Episode 4 Winterwatch


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Episode 4

Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games wrap up the series with live action and reports from our cameras. Gillian Burke also has her last report from Islay.


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LineFromTo

It might be our final show

but the action hasn't stopped.

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We're going to burn out with a

fabulous last show.

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Tonight we'll catch up

with some of our old friends.

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And some chart-topping new ones.

It

sounds like a hit to me, welcome to

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Winterwatch!

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Hello and welcome to our final show

of Winterwatch, 2018, coming to you

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live from the National Trust's

Sherborne Park estate in

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Gloucestershire. We were here for

Springwatch and Autumnwatch and

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we've enjoyed our time on

Winterwatch but it is sadly the

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final show. Another good show, and

other scientific first and we've

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also got some bad news. Mark Allman

and -- Mark Hendrie is limping badly

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and I'm afraid to say we've yet to

hear from the lady. Honestly,

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honestly.

Don't hold your breath!

It's been a fantastic week, we've

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seen some great wildlife. Let's see

what our cameramen have been seeing.

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This is the Cotswolds countryside, a

lot of grassland, rabbits and hares

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you can see there. This time of year

is great for winter visitors and in

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the tree at the back, the redwing.

This is a mixed flock, very common

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at this time of year. Beautiful shot

of a kestrel. You can see a lot of

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barn owls. We enjoyed them on

Springwatch. This one is hunting in

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the day but I'm sure with the super

blue moon last night he made the

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most of it, was probably out all

night. Beautiful. This is fantastic,

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piece are -- fees are golden

plovers. Quite a spectacle. Lapwings

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mixed in as well. A winter spectacle

not just to see but also to here as

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well. I love it, don't you, that

white flash that goes across the

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screen.

Gorgeous, suddenly turning

together. We've seen a lot of

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wonderful things during the daylight

hours but we've also seen some

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fascinating animal activity at

night. A

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fascinating animal activity at

night. A couple of nights ago we had

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a glimpse of a Woodcock and this is

another one that we recorded about

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three minutes ago. Here's a Woodcock

doing what they do, going out at

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night, finding food, worms, insects

and insect larvae. We have a

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resident population of Woodcock but

they are swollen by about 1 million

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migrants coming to us in the autumn.

A

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migrants coming to us in the autumn.

A lovely bird. One of my favourite

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Latin names. If I have any more

children I think I will call

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children I think I will call them

Scolopax.

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Scolopax. Have we still got it? Yes,

it's still feeding. You can see the

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length of the bill, enormously long,

probing around.

Great to see because

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you never see them.

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probing around.

Great to see because

you never see them.

They go in

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amongst the leaves and dates snuggle

down and apparently you can

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amongst the leaves and dates snuggle

down and apparently you can tread on

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them before they take off. Great to

see. Chris Kamara you're going to

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show us?

This is a

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see. Chris Kamara you're going to

show us?

This is a taxidermy

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specimen to give you the idea of

scale, you can see how big is next

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to this 50p piece and you can see

the remarkable plumage. When they

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nestle down, as you say, in the

daytime, they are nearly impossible

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to spot. Beautiful birds.

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daytime, they are nearly impossible

to spot. Beautiful birds.

I once had

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one in my hand, Chris, and I could

smell it. It was like

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smell it. It was like Marc Almond

and herbs.

Let's sniff this one. --

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it was like houmous and herbs. We've

been watching mammals using the

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it was like houmous and herbs. We've

been watching mammals using the

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thermal camera. We started with the

lapwing in the foreground but in the

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background you can see the hares.

Quite a lot of hare activity. They

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are in groups because the mating

season is coming up. You can see a

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rather keen male chasing a female

and she turns around and gives him a

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quick box. The females do the

boxing, driving away the unwanted

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attention. This one seems to be

practising. We think it's actually

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shaking water off of its feet. We're

not sure family hares there are in

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the

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not sure family hares there are in

the UK, there hasn't been an

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up-to-date census. We know that

there are more in the east and fewer

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in the south-west. Another thing to

McVeigh and introduced species. Most

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people know that the rabbits were

introduced, but the hares are also.

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48% of them are native and the rest

are not.

Punishing statistic when

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you think about it, a lot of

non-native mammals -- astonishing

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statistic.

Let's see what we

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non-native mammals -- astonishing

statistic.

Let's see what we can see

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on the thermal camera. We have a

hare.

Is it a hare or a rabbit?

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That's a hare! It's

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hare.

Is it a hare or a rabbit?

That's a hare! It's quite mild this

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evening. An interesting week for the

weather because the temperature has

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dropped over the last couple of days

but let's face it, the weather is

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nothing when you compared it to

winter up in the Scottish Highlands.

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The Cairngorms mountain 's,

Scotland's last true wilderness.

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Winter brings a serene beauty to the

landscape. It's a majestic

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monochrome Medley.

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While much of the land is held in an

icy grip, some of the deeper locks

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escape its grasp.

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escape its grasp. A GoldenEye makes

the most of the opportunity.

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the most of the opportunity. It is a

diving duck and must face the icy

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water to find food. These ducks are

very well adapted to their

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lifestyle. More compact and heavier

than other

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lifestyle. More compact and heavier

than other waterfowl, they also

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appear to shrink just before they

dive. Feathers squeezing together to

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get rid of trapped air and reduce

buoyancy.

