Episode 2 Winterwatch


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Episode 2

Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan are live from the studio at RSPB Arne with the latest news from the ongoing stories on the reserve.


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We are here in deepest foggiest Dorset at a crucial time of year for

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wildlife. It's cold, the ground is frozen and food is scarce. In

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winter, every day can be a struggle for our wildlife. No matter what its

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size, from small garden birds, like blue tits, to large impressive

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mammals like sika deer, it's a fight for survival.

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The greatest challenge for some of our wildlife is to simply survive

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the icy cold of a single night. It may be chilly out here but it's a

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warm welcome from Winterwatch. Hello! Welcome to Winterwatch 2017.

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Our second programme coming from the wonderful RSPB Anne reserve on the

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west side of Poole harbour here in Dorset. It's a fantastic place for

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wildlife, not just in spring and summer but winter too. A great

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biodiversity with great rarities. There is a NSPCCsy found in three

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other places on the entire planet. I did know that. -- species. How did

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you know that? I read my notes! I want to make a film about that but

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everyone says it's not moving around our mission is to look at all the

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British wildlife across the country and explain how it gets through this

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very hard and harsh season. As usual, we have the reserve bugged

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with live cameras hoping to bring you any live action as it happens.

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Let's have a look at one of those cameras now.

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It's the pond camera. This is a pretty pond in the woods, lots of

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animals come down here to drink. There is nothing there at the

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moment. Let's see what we have had. We have had a badger, great to see,

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but it's not just the camera we have got down there, we also have a Mike

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rephone so we can listen. -- microphone.

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You can hear it slurping. What badgers do is they actually sort of

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scoop a bit of water up into the tip of their tongue and flick it to the

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back and swallow. It's a lick, flick, swallow and that's what you

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are hearing there. It's quite a satisfying sound. It is.

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Nothing like hearing a mammal like that, it has been in the ground all

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day, it has snuck to the pond with all that water and it's sucking it

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up. Fantastic. Our cameras have been throughout the day. Today has been

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problematic. It's been tremendously foggy down here.

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All day long and the fog never lifted.

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It's been a real pain for lots of people across the country,

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cancellations of flights, difficulties travelling on the

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roads, but I have to say, it's added quite a romantic air to Arne. And

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this Wren out there in the mist and fog and this lovely. We have had fog

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for a couple of mornings. We have been here for at least a week and

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our teams have been out and filmed some absolutely glorious dawns.

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Absolutely beautiful. I know you like a bit of black and white,

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moody, misty. But I am more showy and like colour, that was gorgeous.

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Why don't you get out and see a sunrise because in winter is a

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perfect time, because you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to

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see the dawn! Because it is later in winter. It's cracking later, you

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still have to get up at the crack of dawn, it is just later. You know

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what I mean, it's 7. 57 tomorrow, so that's a decent time to get out and

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about. We want you to witness it and take your cameras and as long as

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it's not foggy take a picture of the beautiful sunrise and send it to us

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using the hashtag Winterwatch. A few people have already been out. We

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found this fantastic photograph taken by Paul Silvers in Somerset.

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This is a -- murmuration of starlings leaving in the morning. A

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great picture F you get more please send them in.

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If you are watching last night, mayor tin sent himself a tricky

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challenge, to catch a woodcock in the fielding here. They pulled it

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off, what a thing, it successfully flew away. Tonight he is down here

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about 300 metres away in the car park seeing if he can find birds in

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total darkness. Not quite total darkness, Chris, we

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have a few lights around, but yes you are right I am here in the RSPB

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Arne car park. Now it's very quiet, there is nobody

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here, apart from the film crew and me.

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During the day, of course, it's a very different story.

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This is a very busy place. Lots of people powering in. It's also packed

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with garden birds because they've lots of feeders here in the car park

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and it's a wonderful spectacle. They're incredibly busy. With all

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the birds that you would expect to see in your garden.

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Lovely blue tit. But it's not just the more common birds, down here in

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this very car park there's one of Britain's rarest birds, it's a tiny

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little bird called a firecrest. Let's have a look at one.

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This is a firecrest, that gorgeous flaming crest on its head that gives

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it its name. It is much, much rarer than its

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cousin, the goldcrest, which is more common.

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As you can see, they look remarkably similar.

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We have got a little ID now. This is the Winterwatch identification

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guide. Let's see how you tell the difference.

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You can see the firecrest has a white line above its eye. If you

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look down at the wing on the firecrest it is much clearer defined

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there, that golden yellow colour. Now you have all the tools to

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identify the firecrest and the goldcrest, now I will give you a

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test. What is this? Have you got it? It's a firecrest,

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absolutely right. The white stripe and that clearly defined edge there

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around the back of the head. What is this next one?

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Isn't that gorgeous! That, of course, is a goldcrest. They can

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flare those feathers on the top of the head and it looks dramatic.

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You can't get really an idea of how big the firecrest and goldcrest are

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from those pictures. But you can from this.

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Now that is the actual size, that's a firecrest. Here is my

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Here is my wedding ring. They are tiny.

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We have been here in the car park during the day and we have been able

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to film them moving around in the trees.

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They move very quickly. This is partially slowed down.

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You will be able to tell me what this is, of course.

