- 22 Minutes
|197B||01||A Night With The Owls.||19970525||`A Night with the Owls.' In the first of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway and naturalist Chris Sperring explore the fields and woods of Avon and Somerset, in search of one of Britain's most enigmatic creatures - the night owl.|
|197B||02||Rock Of Gibraltar.||19970601||`Rock of Gibraltar.' In the second of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway is introduced to the varied wildlife of this British outpost.|
Apes, bats, partridges and one of the rarest flowers in the world are amongst his discoveries.
|197B||03||The Secret Life Of The Rabbit||19970608||Lionel Kelleway, along with biologist Diana Bell, explores the intrigue, rivalry and strong matriarchal system which make up the complex society of the wild rabbit.|
|197B||04||The Wall||19970615||`The Wall'.|
In the fourth of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway travels back to the time of the Romans and explores the wildlife and history surrounding Hadrian's Wall.
|197B||05||Back To The Wildwood||19970622||In the fifth of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway is joined by Britain's leading woodland historian, Oliver Rackham, who reveals a relic of the ancient wildwood in the Suffolk countryside.|
|197B||06||The Little Gentlemen In Dinner Jackets.||19970629||`The Little Gentlemen in Dinner Jackets.' In the last programme of the series, Lionel Kelleway travels to one of the most remote parts of Britain to visit the nesting colonies of one of our most charismatic birds, the puffin.|
|197D||01||The Ravens Island||19971116||`The Ravens Island'.|
In the first of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway travels to Ramsey Island in Pembrokeshire to explore some of our most mystical and charismatic birds - including the chough and the raven.
|197D||02||19971123||In the second of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway visits the Rhinog Mountains in North Wales and discovers that the wild goats which live on the mountains' steepest crags have an intriguing history.|
|197D||03||19971130||In the third of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway travels to the Isles of Scilly to explore a unique grass - not only is it our only plant that flowers under the sea, but it is also home to hairy potatoes, strange starfish and a worm which catches its food with its feet.|
|197D||04||19971207||In the fourth of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway ventures out on a dark winter evening to enter the mysterious world of moths.|
|197D||05||19971214||In the fifth of six programmes, Lionel Kelleway looks at the special relationship between the eider duck and the mussel.|
|197D||06||19971221||In the last programme of the series, Lionel Kelleway discovers some interesting facts about the intimate family life of Britain's favourite bird, the robin.|
|198C||01||The Galapagos Islands||19980705||`The Galapagos Islands'.|
Lionel Kelleway explores some of the unique wildlife that shaped Darwin's ideas about natural selection.
|198C||02||The Giants Of Galapagos||19980712||`The Giants of Galapagos'.|
Lionel Kelleway sets out in search of the elusive giant tortoise in the dense forests of the Galapagos Islands.
|198C||03||The City In The Woods||19980719||`The City in the Woods'.|
Lionel Kelleway explores the mysterious world of one of our most remarkable and social creatures, the ant.
|198C||04||The Royal Garden||19980726||`The Royal Garden'.|
Lionel Kelleway gets a privileged glimpse behind the wall of Buckingham Palace Gardens, where he finds a 39-acre haven for London's native and visiting wildlife.
|199A||01||Yaffle And Drum||19990307||`Yaffle and Drum'.|
Lionel Kelleway heads to the woods to listen out for the yaffle and drums of Britain's three species of woodpecker as they carve out their territories in time for spring.
|199A||02||Lenten Lilies And Early Roses||19990314||`Lenten Lilies and Early Roses'.|
An old churchyard reveals the wild origins of daffodils and primulas that are beginning to brighten the early spring across the country.
|199A||03||March Madness||19990321||`March Madness'.|
Chris Skinner revels in the spectacle of the mad March hares as they herald the arrival of spring on his Norfolk farm, despite the damage they do to his crops.
|199A||04||Birds Of The Frisian Sands||19990328||`Birds of the Frisian Sands'.|
Lionel Kelleway marvels at the spectacle of thousands of birds are found in Texel, the most southerly of the Frisian Islands, off the Netherlands.
|199C||01||19990905||Lionel Kelleway has a rare encounter with one of the most beautiful yet elusive of British birds - the kingfisher.|
|199C||02||The Hunt For The Great Green Bush Cricket||19990912||`The Hunt for the Great Green Bush Cricket'.|
Lionel Kelleway eavesdrops on a summer chorus of crickets and grasshoppers along the Cornish coast.
|199C||03||Water Voles||19990919||`Water Voles'.|
Lionel Kelleway goes in search of the original Ratty of `Wind in the Willows'.
Now rarer than at any time this century, the water vole is confined to just a few parts of the British Isles.
|199C||04||19990926||Lionel Kelleway heads to the water to witness (-) and uncover the natural history of (-) the salmon.|
|199D||01||On The Trail Of The Fox||19991205||`On the Trail of the Fox'.|
Lionel Kelleway explores the life of the fox, the bane of farmers but for many a beautiful wild animal.
|199D||02||A Winter||19991212||`A Winter's Catch'.|
Lionel Kelleway visits Cardiff Bay as the area undergoes major redevelopment to find out how an ornithologist manages to catch birds in order to study and track their migratory behaviour and population numbers.
|199D||03||A Life Of Slime||19991219||Lionel Kelleway follows the trail of some of our least-loved but most fascinating creatures - slugs and snails.|
They may chew their way through herbaceous borders, but when they are not doing that, they are stabbing each other with love darts, mating in midair and even smelling of garlic.
|199D||04||The Wren Hunt||19991226||`The Wren Hunt'.|
Hunting for wrens once took place on St Stephen's Day as part of an ancient ceremony.
Lionel Kelleway goes on a wren hunt of his own to see these beautiful birds up close as they face the winter.
|200B||01||20000611||Lionel Kelleway discovers an oasis in the shadow of the M62, on the outskirts of Warrington, where he looks at black-necked grebes, black terns, black-headed gulls and warblers.|
|200B||02||The Island Of Steep Holm||20000618||`The Island of Steep Holm'.|
Lionel Kelleway explores this square mile of fascinating history and wildlife situated in the middle of the Bristol Channel.
The island boasts spectacles of natural beauty and intriguing residents, including the longest legless lizard this side of Hungary and cormorants recently rescued from the brink of extinction.
Lionel Kelleway explores the high-speed predatory world of our largest insects, searching the mud of the River Severn for nymphs and the banks for dragons and damsels.
|200B||04||20000702||Lionel Kelleway presents a feature on swifts, aka devil birds or screaming Jacks.|
Braving the top of one of Oxford's spires to enter their high-speed world, he describes how these summer visitors spend most of their lives in the air scooping up aerial plankton - and reveals that they can even sleep on the wing.
|201A||01||Lough Hyne||20010304||Lionel Kelleway visits Lough Hyne, a land-locked inlet which has become an important ecological site.|
With marine biologist Trevor Norton and biologist David Barnes, Kelleway explores its salt marshes, hidden depths, shallow rapids and rocky cliffs.
|201A||02||Dungarvan Bay||20010311||Lionel Kelleway joins the brent geese, godwits and plovers as they feast on the mudflats of Dungarvan Bay in Ireland, undeterred by gale-force winds and mist.|
|201A||03||Rock Of The Hooves||20010318||Lionel Kelleway visits one of the most important geological sites in the world and follows the footprints of a giant newt-like animal which was one of the first four-footed creatures to emerge from the sea on to land, 380 million years ago.|
|201A||04||The Irish Bog||20010325||Lionel Kelleway visits Clara peat bog in southern Ireland, in search of carnivorous plants, mosses, lichens and heathers.|
|201B||01||Skomer Island||20010617||Brett Westwood visits the largest of Pembrokeshire's islands, home to the world's biggest population of Manx shearwaters and a haven for wildlife.|
The first puffin chicks are hatching in their burrows, wild flowers carpet the cliffs and the unique bank voles are being kept under surveillance.
|201B||02||Ancient Woodlands And Ghost Hedgerows||20010624||Brett Westwood joins George Peterken in the Wye Valley to explore the woodlands and hedgerow plants that survive and thrive today and hold the secrets of an ancient landscape.|
|201B||03||The Hen Harrier||20010701||Brett Westwood travels to Wales in search of one of our most acrobatic, agile and spectacular raptors, in the company of ornithologist Iolo Williams.|
|201C||01||The Honey-buzzard||20010909||`The Honey-Buzzard'.|
Brett Westwood joins ornithologist Iolo Williams in search of one of Britain's rarest and most secretive birds.
Lionel Kelleway reveals that tranquil ponds are really battlefields, with border patrols and snipers ready to use stealth, camouflage and radar in the fight for survival.
Lionel Kelleway finds out about grasshoppers and crickets in a Hampshire meadow under the heat of the mid-day sun.
|201C||04||Bats||20010930||Lionel Kelleway spends a chilly summer night at a disused quarry near Bath, home to nine of the 16 species of British bat, to explore the curious phenomenon of `swarming'.|
|201D||01||Exe Is For Avocet||20011209||Lionel Kelleway visits the Exe estuary to see one of the country's largest populations of overwintering avocets.|
|201D||02||The Fox In Winter||20011216||`The Fox in Winter'.|
Lionel Kelleway goes into a city to catch a glimpse of urban foxes.
Brett Westwood explores the wildlife of Northumberland.
