Episode 4 Winterwatch


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Episode 4

It is the last Winterwatch of the season, and Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan round up the activity they have seen throughout the week at RSPB Arne in Dorset.


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It's our last show but the focus disappeared just in time to reveal

:00:11.:00:20.

another twist in our foxy story. We will find out how one of our

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favourite garden visitors is doing and is hairy little chap is in

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search of love in the cellar. Believe it or not, this is

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conservation in action. What's that all about? Welcome to Winterwatch!

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As I said, it is our last programme this week, broadcasting live from

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the RSPB reserve here in Dorset. We have a fabulous week although for

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much of it we have been immersed in a thick coat of fog. Thankfully it

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disappeared this morning and we could finally see the landscape of

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the reserve in front of us. Lots of history here, this attracts a huge

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and above wading birds and waterfowl throughout the winter. A lovely

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couple of lapwings. They are looking for worms in the fields. Castro came

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out first thing this morning, a young male there, looks like it's

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trying its wings. -- kestrel. And the deer, we have seen them on the

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salt marsh, they go down to the shore line, grazing. And with they

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finally finished, it wrapped up with some colour which you like. It has

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been jolly nice kissing colour because we spent three days in fog

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and that seriously affected the behaviour of some of our wildlife.

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For instant barn owls, this one we saw hunting in broad daylight right

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next to National Trust land. Is that unusual? We know it's a nocturnal

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animal but it does switch to hunting in the day in the winter with its

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prey is more active. How does fog affected? They are solid flyers,

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they have soft feathers which means that they are not very waterproof

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will stop -- silent flyers. They tend to avoid hunting in wet weather

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which includes damp fog. As a tough time of year for barn owls, they

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have to catch three - four volts a day, if they have a couple of days

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without being able to hunt, it affects them. And that fog was very

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damp, I'm sure it would have condensed on them and they would

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have been soaked. The fog may have gone but it's really cold tonight.

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Let's have a look at our live cameras. This is a camera we had in

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the same place yesterday, it our thermal camera. Once again, we have

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got book section. Yesterday we the box fox Andy Woodcock which was

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interesting to watch. -- and Woodcock. The bird takes off, it's a

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single lapwing, it should be roosting on the harbour, the Fox has

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missed it and also has missed that rabbit behind it. When it comes to

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hunting, these foxes are not too sharp! Got to render, it is dark at

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there! We've had lots of live cameras, and this is another one,

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looking at a pond down in the woodlands. We have allowed on it,

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posits, badgers, doesn't seem to be much there at the moment. We saw

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this, badgers again, to them and they are not very happy. In fact

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they're having a bit of a scrap. The first animal we saw, we thought was

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a male, so it's likely they are both males. This is the time of year when

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they are coming into their breeding season, soon as the Cubs are born in

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February the females go, these could be males biting about access to a

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female. There is a lot of trust pass, all was going into each

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other's territories, or they could be from the same territory and

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bickering over who is top badger. I think the one on the right could be

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judged to be the victor and the other one makes an inconvenience

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except. -- ignominious exit. I have seen badger fights, they can be

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nasty than that, they can inflict serious injuries, they bite each

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other in the neck and the rump and they have a powerful bite. I can

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tell that the quotient is 109, more than a leopard, which is 93. For

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their body size, they have a serious bite so they can input a lot of

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injuries on one another and even kill one another. It certainly

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sounded like a serious bite, incredible sounds coming from those

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badgers. Last night we played the sounds of boxes fighting, they have

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fabulous names, like mewling and watering but there is no official

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name for the noise we heard the badgers make.

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That's the noise. We want you to come up with some imaginative names

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for that noise. Please send your ideas in using the hashtag Baghram

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macro. It sounds like a mallet in the washing machine! -- Mullard. One

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always chucking money in on a Tuesday. Martin has been out on a

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challenge. He has caught a Woodcock in pitch black, it was pretty

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fantastic. Tonight he is out looking at another method of practical

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conservation which they implement here. The conservation work here

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goes on all year round, it has to be to maintain the diversity of

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habitats. If as part of that work you are faced with something like

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this, and hold course Bush it would be easy enough to chop it down, chop

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the branches down but then you get the down here. Don't know about you

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but I had to chop down a holly tree at home, took me about five minutes

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to chop the tree down and then two days of doing this to get the roots

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out! We're going to show you a brand-new idea for dealing with this

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sort of tough work, it was used here for the very first time today.

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Conservation work is a long-term thing coming to keep at it, couple

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of weeks ago Chris went to Somerset to look at a conservation project

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that has been opened seven years and is really bearing fruit. In winter

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the Somerset levels and morals are on the internationally important

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numbers of birds, over 10% of the country... Heel and shoveler is the

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roost here at this time of year. Along with another very special

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species. I want to RS PE West Sedgemoor for a spot of big birding

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with Damon. Look at that. What a spot. There is a massive waterfowl

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out there. Whereas the cranes? Where do they go during the day to find

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their food if not here? They tend to travel off to land where they can

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find worms, pulling up leather jackets, they will go to damp

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fastest but also go on to, they will be seen far from the wetland. In

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terms of the crane roost, they are looking for somewhere they are safe

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from ground Princes, they are worried about foxes. They are not a

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perching bird, so they can only relax with their feet in water. If

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all the cranes in this region came in to roost, how many might we see?