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This is a firecrest, luckily! They spend during the day 100% of

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their time foraging for food. They have to, to feed, to - there is a

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goldcrest now. They can eat almost twice their body weight in a single

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day. They move so quickly you often

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mistake them for a Wren and then you see that wonderful crest there. You

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think, oh, it's a goldcrest or a firecrest!

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They're quite hard to see actually, but of you ares you can always

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listen out for their song. Well, you can but not everyone can hear their

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song. Unfortunately, it's so high pitched some older people find it

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difficult to hear. Let us test you now. Can you hear the goldcrest

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song? Sad to say I can't! I normally can

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at home. But I can't hear it. I think some of you at home will have

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heard that. But I didn't, sadly.

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OK, now during the daytime they're moving around the car park, all the

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little birds are. But of course right now they've gone into the

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trees around here and they're roosting. Let's look around with our

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thermal calms ras and see if we can see -- cameras and see if we can see

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any. Yes, we can! There is two. When you come back in a minute we

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are going to try and find out how these tiny little birds, including

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the goldcrest and firecrest, actually manage to survive these

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freezing temperatures. They've some very clever tricks and physiology

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that enable them to try and do that. Meanwhile, back to you.

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Thanks, Martin. Did you? Did I what? Did you hear it? I did, yeah. You

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did not! I promise you I heard it. I am young and my hearing is very

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good. Did you? Oh, yes! Of course! I didn't hear it actually, very sadly.

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Something, it's one thing to tell them apart in the daytime, no chance

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at night. Let's be honest. Let's look at some of our other live

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cameras. We have carcasses across the reserve and we have had a lot of

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action. Let's see if there is anything on that camera right now.

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Nothing now, but we have had a lot of foxes visit the car raps. We know

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that we have got four different foxes We can tell them apart. A

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couple of them it's easy. Take a look at this.

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Watch the fox in front. You will soon notice that it is easy

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o to spot. Look at the tail. It is stumpy compared to the one behind

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which is very thick and bushy. That fox we are calling Stumpy. OK. Easy

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one. This one is also easy, it's the one we showed you last night. This

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is a male fox. It is an extraordinary colour. Look at its

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face, it has a scar on its face. It is a very dark fox. Easy to

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recognise and because of that scar and the fact that it is very stocky

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we are calling that one Tyson. So far we have Stumpy and Tyson. They

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are very easy. Take a look at this one. This is a more traditional fox.

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It looks silvery on its back. It has a very, very distinctive mark

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on its face. I have been talking to our expert Dr Dawn Scott at the

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University of Brighton and she recently told me how to identify

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these foxes and I will pass it on to you. Let's look at that one again.

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That one with the black tier. You can see it there on the right of the

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screen. We are calling this one Cheetah because it has that

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distinctive stripe running down from the eye to the mouth like the

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African mammal the cheetah. The one on the other side is less distinct,

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it's more smudgy. I have got a drawing which I have prepared here.

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You can equally do one of these sort of sketches yourself, if you are

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watching the foxes on your patio. Here is Cheetah and as you can see,

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it has this thick stripe that runs down here on to the jaw.

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The other animal has a stripe which starts much further down and it

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comes down like this. It widens out to at the bottom and

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comes up here and is indistinct, I would say. This one is pale there.

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Only this bottom part is there any thickness. For various reasons the

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people who watch these foxes throughout the day have decided to

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call this one Rogue... Oh, no, I spelled it wrong! I have messed it

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up. That looks good. No one would know. That's going to hurt me. You

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can be doing this and I have to say it's a clear way of identifying

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those foxes. The benefit for us is that we can do it in daylight and at

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night in infrared too. We have a good food resource with the car raps

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-- carcass. Happens if more than one arrives at the same time. Have a

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look. This fox has been chewing at that for sometime. We think that is

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Rogue by the fact it hasn't a lot of facial markings. The one behind

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comes in. We think this is Cheetah. They're both females. There is a lot

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of posturing going on. Remember it's dark. I think they probably know

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each other, don't they, Chris? They do. If these were foxes from

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different social groups there would be more antagonism here. In each

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group of animals living together in the same range there is a hierarchy.

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What we are seeing here is these two animals displaying that hierarchy,

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sorting out who is top fox. That is not really a fight, is it?

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No. That is Cheetah pushing Rogue of the carcass. These animals are a

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couple of females. That was a spat over the food. Great to be able to

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watch those foxes but what Arne is really well-known for and that is

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its bird. One bird that people come to see is rare. Because of the

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microclimate it does pretty well. I went out with an RSPB warden to see

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if I could spot it. A stunning morning, isn't it? A gorgeous

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morning. So, what we're doing this morning is looking for what is

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really the star bird of Arne. It is the species that triggered the RSPB

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to get interested. Back then it was incredibly rare. Only a dozen pairs

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in the country. Now we have 70 pairs nesting here at RSPB Arne. So, our

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chances of seeing one are pretty high. Listen out here. Can you hear

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that sound? Yes, I can hear that. It is about the size of a Wren, really

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small with a really long tail. Study -- stubbly weans as well. Tiny wings

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whirring away. There we go. Look at that! Gorgeous. That is the bird we

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are looking for. Dartford warbler. That is the one. You can see the

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long tail. I assumed he would be on top of the gorse bush for longer.

