Episode 3 Winterwatch

Episode 3

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Settle down on your sofa, we are back.


Tonight we've got foxes, we've got water voles,


But that's not all - back by popular demand...


It's going to be phone, Foxy, factual and fabulous. Snuggle up,


it's time for Winterwatch! Good evening. We are going to go


live, straightaway, to the thermal camera out in the field. What you


can see there on the left-hand side is a fox.


In front of it is a woodcock, two of the stars of the series.


Unbelievable. Moments before we came on air, it was walking towards the


woodcock, we thought, is it going to pounce? The woodcock doesn't even


seem aware. The Fox has stopped to have a clean. It's difficult to tell


how far away it is, relative to the woodcock. I know it is difficult to


see now, but we saw the long bill. Look at it now.


If anything happens, we will come straight back. What an exciting


start! Welcome to the reserve in Dorset, it


is Winterwatch 2017. It has been clear in some parts, reining in


others. Down here we have been besieged by fog. This is what it has


been like on the reserve. I rather like this muted atmosphere.


Beautiful, photographic, Impressionist! This is a Monet


moment. A cormorant, caught in a Monet moment. Preening, probably


with the dew on its back. It is a picture of surrender tree. --


serenity. It has been giving people problems, you are not so keen? I


don't know, you like some black and white, I like colour, I am more of a


kingfisher girl. You are dressed like a Kingfisher! We have cameras


all around the reserve. But we also have a camera more local, in the


studio. It is actually up there. That is right by a barn owl box.


There is nothing in it now, as far as we can tell. Look what was there


last night. Two barn owls. They don't seem bothered by us being


there. They seem to know each other very well indeed. A little bit of


barn owl canoodling. It's nearly Valentine's Day! They


are having a little kiss. I think it's romantic. They are probably out


hunting at the moment, so we have a thermal camera where they might be


hunting. Can we go to that? What is happening?


He is still lying down. It might take off, if he gets up.


They do get around. Let's go live to the carcass camera. Nothing there


now, because he is on the other camera. A cast of Foxy characters,


we will show you more of them. The foxes have been active, they have


not only been feeding, they have been doing something else as well.


This is Tyson. We know this character, very dark. He has taken


some meat away from the carcass, he is burying it in the leaves. He goes


back... He gets a nice bit of... That looks like a bit of lung. Takes


it away to a different area. This is Cheetah, another individual. Taking


a whole leg! Seems to take her by surprise. But she is determined, not


going to leave that, it's a really good food resource. Taking it off


again. Half as big as her! This is behaviour that you will see foxes do


in the winter. They actually have quite small stomachs, relative to


Wolves and dogs, about half the size. They can only eat about 10% of


their body weight in one sitting. They have to eat little and often.


When they are full, they take some and save it for later. On a carcass,


that makes perfect sense, they can't eat all of it at once. They take a


little bit and they cache it, not four months like some quarrels, but


for a couple of days later. Sometimes they get quite ambitious.


He has begun to realise he is not going to tear it off, and he cannot


drag the carcass away. He switches behaviour and he is starting to


cover it with leaves. You can see from the Topshop that he has swept


an area of leaves about one square metre. He is attempting to cache the


entire carcass! I like unambitious animal. Perhaps he is biting off


more than he can chew. He continues to go through this behaviour to try


to hide the carcass. As you can see, a fruitless effort. In the end, he


realises that. The foxes haven't only been on the carcass. We have


seen them in other parts of the reserve. We think this one is


Cheetah, the vixen. She's down on the shore. Listen. She is down in


total darkness. That was a fox, barking. Even here the alarm


calling. She was probably on the prowl for any birds that have died


during the course of the day, or seeing if she can catch one


off-guard. Listen to this. They spotted her and she disappears into


the nest. It's a bit like the Blair Fox Project! I suspect there is a


curlew in the corner, just nodding. Very atmospheric. I will be


following the foxy Who's Who throughout the programme. It has


been bitterly cold and very foggy for the last couple of days. On


Sunday it was bitterly cold, but the sun came out. With it, a lot of


insects appeared. Rather to our surprise! Here is a fly. The gorse


is in flower. A honeybee, surprising to see that. A little bit of nectar.