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buoyancy. Resurfacing, the cold loch

is literally water off a duck's back

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which is just as well because it

could otherwise be fatal.

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The Cairngorms are the only place in

the UK that experiences a true

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Arctic style winter. And the beauty

of the landscape belies the harsh

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reality of life here. In the depths

of winter, animals are scarce. Only

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the hardiest can survive.

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Mountain hares are the largest

mammal is able to remain up here.

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Having shed their summer coats, they

blend in perfectly. Only their ears

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give them away. Mountain hares have

an incredibly thick coat with three

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different layers

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different layers of fur. To survive

in these temperatures they must rest

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as much as they can. Food is scarce

on the mountain. The summer grasses

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have died and only Heather remains,

hidden under the thick snow.

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But hares are experts in knowing

where to

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But hares are experts in knowing

where to

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But hares are experts in knowing

where to

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dig.

They aren't the only creatures

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relying on this nutrient poor plants

to get them through the winter.

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Ptarmigan are also abundant here.

Like the hares, these grouse have

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special winter plumage. They are,

perhaps, the ultimate mountain

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specialists and are fully equipped

to survive the cold.

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to survive the cold. Expensive foot

feathers act like dual-purpose

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snowshoes. Their nostrils are

hidden. And even their eyelids have

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a feathery outer coating. But even

with all this protection, they still

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need to hunker down to keep warm.

Snow holes give a degree of shelter

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on these exposed slopes. But why dig

your own if you can steal somebody

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else's.

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A raised red eye: indicates that the

faith isn't about to give up his

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spot in a hurry. -- the thief.

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This is an unforgiving place to

overwinter but these ptarmigan, like

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the other animals that live here,

have found ways to survive, even in

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the UK's most extreme winter

environment.

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It's absolutely beautiful in the

Cairngorms, isn't it? It has been

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cold today, -4, which doesn't sound

so bad, heavy snow, wind is up to 75

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mph, making it feel like -20! Now

that's cold.

And those ptarmigan are

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still out there, hunker down in the

snow. You have to take your hat off

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to them. We tend to think that we

know pretty much everything there is

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to know about our British wildlife

but even species like the badger, we

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don't know everything yet. When we

arrived at Sherborne we noticed that

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the badgers weren't living like they

do in other parts of the country so

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we've been working with Doctor Dawn

Scott and her team from the

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University of Brighton to learn

about the ecology of these animals

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here and we have tagged three of

them so we can learn about their

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movements.

There are three different

setts. Let's see which ones we've

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seen. This is the century would

sett, that's Marc Almond. We've seen

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a lot of him, he's enjoyed the

limelight. This is the other sett,

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and we've had glimpses of David

Bowie on the thermal camera. The

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final sett is in a bush on the hill

and we finally seen the shy and

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retiring Kate Bush. She was on the

wild and windy moors, but she came

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home.

We named a badger after Kate

Bush and we respect the fact that

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Kate is a rather private and even

slightly reclusive lady but come on,

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Kate, but acknowledged the fact that

we named a badger after you! Not

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everybody does. What about the

collars? Some people think they are

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rather large. Dawn and her team are

very well qualified and well

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practised, the whole thing is

strictly regulated and the collars

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are very robust because they need to

be strong enough so the badgers

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cannot scratch them off, they are

very strong animals. The battery is

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large but it isn't heavy so the

badger isn't carrying a lot of

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weight. Its large because sometimes

when we fit these tracking devices,

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they are solar powered and these

animals are nocturnal, they can't

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recharge the batteries so they are

carrying a battery which we hope

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will last through to the end of

Springwatch, giving us later. Rest

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assured, they've been tried and

tested and they aren't interrupting

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the health of these animals. Let's

see what these animals are up to.

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Let's take a look at the thermal

camera. Here is the sett with a

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couple of animals. This is where

David is, he's just coming from the

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left. That's David Bowery.

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David is, he's just coming from the

left. That's David Bowery. Carrying

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our collar. A bit of anal marking.

And look at this, this appears to be

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mating behaviour. Whether it is

successful, we can't see because

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they are being quite discreet,

making behind a tree. You can

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definitely see that it is a male and

he is nibbling the nape of the

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female which is typical when they go

through the copulating process. It

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female which is typical when they go

through the copulating process. It

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doesn't go well, she's quite grumpy

about it. This is the time of year

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when they should be mating. If the

female has given birth than the

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males tried to mate with them as

quickly as possible and they

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practice delayed implantation, so

the embryos are implanted later in

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the year so the female can regulate

the number of young she's going to

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have in her litter in the

springtime.

We've seen a lot of

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action and at this time of year they

don't hibernate but they will go

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into winter lethargy and have long

periods of inactivity above ground

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but that's not what we're seeing

here probably because it's been so

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mild.

And they've been hanging

around the setts either because they

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are giving birth or keen on mating.

A lot of activity from Marc Almond

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but there has been a bit of a

development.

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If you look closely you can see he

is holding up his left back foot,

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clearly injured. He can't put any

pressure on it. We haven't seen any

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other bite marks on him so we don't

know if this is from a fight, maybe,

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maybe he has broken it. By quite

robust animals, so we are quite

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hopeful that he will be OK -- they

are quite. He seems to be OK. He

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disappears into the woods and there

is clearly a fight going on. This

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was him at 3:41am this morning.

Tending that injured leg, doing some

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preening. Interesting to know how

many badgers we have in this sett.