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We can see maybe up to 50 in different areas. I can see the small

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green trailer, which doesn't look terribly well integrated. All well

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provisioned. I can't see a lead to a flatscreen TV or even a toilet! But

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you have a plan? The plan is to head out there this afternoon and weight

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feed to get dark and cranes will come in to roost. -- wait for it to

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get dark. This makeshift hide was installed beside the crane's

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favourite roosting spot to give us the best chance of seeing them up

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close. This is the most generously ventilated hide I have ever been in

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and consequently the draft it and potentially the contest. The sky has

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clear, it's absolutely beautiful. But what it needs is an icon, 50 of

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them, in the form of cranes. You can hear the delicate bustle of

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all the other wildfowl out there. That is cranes, that people in call,

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I can hear them now. -- bugle in call. It's frustrating, we can hear

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them but not see them. You look out here and it's like

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standing in a Turner painting, it's so beautiful. Although the light was

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fading and it was difficult to see, we couldn't leave yet for fear of

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blowing our cover. An hour later we slipped out of the hide and addicted

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and snuck back in in the very early morning. -- undetected. We all slept

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overnight in the RSPB officers on the floor and arrived here just

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before six o'clock, 5.57 to be precise. We waited for the site of

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50 cranes roosting outside. We waited and waited, we waited and

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waited. What happened? Not a lot! Where are they? They're not here.

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They haven't roosted yet, they have a choice of sites, they have been

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using this one on and off but have decided to spend the night somewhere

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else. It is hot maintain the Enigma of the crane! -- helps maintain. It

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was far from a wasted journey. Our disappointment was completely

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overshadowed by several thousand birds taking flight before our

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bleary eyes. It's a whole bunch of lapwing out here, absolutely

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amazing, lots of starlings, will flock down, change speed, change

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shape, it's really spectacular. Who needs a crane? Who needs a

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crane? Long live the things! We have the greatest lapwing despite I have

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seen in years. Which, shoveler, teal, one of two swans... West

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Sedgemoor has just surged into my birding charts on a global level.

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Absolutely stunning. Who needs a crane? That lapwing

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narration was absolutely sensational, are you to visit that

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reserve, it was fantastic. Let's go live to our pond camera, we have a

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badger down there. We saw this the other night, I'd better come down

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and trunk from it's important for them. This one is eating. It is

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found something to eat. Either that or it has popped down for around two

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and its opponent hasn't turned up yet! We will keep an eye on that. As

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I said, it's been a body so we haven't really enjoyed the beauty of

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Arne for what it's well known for, which is its birdlife. -- it has

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been faulty. Arne is surrounded by Poole Harbour. 307 species of birds

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here it's this time of year that the wages and wildfowl turn up to

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overwinter. Why is it so important? Is one of the largest natural

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harbours in the world. It is a complex estuarine system which

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creates bays and creeks and provides excellent breeding grounds. A whole

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variety of birds come here, you have got the oystercatchers, the avocets,

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Khalid, -- curlew. Avocets are very important for these guys,

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spoonbills. I like a spoonbill, like the extension beak and there rifle

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hair. We made a robotic spindle which we put in the harbour, hoping

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to attract the resident flock and we weren't successful but we came back

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in Winterwatch with renewed vigour and I was certain it was going to

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deliver but unfortunately it didn't in this happened last night.

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Nice try, but no cigar. No cigar. But then you see in life there are

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those sorts of people who give up, and those sorts of people that just

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keep going. The hard-core crew were out late

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into the night, rereading Robo Spoony, having rescued it from the

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dustbin. But would it pay off? Let's take a look. There he is, down on

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the shore, in fact, quite close to the shore. At about midnight, the

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tide came in more than we thought it was going to and we thought we might

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have to rush to rescue it, because it's isn't waterproof. But then this

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morning, when we woke up, what did we see? Adjacent to Robo Spoony...

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LAUGHTER Just feel the satisfaction! What

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about that? The spoonbills! The spoonbills had come in. Absolutely

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fantastic! Just a few feet from Robo Spoony, so he delivered. What can I

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say? Extremely smug! He hasn't stopped all day. I do like spoonbill

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so. One of the things which is unusual, given that it has such a

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characteristic beak, we're not entirely show how the beak works.

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It's typically thought they sift through the water with it, as

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avocets do, but that seems a bit too random. A couple of new theories

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have come out, one is they are using a system of remote touch, they feel

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vibrations in the water. When you look at the microscopic structure of

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spoonbill's bill, you find it has up to 20,000 pigs in a honeycomb, each

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one of which has a little nerve ending, so it can feel things in the

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water. We have seen them chasing prey through murky water, so

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obviously they can't see it, they are using another sense. Another

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thought is they are using electro reception, just like duckbilled

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platypus. In fact, they can detect one nano vault, that's one one

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thousands of 1,000,000th of a vault of a charge being emitted by

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potential prey on the water, so maybe spoonbills are using that as

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well. Remarkable words. And then, you know, the spoonbill's job still

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wasn't done, was it? It delivered even more. Have a look, because this

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is quite funny. There's our spoonbill at night, not moving

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terribly. Look what turns up. One of the foxes. Look at the look, Chris!