The beautifully named marmalade hover fly. Thank goodness for the


gorse, providing the insects with a little bit of a snack, even in the


depths of winter. We have also seen something else, something rather


curious on Sunday. Here is a quiz, can you tell us what these are and


what they are doing? What are these animals, and what are they up to?


Get in contact on Twitter, on Facebook. We will try to see who


gets it right before the end of the programme. Yesterday I tried to


inspire you all to get about the crack of dawn and enjoy the sunrise.


I'm pleased to say, for a lot of you, it was not foggy and you sent


in some beautiful photographs. Here are some of them. Look at that. When


I opened my curtains this morning, I did not wake up a shot like that. It


appears from these photographs that maybe we were in a microclimate in


Dorset. All over the country! Absolutely stunning. Thanks very


much for sending those in. Beautiful. A bit of colour, I like


that. Let's check on the Fox and Woodcock.


Another fox in the field! They are busy tonight. It is going towards


the Woodcock! Pincer movement! What is going to happen to it? If


anything dramatic happens, we are recording and will show you. Let's


stick with this Fox. It's amazing, I'm not sure I want to see the Fox


get that. We were celebrating them. It is chewing something. We will


keep across this. If it gets more dramatic, we will go straight to it.


Iolo has been to Anglesey, in search of one of his favourite birds, an


enigma, but it gathers there in great numbers.


Look at that! I've been coming to Anglesey since I was about four


years old. The bird I always wanted to see was the Raven. They are big,


bold, black, beautiful. But they are wily, incredibly intelligent. It is


so difficult to get close enough to get a really good luck. But at this


time of year, Anglesey is the perfect place to see them. Ravens


from across the country gather here in their hundreds.


Each afternoon, they are drawn here to feed, play and socialise. But


it's not all about fun. The forest also provides them with a winter


refuge. I visited this roosting site many times. But as Ravens are


particularly elusive birds, there is still so much I want to learn. I've


enlisted the help of Nigel Brown, who has studied the ravens on


Anglesey for the last 20 years. We have an owl before dark, quite a few


birds coming in. This is quite a communal experience, for these


birds. It is probably a highlight of their day. What I love is as they


come, you get the calls. They have something like 30 different calls?


The Romans said 65, maybe they made up a few. It may be more than any


songbird. Wow. It's really starting to liven


up now. Your hearing tock-tock. It wasn't just ravens arriving for


the party. I love the interplay between the


cheeky jackdaws and the solemn raven. It's like being in the middle


of an orchestra. You have the insects as well. Except it is not


orchestrated. It doesn't seem to be. When they are coming to roost, do


they roost individually, do they roost as a group, do we know that?


Earlier research suggested that groups of up to six will occupy one


tree. But we weren't ever able to prove that for sure. At night, you


can't see them. That's why I'm really excited by what we are going


to try tonight. We are going to try to film them after dark, something


that has never been done before. Hopefully that will give us a pretty


good idea of how many you have in particular areas within this forest.


With thermal cameras at the ready, all we can do is wait for darkness


to fall and hope the mysteries of the raven roost would then be


revealed. I wish we had had this equipment 20 years ago!


Fantastic. I've been up there, it's magical hearing all of the weird


calls from the ravens. I love their calls, amazing. Can we see what is


going on with the fox and Woodcock? The woodcock has gone. The fox


didn't seem to notice it at all. The woodcock, they have this thing,


emotional Baku -- no centre comes out at all, they tighten their


feathers, and the heart rate can go from four per minute to 60, when


they take off. Apparently I can slow my heart rate to almost nothing. An


Aston Martin drives by and I explode.


Our foxes have been at the carcasses during the night-time but during the


day time we have buzzards. One of the birds has been particularly


pale. This bird is quite unusual in that sense. Pale birds in the


buzzard population are not an enormous rarity, you will find them.


