Springwatch 2024 - Everything you need to know: Interview with Chris Packham

Springwatch returns to BBC Two for three weeks of live programmes

Watch Springwatch on iPlayer and BBC Two from Monday 27 May

PHOTO: Chris Packham (Image: BBC Studios)


BBC iPlayer

May 22 - Interview with Chris Packham

How can we support local wildlife this Spring?

Firstly, we can ensure that wildlife is allowed to prosper and that means communicating in our communities. No Mow May is running this month and that's very much a community thing so people can make sure that their verges and parts of their local park or community resource areas that are green can be left un-mown.

We can also do No Mow May in our gardens, if we're lucky enough to have gardens. It's a time where things start growing and people will be returning to their gardens. So I'd say return with wildlife gardening in mind, not just gardening for decorative reasons. And there's a whole wealth of material out there in terms of how people can access that and what's appropriate for them.

Obviously, making ponds is also something that we've always encouraged on the Watches. The single most important thing you can do to increase biodiversity is to put a pond in your garden and bear in mind it doesn't have to be large, we've done projects in the past where they've been washing up bowls and they still attract species to them.

What are your favourite kinds of wildlife to spot around this time of year and why?

Well it's all the harbingers of spring: the first butterflies, I had a great day yesterday when there were brimstone butterfly about, absolutely my favourite butterfly by far. Also yesterday I had first orange tips and holly blue butterflies. You get a real sense of things happening when those species appear and it's a joy to see them and they're all familiar species that can appear in just about everyone's back garden.

Birdsong obviously is coming to that peak of when we should have a dawn chorus if we're lucky enough to live in an area with a density of birds so one species to really listen out for are blackbirds. Another is song flushes, I call them the urban nightingale. Their rich, fluid and melodic song is really special and again they're widespread across the UK, you can find them in urban as well as rural areas. So these are all common species, but their songs are worth listening to.

What do you want viewers to learn from Springwatch?

The thing about Springwatch, as ever, is it will be a challenge and a surprise. Our mission is to bring people new stories from the nest that we follow and the other stories that we bring in and obviously we'll be delving into the new science and the only thing that we can guarantee, or that we can't say what it is, is that we will see something that we've not seen before, as that always happens.

And we will therefore delve deeply into the new science and we'll come up with new stories for people and you know, I can't tell you what they'll be because who knows what will unfold. We've got our camera on Corfe Castle peregrines and their nesting opposite the Ravens. So there could be some interplay between those. Who knows what that could be, that could be the drama of the series peregrines versus ravens. And then we'll find out more about both of those species and how they behave.

What advice do you have for getting kids interested in wildlife spotting?

I think the first thing is don't demonise devices. I use my phone all the time, I use my phone to identify species. There's some good birdsong apps that work pretty well and they are improving. I've also got a device that plugs into my phone and it becomes a bat detector. So I think there was an idea that we should keep young people away from their devices because they disconnect them from nature. But in fact, I would argue mine connect me with nature. And I've got all my field guides on my phone now. I mean, I kept my books, but most of those books when it comes to UK and European wildlife, have been translated into apps that are usable on my phone. I think it's about retraining those young people to make sure that they understand how useful those apps can be.

What do you hope to see when you're in Dorset?

Something new, something we haven't seen before. Dorset wildlife has a sort of speciality there because a lot of Arne is sandy lowland heath.

Last year we saw extraordinary things with our night jars eating their own young. You just couldn't make that up and no one's been able to explain what was going on there. And that's great because we love mysteries in natural history. We don't need to know everything, but it generates conversation and people come up with ideas.

Hopefully, if we can we'll focus on the peregrines and the ravens and we’ll see some new things. I'll also be leading the charge to not just focus on the cute cuddly, the fluffy and the feathered, you know, it's all about the little stuff as well. And that means the invertebrates and the plants and so largely we are pretty good at that and I'll be pushing harder for more.

If you were a British wildlife species, what would you be and why?

Everyone would love to be something fast and dashing. It would be quite fun to be a peregrine falcon for a few minutes and be stooping at more than 100 miles an hour conventionally. That'd be quite a thrill.

But if it were a lifetime, in the jackdaw population there are groups of male jackdaws that never breed. Essentially they just sort of have a bachelor's life without any of the encumbrance of responsibility.

And there's always a nice jackdaw population on Corfe Castle, which is one of the most attractive ruined castles in the UK, if you ask me, it's one of my favourite places. And jackdaws are quite smart, they can they can swindle people out of their sandwiches and scones while they're having a cream tea alongside Corfe Castle. So I would be a non-breeding Jackdaw on Corfe Castle. I’d try to avoid the peregrines. Wouldn't want to be eaten by one of those too quickly, of course!


Watch Springwatch on iPlayer and BBC Two from Monday 27 May.

