Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games answer questions, take a look at viewers' photos and videos, and share your experiences of winter this year.
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around the corner, a live bird, a mystery man. Now, if we go back a
bit, we find that we have some mystery people here, some strange
people out on the veranda. What could it all be about? Let's go
inside, and inside, we have Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham,
and I can just see I think behind there - level-headed Joe. It must
be Unsprung! Hurrah. Right. Here you go. Now, remember, Unsprung is
all about you. It's your questions, things that you've noticed. It's
all about the things you send into us. We throw in a few curveballs as
well, but we all start with the quiz, which we have all started but
Michaela will pick it up. We did show you the quiz on Winterwatch
just in case for some crazy reason you weren't watching! But what we
did was we took a photo viewers have sent in, mixed them up, made
them into a puzzle, then you had to put them all together and make an
animal. That was pretty straight forward. It's a grey seal. That was
obviously not the quiz because we have given you the answer. This is
picture A. What is that? Don't shout out if you can see... You can
all get in here. This is B. This one is tricky. Can we have B?
is tricky. Quite hard - any ideas? They can't see behind you. And C,
which - yeah, is quite tricky, but remember, they're all animals that
live in Britain. They are, and Chris is going to tell us something
very interesting about them. Can I just say where you send your
answers? Yes, tell me off. Facebook. They'll go through to Joe.
This is very interesting. We often have mystery pellets here, but this
has come in from Stephanie James from Cambridge, and she sent us the
whole story of her mystery poo pellets. Here it is. This is one of
those true romance things - "Look at my mystery poo." So she takes it
out in her car - "I take my poo everywhere -" slightly dubious,
this, isn't it? She's tried to send Stephanie, here we go. Let us offer
it to the experts. Just a moment. Hold on.
LAUGHTER Chris is's glasss are broken, badly
glued together. They were broken during the week. They have been
superglued, so thankfully they're here. Let's deal with these pieces.
They're full of fur, so the first thing we can say is it's a
carnivore that has been producing this. The first, quite long. You
would need to pull that out and have a look at that. Stephanie
doesn't mind. Pull it apart. It's quite coarse fur. What do you think
it is? It's not soft and fluffy like rabbit. It could be fox still,
but this looks like it could be deer fur or something like that. It
feels coarse - when it rolls through your fingers like that it
feels as if it's got an edge to it almost as if it's got sort of a
section which is square or something. I think it's deer fur
inside the poo. It's old, so sadly it's lost any scent it might have
had, which might have been a give- away, then again, if this was an
individual piece, you've got to think about the size of the animal
that produced that. This could have been scavenged by a marten. That's
about the right size of pine marten poo. It could be pine marten that
scavenged deer. Is that right? think it is. Let's give him a round
of applause. APPLAUSE
I don't know whether we're going to be able to do this. You could
become a hair detective. Say you're out and find a bit of barbed wire
and find some hair in it, you can tell what that hair is. I don't
know if this is going to work. Can we give - let's have a look,
Royston. Bring him in. Have you got some deer? What's that? What do you
reckon that is? A bit of deer? We're not going to be able to pull
this off, I don't think. I can pull this one out. Can you? I reckon
even though I have read what it is on the front... Well done. I would
probably know because, look. Can you see closely? Look. There we go.
That's good. Can you guys see even from a distance what that might be.
Look at the colour. It's red, and it's bendy, and you can't pull it
apart. Is that right? So it is... Yeah, and it's flexible. That one
is flexible. And you happen to find it on our live cameras around the
corner. Any ideas? Red squirrel. That's it. So squirrel and fox -
you can bend the hair, but Chris, can you try and snap one of those
for us? Snap one of these? Senate one of those. Snap it in the sense
I am going the break it? Bend it. Did it snap? Hold on. That's a
brilliant demonstration. See that. It hasn't bent. It's actually
snapped. That would be deer. Deer fur snaps because it's brittle and
hollow. If it snaps it's probably deer. If you can bend it, it will
be fox or squirrel. This is badger, and it's elliptical in shaing, and
oh, you can't see that. If you try and roll it on your finger, I can
feel it. It won't roll because it's elliptical. I can see it. You can
see it flicking. Flicking because it's elliptical. It's not round, so
it's badger fur. We did it. We pulled it off. Do you want to tell
us a foxy tale, Michaela? I'll tell you a foxy tale. Sometimes we get
sent in footage of extraordinary animal behaviour. This is one such
time. This is from George in Buckinghamshire. Just have a look
at this. This is a fox in his garden, nothing particularly
unusual about that but look! The cat comes out and starts, I would
say, playing and chasing the fox. Looks like it's run away to begin
with, doesn't it? It's a bit of a wobblably camera.