This bird, as you can see is altogether darker. We have a pale


one here, this one is darker. Both the same species. Living in the same


place, at the same time, doing, as you can see, the same job, but


different colours. What about that? Very curious. When I see them, they


are somewhere between both of those. Intermediates. They are a greater


part of the buzzard population. Here on the left hand side you can see


our pale one, in the middle you have the intermediate and on the right


hand side the dark of the buzzard. What's the point of it? Why would


you have a range of different colours in the buzzard. What we know


for sure, the intermediates have a the greatest lifetime reproductive


success. They rear more young during the course of their life than the


pale ones and the dark ones. What is the point of being pale and dark.


Nature needs a reason. It's likely there is a gee netcle linkage with


the colours that would give those animals an opportunity under certain


circumstances. If conditions change you might see an increase in pale


one us because they are present in that population. In southern Sweden


there was an enormous number of pale buzzards. For a a number of time it


was better torque pale that dark. We don't know why it manifested in


buzzards. Amazing. A fox is barking there. We have noticed the colour


difference in sika deer. People have said, have you seen the white stag,


the white Hart, here he. Is doesn't he look striking. He's not albino.


Leucistic makes the pigment they don't get it out to their feathers,


if it's a bird, or fur if it's a deer. They are very striking. In the


old days the they used to hunt the white Hart is you find an innocent


young virgin, she will sit down. The white Hart will come and lay it is


head on her lap. The hunter would grab it. No-one has caught one down


here in Dorset like that for over 200 years. Amazing. I love that. I


Love that. Water voles, increasingly rare animal, of course. Very shy.


Difficult to see. Russell has been out looking for them. He has a


secret place he goes to where he gets intermaite with his water


voles. We are on the chalk stream. I knew it was a special site when I


fist arrived here. A lot of people walk past this place and probably


don't even understand the wildlife that is here. Spend a few minutes,


observe, and it comes to you. My main interest would be the water


vole and it looks a fantastic environment for that. There is good


evidence of the water vole. I have done the laying around by the side


of the pond, going out on to the river, different tactics I thought I


have to go in and join them. The voles are nervous. You have to


be incredibly still, so you are freezing and being, very, very cold


in the water. Just don't move about. As time goes by and you do more days


of it they become more relaxed and then you will get them swimming


past. Sitting right in front of you, you know, chewing away. They are


always here, every single day, some of the special shots, it just


happens that once, you have to be there to catch it.


One of the most satisfying things is, because we have this beautiful


chalk stream, you can see these silver bullets which are the water


voles under the water with the air trapped in their fur. They whizz


underneath you. An amazing experience, it really is. I've had


cold days and I've had some very cold days. My last session here I


think we were minus four. That day I only managed about an


hour-and-a-half sitting in. Generally speaking, a session would


be around about three-and-a-half hours. You get to the numb stage and


then everything goes dead, you for get about it, but it does become


quite painful after a while. The life of the water vole is very


short. Most of them don't get through into a second year. So a


huge steep learning curve. On first coming to the site really


was this idea that possibly, possibly we'd got water voles that


were climbing trees. The evidence on the tree I think most people put it


down to squirrels. I think it was worth spending some time and then


they started to climb. They were going up along the branches. I think


there was probably six inches above the water. I thought, that is quite


interesting, maybe not so steady on their feet. To my amazement they


kept climbing and climbing and climbing.


I don't know what the different was between the bark at the bottom and


the top, they just liked to go higher.


They were actually eating it. Winter time for water voles is very, very


hard. It's interesting to find these behaviours, to work out what is


driving them to do it. Is it a food source, a shortage of something or


something they have A just found that they like? -- they've just.


What a top bloke. I love a determined naturalist. He looked


frozen trying to get that shot sitting in the water. Is it unusual


to see a water vole eating bark? This time of year they have to eat


80% of their body weight a day. They will take advantage of any


vegetation that they can get. Difficult to see though because,


let's face, it they are in massive decline. Difficult to see a water


vole anyway. Also what is very difficult to see is a woodcock in a


field in the dark. We've been very excited tonight because not only


have we seen live on our thermal camera a woodcock, we have seen


foxes behind it. This is what we saw seconds ago. Have a look. This is


the woodcock, very difficult to see these birds. Here it comes.