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This is a different badger, there is

no collar on this and there is a

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white patch on its back. We could

almost call that white patch so we

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know which one we are talking about.

These are different badgers again.

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They have markings. They are very

subtle but you can see the black

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stripe, and the other one doesn't

have that. Subtle but enough to

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determine that they are different

badgers and we know we have four

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badgers in this sett and we think

there might be Cubs, as well, and

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the reason we think this, this is a

female chasing off another badger

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out of that hole, it doesn't happen

just once. Throughout the night it

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happens time and time again. As I

say, we think she might have given

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birth on the ground, and clearly

those Cubs will be tiny and

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vulnerable, and the main reason she

is chasing the badgers away is

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because infanticide is common in the

badgers especially with females, a

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female badger might go down there

and kill the young badgers which

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have been born by another female.

We

have had them coloured for a number

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of weeks and this is what we have

learned so far, this is a map of our

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sett. David Bowie has been ranging

over a large area and spending a lot

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of time in the open pasture area,

may be feeding on worms, and a bit

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of time in the woodland, we think

there might be some outlying setts

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so he might be dividing his time

between a main sett and an outline

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one. We have not seen much of Kate

Bush but we have been getting plenty

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of good data, and she has been

spending some time in the woods and

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also time out foraging in the fields

as well. Lastly, Mark Allman, his

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behaviour is different, he has been

spending 75% of his time in the wood

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-- Mark Allman.

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Given that he is robust, he weighed

16 kilograms when he was collared,

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he is probably potentially the

dominant male in that group, and it

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could be that he is focusing his

attention in the woods so that he is

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ready to mate. That limp is clearly

a concern but I don't think it was a

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full on fight because if it was, we

would expect other injuries. He is a

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very handsome badger and hasn't been

torn up around the ears and nose.

We

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were keen to see what has happened

to him since and this is what we saw

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earlier. That is not Mark because he

doesn't have a collar, but he is

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still clearly limping. We have been

keeping a eye on him through the day

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and it seems that he is OK. This is

interesting. We have heard

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aggressive behaviour.

Look how

cautions that other animal is when

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approaching him.

It is not

aggressive, though. Very passive.

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Now some in all rubbing between the

two of them but no doubt who is the

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top badger. It is marked. -- mark.

Often happens with badgers and

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fingers crossed they will be OK.

We

will be monitoring him over the next

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couple of weeks to make sure that

his injuries heal otherwise we will

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try to get some veterinary care. Our

farmland birds are in big trouble,

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we tell you that quite often, with

some quite serious declines, and we

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know that this is because of changes

in agricultural practice in terms of

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loss of habitat and impact on the

environment especially after the

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Second World War, but there is one

species that have suffered more than

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most, and its range shrank to a tiny

part of the South West, a very

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beautiful bird and Gillian was lucky

enough to go down and meet it.

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In the depths of winter our farmland

might seem completely devoid of life

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but a field like this one is full

and has proven to be a lifeline for

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one of our rarest birds. This

bunting, a close relative of the

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yellowhammer, although never a

common, 100 years ago these

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beautiful birds could be found on

farmland right across southern

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Britain. But after the 1950s the

numbers plummeted and by 1989 the

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entire population was confined to

one tiny corner of the country, the

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coastal farmlands of South Devon. I

met with RSPB conservation officer

0:21:380:21:45

Cathy who came here 20 years ago to

try and save these birds from what

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seems like inevitable extinction

from our shores. This is such a

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beautiful part of the country, but

why have these buntings being able

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to hang on?

This area is still a

area of mixed farmland, so we have

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grassland and arable on the same

farm, and in their heyday in the

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1930s, that is what all farms across

the UK would have had. But since

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then we have seen farm

specialisation so in the east you

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have big arable farms and in the

West is good for growing grass

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because it rains and we have a lot

of Pastoral farms. Having this mixed

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landscape which the buntings favour

has become rarer. Where we have

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mixed farming is where we find them.

In summer they feed their chicks.

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Miles of hedgerows provides the

perfect place to nest but it is the

0:22:440:22:49

arable fields and how they are

farmed that is crucial to their

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surviving the winter. John Andrews

family have been farming this

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stretch of Devon coast for four

generations La

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generations La -- and for nearly 20

years he has been trying to bring

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about a change of fortune for these

birds. How has farming changed in

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your time?

Going back to the old

ways, the single biggest thing we

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have done is shifting away from

autumn planting of our cereal crops

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so we were planting in September and

October and then the club was

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overwintering, but what we have done

is move back to sowing in the spring

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and leaving the club residue over

Windsor and in so doing provide

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feeding for overwintering birds --

over winter. So, Gillian, take a

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look at what we have got here. Our

spring barley stubble but what you

0:23:470:23:52

can see is the weeds. These weeds

provide food. These tufty clumps of

0:23:520:23:59

grass, if we take some, and rub out

the seed, here, you will see there

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is food here being provided for

overwintering birds and if we look

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underneath we have some grains of

Bali. These will provide feed, as

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well. If this was an autumn crop

this would now be the new crop which

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would be harvested next year and

there wouldn't be any provision for

0:24:220:24:28

food in the autumn crop.

This simple

shift in sowing times is having a

0:24:280:24:34

dramatic impact on the birdlife on

this farm.

There, look.

Oh!

0:24:340:24:44

Overlook. Those markings, those

facial markings, they are beautiful.

