Autumnwatch airs on BBC Two from Tuesday 29 October to Friday 1 November at 8pm-9pm



Autumnwatch will return to BBC Two at the end of October, broadcasting live from the Cairngorms National Park. Presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams will return to the tipi studio in the Dell of Abernethy to chart the changes in wildlife throughout autumn.
This series will also reveal the results of the Gardenwatch survey - the series’ biggest ever citizens science project. With more than 220,000 submissions, the data collected from the survey each episode in this series will reveal further insights into the state of the nation’s gardens and explore what more can be done to help wildlife thrive.

Autumnwatch airs on BBC Two from Tuesday 29 October to Friday 1 November at 8pm-9pm.


This series of Autumnwatch will reveal the result of the Gardenwatch survey - the series’ biggest ever citizen science project. The initiative, which was launched during Springwatch, invited viewers to participate in a survey to collect data on perhaps the least known wildness region in the country - our gardens.

Between May and August there were over 220,000 submissions for the Gardenwatch survey. Conducted in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Open University, the data collected in the survey has given conservationists a specific idea of what is in the nation’s gardens, as well as what British households are already doing to help wildlife, and crucially, what more can be done. This first set findings will be revealed in the programme.

Further data from the Gardenwatch survey will be released in the next series of Springwatch, as the study will act as a barometer of change in Britain’s gardens.

The Cairngorms

This season Autumnwatch will return to the Cairngorms National Park. Found in the Highlands of Scotland. The Cairngorms is the wildest part of the UK and home to some of the rarest wildlife in the country.

Autumnwatch’s base at the Dell of Abernethy sits on the edge of the Abernethy Caledonian pine forest and is surrounded by Caledonian Pinewoods, open grassland, farmland and garden spaces, all bordered by the River Nethy.

From here, the Autumnwatch team will be able to reach out to the heart of the Cairngorms; from the windy plateaux where ptarmigan and mountain hares huddle, to pristine salmon rivers, and ancient forests home to red squirrels, elusive pine martens and a spectacular crop of mushrooms and fungi. Abernethy is one of the best places in Britain to see rare and strange toadstools.

The Cairngorms will also provide the backdrop for a much bigger story - the way our landscape has changed through time. The mountains are a relic of the last ice age, and the effect of glacial action is easy to see on their exposed slopes. However, the ancient mountains also tell a human story - of deforestation and the man-made changes to the landscape which created the epic vistas we see today.

Autumnwatch will continue to chart how the area has changed over time, and explore the work of the Cairngorms Connect project - which is looking to the future in the aim of reforesting vast swathes of the area in an ambitious 200-year plan. It is the UK's largest landscape-scale conservation project, bringing together NGOs, private landowners and governmental departments.

Live wildlife possibilities

Autumn in the Cairngorms will be unveiled through live cameras hidden across Dell of Abernethy, covering a variety of habitats across the area to show how the local animals are faring as the colder weather arrives.

The mammal nest box cams are expected to capture snoozing squirrels in natural duvets of moss, and potentially even pine martens resting during the day.

Infra-red cameras hidden in the woods will reveal a number of forest animals’ busy night-time activities, including pine martens out hunting, busy wood mice and greedy badgers on the prowl for tasty morsels, preparing to fatten up for the winter which will be soon approaching.

Autumnwatch’s well-stocked bird feeding station will also be back on camera, and will chart the resident populations of garden and forest birds. The series hopes to also show some rare and unusual migrant birds, which could make an appearance.

Further down by the river a selection of cameras will be set to film the elusive otters who avoided sightings last winter (a resident tawny owl appeared in their place).

Pre-filmed Inserts

As usual, Autumnwatch will showcase a series of pre-recorded films covering the expanse of the country, bringing geographical diversity as well as a wide variety of animal, scientific and cultural stories.

Potential stories for this autumn include:

1. Tim Peake supersizes Autumn
This year the series will supersize autumn. The programme will show autumn from Space, as astronaut Tim Peake reveals how autumn was born four and a half million years ago during a giant collision in Space. Chris and Michaela will talk about seasonal changes with a cosmic fruit bowl, Gillian will go diving with an eight-foot blue shark, and we meet a man who seems to be able to get seals to smile.