Now the fox comes back again. cat sort of sits there, almost like
piggy in the middle, isn't it? they did play together. Chris, did
they play together? You know my thoughts on this - quite harsh. I
don't think animals have time for play. I think they're constantly
learning something that'll be an advantage to them in the future, so
when you see fox cubs playing together, they're learning how to
hunt, how to stalk one another, how to find their prey, how to be
dominant, how to express that. This is quite controversial. New
research into the neuro-science of animals shows some species
apparently - I haven't weighed it through, this research yet, do seem
to have pleasure centre, so not only are they playing, but they
receive pleasure, so therefore we could argue they're not doing it
for a behave I don't recall reason. They're doing it just because they
enjoy it, but I'll have to come back with youen that. I haven't
waded through - a gentleman sent me two books I haven't had a chance to
read. He's changing his mind now! That's what it's about. I am happy
to change my mind if it's proved correct. Thank you for that footage,
anyway. I thought you were going to say life's about playing, but no.
This is interesting - Simon Blackburn came through to us. He
said, "I saw a Queen wasp yesterday but how do I know it's one? By the
way, I am a pest controller." I would hope you would know. How does
he know it's a Queen wasp? That's really easy to answer because the
only wasp you'll find at the moment is a Queen. All the workers, the
sterile females have died, and the males died in the autumn once
they'd mated. It's just the females that survive the winters and as
such they're an incredibly - organism. They have the whole nest
in what are going to be fertilised eggs. Often they come into people's
houses and find somewhere dry to hang up. They often go into a
peculiar position. They have a hibernation position where they
fold their legs up into a particular pattern, curl up their
legs, and they'll hide behind the curtains or tuck behind the cushion.
Invariably you don't find them until the spring. I always leave my
windows open in the spring so they can get out. Lots come in, nice.
was in bed once in my attic and had the central heating on. There was a
loud buzzing on the bed beside me, turned the light on, and there was
a Queen hornette in bed beside me, which was exciting. Can we see what
one looks like? Here, a Queen hornette. There's a Queen hornette.
That was what was in bed with me. Absolutely beautiful. These animals
are fabulous to look and have a brilliant behaviour. They're a lot
less aggressive than male wasps because there are fewer of them in
their nests if they launch an attack and many of them are killed
that means they can't rear as many Queens. Have you ever been stung by
a hornette? No, I got stung in the eye by a hornette. I was
encouraging it to sting someone else so I could see! I was with a
brist brilliant entomologist. When we get stung, we're great because
we don't react. Unfortunately one of the hornettes got out of control
and stung me in the eye, closed my eye for about 24 hours in weeping
tears - of laughter, of course, and then it went down, but I have to
say it's very variable how people react to wasps around hornet Stigs.
Some people can react very adversely to them. It can change
throughout your life. The more I have got stung, the less I react.
Sometimes the more you get stung, the you react. Did it hurt much?
Not at all. It was so funny, we were laughing at it more than
anything else. A hornet sting is classified as number two on the
Justin O'Smu mitt Pain Index. This guy got himself stung by literally
hundreds of insects and gave them a grading of how painful it is. He
says - it's lovely - some of the things - hornets not too bad at all,
a two. They don't go up very far. The highest is the bulletna which
is dramatically paism. The bullhorn Acacia ant is like someone fired a
pellet gun in your cheek and the bull ant is like walking over
charcoal with a three-inch nail in your heel. I was stung by a bee the
other day - I bought a pound of honey for �50! Oh! Could you move
us on, Michaela, to the wonderful Voleman. Tell us a story. As I was
saying before, we have extraordinary footage sent into us
sometimes and we received a call from Swindon, Wiltshire, with a
rather special story. This is really special.