0:24:440:24:54

Looking so magnificent. Perched

right on the top.

They have that

0:24:540:25:02

lash of markings right across the

eye.

Once you have seen that, you

0:25:020:25:07

know you have got one. Oh, that has

made my day.

And that proves that

0:25:070:25:14

what we are doing here on the farm

is working. It makes my day, as

0:25:140:25:17

well.

It must be a great have such a

rare bird.

Yeah, I'm proud to walk

0:25:170:25:25

round here and see that, to think we

are making a difference.

And he's

0:25:250:25:30

not alone for the there are now over

200 farms involved in the bunting

0:25:300:25:36

recovery project and is collective

effort has benefited these birds in

0:25:360:25:41

a big way.

0:25:410:25:47

a big way. Fantastic. Thanks to the

efforts of the RSP and those

0:25:470:25:52

excellent farmers in Devon the

number of buntings has gone up from

0:25:520:25:55

around 100 pairs to a thousand pairs

-- RSPB. Great news. Some of the

0:25:550:26:04

farmers here in Sherborne are also

putting themselves out on a limb for

0:26:040:26:07

the wildlife and especially for the

skylarks. The Skylark is a beautiful

0:26:070:26:12

bird. It flies up very high, the

mail, to display, and then it

0:26:120:26:20

parachutes down and you get this

lovely Skylark song. The lark

0:26:200:26:25

ascending and descending, absolutely

beautiful, and you start to hear

0:26:250:26:29

that song now, and by the end of the

breed you will hear this much more.

0:26:290:26:33

Very uplifting. -- by the end of

February. But they are difficulties

0:26:330:26:40

in studying the skylarks, because

when bird ringers want to catch

0:26:400:26:43

their birds they put up those missed

nets with very thin mesh so the

0:26:430:26:49

birds can't see it but skylarks tend

to live right out in the middle of

0:26:490:26:54

the fields and if you put these nets

up they conceived them very easily,

0:26:540:26:58

and that makes catching them to ring

them extremely difficult -- they can

0:26:580:27:03

see them very easily for them but

there is a brand-new technique and

0:27:030:27:08

in December I went out with a bird

ringers group to see them in action,

0:27:080:27:16

and they using a thermal camera,

much smaller version compared to

0:27:160:27:21

ours, to see the skylarks as they

are roosting in the fields at night,

0:27:210:27:24

picking up the temperature of the

birds. This is Anna Field, one of

0:27:240:27:29

the naturalists here at Sherborne.

She is brilliant at catching the

0:27:290:27:34

birds. She has got that Skylark. You

couldn't possibly have seen that

0:27:340:27:40

without the thermal camera. She puts

it gently into the bag. And then it

0:27:400:27:48

gets taken off to be processed and

that is what we did next, we had a

0:27:480:27:53

Skylark in hand. There we go.

Aren't

they gorgeous question at for a

0:27:530:28:04

little brown bird -- aren't they

gorgeous?

It is fascinating, you

0:28:040:28:10

hear them, the sound of summer, the

beautiful evocative sound but to see

0:28:100:28:14

them close up is a real treat.

Ring

number 37.

37.

We are doing a winger

0:28:140:28:22

measurement. 116. -- wing.

This new

technique allows you to catch many

0:28:220:28:32

more skylarks and ring them than you

had been able to do before, why?

It

0:28:320:28:38

is precisely because so few have

been caught in the past and it means

0:28:380:28:42

that we get very little data back

from those skylarks to enable us to

0:28:420:28:47

know where they moved to and how

long they live and changes in their

0:28:470:28:50

body size. It is a red listed

species, endangered.

We need other

0:28:500:28:57

people to use the technique we can

acquire more data?

Indeed, and then

0:28:570:29:02

our knowledge of the Skylark will

increase because we will get more

0:29:020:29:08

recoveries of birds that have been

ruined. -- ringed.

To give you an

0:29:080:29:15

idea of how successful the thermal

camera has been, they managed to

0:29:150:29:19

capture a total of... Let me get

this right, 200 birds. The whole

0:29:190:29:28

country, 200 skylarks, but in the

winter of 2016-2017, they caught a

0:29:280:29:33

total of 400 on just three separate

farms, so this is clearly very

0:29:330:29:40

successful, this way of catching

those very difficult birds. While we

0:29:400:29:44

were out on that trip, we didn't

just catch skylarks, we got

0:29:440:29:49

something else. This is a meadow

pipit, also a very difficult birds

0:29:490:29:57

to catch, but this was a golden

plover, and this was the first one

0:29:570:30:07

which is ever been ringed in the

whole of Gloucester. The whole

0:30:070:30:11

ringing group hope that this

technique can be extended to other

0:30:110:30:16

ringing groups up and down the

country so they can catch the very

0:30:160:30:19

difficult birds. Chris, this is a

great technique can others use it?

0:30:190:30:28

They have been using it, Ian

Livingstone and the Clyde ringing

0:30:280:30:35

group have been using them to catch

another enigmatic bird, the jack

0:30:350:30:40

snipe. Like the common snipe but it

is a winter migrants arriving in the

0:30:400:30:45

UK. We have no idea how many arrive

in the winter, maybe 100,000. Ian

0:30:450:30:52

and his colleagues last winter

caught 20 of them and fitted them

0:30:520:30:56

with geode locators, tiny devices

recording the information about

0:30:560:30:58

where the bird is. This year one of

them came back and they cod it and

0:30:580:31:04

where the bird is. This year one of

them came back and they cod it and

0:31:040:31:05

discovered something extraordinary.