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Sometimes they do. There are two now. They are starting to get each

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other aggravated. That is quite distinctive. There is a small bit of

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gorse in front of us. The reason that Dartford warblers thrive here

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is this lowland heath is protected from the elements by Poole Harbour.

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The RSPB manage the area. Copper zinc and keeping the gorse low and

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bushy, the ideal habitat for the Dartford warbler. It is like a cosy

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hotel room with a birthday breakfast. This is really spiky. --

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buffet breakfast. The temperature is kept up two, three degrees inside.

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Why are they susceptible to the cold? Spain is a great place to see

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the Dartford warblers. They are very small and do not weigh an awful lot.

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I am talking seven, eight, nine grams. They are really small.

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Insects are not numerous in winter and it does get really cold. It is

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easy to see why this gorse bush is so good at protecting them but not

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so easy to see the food inside. I have a trick up my sleeve, which

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hopefully will bring some of the food out and we can prove why this

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is such a good Dartford warbler buffet. I have a chilling for. The

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vibrations should bring it out. The tuning fork did not work, did it?

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That is a bit old-fashioned. Who has one of those lying around anyway? I

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have something far more high-tech. This is the latest version of the

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tuning fork. It is a pink, sonic toothbrush. 20,000 vibrations a

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minute, apparently. If we put that into the spider's Web, it should

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replicate the vibrations of the fly. Look at the spider come rushing out!

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He suggested this stupid thing? I reckon this one will work much

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better. We have seen a view insects on that one. He is coming out. He is

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coming out. Look at that! Oh, my goodness! He has come to attack my

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toothbrush. Here he is, attacking. That was fantastic. You did not

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think that would work, did you? I honestly did not think that would

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work. That was a chunky spider. Showing off my spider knowledge, I

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can name it. We have seen a Dartford warbler. Let's remember it is a rare

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bird to see and we can charm the spider. All you need to see wildlife

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with is a pair of binoculars and a sonic toothbrush. Perfect. What a

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great use of the toothbrush! Every naturalist should have won. Great to

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see the spider and great to see how the gorse is managed. If they did

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not manage it, it would grow long and stringy and be almost like a

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wind tunnel and provides no protection. That makes it thick,

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bushy and like any glue. A lot of people ask, why don't they migrate?

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-- an igloo. The Dartford warbler is a tiny bird with a long tail. It has

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short, stubby wings. It is not a great flyer. It is not hard-wired

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for long migrations. It can do short migrations were usually it is very

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loyal to its breeding site. We have a question here from Henry Barnard,

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a range from Surrey. He says he saw a Dartford warbler on his site. It

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was not there in the summer. Could it have moved to an even more frozen

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heath? They do disburse. They are stubborn but not completely stupid.

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If times are tough where they are, they will choose a different

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location. They are fantastic birds. I like the Dartford warbler. Not in

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my top ten. They have a quiz with a tail flopping around. The tale is

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very long. On top of the gorse bush and get a wind up their tail and

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they topple over like a teapot. In the world of wildlife television, it

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is fickle. One minute you are celebrating an animal and the next

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minute it is sliding down the charts. Look at the sika deer! We

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were focusing on their rutting behaviour and this time we have

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hardly mentioned them. Champions one minute and in desperate, dire

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straits the next. Let's see what they are up to this time of year.

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The rat is over. They join up in groups and generally males with

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males and females with females. The males have stopped rutting. They

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appear to be rutting but they are not. There is no better minutes and

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no purpose. The females are all pregnant at this time of year. They

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have multiple through to their winter coats. They do not have any

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spots. They are moving around in these loose, social groups. You will

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see one with one group of animals one day and the next day it is with

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another group of animals. There is a constant tooling and froing of the

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groups, normally five, six .7 or eight animals. With other species

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you will get larger herds. Sometimes 60 of them there. Very different

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behaviour. They are still stars from me. They are the Chelsea of the

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football world, still up there at the top of the league. The Chelsea.

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Not paid as much of most of your Chelsea team. Perhaps if they were,

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they would still be ratting. We love it on Winterwatch when you send us

:23:45.:23:48.

amazing footage of wildlife spectacles you have seen. Let's face

:23:49.:23:53.

it, sometimes seeing amazing wildlife spectacles means you have

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to be in the right place at the right time. Palin Gray was in the

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right place at the right time, on his dad's boat and he managed to

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film this. He managed to get this humpback whale using a drone. He saw

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it off the Shetlands. This is amazing to see, obviously. Is it

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unusual? You are lucky to see but they do a big migration. They

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migrate from South Africa, the Caribbean, to higher latitudes. They

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will be going past the UK at some point. This is incredible to see. It

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looks like it is a mother with a calf, which is slightly unusual at

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this time of year. Fantastic to see. Thank you for sending it in. We have

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been speaking to the sea watch foundation who say there is a small

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breeding population of the Cape Verde Islands. The mother could have

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given birth and come back to the northern waters. We think they are

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taking advantage of an increase in the number of mackerel and herring

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because we have relaxed the fishing quotas. The Wales are coming back

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and this has been a bumper year for humpback sightings. The greatest

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year ever, between 50 and 60. Some of the Wales could have been seen

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multiple times but the significant increase. Since 1982 when the

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International whaling commission stop whaling in the North Atlantic,

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the population has begun to grow. That is a reassuring thing. There

