxes here make use of our discarded waste.
They are natural zavevengers and the bountiful -- savengers, and the
bountiful food means they hardly have to hunt for anything. The food
is delivered on their doorstep. Around the edges of the active
landfill one pair has set up home in a log-pile house. In April, the
looking after them, bringing them scraps of food zavevenged from --
savenged from the landfill above. Living right next door, in some
dense bushes, were another four cubs, with one lone vixen looking
after them. The cubs played all the time, practicing their hunting
techniques on passing magpies and scrapping with each other, already
determining a pecking order. All adorable scenes that did well
with my arrival with the adventure team a few weeks later.
How utterly devine was that? It gets better, I had been amazing
experience with those foxes. Come back to me tomorrow for that and
more surprising wildlife. Thank you very much, Liz.
Absolutely gorgeous stuff. As she said, there'll be more from Liz of
the dump tomorrow on the programme. Now, you have been rightly
concerned about our barn owl, so Bob and his family, let's go live
to them now. As you can see, I think your concerns, well, I
wouldn't waste them, if I was you. This is a very happy, healthy
looking bunch of chicks don't you think, Chris? Too happy for my
liking. They are not doing much. We had the hard weather, but they
continued to bring in prey at the same rate when it was not raining.
They had cacheed some where. We did have a barn owl incident over the
weekend. Look at this. Last week we saw a cat generating in and
generating animosity. This time we saw same behaviour. Who was the
intruder this time? Yes, it is one of the country's least favourite
mammals, I am afraid, a grey squirrel. Would a squirrel attack
those chicks, or would a barn owl attack that squirrel? If the
squirrel got too close to the nest, there is no doubt the adult barn
owl would attack. They will take young birds.... It is like, don't
you come near, or I'll punch your lights out. She has the flick knife
out and she is demonstrating what is happenedy there. I don't think
the squirrel represents a threat to the chicks. You have forgotten the
badger-cam. Let's go live to the badger-cam. Oh, there's no badger.
Nothing at all. We have recorded something very exciting. Was it
badgers? Let's have a look! No, it was cubs.
Looking slightly shocked. Strange we've seen cubs a couple of times
on that camera, but never with adults. I think they were born
somewhere in that badger sett, but out of reach from our cameras. The
vixen will be there somewhere. We only see them playing like this.
There might be badgers in that sett. It is not uncommon for them to
share a sett. Foxs will go into a badger sett. When I was a kid I
used to speak to an old fisherman. He told me foxes would make their
den at the top, badgers at the bottom and otters too.
From the blog, Jim, dark indicates karnnivor size and the twist at the
end -- karnnivor size and the twist at the end means fox.
The reason it is a fox is it has that twisty tail. It is dark in
colour F you look into the soul of this poo, I can see there is fur in
there. It means it has eaten something like a rabbit. You can
keep your eye on the web-cam. What do we have tomorrow? We get to meet
a handsome bird. We will bring you news of our beautiful Red Kite
Chris Packham, Kate Humble and Martin Hughes-Games return for the final week of the wildlife event, with live updates on all of the animal characters.
The team are joined by Liz Bonnin, who begins her exploration of a landfill site in Essex. Chris and Martin take each other away for the weekend. This time it is Martin's choice - the Isle of Man.