The eider duck was the world's first bird to be declared a protected species.
|202A||02||Urban Otters||20020310||`Urban Otters'.|
Brett Westwood joins naturalist Kevin O'Hara in a hide on the flight path from Newcastle Airport in the hope of glimpsing a family of otters.
|202A||03||Red Squirrels||20020317||`Red Squirrels'.|
Brett Westwood finds out how radical plans for forest management are helping to conserve the red squirrel population of Northumberland.
|202A||04||Kielder And The Canopy||20020324||`Kielder and the Canopy'.|
Brett Westwood travels to Kielder, Britain's largest forest, where at this time of year the canopy is alive with activity.
|202B||01||Yarner Wood||20020609||`Yarner Wood'.|
Lionel Kelleway and Phil Page take a walk through a wood on Dartmoor that was one of the first places in England to be declared a National Nature Reserve.
|202B||02||Courting Hedgehogs||20020616||Lionel Kelleway goes on a noctural search for courting hedgehogs along with expert Nigel Reeve and radio tracker Richard Young.|
|202B||03||Roseate Terns||20020623||`Roseate Terns'.|
Lionel Kelleway visits a tiny island off Northumberland to see one of the UK's rarest seabirds as they settle down to nest, having flown north from West Africa.
|202B||04||Blackbirds||20020630||With Lionel Kelleway.|
One of Britain's most beautiful and familiar garden songsters, the versatile and resourceful blackbird is also one of the most fascinating.
|202C||02||Buzzards||20020915||Lionel Kelleway explores Britain's flora and fauna.|
Once considered a rare bird, the common buzzard has undergone a remarkable resurgence in recent years.
|202C||03||Wild Harvest||20020922||Lionel Kelleway explores Britain's flora and fauna.|
3: `Wild Harvest'.
He roams the hedgerows and woodlands in search of brightly-coloured berries, drupes and pomes.
|204A||01||Snug As A Bug||20040307||How do insects survive the winter? Brett Westwood visits Chaddesley Woods in Worcestershire, where piles of dead vegetation provide a vital refuge.|
|204A||02||The Snowdrop||20040314||An emblem of the early year, wooded valleys are now carpeted with snowdrops.|
These delicate flowers, which are known by a variety of other names, including "snow piercers", are now naturalised in this country having escaped from gardens in the past.
Brett Westwood joins a "galanthophile" - a snowdrop lover, in one of the most densely snowdrop strewn valleys in the country to find out more about the natural history of this much loved and briefly flowering plant.
The Snowdrop An emblem of the early year, wooded valleys are now carpeted with snowdrops.
|204A||03||The Stirring Trees||20040321||Whilst the silhouettes of leafless trees are still etched starkly against the winter sky, new life is stirring deep inside.|
Cocooned within a variety of protective packages of scales and sticky resins, this year's leaves are waiting to unfurl.
Brett Westwood travels to a wood and arboretum in County Durham to discover what has kept the buds dormant through the winter chill and what's happening under the surface to allow the Spring's first welcome flush of green to appear.
|204A||04||A Spring Rockpool||20040328||Brett Westwood goes on a coastal ramble to find out how, among others, the shell-dwelling hermit crabs and seaweeds are coping with the ravages of the winter.|
|204B||01||Booming Bitterns||20040530||In the first of a new series, Brett Westwood ventures deep into a reedbed in Suffolk to hear the extraordinary call of one of Britain's rarest birds, the Bittern.|
This elusive bird, which can barely be spotted amongst the reeds, produces the lowest pitched, and most far carrying sound of any European bird.
|204B||02||Puffin Island||20040606||The word Lundy is Norse for Puffin, and Lundy Island, off the North Devon coast, is Britain's only marine nature reserve and can boast one of the biggest seabird colonies in the south of England.|
It is the fish-rich protected waters around the island that make Lundy's cliffs home to so many seabirds including puffins and manx shearwaters.
Brett Westwood joins the island's wardens as they survey the cliffs for signs of puffins.
Will some new couples have moved in to set up home and boost this year's numbers?
|204B||03||Eades Meadow||20040613||Hidden away on a small farm in Worcestershire is a jewel of a meadow almost untouched by time.|
With no ploughing or pesticides employed, it naturally produces an ever-shifting rainbow of colourful wildflowers from spring to autumn.
It was discovered just sixty years ago and is now a nature reserve.
Brett Westwood visits what is referred to as the finest hay meadow in the country and its beautiful display of green-veined orchids, a magnet for many insects.
|204B||04||Burrowing Bees||20040620||Beyond the humble honeybee, Britain has a large number of solitary bee species.|
Brett Westwood explores the short, lonely lives of these excellent pollinators.
|204C||01||The Bouncing Bog||20040815||Brett Westwood visits Chartley Moss in Staffordshire, one of the few examples in this country of a 'schwingmoor'.|
This unusual wetland area is a three metre raft of peat floating on an underground lake.
Apart from being a rare habitat it is also a 'life raft' for important communities of bog-dwelling plant and insect species, including the White-faced Darter dragonfly.
|204C||02||Nightjars||20040822||The heathland of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire is home to several pairs of nightjars.|
With the first National Nightjar Survey in 12 years underway, Brett Westwood ventures out at dusk to try and catch a glimpse of this nocturnal bird and hear the extraordinary sound of its call.
|204C||03||Woodland Butterflies||20040829||Brett Westwood goes down to the woods today on the flighty trail of butterflies.|
In the warm sun-drenched glades on the woodland rides, he finds clouds of Silver Wash Fritillaries and keeps an eye out in the treetops for the most regal of woodland butterflies, the Purple Emperor, and the smaller but just as beautiful Purple Hairstreak.
|204C||04 LAST||Hoverflies||20040905||As their names suggests, hoverflies are flies that hover - but there is more to these flies than meets the eye.|
Hoverfly larvae have evolved a variety of interesting feeding strategies and habitats to live in.
The adult flies, with their beautiful body patterns, are often mistaken for bees and wasps although they have no sting.
Brett Westwood joins a hoverfly expert in a flower-filled botanic garden to look for some of our most interesting species.
|204D||01||The Machair Of The Western Isles||20041031||Brett Westwood visits South Harris in the Western Isles to witness the magic of the Machair.|
Known only by its gaelic word these coastal grasslands, rich in brightly coloured wildflowers are one of the rarest habitats in Europe.
The calls of seabirds like lapwing, twite, and oystercatcher fill the air and the grasses are alive with insects including the buzzing of the very rare great yellow bumble bee.
The Machair of the Western Isles
|204D||02||The Cat Comes Back||20041107||It was once one of the rarest mammals in Britain, confined to a small enclave in the remote Welsh Hills, but nowadays as Brett Westwood finds out it could be on your doorstep.|
Polecats with their chocolate coloured fur and bandit masks have re-colonised large areas of lowland England where they've spread thanks to a decrease in persecution.
|204D||03||The Fungal Foray!||20041114||With this year's wet summer, the woods are alive with a huge variety of fungi.|
Brett Westwood visits the Wyre Forest, with trug in hand.
|204D||04||The Oak Tree Planters||20041121||Brett Westwood explores the life of the jay, watching them in a Worcestershire wood as they commute across a meadow to bury acorns.|
|205A||01||Old Red Sandstone||20050116||Chris Sperring is taken by geologist Brian Williams to visit one of his friends - a 400 million year old with a huge secret to divulge.|
|205A||02||Essex Geese||20050123||Peter France penetrates the wilderness of the Essex Marshes to find Brent Geese, one of our rare winter visitors.|
|205A||03||The Life Of Pine||20050130||Chris Sperring presents a winter feast of natural history treats, conifers and birds, from the Pinetum at Bedgebury.|
|205A||04 LAST||Mountain Hares||20050206||Sarah Pitt accompanies hare expert Derek Yalden into the heart of the Peak District to discover England's only population of these endearing creatures.|
|205B||01||Hibernating Peacocks||20050403||Lionel Kelleway visits a colony of hibernating peacock butterflies in disused war bunkers on the south coast of Devon.|
The creatures are just about to wake up.
|205B||01||The Mayfly And The Chalkstream||20050626||Lionel Kelleway and Mike Ladle wade amongst the shallows of a chalk stream in Dorset in search of the Mayfly.|
In late spring, the character of the river changes as Mayflies emerge, searching for a mate and a place to lay their eggs.
Their appearance triggers a feeding frenzy, as trout and other creatures feast on the clouds of insects above the clear, running water.
|205B||02||Hibernating Ladybirds||20050410||Lionel Kelleway searches for the seven-spot and other hibernating ladybirds in the Thetford Forest.|
|205B||02||Life In A Ditch||20050703||Continuing his exploration of some of Britain's watery landscapes, Lionel Kelleway travels to the Pevensey Levels in East Sussex in search of Britain's largest beetle, the Great Silver Water Beetle.|
This must surely be one of the most charismatic of ditch-loving insects, carrying its own supply of air in a silvery bubble under its body.