Returning back to the field where the fox was sitting, relaxing and


grooming. Probably didn't even realise that the woodcock was right


in front of it. There it is. This is a bird that we featured just a


couple of days ago with Martin. It's fantastic. Let's see if that bird is


still there now? There he is. You can see the spec there. This is the


field that Martin caught the woodcock in. We are looking for the


fox. Some way away. Quite a long way away. The woodcocks come from


another part of Europe back to the same area. Each night they will go


to the same field. It's likely that woodcock has been visiting this


field. It could be the one that Martin caught, you don't know. At


the moment it's avoiding those foxes. Last night we started an


experiment looking at bird food choice. An experiment you could


conduct in your own garden. If we look at our control, if you like.


This is how we set it up initially. The feeders are the same. . The


first thing we wanted to look at is how the birds behaved. What we


noticed is that the tit speedies seemed to choose the feeders on the


outside, not the centre one. When they arrive they take one of those


sunflower hearts and fly off with it back to the security of the hedgerow


to eat it. Gold finches, on the other hand, behave differently.


They choose the central feeder, they arrive in numbers. They stick there.


Each one taking a seed, having a I believe inle whilst the others look


out. I think that's what this difference is all about. These are


flock feeding birds. Safety in numbers, more eyes, so they don't


have to retreat to the hedgerow. Robbins come in and get the scraps.


Also do great spotted woodpecker. They are picking things up


underneath. They are more forceful. When they hop onto the feeder itself


they will drive off all the other birds. No-one wants a severe peck in


the back of the head from one of these guys. That was the experiment


we set up. The birds are using it in different way, which correlate to


the behaviour that they would display if they were feeding on


natural things. Gold finches feeding on thistle heads, lots of eyes


sitting in one place. Tits go back to the security of the hedgerow.


It's been mesmerising watching those birds against the black. You can see


the colours. Colour is what our experiment is about. We want to find


out how colour affects that feeding behaviour and what colour they


prefer. These are our three feeders. Normal colour. We coloured two of


them, one blue, one red. We painted the frame with nontoxic paint and we


dyed the seeds. We will give you the result of that experiment tomorrow.


All I can say is, they are both surprising and interesting and


emphatic as well. We are trying to explain how animals get through the


winter. There were several obvious strategies, migration, animals who


move away. Animals which roost in places to stay warm. Some animals


have to get through the winter by hibernating. Gillan has been out to


find an animal that gets through the winter by hunkering in a bunker.


In the summer, this area of Studland in Dorset is buzzing with all sorts


of insects and particularly butterflies Flitting from flower to


flower foraging for nectar, but this is winter and where have they all


gone? Some, like the painted lady, migrate


to sunnier climes. In other species, the adults die off. Leaving eggs,


caterpillars to tough it out and emerge as adults in the spring. A


few surprisingly Hardy butterflies manage to stay here throughout


evening the harshest winter. This is a pillbox. Hundreds of these were


built along the coastline to house guns and defend these shores against


attack during the Second World War, but now it houses a completely


different occupant. There they are. These are peacock


butterflies. It's really quite easy to overlook special it is to see


them like this. Before there were man-made structures, like sheds,


they would have spent the winter in a hollowed out log, so to be able to


walk into a place like this and see them in this state is quite special.


They are so still. There are more and here.


This is not hibernation as we know it. Mammals that hibernate, they


wind down them metabolism to a point where it is barely ticking over,


like a car engine, idling. But as it does, there is still wear and tear.


Insects do something completely different, they actually switch the


engine of. They hold all developmental processes until they


don't age at all. But they have a really neat trick up their sleeve.