This arm belongs to David Tray and in it his additional member of the
household. Can you guess what it is 2009, walking outside his house,
David stumbled on what he thought was a male mouse. Unsure whether it
was even alive, he brought it home. To his surprise, it survived the
night. And looking closely, David realised it was, in fact, a tiny
female vole. So when I first got her, the only way I could feed her
was with this paintbrush with diluted goat's milk. With much love
and care, the vole grew into a healthy adult, and after nine
months, it heard the call of the wild. Not seeing it again for a
couple of weeks, David assumed it had found a new life with its own
kind, but on the off chance, he occasionally left out her favourite
snacks. On the 17th day, I knelt down in the grass as usual to put
food in the dish, and to my amazement, the mouse came charging
out of the undergrowth, run straight in front of me and stood
up on its hind legs, demanding to be picked up. I've never seen such
a thing. I was amazed, delighted and decided that it's coming home
with me because it obviously wants to. So why had Mr Mouse come home?
Well, of course, he was really a she, and she gave birth to five
babies that night. Mr Mouse, who's truly Mrs Vole, remains at Nut Tree
House. Chris, can you tell me - can you
shed any light on how long I should expect that this little creature is
going to live? How long is it going to live? How long is it going to
live that vol, Chris? In the wild, of course, they have all the stress
of having to find food and deal with their predators, and many of
these small mammals are designed to live 18 months. They get through
their winter, breed as productive as they can. Many of them have more
than one litter and they exhaust themselves. That's if they're not
taken by foxes or tawny owls. The average vole - shrews can be less
than a year, voles between one and two years. In captivity where it's
being pampered... It really is. will be really interesting to see
how long it does live. That's exhausted it, but it's had one
litter. If it doesn't have more, a maximum, I hate to say it two,-and-
a-half, three... Not much longer. But it's already done three years,
which is astonishing. Isn't it? you said, all voles, field mice,
about a year, but you know bats - same sort of size, a greater
horseshoe bat - how long do you years! Amazing. Lynn Hardman.
lovely Lynn Hardman! Every year she makes us a super tea cosy. What do
you think it is going to be? Guesses from the audience. What
sort of are -- are? An eagle owl! Thank you very much. This our idea
of crocheting, I can't... Stay there! It has been picked up and I
think we can reveal a brand new, extraordinary art form involving
crochet. Michaela? Over two. -- over to you. Come in. That is
incredible! Did you do your hat as well?! That is extraordinary. What
do you call this? It is a mixture of crochet and taxidermy. Is there
a real hare inside? No! There is nothing will inside? Not at all.
How long does it take to do something like that? This is tiny
for me. Probably two months or something like that. It is a small
project for me. I have worked on one single project for two years.
And that was for the Olympics? My goodness me. That is absolutely
enormous. How difficult was that to do? It was difficult to keep going
for two years, that was the main challenge with that one. Your
fingers were hurting? I had to put my fingers in ice at the end of the
day. When most people decide to crochet, they will do something
like a hat, so what made you jump to wildlife? Art theory was behind
it, and then the animals came in as an accessible thing to use. Have
you always loved wildlife? I am keen on animals, especially my dog.
You seem to be following the muscle groups as well. Yes, I try to
highlight the anatomy of the Channel. I freestyle, and I start
with one stitch and keep going. Have you ever crocheted a moth?
That is the enemy of all of your work! Seriously, what do you do
about them? It is a serious question. I think I have just been
lucky so far. Especially the ones that we saw earlier. I was in one
static place for two years, so it was a problem. A round of applause,
extraordinary that we have noticed. Well, you have noticed it. We have
noticed some here as well. We are calling them frost flowers. John
Bingham sent in this picture. It looks like cotton wool, but it is
not. Their early form in the frost. Doreen Johnstone has sent another.
-- then they only form in the frost. It looks like a dog. We think we
know a man that knows what they could be. It is Euan McIlwraith! He
has been driving Winterwatch every night. Hello. Listen to those
dulcet tones! Have you got any idea what it is? Yes, it is a thing of
beauty, as you say. It is cold and side. The sap in the plans is
expanding and causing small cracks. -- the plants. The capillary action
continues, the ice crystals form and expand, and they forced out of
the ice in amazing ribbons. Sometimes in a crack, you get the
former around the plant. It is a thing of beauty, and very rare. Now
is absolutely the time to get out and see that. Get out and see frost
flowers. Amazing. I want to see a time lapse of it growing. You have
to be quick because they disappear in the sunshine as my colleagues
have found to their cost. Thank you very much, the man that knows!
you will be doing Winterwatch Extract online after this programme.