It can swim, dive, crawl and fly, and lays its eggs in a beautiful silver cocoon.
|205B||03||Peacock Butterflies||20050710||In a journey which takes them from a disused Second World War bunker to a nettle bed in Devon, Lionel Kelleway and Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation follow the trail of the Peacock Butterfly, from hibernating adults to nettle-munching caterpillars.|
They encounter a Bloxworth Snout, a butterfly that warns them off using sounds and colour and a tent spun out of silk, on the way.
|205B||03||Spring Bumblebees||20050417||Bumble bees are amongst the first to wake in the thin early spring sunshine.|
Lionel Kelleway looks at some of the more common species of bumblebee active at this time of year.
|205B||04||Spring Hawthorn||20050424||One of the great icons of spring is well underway, the Hawthorn in full flower.|
Lionel Kelleway visits a Lincolnshire woodland to discover the natural and cultural history of spring Hawthorn.
|205B||04||Water Shrews In Watercress||20050717||Lionel Kelleway's exploration of some of Britain's watery landscapes comes to an end in Hertfordshire, where he delves among the watercress beds in search of one of Britain's most elusive mammals, the Water Shrew.|
Despite being the largest of the British shrews, very little is known about their distribution, but - as Lionel discovers - a national survey involving plastic tubes and blowfly pupae is hoping to provide some answers.
|205C||01||The Strangford Shore||20050918||Lionel Kelleway meets up with marine naturalist Pat Boaden on the shores of Strangford Lough to encounter the riches of the British coast, including the unusually named Electric Bulb Sea Squirt.|
|205C||02||The Fulmars Of Eynhallow||20050925||Paul Thompson from the University of Aberdeen guides presenter Lionel Kelleway around the uninhabited island of Eynhallow in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.|
There, they meet its most serene wild resident, the fulmar.
|205C||03||The Stickleback||20051002||Lionel Kelleway goes in search of the ubiquitous stickleback in the clear waters of Llynfrongoch lake, West Wales.|
With the help of expert Iain Barber, Lionel peers into a world of sneaky males, zig zag dances and sex bombs.
|205C||04||Mitten Crabs||20051009||Lionel Kelleway visits the heart of London where thousands of invaders are taking over our shores - literally.|
He joins Chris Dutton from the Environment Agency on Chiswick Eyot, an island in the Thames, to discover how Chinese mitten crabs ended up in Britain and why they might be threatening our rivers.
|205D||01||Woodland Moths||20051211||Armed with a large lamp, paint brush, head torch and a pot of sweet, sticky syrup, Lionel Kelleway goes in search of woodland moths.|
Joining him on this unusual night safari in Hembury Woods in Devon, are Richard Fox and Mark Parsons from Butterfly Conservation.
Having painted a group of tree trunks with sticky syrup in the hope of attracting sweet-toothed moths, the three men then set up camp around their light trap, and await the arrival of the night visitors.
Whilst butterflies with their brightly coloured wings and dazzling patterns easily court our attention, their relatives, the moths, are often overlooked, but as Lionel discovers these fragile creatures have a beauty all of their own, as they flit back and forth in the flickering shadows of the light trap, before being released unharmed.
During the night vigil, Lionel learns from his companions how these fragile creatures survive the autumn climate, and why they are so important in the life and ecology of the woodland at this time of year - for example, by proving vital food for hungry bats!
In October and November, many moths, like the November moth, are coming to the end of their summer/autumn flight and laying eggs for the winter, but as the days grow shorter, the true winter species can be spotted, including the wingless oak moth.
|205D||02||Tree Roots||20051218||Lionel Kelleway enjoys a subterranean tour in Treborth Botanic Gardens in North Wales, where he encounters plant roots dating back some 300 million years.|
He discovers what gum trees and pink truffles have in common, tries a 'scratch'n'sniff' technique to identify roots, and discovers how the most important partner for many trees is not another tree - but a fungus.
|208A||01||In Search Of Dippers||20080224||Lionel Kelleway joins Steve Ormerod from Cardiff University on a riverbank in the heart of Wales.|
Steve has spent many years studying the behaviour and ecology of the dipper, the world's only truly aquatic passerine bird.
Late January is one of the best times of year to observe them.
Resident males sing vigorously as they form their breeding territories, attracting females and building new nests or repairing old ones.
|208A||02||Mud Matters||20080302||Lionel Kelleway explores the Wash, the largest expanse of mudflats in the UK.|
Stretching from Skegness to Hunstanton, the Wash is a mecca for over 300,000 wader birds every year.
Huge numbers of migrant birds such as grey plovers, dunlins, oystercatchers and godwits arrive in the autumn to feed on the rich supplies of food found in the sands and mudflats.
|208A||03||Netting At Snettisham||20080309||Lionel Kelleway presents a second programme from the Wash, the largest expanse of mudflats in the UK.|
He joins RSPB conservation officer Sarah Dawkins and other members of the Wash Wader Ringing Group as they set up cannon nets to catch waders.
The birds are ringed in order to track their subsequent migratory patterns and then released.
|208A||04||Rooks And A Winter Roost||20080316||Lionel Kelleway watches an extraordinary spectacle as tens of thousands of rooks gather together to roost for the night.|
Vast flocks of birds wheel in the air high above the trees before settling amongst the branches, constantly calling to one another as the light fades.
If you like gin, you should be interested in Junipers.
Its aromatic berries give gin its characteristic flavour; they are considered medicinal and are delicious in cooking.
And it lives in the UK.
Juniper is one of only three native British conifers, and one of the first to recolonise Britain after the ice age.
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Ministry of Defence civilian science centre, has about a fifth of the UK population of Juniper at its Porton Down site near Salisbury.
However, there's a problem.
The bushes here are either middle aged or close to the end of their lives, at over a hundred.
There are no youngsters as the seedlings get eaten by millions of rabbits which share the range.
As a result, the Juniper here could be extinct in 50 years.
Lionel Kelleway ventures out onto Porton Down to find out more.
He talks first to Lena Ward, who has studied them for 41 years, and then meets Carl Mayers, Dstl Project Leader.
Lena is clearly fascinated with Juniper and reveals that on Porton Down 19 species of invertebrates rely on it.
She explains that as a plant which prefers impoverished soils, it could thrive here.
But, because its seedlings are being mown down by rabbits and surrounded by other plants like Blackthorn, it's in trouble.
Which is where Carl Mayers comes in.
Carl explains how Dstl is working with Plantlife to collect berries, check seed fertility and process seeds.
The seeds are then sown on the Porton Down range and protected with special rabbit-proof cages to give them a head start.
If successful, this technique could secure the future not only of the Juniper on Porton Down but elsewhere in Britain.
I'll drink to that.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Tania Dorrity.
Lionel Kellaway asks why the junipers on Porton Down are under attack.
Lionel Kelleway teams up with The Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (ARC) Trust's Dorset Reserves community officer, Roland Griffin, on a quest to find Britain's rarest reptiles.
They've come to the right place.
Town Common, just north of Bournemouth, offers a wide variety of habitats and is home to all six of Britain's reptile species.
The forecast? Cloudy and cool with sunny intervals - ideal reptile finding weather.
To increase their chances further, pieces of corrugated iron sheet are deliberately placed around the common by ARC to help them with reptile surveys.
Snakes like to slither under the tins for shelter and warmth.
Within minutes, and to their utter delight, under the first tin they discover Britain's rarest snake, the Smooth Snake.
Permitted by ARC's special licence to handle reptiles, Lionel has the thrilling privilege of holding the slender brown snake which rests calmly in his hands.
Smooth Snakes have severely restricted distribution, being found only in coastal heathland.
This habitat is declining fast.
A few empty tins later, they uncover two slow worms, legless lizards which look like snakes.
Finally, as the sun emerges from behind the clouds at last, conditions become perfect for lizard spotting.
As Lionel and Roland wander along a sandy track, there under the heather at the side of the path, is a Sand Lizard, Britain's rarest lizard.
It's a beautiful male, resplendent in pea green breeding colours.
They get close enough to make out the speckles on its flanks before it slips away into the undergrowth.
Sand Lizards are enjoying something of a resurgence as captive breeding and release programmes boost their numbers.
It's not often you'll get to encounter both of Britain's rarest reptiles in one morning and Lionel and Roland are elated.
Produced by Tania Dorrity.
Lionel Kellaway gets close to a smooth snake and sand lizard, our rarest reptiles.
|210B||03||20100606||Lionel Kelleway ventures onto the beach at Haverigg, Cumbria, to get up close and personal with Natterjack Toads.|
Half of the UK population live here.
The natterjack toad is not only the noisiest amphibian in Cumbria, but its rarest too.
Alarmingly, populations of this charismatic pioneer species have declined by an estimated 70 to 80 per cent within the last 100 years.
Each Spring their future is in the balance because they rely entirely on the short-lived rain-water pools for mating, spawning and tadpole nurseries.
They can, and do, dry out with the first warm spell.
It's a race against time.
William Shaw, Cumbria Conservation Officer with the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC), is their guardian.
William and his army of volunteers do their best to ensure the pools persist for long enough to allow as many toads as possible to reproduce.
ARC Trust's three year project aims to reverse their decline in Cumbria.
A case of helping to secure the stronghold.
On the night of the recording, Lionel joins Bill on the dunes at sunset.
As the sun dips below the horizon, they catch the first calls on the breeze.
The natterjacks are emerging from their burrows to sing their deafening lovesongs.
Picking their way by torch-light, Lionel and Bill discover toads massing in the pools, on the sand and in the grass.
Toad-on-the-sole is something to avoid; Bill confesses that this was his first mortifying experience with a Natterjack many years ago.
The Natterjack toad is much smaller than the common toad with a bold yellow stripe down its back.
They switch their torches off.
Soon a ratchet sound starts up cranking up to the full-on mating call.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Tania Dorrity.
Lionel Kellaway encounters the loudest amphibian in Europe, the natterjack toad.
Lionel Kelleway accompanies naturalist, artist and author John Walters in a quest through the oak woodland of the Dart Valley to find early migrant birds.
They've just flown in from Africa and waste no time before getting down to the business of Spring.
The males arrive first and advertise their chosen nest sites to the females, each with a different song and display.