Just like your car engine, they are sat with the engine off, but the


ignition is still on. So if they are disturbed by a predator, a mouse or


a bird, they flash their wings open to reveal the high eye spots that


start for their attacker and scare them away. They have enough fat


reserves to get them through the winter. In a few months' time, they


will wake up, leave this pillbox and head out to mate and start the new


generation. The pillboxes have done their job to help us, now they are


doing the same for butterflies. Fascinating film. You would be


really lucky to see a butterfly flying around now. But if you go out


and about, even in the depths of winter, you might see a moth. So how


can they fly in the icy cold of winter? We are going to find out,


because we have Gillian here. You are passionate about insects? Yes.


What have we got here? We try to attract some of the winter flying


moths. There are a handful of species that are still active. We


have a light trap, a Robinson 's moth trap, pretty much unchanged


since the 1950s. It does what it says on the tin. This one is more


sophisticated, it uses pheromones, the sweet scent of the female.


Before we go on to the winter moths, I wanted to show you another


species, the herald moth. I am going to put it over here so we can get a


closer look. It's gorgeous! Beautiful.


When you get nice and close, tight shots, before I get into the science


bit, you can really appreciate what a beautiful moth it is. It's like a


rich tapestry. This moth isn't really active at this time of year,


it is just like the peacock butterflies we saw. Hibernating?


Yes. It emerges quite early in the spring. To do that, it has to get


flight muscles up to temperature. It does that by vibrating the wings. As


you can see, a really nice shot of that. As it vibrates, it is slowly


raising its temperature. Like massively exercising? Yes, do loads


of presents and get warm. We saw it warming itself up. When you go to


the thermal cameras, it is absolutely amazing. You can see the


body getting warm. Not the wings, it is actually the thorax, right there,


started to start glowing white hot. They can raise their temperature 40


degrees. That was five minutes of warming up condensed into seconds,


but it started to massively glow. I've seen this, back in Springwatch,


we filmed owls hunting moths at night. You can see them, like bits


of fire, whizzing about. The owl has seen it, will it get it? What


fascinates me is that you can see so clearly only thermal camera how hot


the moths are as they fly around. As you say, is it going to get it? Got


it in flight. Absolutely fascinating. That is what moths do


to warm themselves up. But that isn't a winter flying moth. What do


the ones doing the winter? In my other pocket, I've got this. Here we


have a male winter moth. I know it doesn't look like much... I like it,


I have seen them at home. If we can get the lid off... He is starting to


flatter his wings. It is quite a cold night, but it is active.


Perfect example. It can't be far from freezing, and he is still...


How on earth is he going to do that? He is not warmed up? No, but what


you get is a lovely view, quite a small body. These moths belong to a


family which have small bodies. Relative to that, really large


wings. That means they are really energy-efficient with flying. They


have done away with the digestive tract altogether. As adults, they


don't need to feed. All they do is fly, they are single minded in their


purpose to find a mate. These traits make them really suited to flying in


cold temperatures. If we see them side-by-side... The herald moth is


on the winter moth is on the left. The winter moth has a John -- chunky


body. The wings of the winter moth, it is so efficient, it only needs to


beat its wings four times a second, with the herald moth it is 60 times


a second. It has adapted perfectly to flying around in the winter. Why?


What is so good about being out when it is bitterly cold? The air space


is empty. It is safe. There are no bats, they are hibernating. Even the


spiders, there are few of them around. It's a great time of year


for some moths to make the most of that. I am loving the male winter


moth, but even more, I like the female one that I have got. She is


right on the side. If I hold that, can you see that?


You might notice something about that female. As she got any wings?


They actually have vestigial wings. That is the remains of them. All she


has is a fat body, but no wings. She is completely flightless. The


question arises, how does the male possibly find a flightless female?


It's a really good example of how these winter moths have to make the


tough choices. It is a trade-off. The females lose their wings. That


is because flying is a costly business, but so is making eggs. The


females have left the business of flying to the males. They just get


onto making eggs. How they find them is beautifully simple. They


basically make their way up the tree trunk, the females, they make their


way up to the tree trunks, they get themselves into a good position,


they stay put and broadcast their position by sending out pheromones.