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He gives Robo Spoony that puzzled look and trots off, can't quite work

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out what that is. Realises there's no point in trying to catch it! It's

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a fox deterrent as well, what about that, protecting the other

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spoonbills! Now, we all know that a very harsh winter can affect the

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survival rate of a lot of our wildlife. So last winter was very

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mild. So how did that affects one of our favourite garden visitors, the

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hedgehog? Gillian Burke went to rescue centre in Gloucester, to find

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out. It's hard not to love a hedgehog.

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Are unmistakable balls of spiny cuteness. So if we love them, and

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they love our gardens, then surely this is a good news story? Last

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year's warm Winter gave our hedgehogs along the breeding season

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than normal, but that meant some females gave birth to autumn babies.

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The late arrivals are too young to hibernate, so where highly

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vulnerable to rose dying of the cold weather and more susceptible to

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disease. Hello. How are you doing? And that has meant hedgehog rescue

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centres, like this one, run by Vicki Oliver, are overstretched. So I've

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come to help for the day. How many do you have in here at the moment?

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In this room, we have 33. Have they all just come in in the last few

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weeks? October onwards, the ones in here, yes. Is this what you would

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expect at this time of year, this money coming in? It's busier this

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year compared to certainly last year. I'm closed to admissions

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because we are full. It's just a lot of the small ones are coming in now,

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where they've been born late on, the cold weather is coming in, mum has

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gone off to hibernate, so they are left to their own defences a lot

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earlier. We have our work cut out forest. Yes. Make use of me! You

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will need some gloves! Ready. 80% of the hedgehogs Vicki sees at this

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time of year have parasite infestation is and they need

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treatment, for things like long worm and ticks. This little guy has a

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ring worm, which isn't actually a worm. It's a fungal infection which

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can cause him to lose a lot of the Sir off his face. If it gets really

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bad, he will lose his spines. He's not going to like this but really

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the best thing for him is a bath. Parasite infestations are more of a

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health risk to younger, weaker Hogwarts, but hopefully after four

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of these treatments this one will be clear of infection -- hoglets. He's

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nicely tucked up and hopefully will settle down after the bass. It's

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best to keep him in the rescue centre for the whole winter and

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hopefully he will be released in spring. Cleanliness is key to

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preventing the spread of infection. My goodness, look at that. So every

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day, every enclosure needs to be stripped. It's pretty fruity and

:21:55.:22:05.

here! Cleaned. And re-laid, with fresh bedding. Just grab a pilot put

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it in. -- just grab some and put it in. And last but not least, the

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all-important food and water. In the wild hedgehogs have a hugely varied

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diet, beetles, worms, slugs, pretty much anything they can catch hold

:22:23.:22:27.

of, but here they have cat food. If you are going to feed any hedgehogs,

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leave any food out for them, please, never bred or milk. Bread buns them

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up, and they are lactose intolerant. Two down, 31 to go. These two still

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have a long way to go before they are released.

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But anything above 500 grams and they are good to go. 777 grams. What

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a big hedgehog! This one is now clear of parasites and all that's

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left to do now is released him into the wild. Let's pop you back in

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here. Yeah, I mean, honestly, you've changed your home over. Our urban

:23:17.:23:21.

gardens can be the perfect habitat for hedgehogs, so this lucky boy

:23:22.:23:24.

will be released right here at the rescue centre. The last few hours of

:23:25.:23:28.

daylight now, and what we're doing is taking this big guy and putting

:23:29.:23:32.

him in that halfway house so he has a few hours to get used to the

:23:33.:23:37.

temperature and light levels and hopefully, by nightfall, he will be

:23:38.:23:38.

tempted out. And in no time at all, the scent of

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freedom draws him out. One healthy, happy hedgehog back in

:23:47.:24:05.

the wild. Presumably now he's found somewhere cosy and sheltered to

:24:06.:24:09.

hibernate, although they hibernate, they don't actually stay inactive?

:24:10.:24:14.

They don't sleep through the whole winter? No, they don't. It's easy to

:24:15.:24:18.

think of hibernation is a long, cosy sleep but it's not. It's pure

:24:19.:24:23.

survival. Temperatures are getting cold, food supplies are dwindling.

:24:24.:24:26.

They need to find a way to get through the winter, dropped their

:24:27.:24:29.

body temperature and save energy, and run their metabolism right down

:24:30.:24:40.

to the point where it is just ticking over. But there are a few

:24:41.:24:43.

instances where they do need to bring themselves out of hibernation,

:24:44.:24:45.

even in the middle of winter. Most hedgehogs, this is quite surprising,

:24:46.:24:47.

wake themselves up about once a week for a few hours just to get a few

:24:48.:24:51.

bodily functions sorted. Another reason would be they move their nest

:24:52.:24:54.

sites, at least once a year, sometimes a bit more if they get

:24:55.:24:59.

disturbed. The final reason is cold. When it gets freezing, there's a

:25:00.:25:04.

real risk of frostbite, of freezing solid, so when the temperature

:25:05.:25:08.

starts to approach one Celsius, they need to warm themselves up, to stop

:25:09.:25:12.

themselves from freezing. The way they do this if they need their fat

:25:13.:25:16.

reserves. The fat reserves aren't just there to get them through the

:25:17.:25:19.

winter, it actually needs they mean web macro -- they need them to

:25:20.:25:24.

restart their metabolism. When they get to the winter and if they are

:25:25.:25:30.

not at least half a kilo, they are not going to make it. That's women

:25:31.:25:35.

need our help. Say that a half a kilo is difficult to look at a

:25:36.:25:41.

hedgehog and wonder if it needs help. Most of us don't have our

:25:42.:25:45.

scales with it. Is there another way of seeing if it's a healthy

:25:46.:25:48.

hedgehog, ready for hibernation or not? That's a really good question.