To the accompaniment of its calls, John evokes the images of the Wood Warbler males flitting, butterfly-like over a likely nest area to entice a female.
Then they tune in to Redstart males calling, fanning their red tails in display.
Used only once a year, they dance in and out of their nest holes, flipping around and singing from within, just the white flash on their foreheads showing.
Finally the male Pied Flycatcher puts in an appearance, flitting around its hollow tree trunk nest hole, showing off the white bars on its wings.
It sings from its hole with the white spots above its bill conspicuous in the dark hole.
On this warm Spring morning, Lionel and John are clearly delighted by all three birds performances.
A rarely heard wildlife audio spectacle, not to be missed.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Tania Dorrity.
Lionel Kellaway witnesses the performance of early migrant birds on Dartmoor.
|210B||05||Nest Finder Of Dartmoor||20100815||If you're out walking on Dartmoor and see a hump of camouflage netting with binoculars poking out, don't be alarmed.|
It's likely to be Mark Lawrence at work.
Thousands of birds make their nests amongst the bracken and gorse of dartmoor, tucked into hollows low in the brush.
Finding them is Mark's passion.
But they are totally hidden, so how does he do it? Lionel Kelleway asked the same question and goes on a nest-finding expedition with Mark to watch him in action.
It turns out that it's all about observation.
Picking up clues which signal where the nests are: clues from the behaviour of the parent birds.
In just one morning Mark and Lionel find Pippits' nests, two of which have been taken over by enormous cuckoo chicks; a whinchat brood just hatched and finally a rare and precious family of young Grasshopper Warbler chicks.
So why does Mark do it? Listen now to find out.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Tania Dorrity.
Lionel Kelleway and Mark Lawrence hunt for birds' nests hidden on Dartmoor.
|210B||06||Beavering||20100822||In this touching encounter, a young beaver swims within touching distance of Lionel Kelleway and his host Sir John Lister-Kaye.|
So what are they doing in a Scottish Loch? Hunted for their fur and meat over 400 years ago, the beaver was quickly made extinct.
Now various pilot projects have been set up to explore the possibility of a return of beavers to Britain.
Sir John Lister-Kaye brought beavers to his Field Centre at Aigas from Bavaria four years ago.
They instantly settled into their new home by ignoring the lodge thoughtfully provided and building their own.
They haven't looked back as shown by the kits they have had every year ever since.
In this delightful programme Lionel and John spend an evening watching the beavers do what beavers do.
Including spotting of one of the new baby kits, emerging from the lodge for the very first time.
As if that isn't exciting enough, one of last years kits swims to within 5 meters of the hide, oblivious to everything but the task in hand: folding up dinner-sized plates of waterlillies and shoving them into his jaws as quickly as possible - with the odd flower on the side.
Cleary moved by such a close encounter, Lionel and John evoke the magic of the evening on the loch with their animated and engaging musings on the second largest rodent in the world.
Lionel Kelleway has a very close encounter with a mammal extinct in Britain for 400 years.
|210B||07||Harbour Seals||20100829||It's usually very difficult to get close to or even see Harbour or Common seals, but there is one place in Scotland where they haul out and have their pups on a sandbank just 80 meters from the shore.|
Lionel Kelleway visits this magical spot in Loch Fleet to enjoy the rare wildlife spectacle of hundreds of mother seals perched in their characteristic banana pose, suckling and caring for their pups.
The person who knows most about the seals is phD student Line Cordes who has been watching them intensively during the breeding season for the last four years.
She has taken photographs of every seal in the area and from the patterns on their faces can now identify every seal on sight.
From this study she is building a detailed picture of each seal's breeding behaviour and movements.
This is giving a unique insight into the lives of Harbour Seals which have rarely been studied this intensively.
She and Professor Paul Thompson, both from the School of Biological Sciences in Aberdeen, hope that their findings will help inform management strategies for the species.
Lionel Kelleway gets a lesson in Harbour seal identification and is clearly delighted with his close encounter.
Lionel Kelleway enjoys the rare spectacle of harbour seals pupping in Loch Fleet Scotland.
|210B||08||Peat Bog Gremlins||20100905||Lionel Kelleway heads up to Scotlands RSPB Forsinard Reserve to explore the extraordinary and fascinating world of carnivorous plants.|
Norrie Russell, RSPB Forsinard's Head Warden, joins him to reveal the bizarre strategies which carnivorous plants deploy to secure a meal.
The Sundews - of which there are hundreds of thousands scattered amongst the bracken and gorse, use glistening sticky globules of moisture to attrack insects; The Butterworts exude a buttery slime on their slidey leaves from which there is no escape and the aquatic bladderworts suck their prey into a vacuum trap triggered by the slightest touch.
Once in contact with a Peat Bog Gremlin, there is no escape.
There is a war of stealth raging in the undergrowth of the peat bog.
Gremlins lie in wait.
|210B||09||The Potter Wasp||20101107||Surprisingly, the British Isles are home to 6500 species of wasp and bees.|
But only one species, living on southern heathlands, can build a delicate clay pot no bigger than a pea: the potter wasp.
This clay pot is made in just a few hours by the female before she lays an egg and seals it before winter sets in.
In late spring the larval wasp emerges to begin the cycle again.
Today very little is known about this wasp in Britain, though increasingly it is being noticed and studied along English southern counties.
Lionel Kelleway travels to Devon where he meets an ecologist who spent 4 years before he finally became one of only a handful of people who have ever seen a wasp build its pot in Britain.
So much more is yet to be discovered about the life cycle of this fascinating solitary wasp amongst the British countryside.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Andrew Dawes.
Of the 6500 wasp and bee species in the UK, only one can make a clay pot: the potter wasp.
|210B||10||Native Hedgerows||20101114||Hedgerows are a unique part of the British landscape, and many in Devon are medieval in origin, some even going back as far as the Bronze Age in origin.|
On a farm in mid Devon, Rob Wolton a hedgerow ecologist continues the management of his hedges in the traditional way.
As a result his hedges are home to a surprising number of dormice.
In this programme Lionel Kelleway delights in the abundance of many native hedgerow species which he encounters along the field edges, sampling some of the fruits of autumn along the way.
While walking this allows for the long held theory that a hedge can be aged by the number of individual species in it to be dispelled.
Over centuries, many animal species have become adapted to this unique man made landscape, which itself has provided a safe wildlife corridor for those whom it shelters.
And of course dotted along the hedgerows is another important wildlife habitat, hedgerow trees, which themselves can increase biodiversity of species by up to 60%.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Andrew Dawes.
Lionel Kelleway heads into Devon to explore the delights of an autumnal hedgerow.
Many people think it's just birds that migrate to and from the British Isles.
In this Living World, Lionel Kelleway travels down to Church Cove on the Lizard peninsula where he meets moth specialist Mark Tunmore.
Sitting with their backs against a stone wall of the old lifeboat station on a warm autumnal evening overlooking the sea, Mark discusses with Lionel why and how moths migrate from not only the near continent, but as far away as Africa.
With a low pressure system promising an influx of migrant moths, Mark and Lionel set up 6 moth traps around the Cove, and as dusk gathers pace, the lights of the traps begin to glow ever brighter.
What will make landfall tonight? All will be revealed at the dead of night.
In the morning will the number of moths change significantly? Only by opening the moth traps will they know the true picture of our migrating moths.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Andrew Dawes.
At a moth trap on the Lizard in Cornwall, migrating moths from the continent make landfall
Many people are unaware of the importance the British Isles plays in the survival of Ancient Trees.
We all look at these venerable old trees in parkland but do we ever think that they should actually be viewed as the Old Masters of the British countryside?
In this week's Living World, Lionel Kelleway travels to the Croft Abbey estate in Herefordshire.
Here, inside the hollow belly of a 700 year old oak, Lionel meets Brian Muelaner an Ancient Tree advisor with the National Trust, and Professor of mycology Lynne Boddy.
Apart from the inherent beauty an individual tree has in a parkland landscape, as a group, Ancient Trees are vital to the survival of many fungi in the landscape.
And without fungi, the trees would be unable to survive at all.
With a changing climate, can this symbiotic relationship have a future? Or are we seeing the last of these trees forever.
Croft Abbey estate is remarkable because of its continuity of ownership over many generations by the same family who, like us, valued their ancient trees for aesthetic, not commercial, value.
Hidden away in a corner of the parkland is Britain's oldest sessile oak, gnarled and twisted by age, but at over 1000 years old it could live for many centuries to come.
Nearby an avenue of sweet chestnuts, planted from seeds washed up after the Spanish Armada failed in its mission, majestically recreate the Spanish fleets formation at sea on the hill.
In the glinting sunlight of a late autumnal day one final surprise awaits Lionel as he encounters an ancient hawthorn orchard, Why was it planted and for what purpose? No one seems to know, but at 200 years old, these mystical looking trees are indeed unique in Europe.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Andrew Dawes.
Lionel Kelleway travels to Herefordshire to marvel at Britain's ancient trees,.
|210B||13||Winter Ravens||20101205||The raven is both agile and majestic in flight but shrouded in mystery, superstition and folk law.|
How was it that our biggest member of the crow family, a bird once protected as an important scavenger in ancient times, was then persecuted almost to extinction in the British Isles, with less that 1000 pairs clinging onto a precarious future in few remote hills in upland Britain?
In this week's Living World, Lionel Kelleway travels to a remote part of Shropshire where thankfully the raven is making a remarkable comeback.
Here on the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve he meets up with Leo Smith and Tom Wall from the Shropshire Raven Study Group, a group who have been studying these magnificent birds for nearly 20 years, and who have recorded the changes in the fortunes for these huge members of the crow family.