Pheromones? Which are? Smelly sex gas. Fantastic! A brilliant bit of


biology. I have seen the males, I have never seen the females. Have


you seen a female winter moth? I have seen them, not very often. I


had to be shown them by somebody that was another moth expert. The


best place to find them is apparently an apple trees. There is


one animal we are seeing a lot of on the live cameras. It is the family


of resident foxes. There has been a lot of live action, an all-star


cast. Let's remind ourselves of the leading characters.


We should rename them, Mr Stumpy, Mr Cheetah! I hope it just doesn't end


up stuck in the middle with one of them, that scene... In Reservoir


dogs, there were six characters, we have only shown you four. We have


two more to show you. They have a co-star role. Look at this one. This


is a new character, not seen before. Look at the face. You can tell the


markings on the face. You can see this one has a moustache. We are


calling this one Tash, a dainty female... With a moustache! This is


a male, but look at the eyes. The male is blind. They are calling this


one Pugh. We now have a cast of six. That is not surprising, foxes live


in social groups, typically with a dominant male and female, and a


supporting cast of family members from previous letters. We have seen


quite a bit of social interaction, interesting stuff. On the right-hand


side, we have Stumpy. He is whining, there is clearly another fox coming.


His ears go down. This is Cheetah coming in sideways, showing her


flank, and then it kicks off. They stand on their back legs, lock their


forelegs. This is called fox trotting. Now he sounds a bit like a


cub, begging for food. It is very clear that Cheetah is the dominant


fox. She offers her rump. He isn't mounting. He is still subservient.


He is making that clicking sound, geckoing, typical fox conflicts. All


of that whining, as well. And this time of year, there are probably


more fox fights and scraps like this than any other time of year.


Firstly, a shortage of food, although not in this image. Then


they are breeding and dispersing at the same time. She has come in, she


has pushed an animal further down the pecking order away, and now she


is helping herself to some of the food. He has been forced to wait his


turn. Because this is not an all-out scrap, he is remaining in


attendance, that pretty much guarantees that these animals are


from the same social group. We have a more dominant female, Cheetah, in


the picture, and a less dominant male, behaving and sounding like a


cub. Maybe he is one of her cubs from last year. Eventually, she lets


him go to the carcass. Again, it might be a relic to behaviour,


because there is an affinity between them and she might see him as one of


her cubs from the previous season. If he could leave with his tail


between his legs, he would. But he can't, because he hasn't really got


a tail. It's amazing to see and hear that natural behaviour. Like any


good plot, the storyline is complex and unpredictable. One minute you


are feeling sorry for Stumpy, and then the tables turn. Look at this.


This is one of the other characters. This is Rogue, eating at the moment.


Rogue is not that confident, a little bit nervous. She can hear


something. She can probably smell something as well. She sits down.


This is not dominant behaviour at all. She trots off with her tail


down, and then the tail goes between the legs. If you look at the back,


you can see another fox is approaching. Which fox is this?


Well, surprisingly, this is Stumpy. You can hear the noise, listen to


the noise. Stumpy comes in, looking very confident. When you have seen


what just happened previously, that might surprise you. Rogue comes


behind, the tail is still very much down. Very much the subordinate fox.


Stumpy has a nice feed. It's complex social interaction,


isn't it, Chris? It is. We have seen a large female, Cheetah, dominating


that smaller male, which could be one of her cubs. That smaller male


dominating another one of the smaller females. Perhaps that was a


litter mate of his, a female from the same litter. We will discuss


this more tomorrow. Aside from the behaviour, there is a lot of noise,


isn't there? Listen to this. Now this is a fox call that's very


frequent at this time of year. If you've got foxes in your area, I'm


sure you've heard that. That is not fighting. That is the sound of a


Vixen barking. The reason she is, barking is to call males in. Because


at this time of year the males roam throughout female ranges looking for


mates. She's keen to mate with as many males as possible. If a male


comes into the range. If there is a partner she has, she will mate with


another male. When we look at fox litters we frequently find that they


are fathered by several different fathers. That is because she is


calling them in. You will frequently hear that. If you are out in the


woods walking your dog, if one barks alongside you, it can make you It's


a scary jump. Sound. Lots of you have been asking about our spoonbill


camera, loads, at least five people have asked - I'm a great fan. I know


you are. I know you are. We brought it back by demand. Here it is Robo


Spoonbill the Sequel. Robo Spoonbill has not quite delivered the goods.