:25:49.:25:53.

When we were filming that piece, I came across a lovely photograph.

:25:54.:26:01.

It's like a work of art. It's gorgeous. You can see there's a size

:26:02.:26:05.

scale as the hedgehogs get bigger. On the left, you have an apple,

:26:06.:26:08.

which is about 200 grams. On the right, you have a melon. It's a

:26:09.:26:12.

really great way to judge, without having to be hands on, because if

:26:13.:26:17.

they are big enough you want to leave alone. The apple is here,

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about 200 grams. Then you have got the melon, which is just over a

:26:21.:26:26.

kilo. Bang in the middle, roughly in the middle I should say, is the

:26:27.:26:30.

grapefruit. Basically, if you come across a hedgehogs that this size or

:26:31.:26:35.

smaller, it probably needs help. Any bigger around that and you can let

:26:36.:26:41.

it get on its way. We've always got questions on Facebook and Twitter,

:26:42.:26:44.

how can we help our garden hedgehogs? There's loads of

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different ways you can help. Some of them are very simple, aren't they?

:26:48.:26:52.

Yes, like I said in the piece, you can leave cat food, dog food, but

:26:53.:26:56.

without any fish because along with bread and milk, another thing they

:26:57.:27:01.

don't with very well. Also, don't be too tidy in your garden. Leave a few

:27:02.:27:06.

areas that are messy, a few leaves left around so they have somewhere

:27:07.:27:09.

to nest through the winter. Most of us love that advice! MS in your

:27:10.:27:13.

garden! We do know their numbers have dropped dramatically and part

:27:14.:27:18.

of the problem now is their population is fragmented, so it's

:27:19.:27:22.

really important they have wildlife corridors. There's lots of

:27:23.:27:25.

information about how you can help with wildlife corridors in your

:27:26.:27:29.

garden on the website. Please check it out, we really do need to look

:27:30.:27:34.

after our hedgehogs. Thank you very much. You may have just heard a big

:27:35.:27:39.

noise there. It's Martin, he's gone a bit Dad's Army honours. I'm not

:27:40.:27:44.

sure whether he's Captain Mannering, Sergeant Wilson, or is he maybe

:27:45.:27:51.

Private Godfrey? On you go! Drive on! Here we go. This is a WMC, a

:27:52.:28:04.

weapon of mass habitat construction. One of the reasons why this place is

:28:05.:28:12.

so fantastically rich for wildlife is the mosaic of different habitats,

:28:13.:28:16.

different habitats mean lots and lots of wildlife. But the trouble

:28:17.:28:19.

is, some of those habitats get old and overgrown. Take something like

:28:20.:28:25.

balls. A certain amount of gorse is great but when it gets old and

:28:26.:28:31.

straggly, it becomes a problem. Great thick 30-year-old roots are an

:28:32.:28:36.

absolute nightmare to dig out. It becomes expensive and needs a huge

:28:37.:28:42.

investment of man hours. Here's the thing. Where does this magnificent

:28:43.:28:48.

tank, an armoured personnel carrier, where does that coming? Look at this

:28:49.:28:53.

here. The these fantastic tracks? Let's -- lets back off and see what

:28:54.:28:55.

it can do. OK, Mike. Now that is a 14.5 tonne 300

:28:56.:29:15.

horsepower 19 litre steel plough. And when Mike and the tank go out

:29:16.:29:22.

under the guidance of the RSPB into those old, mouldy areas where the

:29:23.:29:26.

grass has got rank and the trees have grown up, well, this is what

:29:27.:29:28.

happens. Secondly work which would take it

:29:29.:30:26.

team of humans of weak to do. This is the sort of thing that the tank

:30:27.:30:32.

is having to grapple with, the stick approach, 30 weeks old, would is as

:30:33.:30:36.

ground away you end up with not much more than this. All this is not much

:30:37.:30:43.

more than compost, this isn't what the RSPB need, they will scrape this

:30:44.:30:49.

off, get back to basically ground zero, poor quality soil. Then

:30:50.:31:00.

animals meaty dive in to take advantage of the exposed ground and

:31:01.:31:04.

you can see here, we have a rain, and picking up grubs, insect larvae

:31:05.:31:13.

stopping is a robin. You know the Robins will follow you around and

:31:14.:31:21.

pick up stuff. But the immediate effect, that is what the RSPB are

:31:22.:31:24.

after, what they are looking for is what happens in spring and summer,

:31:25.:31:28.

where on the bare ground, new growth comes through and that is perfect

:31:29.:31:33.

for the specialist animals that live here. The sand lizards, the smooth

:31:34.:31:40.

snake... All these creatures are going to benefit from that mosaic of

:31:41.:31:43.

habitats, that's what they are after. The Dartford warbler, at his

:31:44.:31:51.

planned specialist there. And of course the insect life, the baseline

:31:52.:31:55.

for so much of the animals that live here. Tiger beetle, fantastic. Lots

:31:56.:32:03.

of people were involved in this idea but hats off to Mark Singleton from

:32:04.:32:08.

the RSPB here who had the genius idea of telling a weapon of war into

:32:09.:32:13.

a tool for conservation. That is genius.