They cod the bird last year in

0:31:050:31:10

December, it stayed the other side

0:31:100:31:12

They cod the bird last year in

December, it stayed the other side

0:31:120:31:12

of Glasgow on the western side until

February, then it flew over to

0:31:120:31:16

northern Germany where it spent

between March and April and then it

0:31:160:31:20

took an enormous flight out here to

the top northern part of Russia

0:31:200:31:25

where it stayed between May and

September, presumably breeding. In

0:31:250:31:31

September it went back over here and

arrived in Sweden in October and

0:31:310:31:37

finally it jumped back over to

Scotland where they recovered the

0:31:370:31:40

locator. The distance between

Glasgow and the reserve here in

0:31:400:31:48

Russia is 3500 kilometres and this

bird weighs just 55 grams. This is

0:31:480:31:53

the first time ever in the UK that

we found out where any of the Jack

0:31:530:31:59

Snipe are going to or from and is

the second time in the world. Great

0:31:590:32:04

piece of science from Ian and the

Clyde ringing group. That's what we

0:32:040:32:08

piece of science from Ian and the

Clyde ringing group. That's what we

0:32:080:32:09

like, those tracking devices are

teaching us a lot more a lot more

0:32:090:32:11

quickly about these animals so we

can better conserve them. Britain's

0:32:110:32:18

favourite mammal is in a

catastrophic decline and we are

0:32:180:32:22

really worried about it but we'll is

future be science fiction or science

0:32:220:32:26

fact? -- will its future.

0:32:260:32:34

Climate change has altered Britain.

Combined with unrelenting urban

0:32:340:32:44

sprawl, it's had a devastating

effect on the natural world. And for

0:32:440:32:50

some species, time is running out.

0:32:500:33:01

Do you like our hedgehog? It's not

artificial but it is increasingly

0:33:010:33:05

rare. Our spine manner should be

hibernating but this winter it's

0:33:050:33:14

just not cold enough. The drive to

find food forces her onto the busy

0:33:140:33:20

streets.

0:33:200:33:28

Quite an experience, to live in

fear, isn't it?

0:33:320:33:44

Cities aren't built with hedgehogs

in mind.

0:33:480:33:59

in mind. She's not equipped to deal

with this unnatural landscape. To

0:33:590:34:06

survive each night she must eat at

least 16% of her own body weight.

0:34:060:34:16

But in winter, food is scarce.

0:34:160:34:27

An upturned rubbish bin provides

temporary relief. And this meagre

0:34:280:34:33

meal may have to do for tonight.

0:34:330:34:38

In a metropolis full of synthetic

smells... She's drawn to the toxic

0:34:510:35:03

chemicals coating abandoned car

parks.

0:35:030:35:07

But hunger is not the reason here.

She's mixing the grease with saliva

0:35:090:35:15

to form a thick foam. She copes hurt

finds in it. Could this be a ploy to

0:35:150:35:23

deter potential predators with a

noxious taste and smell? It is

0:35:230:35:30

called self anointing and where once

she would have used became material

0:35:300:35:37

and natural toxins now she makes do

with man-made toxins. Nothing is

0:35:370:35:42

worse than having an itch you can

never scratch. Escaping the bright

0:35:420:35:50

lights, she struggles through a

small hole in a fence into a darker

0:35:500:35:53

territory. Holes like this used to

be commonplace. But now she's lucky

0:35:530:36:01

to find one.

0:36:010:36:06

to find one. Our gardens were once

an oasis for hedgehogs. But this

0:36:060:36:14

sterile environment replicates the

city around it, restricting what

0:36:140:36:16

life remains. An abundance of slug

pellets poisons her food.

0:36:160:36:28

This is no place to find a meal.

0:36:280:36:38

A new danger looms. A busy road is a

dangerous obstacle for a hedgehog.

0:36:390:36:51

Those self-anointed spines won't

save her here.

0:36:530:36:59

With the volume of traffic out of

control, roads have crisscrossed and

0:37:060:37:12

fragmented her brave new world. She

needs to find refuge before dawn.

0:37:120:37:25

Finally, a place where she can

retire.

0:37:300:37:37

retire. Do hedgehogs dream of

Electric slugs? She's seen things we

0:37:370:37:43

wouldn't believe, meadows blowing

under the consolation of Orion,

0:37:430:37:49

moonbeams listening by the garden

gate and if we don't act, those

0:37:490:37:54

moments will be lost in time, like

tears in rain.

0:37:540:38:02

tears in rain.

That may seem like a

very bleak vision of the future but

0:38:020:38:06

sadly, for some of our hedgehogs,

that's already a reality. They used

0:38:060:38:12

to be common but now you are lucky

to see one in your gardens. Since

0:38:120:38:17

2002 they've declined by 30% and we

think there are only about 1 million

0:38:170:38:20

left in the UK. This winter must be

very confusing because in so areas

0:38:200:38:26

it's been so mild. If you're lucky

to see one in your garden, please

0:38:260:38:33

put down some food for him, a tin of

dog meat. A lot of information on

0:38:330:38:39

the website. Go to the website and

check it out.

In the last couple of

0:38:390:38:45

days on-site in Sherborne we've been

hearing a curious sound.

