Putting a spring in your step

Monday 23rd May 2011

Springwatch is back (30 May – 16 June at 8pm, BBC TWO)

The BBC Springwatch phenomenon is due back to our screens on Monday 30 May. For three weeks, presenter team Kate Humble, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games will be celebrating the best of the UK’s wildlife. With so much inspiration to enjoy our natural wonders, The Wildlife Trusts have some top tips for getting outdoors to enjoy the wildlife coming to a screen near you.

New location
After three years at Pensthorpe nature reserve in Norfolk, Springwatch is moving its base. The new home is the remote, breathtakingly beautiful Ynys-hir nature reserve in west Wales.

For those inspired by the series, there are some spectacular Wildlife Trust reserves nearby to visit, including Cors Dyfi which is managed by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, and home to a pair of breeding ospreys: Nora and Monty. The pair produced the first osprey egg for the Dyfi since 1604 over this Easter weekend and their brood has since expanded to three www.montwt.co.uk/dyfiospreys.html.

This is especially good news given that Nora is the offspring of one of the male ospreys, 03(97), who has been breeding at Rutland Water for some years thanks to the efforts of Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust’s Rutland Osprey Project www.ospreys.org.uk.

Springwatch is moving its base to the beautiful Ynys-hir nature reserve in west Wales.

With footage set to air live from the beaver trial site from Monday 30 May 2011, members of the Springwatch team are already stationed in Knapdale. They are working with Scottish Beaver Trial staff with the aim of bringing the best footage of wild beavers in Scotland ever seen to UK television screens.

The Scottish Beaver Trial began almost two years ago on 29 May 2009 when three beaver families were released into the wild. In less than two weeks, Gordon Buchanan, the celebrated Scottish wildlife photographer and TV presenter, is set to arrive in Knapdale, and the team will be pulling out all the stops to capture the natural behaviours of the beavers on camera.

Simon Jones, the Scottish Beaver Trial Project Manager, said: “We can’t wait to show Springwatch viewers the Knapdale beavers, the beautiful local environment and the story of the return from extinction in the UK of this fascinating, keystone species. Our trial is the first formal reintroduction of a native mammal back to the UK, and the outcome of this trial could decide the future of beavers in Scotland.

“Now close to celebrating its second anniversary, both the trial and beavers are doing well. We have four families here and hope to see kits emerging from the lodges in June or July. Signs of beavers, and the effects they can have on their local environment, can be seen readily by visiting the area.”

For more information about the Scottish Beaver Trial, visit www.scottishbeavers.org.uk.

Skomer Island
Welsh wildlife expert Iolo Willams and the Springwatch Adventure Team will celebrate spring at what is, arguably, the finest of welsh wildlife locations – Skomer Island.

Springwatch camera teams have been on the island from early April as the first puffins, razorbills and guillemots arrived back from their long winter at sea. They will also be on the lookout for the enigmatic, day-flying short-eared owl. Iolo and team will go under the waves to reveal rare sea fans, corals and inquisitive grey seals in Skomer’s underwater world, as well as the sand eels that feed and power much of the breeding action back on shore.

Skomer Island is managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, and is open to visitors for day trips and overnight stays from April to October. More information on visiting Skomer is available at http://www.welshwildlife.org/skomerIntro_en.link.

For those who prefer a bit more solitude, this May witnessed the opening of Skomer’s sister island, Skokholm. Skokholm supports a stunning array of wildlife - alongside the puffins and auks is the third largest and most dense colony of Manx shearwaters in the world, representing 15 percent of the global population. It also holds one of the most accessible and southerly colonies of breeding storm petrels in the UK. These two bird species spend most of their lives at sea, only coming ashore to breed - at night. The only way, therefore, of seeing this spectacle is by staying on the island.

Day trips, three or four night, or full week stays are available, and details of how to book can be found at www.welshwildlife.org/skokholmIntro_en.link.

Isle of Man
Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games will be taking each other off for a weekend wildlife extravaganza. Martin takes Chris to a place close to his heart, the Isle of Man, to see nesting choughs, hen harriers and grey seals. Eleanor Stone, Marine Officer for Manx Wildlife Trust, helped Chris and Martin find the seals. Eleanor said:

“The grey seals are one of the wildlife highlights of our island, along with the gentle giant, the basking shark. Manx Wildlife Trust has teams of ‘watchers’ stationed at five sites around the Manx coast looking out for seals to help us build a picture of what’s out there.

“Anyone can join our watchers to look out for the seals. They go out most days as long as the weather is good.”

For more information about seal watching contact the Manx Wildlife Trust: www.manxwt.org.uk.

Events - The Wildlife Trusts’ Wildlife Week
The Wildlife Trusts’ Wildlife Week double bill will take place from Saturday 28 May to Sunday 12 June, with plenty of events taking place for those itching to get out and experience wildlife first-hand. For details of The Wildlife Trusts’ events visit www.bbc.co.uk/thingstodo.


Story by RSWT
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Image credit: BBC