As they walk to an old raven nest in wet woodland, Lionel encounters many ravens on the wing.
A raven's nest is easy to spot by its size, similar to that of an eagle, beautifully illustrating how easy it was to persecute these birds in the past.
But the tide has turned and now Shropshire is home to a remarkable wildlife spectacle, a raven roost.
Travelling to a private mixed woodland Lionel is chorused by over 60 ravens wheeling and displaying in the gathering dusk.
Remarkably even in early November, the spectacular barrel rolls and shadow flight ravens are noted for when pairing up, is taking place.
Nature on the wing at its very best.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Andrew Dawes.
Shropshire's ravens are recovering from persecution, and returning in ever greater numbers
|210B||14||First Flight||20110130||Lionel Kelleway joins Brian Morrell from WWT Caerlaverock well before dawn with only the moonlight to guide them across the flat featureless and frost covered landscape f the Solway Firth.|
Gradually as a ribbon of light emerges across the Lakeland landscape in the east, feint sounds of geese can be heard drifting on the breeze from somewhere across the mudflat roosting grounds.
Increasing light allows eyes to become accustomed to small shadowy skeins of birds drifting to and fro over the mud.
As the light intensifies, goose chatter begins, increasing in volume as more and more barnacle geese awake.
As if choreographed by an unseen hand, a huge cloud of geese simultaneously rise from the salt marsh and fill the air as if a single organism, flying across the merse towards Lionel and Brian.
Being out there in the wide expanse of an estuary with thousands upon thousands of geese flying overhead in the half light of an early dawn, is a wildlife spectacle rarely encountered in Britain, but one which will stick in the memory for a very long time.
Before dawn, Lionel Kelleway awaits the arrival of barnacle geese on the Solway coast.
|210B||15||Arctic Charr||20110206||On a cold but perfect winters day Lionel Kelleway travels to Lake Windermere in the Lake District where he meets Ian Winfield from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, who is the current maintainer of a long term research project into one of our rarest fish, the Arctic charr.|
This research project began in the early 1930's when charr numbers were much higher, and has been maintained every year since.
In doing so this study provides a unique and extremely valuable continuum of data into this pioneering fish of the Ice Age.
And with the advent of global warming studies, this long term study of both fish numbers and water quality is providing valuable evidence of lake waters warming.
Here in the Lake District the Arctic charr is at the southern end of its range, being a species more likely to be found, as its name suggests, in the cold Arctic seas further north.
It arrived here at the end of the last Ice Age as a pioneer species colonising lakes and rivers as the ice retreated.
Although once abundant, today numbers are greatly reduced as witnessed by Lionel as he ventures onto the lake in a research vessel where only one Arctic charr is found on this trip.
So what of the future, is the Arctic charr destined to become extinct in Britain? Or will the continuity of research on England's largest lake, will help scientists preserve this species for the future.
On England's largest lake, Lionel Kelleway encounters a very rare fish, the Arctic charr.
All yew trees are steeped in remarkable natural history.
For this Living World, Lionel Kelleway visits two very different yew trees in Scotland.
The Fortingall Yew is possibly the oldest living thing in Europe - it's estimated to be at least 5000 years old.
Lionel Kelleway meets Mike Strachan of the Forestry Commission by the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire, Scotland, and discovers that though the tree has fragmented over the centuries it is - remarkably - still going strong.
Scientist and broadcaster Aubrey Manning has a Great Yew tree in his garden in East Lothian.
In comparison with the Fortingall Yew, the Ormiston Yew is intact making it, in many ways, far more impressive to visit than the Fortingall Yew.
Though it looks like a 'green mound' from the outside, Lionel and Aubrey venture inside the tree and are filled with wonder at what they find.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Polly Procter.
Lionel Kelleway travels to Scotland to wonder at two very different yew trees.
The high plateaus of the Scottish highlands are mainland Britain's piece of Arctic tundra, especially the high slopes of the Cairngorm mountain range.
Here, on the "roof of Scotland" the vegetation of the heathland changes from one which is good for grouse to another that best suits the Arctic grouse, Ptarmigan.
In winter this hardy bird acquires white plumage and nothing short of a set of snow boots!
Lionel Kelleway joins Cairngorm Mountain Head Ranger Nic Bullivant on the snow fields of Caringorm looking for the Ptarmigan in their harsh and open mountain-scape.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Polly Procter.
The Living World treks up the slopes of the Cairngorm mountains to find Ptarmigan.
|210B||18 LAST||The Brown Hare||20110227||We all know about the myth of the Mad March Hare, but what is the background to it? Is there any biological reason for the name? Lionel Kelleway meets Gill Turner, who has observed the behaviour of brown hares for the last 15 years to explore this question.|
Together, they marvel at the antics of the brown hare - one of the first signs of Spring - on a very special farm in Hertfordshire.
Presented by Lionel Kelleway
Produced by Polly Procter.
|05 LAST||The Duck Pond||20080330||Lionel Kelleway joins Ciaran Nelson at the RSPB Reserve at Snettisham in Norfolk.|
Sat in a hide overlooking a lagoon at the reserve, they compare notes on ducks, discussing how different species have adapted to their way of life, why some migrate and how habits and behaviour differentiate one duck species from another.
|Animals In Action||19671022||four ethologists, who study the science of animal behaviour, interviewed on the fruits of their research.|
Interviewer: John Sparks (who also produced the programme).
at the 10th International Ethological Conference held in Stockholm in September 1967.
22 Oct 1967 00:00-00:00 (RADIO 4)
John Sparks (int)
William Russell (Speaker)
Peter Marler (Speaker)
Klaus Immelmann (Speaker)
Kenneth Roeder (Speaker)
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Safari||19671217||Next in series: 10 March 1968|
Previous in series: ANIMALS IN ACTION
SBH:Tourists' impressions of East African nature reserves.
From Safari, a programme in the above series
17 Dec 1967 00:00-00:00 (RADIO 4)
Tim Matthews (Speaker)
John Owen (Speaker)
Notes: CAIRS 291608.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 28 April 1990||19900428||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: RIVER RIBBLE
Previous in series: 28 May 1989
28 Apr 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-04-25.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: River Ribble||19900429||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: SLAPTON LEY
Previous in series: 28 April 1990
29 Apr 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-04-25.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Slapton Ley||19900505||Producer: RUTHVEN, J|
Next in series: SLAPTON LEY
Previous in series: RIVER RIBBLE
05 May 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-02.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Slapton Ley||19900506||Producer: RUTHVEN, J|
Next in series: DUNGENESS - LONG
Previous in series: SLAPTON LEY
06 May 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-02.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Dungeness||19900512||- LONG|
Producer: HOLMES, J
Next in series: 19 May 1990
Previous in series: SLAPTON LEY
SBH:Peter France explores the bleak spit of land on the S.E.
coast with botanists & bird wardens.
A programme in the series The Living World.
12 May 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
John Holmes (Producer)
Peter France (Speaker)
David Walker (Speaker)
David Harper (Speaker)
Peter Makepeace (Speaker)
Erica Towner (Speaker)
Colonel Lumbers (Speaker)
Notes: CAIRS 503109.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Dungeness||19900513||Producer: HOLMES, J|
Next in series: 26 May 1990
13 May 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-10.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 19900519||19900519||19 May 1990|
Producer: HARRISON, J
Next in series: 20 May 1990
Previous in series: DUNGENESS - LONG
19 May 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-15.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 19900520||19900520||20 May 1990|
Producer: HARRISON, J
Next in series: 26 May 1990
Previous in series: 19 May 1990
20 May 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-15.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 19900526||19900526||26 May 1990|
Producer: RUTHVEN, J
Next in series: LOUGH ERNE
Previous in series: DUNGENESS
26 May 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-24.
Next in series: THE GOLDEN EAGLE
Previous in series: 20 May 1990
SBH:The LIVING WORLD - A nature trek round the islands of Lough Erne, Northern Ireland with Shane Wolsey.
of rowing boat creaking & cutting water
oars cutting water, birdsong & quiet voices (0'17").
Discussion of British birds not found in Ireland.
Pignut found - carrot family - may be origin of 'gathering nuts in May'.
Irish hare spotted - different from English one.
Curlews spotted & egg shell examined.
12'28" in - act.
gulls & boat (0'31").
Gulls nesting in huge numbers.
16'09" in - act.
oars cutting water (0'09").
Fish in lough.
19'09" in - act.
outboard motor (0'07").
Wood sorrel found - some claim it is shamrock.
There is no such thing as shamrock.
24'07" in - act.
oars cutting water & rowlocks creaking (0'22").