0:38:450:38:51

RATTLING SOUND.

0:38:510:38:57

Have you been hearing that? What is

it? It is a woodpecker drumming.

0:38:570:39:02

They do it at this time of year, the

males do it to attract a mate and

0:39:020:39:10

define their territory. We managed

to film one doing its drumming. It's

0:39:100:39:15

right behind the caravan.

You can

clearly hear it.

0:39:150:39:23

clearly hear it.

DRUMMING SOUND.

It

was filmed this morning.

0:39:240:39:26

Extraordinary sound.

They can

actually hit the wood is 20 times in

0:39:260:39:35

a second as they are doing that with

that fantastic impact. You'd imagine

0:39:350:39:40

they get a headache. It is not any

old piece of wood, they are very

0:39:400:39:46

selective, to find the right one.

At

this time of year, all times of

0:39:460:39:52

year, you see them trying lots of

different trees and they are looking

0:39:520:39:55

to see which one is the loudest

because that's what they want. We'll

0:39:550:40:00

demonstrate it. You have to use your

imagination a bit! This is a

0:40:000:40:05

woodpecker, my drill! And this is

its beak. This is a solid piece of

0:40:050:40:14

wood. If I do that, pretty loud.

Quite noisy.

Let's try a hollow

0:40:140:40:22

piece of wood.

I will illustrate the

hollowness.

0:40:220:40:25

LOUDER SOUND.

0:40:260:40:29

Clearly that is a lot louder so the

hollow tree resonates the sound,

0:40:320:40:38

meaning it goes much further. They

are looking for a hollow tree. What

0:40:380:40:44

is truly remarkable is the force

that they experience when their beak

0:40:440:40:48

hits the tree. They can experience a

deceleration force of 1000 G, 1000

0:40:480:40:56

times the force of gravity. Now, if

we did that, then just 100 G would

0:40:560:41:02

be enough to kill us. So they can

cope with ten times what we can cope

0:41:020:41:07

with. So how have they adapted to do

that sort of head-banging?

0:41:070:41:12

Fascinating biology. There are three

things. Firstly the structure of the

0:41:120:41:18

skull itself, the bones. That is a

section through the skull of a

0:41:180:41:24

woodpecker. It looks very open but

that's actually very tough, light

0:41:240:41:28

but strong, so it resists fracture.

They don't fracture their skulls as

0:41:280:41:34

baits into the wood. Their brains,

they have very little cerebrospinal

0:41:340:41:39

fluid, so the brain fills the skull

and it doesn't move around as they

0:41:390:41:43

bang into the word. And this is the

most extraordinary thing, this is

0:41:430:41:48

the skull of a woodpecker.

0:41:480:41:49

most extraordinary thing, this is

the skull of a woodpecker. Can you

0:41:490:41:51

see these little bits going over the

top? That is a special bone that

0:41:510:41:56

acts like a safety belt. It wraps

around and as the skull goes in, it

0:41:560:42:01

grabs hold very tight to the skull.

Extraordinary bit of biology.

0:42:010:42:07

grabs hold very tight to the skull.

Extraordinary bit of biology.

Have

0:42:070:42:09

you ever tried head-banging? It

really hurts! You know, when you

0:42:090:42:14

were younger, to the music.

I

remember that!

From King wishes to

0:42:140:42:19

hen harriers... From Kingfisher 's!

Tonight Gillian is finding out why

0:42:190:42:28

Islay is one of the best places in

the UK to see them.

0:42:280:42:32

Welcome to a beautiful moonlit but

windy night on Islay. We are on the

0:42:320:42:41

RSPB reserve. Last night we were

down on the marshland and tonight

0:42:410:42:45

we've come to higher ground.

0:42:450:42:52

we've come to higher ground. This is

an open and wild country and it's

0:42:520:42:56

dominated by heather moorland. It's

managed by the RSPB for the benefit

0:42:560:43:03

of ground nesting birds and also

wildlife. What that means is that

0:43:030:43:08

they keep the cattle off and they

leave it alone and this is what you

0:43:080:43:11

get. This really tall heather which

is the perfect habitat for a very

0:43:110:43:19

special bird. The hen harrier. Now

that's a female. You can see the

0:43:190:43:25

white rump and that fail, sometimes

they are called ring tails. She will

0:43:250:43:34

fly low, using her very keen

eyesight, looking for prey but she's

0:43:340:43:37

going to listen for them. A bit like

an owl, the shape of the face

0:43:370:43:46

focuses the sound as she's hunting.

This isn't a different species, this

0:43:460:43:52

is the male with the grey back and

black wing tips, strikingly

0:43:520:43:58

different. One third smaller than

the female and very agile meaning he

0:43:580:44:04

can fly low and fast and flush out

birds that he hunts. This is a nice

0:44:040:44:10

night to try and demonstrate why

this is a great habitat for the

0:44:100:44:13

bird. If I hunker down by can

immediately feel the benefit of

0:44:130:44:21

this. I'm sheltered by the wind and

it actually feels warmer. This is

0:44:210:44:27

exactly where the birds are going to

nest and in the winter, come here to

0:44:270:44:33

roost. Now, this reserve has the

densest population, one of the

0:44:330:44:37

densest of hen harriers in the

country. Last year, six breeding

0:44:370:44:43

pairs successfully raised 20 chicks.