:32:14.:32:18.

Turning something that was made for destruction into something which is

:32:19.:32:23.

created for conservation, top work. I decided to use from Dad's Army,

:32:24.:32:34.

Lance Corporal Jones! He is a bit! Over the last few days we have

:32:35.:32:37.

introduced you to our family of boxes here at Arne and yesterday

:32:38.:32:41.

without we had a completed cast list, they are all individuals, we

:32:42.:32:46.

have given them names. Last night our story developers noticed a

:32:47.:32:53.

different box, and it is this one. -- different folks. We can identify

:32:54.:32:58.

them by different marks on their faces or tails, if you look at this

:32:59.:33:04.

one, it's very nervous, it is a little notch out of the ear on the

:33:05.:33:08.

right so we are calling that one Notch. It is an interactive much of

:33:09.:33:15.

the other foxes but it's a new character to add to our growing cast

:33:16.:33:19.

list. This try and put that into some kind of context. A lot of the

:33:20.:33:25.

animals we have seen around the carcasses, we have been consulting

:33:26.:33:32.

with our fox expert from the University of Brighton, she is go to

:33:33.:33:38.

judge me on this, he was my theory. Cheetah, have been fox, this has

:33:39.:33:41.

been roaming around by the carcasses, she is a dominant one. I

:33:42.:33:47.

think that's our dominant fix and because in any social group we have

:33:48.:33:51.

a male and a female and those are the breeding animals -- dominant

:33:52.:33:59.

vixen. So an interesting altercation between her and Stumpy, she is

:34:00.:34:04.

dominant to Stumpy. We saw another one between Stumpy and Road. We know

:34:05.:34:12.

she is dominant to this female done here but in another frack, we saw

:34:13.:34:20.

Cheetah beating Road. So it's a slightly different hierarchy. There

:34:21.:34:24.

is another animal we saw, she is part of this social group, we have

:34:25.:34:27.

seen her at the carcasses, interacting, they are not driving

:34:28.:34:32.

her away but we haven't seen enough interaction to judge where she

:34:33.:34:36.

stands in the hierarchy. Lastly of course is our alpha male, I

:34:37.:34:42.

postulate that this is Tyson. He has been around a lot, he is alpha male,

:34:43.:34:50.

we haven't seen him with Cheetah, he is a big bruiser with a scar on his

:34:51.:34:54.

nose, he is dominant to these other animals. I think the carcass crew

:34:55.:34:59.

for the moment, is made up of these animals here. What about our guest

:35:00.:35:08.

stars? Yesterday we introduced you to issue who is blind in one eye and

:35:09.:35:14.

today we introduced you to Notch who has a notch out of his ear. We don't

:35:15.:35:18.

think these are part of the carcass crew, think they are outsiders. We

:35:19.:35:22.

know they are males so what is happening is these two are properly

:35:23.:35:27.

coming in, sniffing around, they are ready to mate. We saw them barking

:35:28.:35:35.

down on the shore! They will probably try their luck with

:35:36.:35:41.

Cheetah. She will go for multiple matings if she can at this time of

:35:42.:35:46.

year. What do you think we will get, out of ten? I don't know, I hope you

:35:47.:35:57.

get that straight! Forgot sake. We have really had quite a drama with

:35:58.:36:02.

this cast of characters, but as you know, wildlife trauma can happen

:36:03.:36:06.

anywhere, sometimes in really secret places. On Tuesday we showed you a

:36:07.:36:10.

mouse giving birth in the attic. That's what I like to call, Call The

:36:11.:36:18.

Midwife. Tonight we're showing another quest in the cellar, this

:36:19.:36:22.

one is like Poldark with insects, maybe not quite so sexy. The

:36:23.:36:30.

basement, warm, dry and dusty. Heat from the old boiler keeps it snug,

:36:31.:36:37.

creating a welcoming glow. And a forgotten pile of books provide a

:36:38.:36:40.

littoral relay for an unassuming addition to our hopes. This is a

:36:41.:36:52.

fire brat. These tiny insects crave warm temperatures and are becoming

:36:53.:36:55.

more common in our increasingly willing to houses. It's their unruly

:36:56.:37:03.

behaviour around hot bread ovens that gives this plucky little

:37:04.:37:07.

creature its fire brat name. With the temperature just right, the fire

:37:08.:37:13.

brat's mind can turn to love but first he has to find the right lady.

:37:14.:37:19.

No easy task in this dim, dark world. This won't be love at first

:37:20.:37:32.

sight. The Firebird has tiny, almost useless eyes so he feels his weight

:37:33.:37:36.

using a halo of sensory hairs. Darting into dark corners and

:37:37.:37:40.

crevices, he will have two particular bump into a female if

:37:41.:37:44.

he's to have any luck. Down here, love is truly blind. To keep up his

:37:45.:37:51.

energy comic grazes on a piece of starchy paper, consuming the lessons

:37:52.:37:58.

of literature. But when you are only a centimetre long and at the bottom

:37:59.:38:02.

of the food chain, you need to keep your wits about you. There are

:38:03.:38:12.

dangers at every turn. A female earwig. If she can catch, the fire

:38:13.:38:25.

brat might make a tasty snack. But in a move straight from the ages of

:38:26.:38:30.