2. Autumn migrations in the Firth of Forth
Humans, birds and seals will embark on seasonal movements and migrations as autumn sweeps into Scotland’s Firth of Forth. Some will arrive and some will leave but the culmination is the spectacle of the mother seals arriving to pup on the Isle of May.

3. Wild goose chase
Michaela will team up with two young goose flock chasers on a quest to find rare geese among the massive flocks arriving in North East Scotland.

4. Owls - who’s hooting who?
Wildlife sound recordist Gary Moore will take viewers on an expedition to hear autumn owl calls and work out who is hooting who. Gary will decode the autumn calls of tawny owls.

5. The wonder of autumn decay
Picking up on the Springwatch theme of celebrating wildlife 'from the bottom up'. This section plans to uncover the science and hidden natural history of the autumn cycle of death and decay, which ultimately leads to new life.

6. Summers end for the spiny seahorse
As summer ends and autumn draws in the nights, spiny seahorses will be in preparation for winter. This section will look back at a seasonal story of a young seahorse born off the Jurassic Coast of Southern England, and how it will cope as autumn approaches.

7. Blue Shark encounter
Gillian will set off to snorkel with one of the most exciting gatherings of marine megafauna in Britain, a shoal of blue shark. The question is, will she find them? Why are the sharks gathering here in autumn? And what is the latest science revealing about these creatures?

8. Dr Seal
Ben Burville is a busy GP who lives and works in Northumberland. In an attempt to escape from the pressures of work he will dive with a colony of grey seals who are living just off the Farne Islands.

9. Troll Mountain
Trollval is the old Norse name for one of the mountains of Rhum. The Vikings gave the mountain its name because of the strange noises which emanate from it during the autumn. Autumnwatch will reveal the true mountain trolls, which turn out to be Manx shearwater chicks calling out as their parents leave them behind. When they finally fledge, the young are often dazzled by the lights of the local port of Mallaig and need to be rescued.

10. Magnificent antlers
Chris will investigate the science behind antlers, with a series of experiments designed to compare and contrast them with human bones. Antlers are one of nature’s most surprising, strong and fast growing sexual structures, and Autumnwatch will reveal the latest science behind these magnificent and mysterious appendages.

11. Fungus Fanfare at Abernethy
Abernethy is one of the mushroom and toadstool hot spots in Britain and autumn is the perfect season to highlight the many different, rare mushrooms and toadstools to be found there. This insert will uncover why this area in particular encapsulates such a variety of these fungi.

12. Grandfather Shelduck
Retired architect Mike Woodman-Smith has been watching and photographing a colony of Shelduck for nearly a decade near his home in South Devon. This year Mike has been following a family of Shelducks as they try to reach the sea from their cliff nest. Confronted with danger, will this plucky little family survive the onslaught of predators and the elements?

13. Hampton Court Nature Gardens
Back in July, Chris and Michaela caught up with garden designer Jo Thompson as she built three contemporary wildlife gardens at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Festival, as part of Springwatch’s Gardenwatch initiative. Chris and Michaela will visit the show to reveal the key take home messages from Jo’s gardens that we can all use in our own gardens.

14. Xander’s House Beast Safari
Young Cairngorms naturalist Xander Johnston will introduce viewers to the mini beasts that occupy our homes as the autumn approaches. His mission is to amaze spectators through a mini beast safari that asks us to appreciate these new seasonal houseguests.

Autumnwatch Digital

The Autumnwatch digital team will be up and running just before the series starts, and will provide exciting extra content for fans who can’t get enough of the amazing wildlife the UK has to offer.

The digital offering will include: exclusive clips not seen on TV, new takes on the best of the films across the series, outtakes and unseen content from filming and some of the amazing footage sent in by Autumnwatch viewers.

The team will stream the best of the action on the remote cameras on BBC iPlayer, the Autumnwatch website, YouTube and Connected Red Button. There will also be pop up lives on the Autumnwatch Facebook page with naturalist and digital presenter Hannah Stitfall, who will be joined by the TV show’s presenters.

All this and much more will be available online at Viewers can join the conversation using #Autumnwatch at @bbcspringwatch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Source BBC TWO

October 23, 2019 5:10am ET by BBC TWO  


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