17/01/2013 Winterwatch Unsprung


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.

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