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are some problems. In a recent paper in 2016, one of the problems with

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western Scotland is it can be a mortality sink for these Wales. They

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get into the area and die because they become entangled with lines

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attached to lobster and crab pots. A fantastic opportunity for someone to

:25:52.:25:56.

go into Dragons Den. Surely we can invent a does not entangle the

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Wales. Paul Smith from British Divers Marine Life Rescue Centre

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??Nospace 'S Case Was Out Looking For These Wales Cleared To Make Sure

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They Were Not Being Entangled. Another sign they are increasing. If

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you manage to get any footage or take a picture of Wales or any

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amazing spectacle, we would love to see it. Please share it on social

:26:34.:26:40.

media. There are plenty of ways you can get involved. It has never been

:26:41.:26:44.

easier to follow Winterwatch. Ever you are and whatever device you are

:26:45.:26:49.

using. By going to the website you can enjoy the Winterwatch live page

:26:50.:26:54.

throughout the week. Get exclusive updates on the action as it happens,

:26:55.:27:05.

plus behind-the-scenes extras and expert analysis. On the red button

:27:06.:27:07.

and I play is a daily round-up of all the action and a chance to get

:27:08.:27:10.

your questions answered on Winterwatch wrapped up. This year

:27:11.:27:13.

our younger fans can find Winterwatch games, quizzes and more

:27:14.:27:18.

on the CBBC website. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter,

:27:19.:27:28.

and on our Flikr group. Plenty of ways to get involved. If it is drama

:27:29.:27:33.

you are after, sometimes you do not have to go very far at all. You can

:27:34.:27:37.

get a wildlife drama right under your feet. In this particular case,

:27:38.:27:46.

right above your head. Christmas is over and the decorations are shoved

:27:47.:27:49.

back up into the loft for another year. They're a thought for what

:27:50.:27:57.

else might be up there. -- bearer thought. While more we might use it

:27:58.:28:03.

as storage space, the crowded roof can be a perfect winter home for

:28:04.:28:09.

some of our natural neighbours. Amongst the discarded toys and piles

:28:10.:28:14.

of junk, a female house mouse has made herself at home. She is heavily

:28:15.:28:27.

pregnant. So constantly craves food. Her stomach is swollen and heavy as

:28:28.:28:33.

her babies wriggle around inside her. This mouse is eating for 15.

:28:34.:28:41.

The sheer effort of even moving around at this late stage makes her

:28:42.:28:48.

quite breathless. But there is not time to rest. She must find

:28:49.:28:51.

somewhere for her nurse before the babies come. -- nest. Every corner

:28:52.:29:00.

of the attic must be explored to find just the right spot. And that

:29:01.:29:07.

means she has to take some risks. She squeezes her frozen belly

:29:08.:29:14.

through tiny gaps. And even have to walk the tightrope. Despite the use

:29:15.:29:25.

of her balancing tale, clambering in her condition means her balance is

:29:26.:29:33.

off. A false step but no harm done this time. This mattress could be

:29:34.:29:35.

just what she is looking for. A warm corner in here will be a safe

:29:36.:29:47.

spot for her babies. But she needs more than just foam to

:29:48.:29:56.

make the bedding complete. So, it's back out on her scavenger

:29:57.:30:15.

hunt. This stack of suitis cases might lead somewhere worthwhile.

:30:16.:30:22.

Grain from a split wheat pillow will make a handy larder for later.

:30:23.:30:30.

But our mouse doesn't have the attic all to herself.

:30:31.:30:38.

The mattress is already occupied. Bed bugs. These parasitic blood

:30:39.:30:42.

suckers can survive a year without feeding and are drawn to their prey

:30:43.:30:53.

by sensing body heat. Luckily, she's chosen a nest site at

:30:54.:30:54.

the other end of the mattress. As she continues her search, her

:30:55.:31:06.

hypersensitive nose picks up a scent.

:31:07.:31:10.

The irresistible lure of cheese. She better watch her step!

:31:11.:31:34.

Saved by a whisker. With a belly full of cheese and

:31:35.:31:40.

babies, the overwhelming hormonal urge to build her nest is getting

:31:41.:31:48.

stronger. She finds an old cashmere jumper, the perfect nest liner.

:31:49.:31:57.

But the soft natural wool has already been colonised by Moth

:31:58.:32:02.

larvae. Undisturbed in the attic they have spent the winter chewing

:32:03.:32:09.

their way through the fabric. Blue fibres visible in their digestive

:32:10.:32:14.

tract. But for this mouse they're nothing more than a handy protein

:32:15.:32:15.

snack. Gathering scraps for around the loft

:32:16.:32:36.

the mouse's foraging is paying off and the nest is developing into a

:32:37.:32:40.

comfortable and soft refuge in which to give birth.

:32:41.:32:53.

And finally the blind and hairless babies are born. They will stay

:32:54.:33:01.

utterly dependent upon their mother for nearly three weeks.

:33:02.:33:10.

Thanks to the safe Oasis of a warm attic, this family are oblivious to

:33:11.:33:13.

the changing season outside. Their mother has found all that they need

:33:14.:33:17.

just by scratching around in the attic.

:33:18.:33:25.