To put it in perspective, in England

0:44:430:44:50

where it's estimated there is enough

habitat to support 300 breeding

0:44:500:44:54

pairs, there were only three. So, in

the reserve, possibly the size of a

0:44:540:45:02

bit larger than two square miles,

double the number of breeding pairs

0:45:020:45:06

of fine harriers than in the whole

of England. -- of hen harriers. Hen

0:45:060:45:13

harriers have been persecuted for

centuries, especially in their

0:45:130:45:17

breeding grounds in the upper

heather moors. The RSPB has been

0:45:170:45:21

running the life project since 2014

to help these birds recover,

0:45:210:45:25

especially on the mainland. They do

this by monitoring their resting

0:45:250:45:32

grounds, talking to local

communities and landowners and

0:45:320:45:36

satellite tagging some of the

chicks.

0:45:360:45:40

All of this will hope to pinpoint

places of persecution but also where

0:45:400:45:45

the birds go in the winter and the

results of that are quite

0:45:450:45:48

surprising. There is a yellow track

up there in the North, that is

0:45:480:45:54

Orkney and there is a bird that

doesn't range very far but if you

0:45:540:45:57

look further south there is a red

track and that is a bird which was

0:45:570:46:02

born in Clyde and went across to the

Hebrides and back again. This starts

0:46:020:46:07

to show that these birds do range

further than we previously thought

0:46:070:46:12

and the next one was a real

surprise, however. Take a look at

0:46:120:46:18

this. This is a track of a bird

called Tony, starting off way up

0:46:180:46:24

north in Scotland and went all the

way and made landfall in the north

0:46:240:46:28

of Spain. These birds are ranging

much further than previously thought

0:46:280:46:34

and that means they -- their

conservation must include their

0:46:340:46:42

whole range and that starts in

breeding grounds like here on this

0:46:420:46:44

reserve where they are free from

this occasion. Beard is not just a

0:46:440:46:51

haven for hen harriers, it is a

haven for all sorts of Harriers --

0:46:510:46:57

Islay is not just a haven for ten

one.

0:46:570:47:02

We have seen a truly spectacular

landscape.

0:47:040:47:13

And all that is left to say is thank

you to all the people that have

0:47:420:47:46

helped on this island, everyone who

has helped, you know who you are,

0:47:460:47:51

that is it from tonight, it is back

to Sherborne. Thank you, Gillian. If

0:47:510:47:59

you were watching Springwatch in

2016 you will know we watched the

0:47:590:48:02

fortunes of a golden eagle, it

hatched on the 11th of May in

0:48:020:48:06

Scotland and we had cameras on the

nest and we watched this bird

0:48:060:48:08

growing. It was fantastic to see it

growing through this process. In

0:48:080:48:16

July I went to put a satellite tag

on this bird. It continued to grow,

0:48:160:48:23

and then on the 2nd of August 2016

she took to the air, we had a vote

0:48:230:48:29

to see which name you would like to

call the Eagle and she became known

0:48:290:48:32

as Freya, the Springwatch a go, and

since

0:48:320:48:41

since the 2nd of August 2016 no one

has knowingly seen Freya alive but

0:48:420:48:45

that tracking device gives us a lot

of data and we know exactly where

0:48:450:48:52

she is and she has been roaming over

a huge area, many thousands of

0:48:520:48:57

kilometres, typical of a young

eagle, looking for a territory. Good

0:48:570:49:01

news, just before Christmas, we

found her at a carcass. This is her,

0:49:010:49:08

the first time we have seen her. She

has grown into a fantastic animal,

0:49:080:49:13

you can see the tracking device on

her back, she also has a lot of

0:49:130:49:18

white in detail, showing you that

she is a young bird, and she went

0:49:180:49:22

start to breed until she is four

years old, another couple of years

0:49:220:49:26

before she is big enough to

establish a territory and that might

0:49:260:49:30

mean fighting with another

territorial female. A few days ago,

0:49:300:49:34

we saw her again, 60 kilometres from

where the film was taken, we got

0:49:340:49:41

these pictures of Freya our golden

eagle, so great to know she is still

0:49:410:49:48

out there and we will be keeping a

very very close eye on all of her

0:49:480:49:52

activities.

Greater note she is safe

and sound and fingers crossed it

0:49:520:49:57

stays that way -- great to know. In

December Keith Ross said in this

0:49:570:50:04

very interesting footage, this is in

Ramsgate harbour -- sent in. These

0:50:040:50:12

are two female kingfishers having a

go at each other, one is a adult,

0:50:120:50:15

with the red legs, and the other is

a juvenile, and it has a pale belly.

0:50:150:50:23

We wanted to know what happened

after that fight so we sent one of

0:50:230:50:26

our cameramen to Ramsgate to find

out.

0:50:260:50:36

The sun rises over Ramsgate harbour.

Glinting across the water and onto a

0:50:360:50:42

metal walkway. Revealing the

favourite roosting site of a

0:50:420:50:49

solitary kingfisher. Hidden from

predators and sheltered from the

0:50:490:50:55

storms, it is a perfect base from

which this little bird can hunt. She

0:50:550:51:02

uses the gaps between the wall and

pontoons like a river. And it is

0:51:020:51:09

quickly apparent why she is here.

Although kingfishers will eat prawns

0:51:090:51:17

and even crabs, this bird is after

fish. It swallowed headfirst to

0:51:170:51:25

prevent the scales from sticking in

her throat.