Conan Doyle, a handy hiding place provides cover and she slips by.

:38:31.:38:35.

With the danger overcome his back on the case. -- he is back on the case.

:38:36.:38:44.

The basement has become a meeting place for a cast of overwintering

:38:45.:38:49.

characters, all sheltering from the elements. A dozy peacock butterfly.

:38:50.:38:55.

A dainty Seller spider. Thirsty lacewings. And a gigantic Seller

:38:56.:39:06.

slug. But the fire brat is craving the company of other brats. Where

:39:07.:39:10.

are they all? He heads to the local high-rise to try his luck but what

:39:11.:39:14.

this lurking in the shadows? Centipede. Nearly three times the

:39:15.:39:32.

length of the fire brat, this venomous hunter is top rate in this

:39:33.:39:35.

tiny world. -- top predator. Any fire brat, distracted by the

:39:36.:39:48.

dating game, went live to kiss and tell. -- won't live.

:39:49.:39:59.

The centipede is fast and unrelenting.

:40:00.:40:13.

Tripping over the stack of books commit you to antennae to feel for

:40:14.:40:26.

its prey. Pausing only to primp for maximum sensitivity, it closes in.

:40:27.:40:35.

Filling the brush of the centipede, our man looks to be toast but a

:40:36.:40:41.

final desperate move propels him from harm 's way.

:40:42.:40:47.

It is believed rather tough day but the thrill of the Chase hasn't

:40:48.:40:53.

dampened his order. -- been a rather tough day. At last, he bumps into an

:40:54.:41:00.

old flame and the good news is, she is hot. Fire brat needs to be to get

:41:01.:41:03.

in the mood to mate. But as the heat of passion rises,

:41:04.:41:19.

heading towards its conclusion, disaster. Any chance of a fireside

:41:20.:41:24.

filling is extinguished with the flame. Given the cold shoulder, the

:41:25.:41:32.

male fire brat strikes out again. Alone. Do you know, those animals

:41:33.:41:43.

from the fossil record have been around pretty much unchanged for 400

:41:44.:41:49.

million years? They have been making love in our sellers for that long?

:41:50.:41:57.

We didn't have sellers! We haven't been around that long! They are more

:41:58.:42:01.

successful than us! Put them in charge! Put them in charge! Move on.

:42:02.:42:11.

We have been conducting a bird feeder experiment over the last few

:42:12.:42:15.

days to see whether colour influences birds when it comes to

:42:16.:42:18.

food so we put a controlled experiment out first where we had

:42:19.:42:22.

three feeders, all natural colours. This is what happened. Over our

:42:23.:42:30.

experiment time, they all went down pretty much equally. So there was

:42:31.:42:36.

obviously no bias in any of the feeders. We then painted two of the

:42:37.:42:40.

feeders, one we painted red, when we painted blue. So what happened then?

:42:41.:42:50.

Now this is very careers. As you would expect, the natural colour in

:42:51.:42:56.

the middle went down the most. Chris Packham predicted that they wouldn't

:42:57.:43:01.

touch the blue ones, they would all go to the rate. By our results, he

:43:02.:43:07.

clearly got it wrong. They have hardly touched the red and they have

:43:08.:43:13.

gone to the blue. So you must make the minute ago about spoon bills and

:43:14.:43:16.

now you have been pushed off your perch because you got your

:43:17.:43:20.

prediction wrong. Getting things wrong is part of a learning

:43:21.:43:24.

experience, I don't mind getting things wrong, the consultancy

:43:25.:43:29.

experts, that's what we always do. We spoke to George Rayburn and Ed

:43:30.:43:33.

Solo from Weston-Super-Mare, typically when we go to experts

:43:34.:43:38.

which go to a university, or to somebody who has spent a lifetime

:43:39.:43:41.

studying the animals, let me introduce you to them. Yes! They are

:43:42.:43:51.

14 and 15! Fantastic! But they have been conducting experiments like

:43:52.:43:55.

ours only better with more detail and more replications, reducing

:43:56.:44:00.

extraordinary science. I cannot you how impressed I was with what I saw

:44:01.:44:06.

today. These are top guys. What are their thoughts on the red versus

:44:07.:44:10.

blue versus normal? They don't like the red, they think because that

:44:11.:44:12.

associated with warning colours in insects and although birds might go

:44:13.:44:17.

for red fruits and berries in the winter, throughout the rest of the

:44:18.:44:21.

year, they are after insects for the young and we know the red and yellow

:44:22.:44:25.

warning colours. That's why they don't go to them. But why do they go

:44:26.:44:30.

to the blue? In the guide's experiments, they went to the blue

:44:31.:44:34.

even more than the normal seed, it became even more attractive than

:44:35.:44:38.

they painted the Betis blue. They think it's down to the way the

:44:39.:44:43.

birdseed. Here is the visual spectrum that the human sees. We are

:44:44.:44:49.

trichromatic so we can see this part of the spectrum. Birds are Tetra,

:44:50.:44:55.

six they have an extra bit of vision on the end where they can see into

:44:56.:45:00.

the UV spectrum. The brightest colour in our field of view is green

:45:01.:45:04.

in the middle, that would stand out the most. Possibly that's why we

:45:05.:45:10.

like green. But in the bird's vision, blue is in the centre. So

:45:11.:45:14.

when they are approaching those feeders the thing that the standout

:45:15.:45:19.

most brightly our blessings. And the guys think that's why they are

:45:20.:45:21.

heading to the blue even more than the naturally coloured seed.