Here it has not quite delivered the goods.


Here it is. Let's pick it up. Hello, Robo Spoonbill. For some strange


reason the spoonbills didn't like it. We are not sure why. Many birds


will come straight in to even a really bad Dee coy. Is a brilliant


decoy. They didn't like it for some reason. They stayed away. We are not


worried. When we took Robo Spoonbill away the other spoonbills came


straight in. It hasn't bothered them. I'm afraid, nice try, but,


whoops, no cigar. Of course, spoonbills are fabulous. We have


been out there filming them. We have lovely behaviour. Here they are


coming in. They became extinct in the UK in the 17th Century, they


were hunting to extinction. In 1999, after a gap of 350 years they first


bred successfully. There is that remarkable bill. Tricky to preen


themselves with it. By the way, look at that marking on the leg, that


ring. That shows that bird is from the Netherlands. We think the


majority of these birds, we think there are 23 right now, down in the


harbour, they are all, we think, have come from the Netherlands.


There they are, using those beak ends to feed. If they are very


sensitive. They will snap shut on their prey and feed themselves.


Sometimes even the mighty spoonbill gets it wrong. This one was trying


to eat a flatfish. It's quite difficult to see this in the mist.


See it there. The flatfish is frankly too big for that spoonbill.


That isn't adopted for fish suppers if they are flatfish. It would never


get it down its throat, even if it could. It can't break it up. Another


bird perhaps might have a better luck. The shape of that bill will


never, ever do it. What other bird might have a go at that flatfish? A


black backed gull. Here it came in. It's got a much more dagger-like


bill. It could maybe puncture that flatfish. I think it's the same


flatfish. The spoonbill is still there. Can he get inside a flatfish?


A difficult shape for a bird to eat. He has to try and plunge that bill


inside the fish and, is he going to do it? Yes, he does. Look at that.


He is getting all the plucks, as they say, out from inside. Fantastic


to see the spoonbills. The first one I saw I thought it must have escaped


from an ex-is toic aviary or something. Staggering birds. Water


is essential for all wildlife if you want to encourage wildlife into your


back garden the most effective ways to do that is to build a pond. This


is a Winterwatch SOS. Every month for the next year we will show you


something you can do in your garden that will improve it for wildlife.


To get started, a pond from an old washing up bowl. If it still holds


water, it can hold life. There we are. Where is Conan the


barbarian when you need him. He'd put some pond in. I say, that's


almost a perfect fit! Remarkable. Ideally, in a pond, you want a


sloping side. The quickest way to do that is to use some pebbles. Get it


started by putting some plants in. You can get these at garden centres.


These are aquatic plants, obviously. I will leave them in their pots for


the time being. Even a tiny pond like this one is the most effective


resource to increase the value of your garden to wildlife. There, I've


tickled the fancy of a tadpole and made a newt happy. If you can get a


dragonfly dreaming by making a mini pond of your own we would like to


see it. Send pictures to us Australianed all under the title of


BBC spring watch. Go to it. Save our species. I know there will be cynics


out there thinking a washing up bowl in the lawn, that won't work for


wildlife or anything else. It will. Dragonflies will come to it. Your


kids could be fascinating by what lives in it. I had one of those when


I was a kid in my garden, I was always sticking my nose in it. .


We will put one of those SOS online for a year. Look on Instagram and


our website to see how to improve the lot for your wildlife in your


back garden. We have a laif badger on the camera. True to form, it's


just disappeared behind the grass. If we crash in, we can see it's


there, sniffing around. It's looking for food. It looks like a female.


OK. Let us go to our thermal camera. Our fox there is on the move, still


roaming around in woodcock field. A little bit of scent marking there.