I love those films, absolutely beautiful. Just to remind you I am

:33:26.:33:32.

down here in the car park at Arne and right now I will be surrounded

:33:33.:33:38.

by rooting birds, all asleep in the trees around here. We have our

:33:39.:33:41.

thermal camera and we are looking into the trees. Let's see what we

:33:42.:33:47.

can see. Let's have a look. What can we see at the moment?

:33:48.:33:51.

Nothing just at the moment. But just while we were rehearsing with this

:33:52.:33:57.

camera we did see this. I think that's probably a Robin

:33:58.:34:03.

there. It is glowing like a little furnace there. We have actually been

:34:04.:34:08.

down in the car park here filming birds during the night. Let's look

:34:09.:34:14.

at this. We can see how effective feathers are at keeping those birds

:34:15.:34:19.

warm. We think this is probably a black bird or a thrush. Look at the

:34:20.:34:25.

leaves around it glowing. It is radiating heat and the twig around

:34:26.:34:28.

its feet is also glowing. We think this is a blue tit.

:34:29.:34:36.

Much smaller. You see the heat. When the head pops out you can see how

:34:37.:34:39.

much heat it starts to lose. We think that's a Robin. It is losing

:34:40.:34:43.

heat all the time. You see how important it is for birds to keep

:34:44.:34:48.

their heads tucked away under their wings and there they start to

:34:49.:34:52.

conserve that heat. The feathers are crucially

:34:53.:34:56.

important. When you look at a bird you are only seeing the outer

:34:57.:35:01.

feathers, but underneath is all this going on. Don't know if you can see

:35:02.:35:05.

those. These are down feathers. They're so light they are blowing

:35:06.:35:13.

away on my hand and semiplumes. These are the ones that keep the

:35:14.:35:16.

birds wonderfully warm like that. As well as the feathers these birds

:35:17.:35:22.

have a lot of other behavioural strategies to try to keep warm.

:35:23.:35:29.

Long-tailed tits are fascinating. What they do is they keep all their

:35:30.:35:37.

members of the family, they snuggle up together and try to keep warm by

:35:38.:35:43.

huddling. Actually if two birds are together they will reduce the heat

:35:44.:35:49.

loss by about a quarter. Huddling is a very, very good strategy for very

:35:50.:35:54.

small birds. The long-tailed tits will huddle outside. How much better

:35:55.:35:58.

would it be if you huddled inside something? That's what Wrens do.

:35:59.:36:05.

This amazing footage was sent to us by Anita from Cumbria. These Wrens

:36:06.:36:11.

are all going into a house Martin's nest to roost. It's difficult to

:36:12.:36:14.

judge how many there are. We think there are about 15 in the end all

:36:15.:36:18.

tucked up inside that nest. Extraordinary. Thank you very much,

:36:19.:36:23.

Anita, for sending us that. You might think 15 is amazing, the

:36:24.:36:28.

world record for the maximum number of Wrens inside a nest box is 63.

:36:29.:36:35.

Imagine that. What about something like a blue tit? Do they huddle

:36:36.:36:40.

together? They don't. They have a different strategy. They sit out on

:36:41.:36:46.

their own. They don't huddle up. They use shivering. They'll use

:36:47.:36:55.

muscles to shiver to generate heat and do that all night sometimes.

:36:56.:37:01.

These feathers, we exploit that same technique in our clothes. We will

:37:02.:37:07.

use a thermal camera. I am wearing here a down coat.

:37:08.:37:12.

The camera will look black on the outside. It's insulating me. If I

:37:13.:37:17.

open it up, how is that? You can see all the heat being

:37:18.:37:23.

released. If I was a bird I am zipped up inside my down I am

:37:24.:37:28.

wonderfully warm. Of course let's think about those

:37:29.:37:33.

goldcrests and firecrests we were talking about earlier, what strategy

:37:34.:37:37.

do they use? They use all of those strategies, they huddle together and

:37:38.:37:43.

will go underneath a conifer and will also shiver. Here is one

:37:44.:37:49.

fantastic fact. A goldcrest, if it gets really cold can lose up to 20%

:37:50.:37:54.

of its body weight in one night just from trying to keep warm. If I was

:37:55.:37:59.

to do that I would lose about 16 kilos of my body weight, that's

:38:00.:38:03.

about two-and-a-half stroen. What does that look like? -- stone. In

:38:04.:38:11.

fat balls I would lose overnight about that and that.

:38:12.:38:15.

In a single night. I wish! Back to you.

:38:16.:38:22.

A new diet plan there! Go to the car park and take your clothes off and

:38:23.:38:26.

lose weight. If you were a bird would you be a shiverer or a

:38:27.:38:32.

huddler? I am not a huddler. I am a shiverer, then a huddler. As Martin

:38:33.:38:36.

was saying at this time of year it's really difficult for our small

:38:37.:38:41.

garden birds to survive. We often get asked this question, we had it

:38:42.:38:45.

again last night, how can we help birds in the cold? The simple answer

:38:46.:39:01.

answer is feed them, a variety of food, fat balls, food fruit, cheese.

:39:02.:39:05.