Springwatch is back ­­– bigger and better than ever!

The main location for Springwatch 2024 is RSPB Arne in Dorset. We’ll be returning this spring to catch up on the stories and wildlife characters from Springwatch 2023 – one of the most dramatic seasons we’ve ever had. We’ll also be exploring key sites across the county of Dorset, discovering the varied landscapes and local wildlife that call it home. We’ll also be on a road-trip discovering all that the Isle of Bute, Loch Lomond and Glasgow has to offer.

Our mission, as always, is to inspire, engage and captivate our audience. Inviting them to immerse themselves in the best of this season’s wildlife, as it happens.

This year, BBC Springwatch returns to iPlayer and BBC Two from Monday 27 May for three weeks of live programmes. Our presenters will be the audience’s eyes and ears exploring our LIVE locations and witnessing dramas, as they happen.

We’ll be broadcasting live:

Mon 27 May – Weds 29 May (8pm) + Friday 31 May (7.30pm)
Mon 3 June – Thurs 6 June (8pm)
Mon 10 June – Thurs 13 June (8pm)

As always, the audience will be encouraged to join the conversation as we celebrate this season full of new life and hope. We’ll react to topics and questions from viewers as they come in – and nothing is off limits when it comes to discussing the wildlife we love.

With an overarching theme of ‘Little Things Make A Big Difference’, Springwatch explores the premise that even the smallest of actions to help our wildlife can have a massive impact when we act collectively.

We’ll have a whole new array of live nest-cameras rigged across our springtime location to bring a fresh cast of characters to a primetime audience. We’ll have a range of pre-recorded films, which have been capturing what’s been happening across the UK this year. And we’re not shying away from some of the hard-hitting truths and challenges affecting our wildlife.

This year, we’re revealing more behind the scenes of Springwatch so the viewers can have exclusive access into how the series is made and the care we take not to disturb our wildlife cast of characters.

Chris and Michaela will be stationed at the RSPB’s Arne reserve in Dorset.

RSPB Arne comes alive at this time of year with rare breeding birds, specialised heathland insects and all six of the UK’s native species of reptiles.

Set against the backdrop of Poole Harbour, RSPB Arne seems to have it all. Famous for its wide-open heathlands where reptiles roam, we’ll be exploring ancient oak woodlands, farmland and reedbeds. If that wasn’t enough, mudflats, scrub, wet woodland and acid grassland are just some of the habitats where the huge variety of wildlife which call Arne home can be found.

In spring, the vast heathland that characterises this area is warming up a range of rare, unusual and charismatic characters for the breeding season.

Iolo Williams will be exploring the bountiful wildlife that Dorset has to offer as he spreads his wings to meet some of its rarest residents. From rare Little Terns nesting on the vastness of Chesil Beach to Dormice snoozing in the tranquillity of Garston’s ancient woodland, the rich habitats of southern England have a wealth of wildlife stories to explore.

Over the course of the series, he’ll be meeting those people that have dedicated themselves to understanding and protecting these special species. At Portland Bird Observatory, he’ll be joining migration monitors that have been logging spring’s arrivals on the Dorset coast for over 60 years. He’ll be meeting experts unpicking the surprising urban life of Bournemouth’s Nightjars whilst, over the border in Hampshire, he’ll look at how the efforts by local farmers are trying to turn the tide for our fastest declining bird – the Turtle Dove.

Megan McCubbin is heading to Scotland. In the Firth of Clyde off the west coast of Scotland is the Isle of Bute. It is a small island but when it comes to wildlife it packs a punch and Megan is on a mission to see as much as she can for the first week of Springwatch. She will take a deep dive into the underwater habits of seals and watch the impressive hunting habits of Osprey that return each year to breed.

She will also team up with Glasgow University’s field research centre to uncover the life that calls Loch Lomond home. The freshwater is surrounded by temperate rainforest providing habitat for an array of species which are the subject of study for the team. For two nights Megan will uncover some of the science and get hands on with the wildlife that lives on the loch.

She’ll then head to Argaty Rewilding Estate in Perthshire and explore this family-owned rewilding estate revelling in red kites that call this working farm home and discover the difference beavers have made to the landscape. Megan will get hands on with the habitat, seeing all the signs of the ecosystem engineers, and if we’re lucky, see them for ourselves!

The final week of our Scottish Springwatch tour will take Megan to Glasgow. Here she’ll be uncovering and discovering the urban wildlife that can be found in one of Scotland’s most industrious cities. We will have cameras trained on peregrine falcons nesting in tower tops and the iconic water voles hidden away in the undergrowth, as well as featuring fascinating new science and research taking place in the heart of the city.

Source BBC iPlayer

May 23, 2024 2:00am ET by BBC iPlayer  


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