It's all happening out there tonight. Foxes, badgers, woodcock,


absolutely fantastic. We left you Iolo Williams was on Anglesey and


was waiting to see the ravens come to roost. What would happen next.


Let's find out. As night falls we sneak into the forest to get into


the thick of the action. . Isn't it fantastic. We've come in under the


canopy. We have the sea in the distance and we have ravens and


jackdaws. Surround sound. It's fabulous. What is brilliant is being


able to look now and, hopefully, find some ravens. But strangely, as


we look around, the forest seems to be empty. We can still hear them,


it's almost as if they've disappeared. But then we spot


something in the canopy. Look at that, look at that. Wow! I can see


the shape of the bird. You can see the outline. Yes. Oh, wow. That's a


special moment. First time in my whole life I've had the advantage


over a raven. I can see it and it can't see me. Look at the size of


that. Look at that. Exaggerated in this peculiar light. How fabulous is


that. One of the best views of a raven I've ever had, in pitch black!


We are scanning. No ravens here. Surprising. We are in the place


where we saw a number go in, we heard them calling at dusk. I know.


I came in, I would have put my mortgage on the fact that we would


have found a patch. We would have been picking out ravens left right


and centre. We are struggling, aren't we? Try the tops of these new


trees here. That's it. There we go. That's good. Oh, look at that. That


has got to be a pair, isn't it? I'm thinking that, yes. That's the


closest we've seen any two birds, isn't it? It rather confirms my view


about things at the moment, that we are seeing a lot of paired birds


coming to the roost that presumably haven't yet managed to secure a


territory. That suggests maybe they will find around here. It's


surprising to find the birds are so spaced out in the forest. As we scan


the tree os we spot a grand total of five birds in adjacent trees. That


is interesting. They are occupying a strategic position. On the edge of


the forest overlooking that clearing. It's the spot where birds


are often very vocal, sometimes launch themselves from there into an


aerial display. It's a place where... Which we associate with


communicating. Would these be more experienced birds then? Could well


be, yes. This is the biggest concentration we've seen, isn't it?


Yes. Are you surprised by the fact you haven't come across higher


concentrations? I'm amazed. It's so diluted I wouldn't have expected


this. We saw several hundreds going in. We are only seeing singles and a


few pairs of birds actually in the trees. It means they must have


dispersed into the full extent of the woodland here. They must be


scattered over a very wide area? They must. That I wasn't expecting.


It's been a fascinating nights. Nigel's previous research had


indicated that up to six ravens would roost together communally in a


single tree and that concentrations of birds would occur together in the


forest. But tonight that's not what we found at all. Instead, the birds


we watched enter the roost at dusk seemed to have vanished before our


very eyes. I feel tonight as if I've opened a door, just a tiny little


bit and looked into the magical world of the raven, but I've


realised there's so much more to learn. I'm surprised by that. They


are packed closely together. The study of raven it's the same. An


unusual case. Always room for more research to find out more about our


wildlife. Earlier on in the programme, at the beginning, we


showed you some interesting footage of a natural phenomenon going on.


Here it is. We asked you what are these? What was going on? Now, Clive


Kays the animals are midges they are parting like it's 1999. Nearly,


Clive. Glenn and Ellie said, they are winter gnats. A courtship dance.


All those males, they are all males, they go together in big clouds like


that attract the females in. The females get mate and go away. A


winter phenomenon. It's been about the live-action. Did the woodcock


make it through the show or did it get eaten by the fox. Let's look at


our live thermal camera. It made it. It was not woodcock for supper. How


marvellous. It's been a great show am we will keep our live cameras


going. Who know what is we will get tomorrow. Hopefully the barn owls


will be back in the barn doing moving and shaking. We have a 14


million-year-old love story going on in a cellar. We were looking at


water voles today, tomorrow it's another mammal in crisis. The


hedgehog in rapid decline in the UK. We will see how they are getting a


helping hand from humans. Gillan has been to investigate. What a show. I


was hoping the fox would close in on the woodcock and take it - but then


again that's just me. See you tomorrow night, 8.00pm, BBC Two.




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