If you are feeding those brings you are bringing them close to you so

:39:06.:39:08.

you can watch them and watch what they want to eat. We thought we

:39:09.:39:13.

would conduct a relatively simple experiment here. About 150 metres up

:39:14.:39:20.

there we set this up. We have three bird feeders hanging in frames. It's

:39:21.:39:26.

been there for about six, seven days. The birds have been coming in,

:39:27.:39:35.

we have had a great variety. The feeders are very busy. This

:39:36.:39:39.

means it's a perfect opportunity to see what these birds want when it

:39:40.:39:43.

comes to choosing their food. What we were interested in is a

:39:44.:39:47.

simple experiment which you can conduct at home. What is the

:39:48.:39:51.

experiment? It's all to do with colour. These are our three feeders

:39:52.:39:56.

looking perfectly normal, natural colour and with a bit of magic you

:39:57.:40:01.

can see we have painted them. We have painted the frames and we have

:40:02.:40:05.

coloured the seeds. We have done a natural colour in the middle. Blue

:40:06.:40:09.

on one side, red on the other. Which one will they go for? What is your

:40:10.:40:14.

prediction? I have the seeds here. They've the red ones and the blue

:40:15.:40:19.

ones. We have dyed them I should say with a food dye which is safe for

:40:20.:40:25.

humans. I will prove that. It's fine! We have dyed them and

:40:26.:40:30.

dyed them blue and red. My prediction is that they will avoid

:40:31.:40:36.

the blue. In nature, many - excuse me speaking with my mouth food. In

:40:37.:40:41.

terms of human foods what blue foods do you eat? Don't say blue berries!

:40:42.:40:45.

When we tried experiments with humans and offered them blue food we

:40:46.:40:48.

were repulsed by it, we don't like it. I think the birds will avoid

:40:49.:40:53.

that because of the toxins inherently in those pigments in the

:40:54.:40:56.

colour blue. I think they'll go for the red because they always do. We

:40:57.:41:02.

have seen the waxwings yesterday feeding on red berries, other birds

:41:03.:41:07.

are drawn to red berries, that's probably one of the reasons they're

:41:08.:41:12.

red. My prediction is avoid blue. They've already starting eating some

:41:13.:41:15.

of the seeds. The birds have been coming in and we have been watching

:41:16.:41:18.

them all day. We are going to see how many birds visit. We are going

:41:19.:41:24.

to see which species go to which feeder. And of course we will record

:41:25.:41:28.

how quickly the seed goes down and if they're busy we will tell you

:41:29.:41:31.

tomorrow. We should be able to give you results tomorrow. Those birds

:41:32.:41:37.

are very lucky because their diet is supplemented by our marvellous

:41:38.:41:39.

experiment but a lot of birds have to work harder to get a decent meal.

:41:40.:41:44.

In fact, some birds have to be tough, agile and have a thirst for

:41:45.:41:45.

danger. Portland, the southern-most point of

:41:46.:42:03.

Dorset. It is stretches out into the English

:42:04.:42:08.

channel, forcing huge currents to smash together at its tip.

:42:09.:42:21.

The coastline here has borne witness to 1,000 shipwrecks with vessels

:42:22.:42:25.

falling pray to the treacherous tidal races. -- prey.

:42:26.:42:31.

Its rugged shoreline and isolated position mean that a few tenacious

:42:32.:42:41.

species call it home, most steer well clear of the crashing waves and

:42:42.:42:45.

vicious currents but one winter visitor likes to buck the trend,

:42:46.:42:51.

choosing instead to flirt with danger and secure exclusive dining

:42:52.:42:57.

rights, the purple sandpiper, the hardest bird on the bill! A small

:42:58.:43:01.

number of these unassuming looking birds spend the winter in this exact

:43:02.:43:08.

spot every year. With one eye always fixed on the next crashing wave, the

:43:09.:43:12.

sandpipers hug the rocks closest to the menacing sea.

:43:13.:43:25.

With nerves of steel, they wait until the last possible second

:43:26.:43:32.

before retreating from the ferocious white water.

:43:33.:43:50.

Only to return seconds later to do it all over again.

:43:51.:43:59.

They have an incredible ability to judge when they can simply square up

:44:00.:44:03.

to a wave or when they need to make a run for it.

:44:04.:44:15.

They almost seem to have an appetite for peril.

:44:16.:44:20.

Their lightning reactions and taste for danger are all the sandpipers

:44:21.:44:24.

have to help them tackle this most extreme of environments.

:44:25.:44:31.

Their feet might be big but they are no help on the slippery rocks. One

:44:32.:44:42.

false step with spells certain doom for these plucky little birds.

:44:43.:44:49.

The constant sea spray smothers the sandpipers and salty water. Whenever

:44:50.:44:57.

they are not feeding, they preen themselves by coating their feathers

:44:58.:45:00.

with oil from a special gland by their tail.

:45:01.:45:06.

By venturing web other waders feared to tread, the sandpipers have a rich

:45:07.:45:18.

food source all to themselves. They survive and thrive by being quite

:45:19.:45:23.

simply the toughest bird on the rocks.

:45:24.:45:31.

What a bird! A tough little bird. I like a tough bird. Fantastic waders.

:45:32.:45:42.