26 May 1990 00:00-00:00 (RADIO 4)
Joe Mcgee (Speaker)
Dave Allen (ornithologist (spkr)) (Speaker)
Shane Wolsey (Speaker)
David Irwin (Naturalist (spkr)) (Speaker)
Notes: CAIRS 201302.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Lough Erne||19900527||Producer: KEELING, F|
Next in series: 10 August 1991
Previous in series: 26 May 1990
27 May 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-24.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: The Golden Eagle||19900602||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: THE GOLDEN EAGLE
Previous in series: 26 May 1990
02 Jun 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-31.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: The Golden Eagle||19900603||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: NEWMARKET HEATH
Previous in series: THE GOLDEN EAGLE
03 Jun 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-05-31.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Newmarket Heath||19900811||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: NEWMARKET
Previous in series: THE GOLDEN EAGLE
11 Aug 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-09.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Newmarket||19900812||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: MOTH TRAPPING
Previous in series: NEWMARKET HEATH
12 Aug 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-09.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Moth Trapping||19900818||Producer: HOLMES, J|
Next in series: 19 August 1990
Previous in series: NEWMARKET
18 Aug 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-15.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 19 August 1990||19900819||Producer: HOLMES, J|
Next in series: ALLOTMENT
Previous in series: MOTH TRAPPING
19 Aug 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-15.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Allotment||19900825||Producer: BARTON, M|
Next in series: 26 August 1990
Previous in series: 19 August 1990
25 Aug 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-23.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 26 August 1990||19900826||Producer: BARTON, M|
Next in series: WALKING ON WATER
Previous in series: ALLOTMENT
26 Aug 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-23.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Walking On Water||19900901||Producer: RUTHVEN, J|
Next in series: 02 September 1990
Previous in series: 26 August 1990
01 Sep 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-30.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 02 September 1990||19900902||Producer: RUTHVEN, J|
Next in series: LOCH DUICH
Previous in series: WALKING ON WATER
02 Sep 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-08-30.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Loch Duich||19900908||Producer: BARTON, M|
Next in series: 09 September 1990
Previous in series: 02 September 1990
08 Sep 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-06.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 09 September 1990||19900909||Producer: BARTON, M|
Next in series: GOLF COURSES
Previous in series: LOCH DUICH
09 Sep 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-06.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Golf Courses||19900915||Producer: BARTON, M|
Next in series: GOLF
Previous in series: 09 September 1990
15 Sep 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-13.
|Golf||19900916||Producer: BARTON, M|
Next in series: RIVER ORWEL ESTUARY
Previous in series: GOLF COURSES
16 Sep 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-13.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: River Orwel Estuary||19900922||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: RIVER ORWEL
Previous in series: GOLF
22 Sep 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-20.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: River Orwel||19900923||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: 29 September 1990
Previous in series: RIVER ORWEL ESTUARY
23 Sep 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-20.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 29 September 1990||19900929||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: 30 September 1990
Previous in series: RIVER ORWEL
29 Sep 1990 16:02-16:30 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-27.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: 30 September 1990||19900930||Producer: HARRISON, J|
Next in series: APRIL IN ORKNEY
Previous in series: 29 September 1990
30 Sep 1990 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1990-09-27.
|Programme Catalogue - Details: Life Amongst The Launchpads||19960218||Producer: S.ROBERTS|
Next in series: BEES
Previous in series: 10 December 1995
18 Feb 1996 07:15-07:40 (RADIO 4)
03 Sep 1997 20:35-21:00 (RADIO 4)
Recorded on 1996-02-14.
|Life Among The Launch Pads||19970903||`Life among the Launch Pads'.|
As the space shuttle Endeavour sits on pad 39B awaiting its next launch, Lionel Kelleway explores the extraordinary wildlife at the Kennedy Space Centre, which is situated in the heart of one of America's richest wildlife reserves.
|The Swallow||19981004||`The Swallow's Tail'.|
The arrival of autumn is marked by the gathering of swallows in readiness for their long flight south.
Lionel Kelleway finds out more about these birds which have lived alongside man for thousands of years, and visits the south coast to bid them farewell until next year.
|Sailing The Biscay||19981011||`Sailing the Biscay'.|
Lionel Kelleway joins the Bay of Biscay dolphin research project, whose aim is to prove that this rich habitat needs special scientific study and protection.
|Time For Bed||19981018||`Time for Bed'.|
Lionel Kelleway goes down to the woods in search of mice to find out how they prepare for their long winter hibernation.
|Strange Fruits||19981025||As autumn mists seep through the woods, ink caps, puffballs, parasols and ceps slowly appear like alien creatures on the forest floor.|
Lionel Kelleway explores the rotten world of fungi and discovers some of the strangest life forms on earth.
|The Pied Flycatcher||19990606||`The Pied Flycatcher'.|
From the Sahara to Swansea to catch flies in a Welsh woodland: a flycatcher in the hand, and a close-up look at these charming little birds.
|Catching Crabs||19990613||`Catching Crabs'.|
Lionel Kelleway and naturalists throw caution to the wind as they wade into the rock pools off the west coast of Scotland in search of crabs, including timid hermit crabs, spider crabs and tiny pea crabs.
|Bats Along The River Bank||19990620||`Bats along the River Bank'.|
Lionel Kelleway joins naturalist Phil Richardson for a night of bat magic on the river bank.
|The Stag Beetle Hunt||19990627||`The Stag Beetle Hunt'.|
Lionel Kelleway visits the New Forest in search of Britain's largest beetle.
Armed with a huge pair of antlers, the stag beetle is a magnificent insect which takes to the air at this time of year in search of a mate.
|The Wader With The Crest||20000305||`The Wader with the Crest'.|
Lionel Kelleway discovers why lapwings - our only crested wader - are disappearing from the British countryside and what plans are in store to conserve it.
Lionel Kelleway visits a large rookery to find out how the new season is progressing in all its hustle and bustle.
Lionel Kelleway visits wildlife film-makers John and Mary-Lou Aitchison live on the west coast of Scotland and sees some of their neighbours - otters, seals and geese - as winter ends.
|Toads||20000326||Lionel Kelleway explores the natural history of the toad.|
|The Ways Of The Wasp||20000910||`The Ways of the Wasp'.|
Lionel Kelleway discovers that far from being picnic spoilers, wasps are in reality fast and efficient garden predators with a complex social life.
And their construction skills are second to none.
|Jellyfish||20000917||Lionel Kelleway heads out to sea in search of jellyfish in the hope of learning more about their wild, wet lifestyle.|
|Moths||20000924||Lionel Kelleway visits a Cornish wood to find out about the complex life cycles of moths.|
|Long Noses And Short Lives||20001001||Lionel Kelleway explores the world of our smallest animals, the fast-living, fast-feeding and venomous shrews.|
Rarely seen - unless brought in by the cat - their short lives are action-packed and full of surprises.
|Morning Glory||20001210||Lionel Kelleway joins Jonathan Scott on the banks of the Mara River, which runs through the Masai Mara, to celebrate sunrise, when the nocturnal sounds of cicadas, bats and frogs fade into a chorus of mammals and birds.|
|Hyena Concert Hall||20001217||In a second programme from the Masai Mara, Jonathan Scott takes Lionel Kelleway to a `hyena concert hall' to hear the sounds of the approaching night.|
As the birds return to their roosts and bats take to the wing, the stealthy nightlife of the bush makes itself heard.
|Ham Walls||20001224||Lionel Kelleway talks to Sally Mills, who has guided the transformation of a former peat-extraction site into a glorious wildlife haven which now plays host to one of the greatest bird spectacles in Britain.|
|Crayfish||20001231||Lionel Kelleway digs up an ancient creature: to many, it may be just a river bug, but to those who know the crayfish, it is one of the most superbly designed creatures in existence.|
|Litter Bugs||20011230||`Litter Bugs'.|
Lionel Kelleway visits a Welsh beechwood to look at the cycle of decay and renewal that is busily taking place beneath the decomposing leaves.
|20021208||Lionel Kelleway joins naturalist Roy Dennis in one of Scotland's few remaining areas of Caledonian pine forest.|
Centuries ago, the woods were home to wolves, lynx and wild cattle.
|20021215||Lionel Kelleway joins naturalist Jim Crumley on a wintry morning at Insh Marshes, near Aviemore.|
Patience and cunning are needed to get close to Whooper Swans and greylag geese.
|Croak!||20030323||For many people with a pond in their back garden, frogs are regular annual visitors.|
They return to breeding ponds year after year, to find a mate and spawn.
Lionel Kelleway learns more about the common frog, and how the common garden pond may have ensured their survival.
|Herons||20030330||Lionel Kelleway visits the largest heronry in England at the Northward Hill RSPB reserve in Kent.|
|The Search For The Rarest Mammal In Britain||20030608||Brett Westwood visits Sussex to look for what is probably Britain's last surviving greater mouse-eared bat.|
|Stone Curlew||20030615||On a warm spring evening, Brett Westwood heads off at dusk to hear the haunting song of the stone curlew.|
Populations of these distinctive birds are once again on the rise, and they have even managed to exceed the targets of their own biodiversity action plan.
Brett meets the RSPB wardens working with stone curlews to find out exactly what went right.
|Sand Lizards And The Bootle Organ||20030622||Brett Westwood visits Lancashire's Sefton Coast in search of Britain's rarest reptile and amphibian, the sand lizard and the natterjack toad.|
|The Woodman's Follower||20030629||The fate of Britain's brightest and most endangered butterflies lies in the few places where the ancient woodland practice of coppicing survives.|
Brett Westwood goes to a coppiced woodland in Wiltshire with Martin Warren from Butterfly Conservation, to get a glimpse of these beautiful insects and to find out how changing how you barbecue could help protect these jewels of the woodland.
|Red Kites||20030914||Once a common sight in Britain, these spectacular birds were recently on the verge of extinction.|
A reintroduction programme, however, has seen their numbers recover.
|Ladybirds Behaving Badly||20030921||Everybody loves ladybirds.|
After all, they are the gardener's friend and children's favourite.