:45:22.:45:27.

You don't often get things wrong, you have redeemed yourself with that

:45:28.:45:33.

marvellous explanation. Do you know what? I love getting something wrong

:45:34.:45:38.

to 14 and a 15-year-old, because to me, that means there is hope. Stick

:45:39.:45:42.

with it, guys, one day you can have my job. In fact, if it carries on

:45:43.:45:47.

like this, possibly next week! We've seen lots and lots of tits coming to

:45:48.:45:51.

our feeders, blue tips, great tips, what you'd probably expect, but

:45:52.:45:57.

we've also seen long-tail tits. Gorgeous little birds. You've

:45:58.:45:59.

probably got them on your feeders in the garden now. You can hear them.

:46:00.:46:03.

This one was beautiful, it was actually drinking the condensed fog

:46:04.:46:09.

off the seeds and you can hear its friends. They are normally in a

:46:10.:46:12.

group, chattering away in the background. Lovely little birds. It

:46:13.:46:19.

hardly looks like they have a big, but then we managed to film one that

:46:20.:46:22.

got into the most awful trouble. It's literally stuck by its

:46:23.:46:30.

long-tail! So how on earth is it going to get out of this terrible

:46:31.:46:36.

conundrum? It's still stuck, so it gets it the ground in the end and

:46:37.:46:46.

tries to undo the not that has got tangled up -- it gets its beak out

:46:47.:46:49.

in the end. It's awfully scruffy. What a mess that tailors. Nothing

:46:50.:46:54.

that a jolly good session of jolly good old-fashioned preening won't

:46:55.:46:58.

sort out. Etxeita details tit, isn't it? This may be our last show for

:46:59.:47:05.

Winterwatch but it doesn't mean that used don't stop getting involved.

:47:06.:47:09.

This weekend is exciting, it's the Big Garden Birdwatch. We want you

:47:10.:47:12.

all to join in. Last year, 500,000 of you did it and you recorded 8

:47:13.:47:19.

million birds, which is incredible. We want to get more than that this

:47:20.:47:24.

year. Please get out, all the details are on their website. You

:47:25.:47:28.

know what, it really does contribute to our knowledge of what is

:47:29.:47:31.

declining in our gardens, and what is recovering. I urge you to do it.

:47:32.:47:37.

The biggest bird survey in the world. Its great citizen science, it

:47:38.:47:42.

takes an hour of your time, looking out of the window on Saturday,

:47:43.:47:45.

Sunday and Monday. What you will see in the garden will depend on how

:47:46.:47:49.

much food you put out and ultimately, the weather. What is the

:47:50.:47:52.

weather going to be like over the weekend of the big garden

:47:53.:47:57.

Worldwatch? Nick Miller knows the answer -- the Big Garden Birdwatch.

:47:58.:48:04.

This could be a really exciting bird watch, especially where it's been so

:48:05.:48:08.

cold. Today, there were parts of England that didn't get above

:48:09.:48:12.

freezing, although it was past 13 in far North West of Scotland. We had

:48:13.:48:15.

winter weather. The cold maybe did driving unexpected birds into the

:48:16.:48:23.

garden in search of food, not just goldfinches, but Siskin and Red

:48:24.:48:27.

Bull. Something more typical is arriving over the weekend, wetter

:48:28.:48:31.

weather whether it's been dried. Rain pushing up from the south on

:48:32.:48:35.

Sunday. Scotland is driest and sunniest for longest on Sunday.

:48:36.:48:40.

Along with a change to something better, something less cold, where

:48:41.:48:43.

it's been bitter. That might make life a bit easier for the hedgehogs.

:48:44.:48:48.

What about the rest of winter? It looks like the Atlantic driven

:48:49.:48:52.

changeable wetter, windy weather, less cold weather, will dominate the

:48:53.:48:55.

first part of February. Maybe something cold coming back at the

:48:56.:48:59.

end of February. Keep an eye on that. If you're looking for birds

:49:00.:49:08.

this weekend, listen as well. The woodpeckers are coming near me. It

:49:09.:49:11.

may look like winter, but there are sounds of spring. It's coming. Not

:49:12.:49:17.

in our barn, it's chilly! If you were watching Springwatch you will

:49:18.:49:24.

know one of the stars of the series was our golden eagle. We put a

:49:25.:49:27.

satellite tags on the bird, named Freya. It hasn't moved very far, no

:49:28.:49:32.

further than 20 or 30 kilometres on occasion from its territory. It

:49:33.:49:35.

still spending most of its time there. Come Springwatch, we will

:49:36.:49:39.

find out more about this fantastic bird. We have camera teams all

:49:40.:49:45.

around Arne, and up and down the country. Richard Taylor Jones has

:49:46.:49:48.

got out with his camera to a place that has very strong reasons for

:49:49.:49:56.

him. -- resonance, for him. Winter is a time of hunger.

:49:57.:50:07.