We have a live wader cam. Let's see what they have at the moment. Looks

:45:43.:45:48.

like a moonscape. There is a lot of action but we cannot see it at the

:45:49.:45:54.

moment. Do you hear that? There is something appalling. Could be a

:45:55.:46:03.

widgeon. Let's move swiftly on. The star wader is this one. It's a

:46:04.:46:11.

curlew. It is the UK's largest wader. It's very easy to spot

:46:12.:46:18.

because of its extremely long legs and, of course, it's long curved

:46:19.:46:25.

bill, which it uses in the winter to probe into the mud for a variety of

:46:26.:46:31.

food. Why is it hurt? There is no definitive answer but there are lots

:46:32.:46:37.

of advantages. A curved bill means it can probe ahead of its feet and

:46:38.:46:42.

has a wider arc and can penetrate further. Look at what it is doing

:46:43.:46:49.

here! It can actually probe further down than a straight ill could. It

:46:50.:46:57.

can get under and into things. -- bill. It pulls up a worm. A curved

:46:58.:47:06.

bill means it can probably pull more worms up without breaking them.

:47:07.:47:12.

Pretty neat. That is key for it, getting the worm alcohol. To

:47:13.:47:17.

contrast that with a black tailed godwit. It is foraging much closer

:47:18.:47:26.

to its feet. When it grabs at prey, it has to pull it directly upwards.

:47:27.:47:32.

So it cannot feed on things as big as the worm is a curlew is taking,

:47:33.:47:37.

without the risk of breaking them. Loss of part of a worm is

:47:38.:47:44.

disastrous. Basically, when the lug worms are in the mud, they are in

:47:45.:47:48.

like this with their tail at the top and the head at the bottom of their

:47:49.:47:54.

burrow. If it snaps here, unfortunately, the bird gets the

:47:55.:47:59.

rotten end of the worm. What it is really after is the head. More than

:48:00.:48:04.

60% of the nutrients in this worm are in this part above the top of my

:48:05.:48:10.

finger and thumb. It is essential to get the head. I will demonstrate how

:48:11.:48:19.

these two bird beats work. I have the black tailed godwit with the

:48:20.:48:24.

straight bill. What I will show you is, if the black tailed godwit

:48:25.:48:30.

sticks its built into the ground, when it turns to pull out the worm,

:48:31.:48:37.

as you can see, it damages the soil, will drag the worm through the mud

:48:38.:48:41.

and, as a consequence, there is a very good chance that worm will

:48:42.:48:45.

break and it will not end up with the head. When the curlew puts its

:48:46.:48:55.

bill into... Penetrates that OAC is, it comes out again and it comes out

:48:56.:49:03.

pretty cleanly. Look at that! Down it goes. Due to the curved action of

:49:04.:49:08.

the bill, it can withdraw a much larger prey item at the same time

:49:09.:49:13.

the godwit would have real problems in getting it out. Britain's largest

:49:14.:49:18.

wader, the curlew, can feed on those things and that is how it gets

:49:19.:49:24.

through the winter. What a demonstration! Thanks. A fantastic

:49:25.:49:31.

job! It is very cold now. Let's look back to the summer when it was

:49:32.:49:35.

lovely and warm and Martin was out doing some really important work

:49:36.:49:37.

with Montagu's Harriers. I am at a secret location, the

:49:38.:49:51.

nesting site of an extremely rare summer visitor. The Montagu's

:49:52.:50:02.

Harrier. They migrate here from west Africa to raise their young in

:50:03.:50:07.

arable farmland. With only five pairs nesting in Britain each year,

:50:08.:50:12.

it is vital to protect them, as well as trying to find out more about

:50:13.:50:24.

their long journey. Up. Yes. Today I am helping a Dutch research team to

:50:25.:50:30.

catch and tag a local female, who has a nest and two chicks nearby.

:50:31.:50:37.

Why these particular birds? They are really elegant. If you see them

:50:38.:50:43.

flying... They are really liked and have very long wins. They seem to

:50:44.:50:50.

dance in the sky. Harriers have superb vision. They will not just

:50:51.:50:57.

fly straight into our net. We need a secret weapon and this is it. A

:50:58.:51:03.

stuffed honey buzzard. What do you think of it so far? Rubbish.

:51:04.:51:10.

Montagu's Harriers are very territorial. The female will bravely

:51:11.:51:15.

defend her chicks, especially against larger raptors like a honey

:51:16.:51:18.

buzzard. We need to be clever. You will only attack into the wind and

:51:19.:51:23.

crucially, when the buzzard isn't looking. So, with the stuffed

:51:24.:51:29.

buzzard facing into the breeze and the net behind it, the trap is set.

:51:30.:51:34.

She must be full of territorial aggression. It is really close to

:51:35.:51:39.

the nest site. We retired to the card to wait it out. What happens

:51:40.:51:45.

when comes in? Jump out and run, so we are quicker. The female returns

:51:46.:51:55.

from a hand with some food and drops it down to one of the chicks. --

:51:56.:52:03.

hunt will stop then, she notices our de Cawley. -- de Cawley. She does

:52:04.:52:13.

not like the honey buzzard. She swoops at the honey buzzard. Perhaps

:52:14.:52:19.

she is hoping to drive it away. Come on. But she does not hit the net.

:52:20.:52:29.

Just pulled up. Did you see that? She must have been centimetres away.

:52:30.:52:33.

Then, on her next pass... She is in. We got her. Well done. She's so

:52:34.:53:03.

small. When you see her close, she is tiny. Well done! The bird is then

:53:04.:53:13.

measured. Way over a metre wingspan. Wade and ringed. CP for Chris

:53:14.:53:21.