0:51:250:51:35

her throat. So, is this one of the

fighting females from Keith's

0:51:350:51:38

footage? With the same pale belly

and juvenile markings it seems she

0:51:380:51:44

is. But what about the adult bird,

is she still living in the harbour?

0:51:440:51:54

The pale bellied juvenile uses a

shrill territorial call, a sign that

0:51:540:52:01

another bird is in the vicinity. As

she retreats to safety a second

0:52:010:52:07

kingfisher does arrive and flies

daringly close.

0:52:070:52:16

daringly close. This one seems to

live near the fuel barges on the

0:52:160:52:19

other side of the harbour. But a

closer inspection reveals the brown

0:52:190:52:26

feet and Bill of a juvenile bird.

This is not the adult from the

0:52:260:52:32

fight. On rivers kingfishers hold

separate territories of up to five

0:52:320:52:42

kilometres and the pickings in the

harbour must be rich for them to

0:52:420:52:45

tolerate such close proximity. But

nevertheless, competition is still

0:52:450:52:50

high. The juvenile flashes by with

pale belly in hot pursuit. And then

0:52:500:53:00

a third kingfisher rockets out of

the old tunnels. Clearly another

0:53:000:53:08

territorial kingfisher but is she

the female we are looking for? A

0:53:080:53:14

close up view reveals bright red

feet and strong orange lower bill

0:53:140:53:22

markings. Finally it seems we have

found the adult female from the

0:53:220:53:29

footage.

0:53:290:53:36

footage. So, two juveniles and one

adult female kingfisher are sharing

0:53:360:53:42

the same harbour home.

0:53:420:53:48

But Ramsgate harbour's busy port

life means that the dynamics are

0:53:520:53:56

constantly changing. When huge

fishing boats dock along the

0:53:560:54:03

refuelling jetty one of the juvenile

is favoured hunting spots is lost.

0:54:030:54:08

Forced to move on she tries to use

the other bird's haunts but both

0:54:080:54:15

chase her off. It seems territorial

instincts are hard to lose

0:54:150:54:22

especially at this time of year when

food is at a premium. Only a quarter

0:54:220:54:30

of some adult kingfishers make it

through the winter months and it

0:54:300:54:33

seems at first that the ousted

juvenile could be one of the

0:54:330:54:38

season's casualties.

0:54:380:54:44

season's casualties. But then a few

days later something remarkable

0:54:440:54:47

happens. Not in the harbour but in

the town's old Victorian boating

0:54:470:54:56

lake a mile up the road. It is a

juvenile and the chances are it is

0:54:560:55:04

the one we have been following but

what is she doing at this abandoned

0:55:040:55:09

paddling pool? A successful dive

reveals the answer.

0:55:090:55:18

reveals the answer. Goldfish. They

were released into the pool by the

0:55:180:55:24

cafe owner a few years ago and now

there are hundreds. It seems the

0:55:240:55:32

juvenile has chanced upon a lucky

find. Which hopefully will bring a

0:55:320:55:39

happy ending, not just for her, but

for all three of these remarkable

0:55:390:55:46

birds, adopting their own tactics to

survive the British winter.

0:55:460:55:53

I love a kingfisher. It is a living

joule. I think. If I see a

0:55:560:56:04

kingfisher in a day it makes me

chirpy for the rest of the day. Some

0:56:040:56:09

of you have seen kingfishers in the

most extraordinary places. Can you

0:56:090:56:12

see that, the top left-hand corner?

It is waiting for a number nine.

I

0:56:120:56:21

was going to say that!

What is going

on there, that looks stuffed. This

0:56:210:56:29

is in the middle of the pavement.

Lovely, thanks for sending those in.

0:56:290:56:37

I'm afraid it is time for us to go.

It is goodbye from us.

Goodbye from

0:56:370:56:46

Islay.

Thanks to the National Trust

and the staff at the Sherborne

0:56:460:56:52

Estate and to the villages down in

Sherborne who have been tolerant of

0:56:520:56:56

our intrusion and lastly to the

scientists who have helped us in the

0:56:560:57:01

course of the series.

That might be

the end of Winterwatch but stay in

0:57:010:57:06

touch on Twitter and Instagram and

Facebook. We will be back for

0:57:060:57:11

spring, for Springwatch, but in the

meantime we will leave you with some

0:57:110:57:16

highlights of Winterwatch 2018. From

us, goodbye.

Goodbye.

0:57:160:57:24

Welcome to a brand spanking new

series of Winterwatch!

Oh! That was

0:57:280:57:37

a bird, wasn't it?

0:57:370:57:40

We have captured the essence of

winter.

0:57:450:57:51

winter.

I never thought we'd see

anything like this.

There's no mercy

0:57:530:57:59

on this game.

Look at this. It is

nail-biting stuff!

And check this

0:57:590:58:08

out.

0:58:080:58:13

out.

Anything could happen tonight.

Oh! That's my sweater gone.

This is

0:58:130:58:24

the winter, get your wellies on and

get your binoculars and get out

0:58:240:58:29

there.

0:58:290:58:37

It is the final show of Winterwatch 2018 and it has been a busy week in the Gloucestershire countryside. Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games all come together to wrap up the series, with live action and reports from our cameras.

Gillian Burke also has her last report from Islay, concluding a week full of goose spectacle, otter cuteness and golden eagle majesty.