Who would guess, then, that some of these innocent-looking insects are cannibals whilst others are riddled with sexually transmitted diseases? Lionel Kelleway joins Mike Majerus to uncover the seedier side of ladybirds' lives.
|Purple Haze||20030928||Moorlands can be bleak places, but at this time of year they become a purple haze of blooming heather.|
Lionel Kelleway and botanist Ray Woods look at three common varieties.
|The Seven Month Sleeper||20031005||Lionel Kelleway joins Michael Woods in the search for dormice as these appealing creatures prepare for their long hibernation.|
|Coming Home||20031109||A Living World Migration Special: Live from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Welney, Brett Westwood welcomes the Whooper and Bewick's swans as they arrive from the Arctic.|
|Ducks, Decoys, Dave And The Dog||20031221||Dave Paynter is Reserve Manager at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.|
He has a decoy dog - a specially trained dog used to lure mallard ducks up the duck decoy that still exists at Slimbridge.
The decoy is a small pool with ""pipes"" off it - netted tunnels up which ducks are encouraged to go.
The decoy was built in the mid 1800s and its purpose was to catch ducks for the table at Berkeley Castle.
Nowadays it's used by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust just to catch ducks to monitor their numbers, and to read or attach rings.
While you might think ducks have to be driven up a decoy, it might surprise people to learn that when ducks and geese are on water they will follow some mammals that appear on land - including dogs.
It's thought to be due to mobbing behaviour where ducks will congregate and move towards the mammal or predator as a way of seeing them off.
Brett Westwood joins Dave and his dog to see the decoy in operation.
|A Place Among Stones||20031228||On the first Sunday of Christmas, Brett Westwood is in lichen heaven.|
With limited outcrops of rock to be found in lowland England, the ancient tombstones of churchyards are one of the most important places available for lichens to set up home and remain undisturbed.
|Portland Bill - Where The Wind Blows||20040104||A snout of limestone on the end of the isle of Portland, Portland Bill juts out into the English Channel.|
One of Britain's sixteen bird observatories, the bird observatory here is based at the Lower Light House and this spot is a very important avian crossroads.
A variety of seabirds pass parallel to the coast and also migrating north and south, in and out of the country from this point in spring and autumn are the smaller birds.
Brett Westwood joins the warden, Martin Cade, at the tail-end of the year to catch a glimpse of the final travellers from this autumnal departure lounge and unexpectedly gets to go on a very exciting "twitch"!.
|Seeds On The Breeze||20060101||Nature is full of clever solutions, but some of the most ingenious examples of engineering and design are to be found amongst its plant seeds, as Lionel Kelleway discovers when he joins botanist Phil Gates near Wolsingham in Weardale on a quest for seeds.|
Armed with an umbrella and a coconut, they play pooh sticks with seeds in the river, have fun with sticky burrs, and discover exploding capsules, spiky coats and seeds designed like drills!.
|Hares||20060319||Lionel Kelleway walks on to the dark peak on the edge of day and night, looking for mountain hares getting frisky.|
|The Long-tailed Basket Weaver||20060326||Lionel Kelleway joins bird behaviourist Ben Hatchwell in search of long-tailed Tits embarking on nest building and laying eggs in Yorkshire.|
|Slugs And Snails||20060402||After a cold, damp winter, Lionel Kelleway embarks on some garden spring cleaning and discovers a treasure trove of slugs and snails.|
Mary Seddon, from the National Museum of Wales, introduces Lionel to a fascinating world of love darts, anvils and mate-attracting slime!.
|The Blandford Fly||20060409||For many years, the tranquil River Stour gave rise to a plague of blackflies every spring, and their blood-sucking habits caused pain and misery to the inhabitants of Blandford Forum - until a biological method was developed to control the pest.|
Lionel Kelleway and freshwater biologist Mike Ladle go in search of the menacing beast, and discover a remarkable silk-spinning insect, with an unfortunate taste for human blood!.
|Lime, Gin And Juniper||20060618||Lionel Kelleway journeys along the Pennine Way in Teesdale with botanist Phil Gates, exploring flora which has fascinated plant lovers for centuries.|
They find some of our earliest colonists which arrived after the ice sheets retreated 10,000 years ago; an ancient Juniper forest, and a rarity which is found nowhere else in England.
|Dawn In A Reed Bed||20060625||Lionel Kelleway travels to England's largest tidal reed bed, Blacktoft Sands in East Yorkshire, to enjoy a spring dawn chorus.|
With microphones secreted amongst the reeds, RSPB Reserve Warden, Pete Short, introduces the soloists amongst the reserves warblers, reed buntings and booming bitterns in this evocative performance.
|Corn Buntings And Tree Sparrows||20060702||Lionel Kelleway visits the RSPB Reserve at Blacktoft Sands in East Yorkshire where RSPB warden Pete Short and ornithologist David Harper discuss the fates and fortunes of Corn Buntings and Tree Sparrows, which can be found in and around this vast tidal reed bed reserve, despite having disappeared from many other parts of Britain.|
|Freshwater Pearl Mussels||20060709||Lionel Kelleway pulls on his waders and joins mollusc expert Mary Seddon in a search for freshwater pearl mussels.|
Once so common, they were farmed by the Romans, these giant mussels have since disappeared from many of our UK rivers, but those that remain have a fascinating lifestyle, as Lionel discovers in the shallows of a Cumbrian river.
|Little Tern On The Beach||20060910||Lionel Kelleway goes in search of our rarest species of tern, the little tern, and finds them on the beach at Great Yarmouth.|
With over 350 nests this year, Great Yarmouth has enjoyed a year of spectacular breeding success for these charismatic little seabirds.
Guided by Mark Smart of the RSPB, Lionel learns more about the little tern and why it has enjoyed such a successful year at Great Yarmouth.
|Newt In A Pit||20060917||Lionel Kelleway visits possibly Europe's largest colony of Great Crested Newt at the ponds of the Hampton Nature Reserve - a wildlife legacy of the old Peterborough clay pits.|
Lionel explores the depths with nets and waders in the company of Jules Howard of Froglife, and seeks to understand why these pits have turned into ponds with such an abundance of newt and other aquatic wildlife.
|Lichens Of The Hazel Wood||20060924||In the company of lichenologists Brian and Sandy Coppins, Lionel Kelleway visits the hazel woodland of Ballachuan - which boasts over 250 species of lichen.|
Lionel discovers more about the lives of these extraordinary organisms and why this woodland has become a prime example of a very special habitat - almost unique to western Scotland.
|The Highland Midge||20061001||Lionel Kelleway ventures into the Scottish Highlands to meet midge expert Dr Alison Blackwell for a close encounter with one of our less popular insects.|
So often the bane of residents and tourists alike, Lionel hopes to learn just why these tiny insects have become so spectacularly successful - frequenting some areas of the countryside in mind-boggling numbers.
Lionel attempts to learn what the most recent research has revealed about the lives of these tiny pests, and what it is that makes the midge an apparently impeccable design.
|Autumn And The Bearded Tits||20061210||Lionel Kelleway wades through a great swathe of reeds at Blacktoft Sands, an RSPB reserve on the Humber Estuary, in search of reed-loving Bearded Tits.|
Surrounded by their pinging calls, and with the help of a mist net, the warden and a bird ringer, Lionel enjoys an amazing close-encounter with these spectacular birds.
|Life Among The Christmas Trees||20061217||At this time of year, many of us share our homes with a Norway Spruce, its branches hung with baubles and lights.|
But in the forest, this graceful tree attracts a host of wildlife, as Lionel Kelleway discovers when he joins botanist Phil Gates in Hamsterley Forest in Durham.
It's a fascinating guide to the mosses, liverworts, birds and insects that live in and among the Christmas trees.
|The Wren||20061224||What the tiny Wren lacks in size it makes up for with its feisty nature and attitude, as Lionel Kelleway discovers when he joins ornithologist David Harper for a guide to the habits and behaviour of the tiny bird with the big voice.|
Heard singing even in mid-winter, its the song of the Wren that landed it in trouble according to legend, and gave rise to the traditional Wren Hunts on St Stephen's Day.
|The Mill In Winter||20061231||Lionel Kelleway welcomes the New Year in a disused water mill, the ivy-clad home of botanist Ray Woods.|
Old Lady moths, spiders, mice and bats take refuge from the cold among the book shelves, log piles, wooden rafters, cracks and crevices.
|20070311||Lionel Kelleway visits Brownsea Island off the Dorset coast.|
100 years ago, Robert Baden-Powell held his first experimental scout camp here.
Along with its rich history, Brownsea Island hosts a treasure trove of wildlife that includes herons, red squirrels and a lagoon full of birds.
|Badger Behaviour||20070318||At dusk in Wytham Woods, Lionel Kelleway joins Chris Newman of Oxford University to feed badgers on what appear to be delicious peanuts, covered in syrup.|
But in among the nuts are coloured beads.
Next morning, they go in hunt of coloured droppings to understand how the badgers organise their families' living space in such a crowded and bustling neighbourhood.
|The Miniature World Of Slitt Wood||20070325||Lionel Kelleway joins botanist Phil Gates in his open-air laboratory in Weardale and discovers a fascinating miniature forest of mosses and liverworts carpeting the riverside rocks.|
Scrambling about amongst this moist green foliage are a wealth of bizarre creatures including nematodes and water bears.
|The Vernal Lantern Fish||20070401||Global warming and rising sea temperatures have resulted in the appearance of a number of formerly rare species around our coast, including the lantern fish which was formerly restricted to deep offshore oceanic waters.|
Lionel Kelleway goes in search of this beautiful luminescent creature.
|The Dormouse And The Vet||20070617||Lionel Kelleway joins Sue Tatman from Cheshire Wildlife Trust and a group of volunteers on a day out looking for dormice.|
The reintroduced population is being monitored with the use of microchip technology and a vet is on site to weigh and measure the creatures in order to learn more about them.
|20070624||The Underwater Architects|
Lionel Kelleway joins local expert Ian Wallace at Lake Windermere to observe the caddis fly.