Pakenham. The information is vital in building up a profile for the

:53:22.:53:28.

bird. How old is she? She has round eyes. That means she is rather

:53:29.:53:33.

young. What colour do they change as they get older? More yellow. This is

:53:34.:53:40.

the satellite tag. Presumably as to be a very exact weight. This is only

:53:41.:53:46.

12 grams. Because of this device you will know the exact migration path

:53:47.:53:50.

this bird will take. If you think about the effort we are doing,

:53:51.:53:54.

together with the farmers, protecting the nest, if there is a

:53:55.:53:59.

problem in Africa, it could be we are doing all of those in vain for

:54:00.:54:03.

that we have learned that northern Africa is quite important for them.

:54:04.:54:08.

In spring, it seems to be a key site for them to refuel and prepare for

:54:09.:54:12.

the migration back to the UK. If that area where to disappear, we

:54:13.:54:18.

could lose the Harriers. Are you giving her a name? Sally. I think

:54:19.:54:25.

she is nearly ready for release. You are going to release her, Martin. Am

:54:26.:54:35.

I? What a treat! Three, to, one, zero. There you go, Sally.

:54:36.:54:45.

Fantastic! What a privilege! It looks quite a big bird but there is

:54:46.:54:51.

nothing to it. Quite a light weight. Because Sally has that satellite

:54:52.:54:56.

tracked on her, we can follow her exact journey, her migration. She

:54:57.:55:02.

went from Norfolk, all the way down here, passing Paris in France, down

:55:03.:55:07.

through Spain, then she jumped across the med. She clipped the end

:55:08.:55:11.

of Morocco, all the way through Algeria, through Mali, down here,

:55:12.:55:20.

the Ivory Coast, and ended up in Ghana. I can tell you that, at seven

:55:21.:55:25.

o'clock to nine, Sally was there in Ghana. How can I tell you? The RSPB

:55:26.:55:32.

team gets an e-mail twice a day, 12 o'clock and seven o'clock telling

:55:33.:55:37.

them where Sally is. At seven o'clock tonight she was right there.

:55:38.:55:42.

Extraordinary. You can follow sell yourself. On the website there is a

:55:43.:55:48.

link. With luck, late March, early April, she'll be making her way all

:55:49.:55:54.

way back to the UK. That is about 5000 kilometres down there. An

:55:55.:55:59.

extraordinary journey. This is some wonderful news. There were five

:56:00.:56:04.

Montagu's Harriers nests in the UK which were all successfully hatched

:56:05.:56:09.

out and 13 chicks fledged. Wonderful news. We have some Harriers

:56:10.:56:18.

wintering at Arne. There were ten of these Marsh Harriers full stop they

:56:19.:56:23.

are pretty good news. The numbers slumped write-down and in recent

:56:24.:56:28.

years they picked up. More than 400 pairs of these birds and ten in

:56:29.:56:32.

Dorset. The numbers are supplemented from birds in from the continent.

:56:33.:56:37.

What is interesting, in the past that when I got into birds in the

:56:38.:56:42.

70s, these were migrating species. They would go down through France

:56:43.:56:47.

and Iberia, some into sub Saharan Africa. With the changing climate,

:56:48.:56:51.

many of them are staying in the UK and they are wintering here. They

:56:52.:57:03.

are changing their habits. Every chance of seeing them here. We asked

:57:04.:57:06.

you to send in photos of sunrises and you have. Some beautiful

:57:07.:57:08.

pictures. The sun is leaching through that stag in Richmond. This

:57:09.:57:17.

is from Minsmere. Sunrise through frost. Then this one from Rich

:57:18.:57:25.

Smith. Sunrise in HDR, hide dynamic range. That is the Yorkshire waltz.

:57:26.:57:33.

Thank you for sending them in. Ingrid has just asked, any tips how

:57:34.:57:39.

to attract Goldcrest into my garden? Plant a conifer. They like conifers.

:57:40.:57:44.

That is our parting shot for tonight. We'll be back tomorrow and

:57:45.:57:48.

we'll be taking a look at our foxes. We will try to work out how many

:57:49.:57:52.

there are and also the social structure of the group we are

:57:53.:57:57.

watching. What happens to our butterflies and moths in the depths

:57:58.:58:01.

of winter question how do they survive? Find out tomorrow. More

:58:02.:58:07.

about this handsome chap. The white, seeker stag, here on Arne. Make a

:58:08.:58:16.

date for 8pm and enjoyed the dawn. Take a photograph and send it into

:58:17.:58:20.

us. We might even show it on programme. From us, goodbye. Good

:58:21.:58:24.

night. MUSIC: The Elements

:58:25.:59:02.

by Tom Lehrer # There's Attenborough, micro.bit,

:59:03.:59:04.

The Bottom Line and In Our Time # And Terrific Scientific

:59:05.:59:07.

and Ten Pieces and All In The Mind # Inside Porton Down, Black And

:59:08.:59:10.

British, Bitesize, City In The Sky

:59:11.:59:13.

Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan are live from the studio at RSPB Arne with the latest news from the ongoing stories on the reserve. Martin Hughes-Games is further afield on a mission to understand Britain's wildlife in a deeper fashion, and Iolo Williams brings a report from a raven colony on Anglesey.