Yes. Many of you have heard robins singing at night. Let's remind
ourselves what that sounds like, singing at night.
to something there. It is not a robin. We have done that for a
reason. It is Michaela Strachan! Let's hear what she had to do to
That was slowed down. It is complicated! We wanted Michaela to
do that, slowed down, because that was how complex the birdsong is.
The robins change their song. they change with lots of roses,
variants, tones, patterns of notes, which adds to the richness and
makes it more attractive to the females. I think we should play the
real robin, and then Michaela to see how good she is.
WHISTLING. Very good! I think that I sound better! I think that was
artistic licence! That was a real thing, really! I have to move on.
From a very small bird, beautiful, for bringing it all in. How is she?
Doing fine, quite relaxed. How long have you and Orla been together?
Probably nearly five years. It is quite an intense relationship, the
two of you. That comes from daily contact and building your trust.
The first time you met it was not love at first sight. No. The
hackles were up, pure aggression. She was not happy to see you? And
now you have a close relationship. Can we look at the talons?
Fantastic killing machines, like a grizzly bear. This is an iconic
bird of Scotland. Is she OK if I ask you some questions? I don't
think she can answer! We think she is looking at the beaver? There was
something in the river. And she is that alert! William says, it does
the golden eagle have a unique nesting have it? They tend to have
one or two alternative sites. They will move if the nest is destroyed
or discovered. Sometimes they are in more sheltered spots and
sometimes they decide where to build according to the weather.
There is one in America that is 200 years old, descended from an
original power. Goodness. You are very relaxed about her being so
close. Nine year-old Debbie Jackson, will golden eagles at the start
living in England again? It is very unlikely that they will naturally
recolonise in England. If that was going to happen, we would see
larger numbers in Scotland first. Just time for one more. This has
always fascinated me. How much weight can a golden eagle pick up
and fly with? There are lots of myths about that. Yes. People
overestimate their carrying ability. Anything heavier than five pounds
is too heavy. They only carry things when they are feeding their
young. They are known it to use height advantage to get a mountain
goat and came up for the nest. They cannot physically climb. They have
to aim at down and drop the mountain goat. So they would drop
down, hit the prey and carry on with it? That is marvellous
targeting. Thank you very much for bringing her in. Orla has been very
wonderful. It is a joy to see how big they are. Staggering. I shall
back off, not nervously but calmly! Michaela, would you like to resolve
the quiz, please? Yes, but I was a bit concerned when I was doing my
robin impression that the Eagle might come and pray on me! So
realistic. We set a quiz at the beginning of the show. We mixed of
photographs that viewers had sent in and we asked you to rearrange
them and tell us what they were. Did anybody get it right or wrong?
Yes, lots of people took part. Rebecca and Jane on Twitter got it
right. Tell us the wrong ones, if they are funny. People thought the
insect was a dragonfly, and some people thought the bird was a
goldfinch. Not very funny. This was...? That is quite easy because
there is a real giveaway. Waxwing, very good. A fascinating fact about
which one? The waxwing? He is lost for words! They occur in
Scandinavia. We have spoken about them already this week. Maybe we
should not ask you! There is a more attractive species in North America.
It blows of the Bohemian ones out of the water. And does anybody in
the audience to know what that could have been? Millipede?
might not get it even when we rearrange it. Any idea? Some people
got it right. Snow flee. I thought it was a scorpion fly. I saw the
tail. And last one. It is a Chinese water deer. Well done to everybody
that got that right. Fabulous fangs. We only have two native species of
deer, red deer and roe deer. The Fellow at Chinese water deer were
introduced. -- fallow and Chinese water deer. Thank you very much for
Martin Hughes-Games hosts the climax to a week of Winterwatch, and it is time for viewers to take over the show. Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin answer questions, take a look at viewers' photos and videos, and share your experiences of winter this year.