Some landscapes speak of it. Loudly. And the Hoo Peninsula, at the

:50:08.:50:23.

northernmost end of Kent, shouts its seasonal claim to be the hungriest

:50:24.:50:32.

of all. Here, human hunger for power dominates denuded marshes.

:50:33.:50:41.

This is power created far from towns and cities, hiding the unwanted ugly

:50:42.:50:50.

truths of our cosy, consuming modern world. Yet despite all we'd chuck at

:50:51.:51:01.

nature, here on the Hoo, nature clings on at the edges, hungry to

:51:02.:51:05.

battle against our industrial dominance.

:51:06.:51:15.

A Fox trots through the grazing marsh. A hungry pace to its speed.

:51:16.:51:23.

It stands, twitching, poor used to execute the kill. -- it is poised,

:51:24.:51:36.

to execute the kill. Success. A stomach filled.

:51:37.:51:46.

Above, a marsh Harrier hunt the reedbeds. Seeking its own

:51:47.:51:51.

fulfilment. Its arrival spooks vast flocks of

:51:52.:52:12.

lapwing and golden plover. They rise as one.

:52:13.:52:22.

The confusion of wings and bodies, unnerving to the hunter. A beautiful

:52:23.:52:29.

ballet of the winter skies. But how long to dance, to revel in

:52:30.:52:45.

the safety of the air? Long enough to avoid being lunch. But not so

:52:46.:52:49.

long it makes you hungry for your own.

:52:50.:53:00.

Nature must manage its hunger to perfection in order to survive.

:53:01.:53:12.

Unfortunately our appetite for destruction leaves wasteland

:53:13.:53:22.

landscapes everywhere on the Hoo. The metal skeletons of abandoned

:53:23.:53:27.

clay pits reach skywards, hiding the last hungry arrival of the day.

:53:28.:53:35.

Launching quietly into the crisp marmalade skies of winter's dusk.

:53:36.:54:03.

It dives the gain, and again, and again. It can find no parade. -- No

:54:04.:54:24.

one. It will hand day and night to escape its winter hunger. Silent

:54:25.:54:31.

wings work endless shifts to find satisfaction. And they shout of

:54:32.:54:37.

nature's hunger for life on the Hoo. As night falls and all that's left

:54:38.:54:49.

to see if the crackle and spark of the electric world beyond, I realise

:54:50.:54:56.

the Hoo says so much about who we humans really are. And what we've

:54:57.:55:02.

done to the natural world. And how it survives, despite us.

:55:03.:55:08.

I love the cons trust -- contrast between the man escape and the

:55:09.:55:19.

landscape, and how the animals are surviving, but how greedy we are,

:55:20.:55:24.

something that might have to change. At the beginning of the show we

:55:25.:55:25.

played you the sound of At the beginning of

:55:26.:55:28.

the show we played you the badgers fighting. This is the sound.

:55:29.:55:33.

We asked you to send in suggestions of what we should call that sound.

:55:34.:55:37.

Hundreds of you suggested things. I'm going to read out a couple.

:55:38.:55:52.

Wackering. Yackering. I like this one, scrowling. It might become

:55:53.:55:59.

official. Scrowling, I love it. This is the last programme, sadly, but

:56:00.:56:03.

you can keep in contact online. Facebook will have the latest news.

:56:04.:56:10.

You can share your photographs. The website is great. We have the films

:56:11.:56:17.

we have shown in this Winterwatch, and all the earlier films. Twitter

:56:18.:56:21.

is great to keep in contact and keep the chat going. Indeed. Shall we

:56:22.:56:28.

have a quick look? Let's look at the spoonbill can. Surrounded by wigeon.

:56:29.:56:33.

He was a great success, the highlight of the series. That's

:56:34.:56:41.

live! A Fox as well! We've had a lot of live action but sadly that brings

:56:42.:56:45.

us to the end of the show and the end of a series of Winterwatch. We

:56:46.:56:51.

hope you've enjoyed it. We'd like to thank the RSPB, our hosts, who have

:56:52.:56:56.

been amazing, the organisation that has got involved online, the BTO,

:56:57.:57:01.

and most of all you, for watching, thank you. And all those experts we

:57:02.:57:06.

constantly ring up and say, can you tell us about this? We'll be back in

:57:07.:57:10.

springtime. We hope to broadcast from a new, exciting location, so

:57:11.:57:14.

joiners in May. We are going to leave you with the highlights of

:57:15.:57:23.

winter 2017. Goodbye. Goodbye. We're here in deepest Dorset at a crucial

:57:24.:57:28.

time of year for wildlife. It's cold, the ground is frozen, and food

:57:29.:57:30.

is scarce. Look at that! Gorgeous. There's a

:57:31.:57:51.

cormorant caught in a Mornay moment. -- Monet moment.

:57:52.:58:01.

Pheromones. Femoral owns, smelly sex gas.

:58:02.:58:17.

How's that? I've messed up. Looks good. That's going to hurt people I

:58:18.:58:28.

love. That's the best, it doesn't get better than that. Nothing,

:58:29.:58:30.

nothing beats birding.

:58:31.:58:33.

It is the last Winterwatch of the season, and Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan round up the activity they have seen throughout the week at RSPB Arne in Dorset, and look forward to the new season just around the corner. Martin Hughes-Games has found an unusual way to do his bit for conservation, and Gillian Burke brings a report on some charismatic British animals.