At the larval stage, these creatures build amazing structures out of rocks, debris and twigs.
|20070701||Bat Highway: Lionel Kelleway observes a colony of greater horseshoe bats in Devon.|
|In Search Of Sea Lampreys||20070708||Lionel Kelleway visits the River Ure in Yorkshire and with the help of naturalist Brian Moreland, has a once in a lifetime encounter with the Sea Lamprey.|
Lionel Kelleway visits the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire on the trail of a shy and evasive animal that was wiped out in the British countryside in the 13th century.
Now re-established in the landscape but still hard to track down, Lionel enlists the help of boar expert Dr Martin Goulding.
The result of their search comes as a surprise to both of them.
Ruary McKenzie Dodds takes Lionel Kelleway to Thursley common in Surrey to explore the lives of these strange creatures.
Dragonflies can spend as much as seven years under water before emerging to enhance the air with their brightly coloured aerobatics.
Lionel Kelleway is joined by Louise Wells of the London Wildlife Trust to observe these traditionally rural creatures which are gradually spreading into our cities.
Lionel Kelleway meets Roger Ransome at Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire, home to six of Britain's native species of bats.
Designed at the height of the Victorian Gothic revival, this extraordinary building has something of the atmosphere of a mediaeval castle.
|Wintering Warblers||20071209||Six species of warbler, two resident and four migratory, winter in Britain and their numbers have increased over the last 20 years.|
Lionel Kelleway joins Greg Conway of the British Trust for Ornithology to find out how our milder winters, resulting in good supplies of food and changes of migratory behaviour, are helping species such as the blackcap and chiffchaff survive.
|20071216||Lionel Kelleway explores the world of mosses.|
|Mosses||20071223||Tiny bryophytes love the dampness of the British Isles, bringing a dash of welcome green while most things in nature close down for the winter.|
Lionel Kelleway explores the luxuriant mosses to be found in a Shropshire woodland with bryologist Mark Lawley.
|Ferns||20071230||Without seeds or flowers, ferns have managed to seduce naturalists and gardeners with their delicate beauty, shapes and colours for centuries.|
Lionel Kelleway discovers that ferns are not just found in shady and damp nooks and crannies.
|Adders||20080525||Naturalist Lionel Kelleway meets veteran adder watcher Sylvia Sheldon on her local patch in Worcestershire, learning about some interesting facets of the snakes' biology.|
In his honour, Sylvia names a new male in her study area after Lionel himself.
|Salisbury Plain Honey Bees||20080601||Honey bees are part of the natural ecology of Salisbury Plain, an area used for training by the MOD.|
Lionel Kelleway meets MOD bee expert Chris Wilks.
|Catch The Pigeon||20080608||Lionel Kelleway meets Chris Armstrong at Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire.|
Chris is researching the mysteries of pigeon navigation.
They meet the pigeons in their loft, take them to a release site and track their progress home.
|Reed Warblers||20080615||Lionel Kelleway visits Rostherne Mere in Cheshire in search of reed warblers.|
These diminutive travellers fly to Africa and back each year.
Lionel joins warbler expert Malcolm Calvert as he catches and rings the adults and then searches for nests in the reed beds.
|Isle Of Man: The Natural History Of The Tt Race||20080817||Lionel Kelleway joins two TT race fanatics and naturalists on a trip around the famous 37-mile course on the Isle of Man.|
They observe the local wildlife, including cave spiders, lampreys and orchids.
|Isle Of Man: Hen Harrier||20080824||The island is the UK's hotspot for the bird of prey with sulphur yellow legs and a light and wafty demeanour in flight.|
Lionel Kelleway wanders the hills and enjoys the closest of encounters near a nest with three thriving chicks.
|Isle Of Man: The Rocky Shore||20080831||Lionel Kelleway enjoys a highly productive day along a coastline full of variety.|
He finds lobsters and fiddler crabs and learns a great deal about the pressures on the island's shores, including looking after their basking sharks.
|Isle Of Man: Beeflies||20080907||On the northern Manx shore is a large expanse of dune dominated by lichen heath.|
This special habitat is the scene for one of Lionel Kelleway's most unusual quests, the hunt for a species of beefly
|20081109||The World's Largest Slug|
Lionel Kelleway visits the Dart Valley in Dartmoor in search of the elusive Ash Black Slug, which can measure as much as 30 centimetres in length.
The hunt for this slimy monster also results in a rare encounter with Britain's largest and rarest ground beetle, the Blue Ground Beetle.
Lionel Kelleway discovers the Culm Grassland water meadow in Devon, a rare habitat believed to be unique in Europe.
With a unique mix of grass species and an unusually large number of flowering plants, it is believed to be the same today as when it first appeared at the end of the last Ice Age.
Lionel unearths the complexities of restoring this wild ancient grassland.
|The Late Arrivals||20081123||Lionel Kelleway travels to Lulworth Cove to see the small bands of Red Admiral butterflies|
The Late Arrivals
Lionel Kelleway travels to Lulworth Cove in Dorset where, standing on the cliffs, he witnesses the small bands of Red Admiral butterflies that migrate from mainland Europe.
|Too Good To Tread On||20081130||Lionel Kelleway sees one of Britain's rarest and smallest plants, a bryophyte.|
Lionel Kelleway travels to Portland Island in Dorset to see one of Britain's rarest and smallest plants, a bryophyte.
|20081207||Lionel Kelleway witnesses the night roost of the crane, Britain's largest wading bird.|
Stalking Cranes: Lionel Kelleway joins Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the National Trust to witness the night roost of the crane, Britain's largest wading bird.
|Rockhopper Penguin||20090201||Lionel Kelleway encounters a colony of 5,000 Rockhopper penguins in the midst of their breeding season in the Falkland Islands.|
|Sea Lion Island||20090208||Lionel Kelleway travels to the Falkland Islands in search of amorous marine mammals.|
The aptly named Sea Lion Island is a temporary home for sea lions and elephant seals.
While it is winter in the UK, it is summertime in the Falklands, and peak time for mating and pupping.
Lionel may even get to experience the incredible spectacle of the local pod of killer whales in full hunting action.
|Mollymawk Manor||20090215||Lionel Kelleway travels to the Falkland Islands in search of the mollymawk, the local name for the black-browed albatross.|
This wonderful ocean wanderer alights here to nest and breed.
Lionel encounters graceful adults, and their eggs and chicks, at this critical time in the bird's year.
He also finds out what new things we are discovering about this traveller.
Lionel Kelleway travels to the Falkland Islands in search of the mollymawk.
|Southern Sea Shores||20090222||Lionel Kelleway travels to the Falkland Islands to find out how marine life in the Southern Atlantic compares with beachcombing back home.|
He joins the Shallow Marine Seas Survey team as they endeavour to chart what lives here.
Lionel Kelleway travels to the Falklands to learn about marine life in the South Atlantic.
|Johnny Rook - A Lovable Rogue||20090301||Lionel Kelleway travels to the Falkland Islands in pursuit of Johnny Rook, the cara cara.|
This bird of prey has the reputation of being 'exceedingly bold' and 'the most mischievous of all the feathered creation'.
But there is far more to it than meets the eye.
Lionel finds out about Johnny Rook's rise from near extinction and its unique role in the islands' ecology.
|Marsh Harriers||20090524||Lionel Kelleway gets very close to the marsh harrier, an icon of the East Anglia marshland.|
It is quite a sight to see it rise, effortlessly, when looking across the seed head tops of a large yellow reedbed.
The marsh harrier has characteristically large and broad wings and the male is stunningly beige.
Lionel Kelleway gets very close to the marsh harrier.
|Grass Snakes||20090531||Lionel Kelleway tries to get close to the grass snake and find out a little more about its private life.|
Grass snakes grow to a surprising five feet long; they are Britain's largest native snake, and yet we hear very little about them.
Lionel Kelleway tries to get close to the grass snake, Britain's largest native snake.
|Starfish||20090607||Marine biologist Peter Heyward leads Lionel Kelleway through the rock pools at low tide on the Gower Peninsular in search of starfish.|
The common starfish is among the most iconic of sea shore animals, but they also meet rather less visible members of the family, including the extraordinary sea potato.
Marine biologist Peter Heyward and Lionel Kelleway search for starfish.
|Ancient Orchards||20090614||Lionel Kelleway is guided by two National Trust experts around a 100-year-old orchard in search of creatures that can only be found among the old fruit trees.|
Species include beetles that look like fleas and moth caterpillars that can bore holes in a tree as wide as your finger.
And look out for the queen hornet and beasts that live only in mistletoe on old apple trees.
Lionel Kelleway is guided by two National Trust experts around a 100-year-old orchard.
|Cuckoos||20090816||are one of a small group of parasitic birds that covertly use other birds to unknowingly rear chicks on their behalf.|
Lionel Kelleway heads to Dartmoor to get close to a juvenile cuckoo and its unwitting foster parents.
Lionel Kelleway heads to Dartmoor to get close to a juvenile cuckoo and its foster parents
|Heath Fritillary||20090823||The Heath Fritillary butterfly was on the verge of extinction in Exmoor in 2001.|
Now, thanks to some targeted conservation work between the National Trust and Butterfly Conservation, this checkerboard-marked rare butterfly is increasing in numbers.
Lionel Kelleway heads to a valley near Dunkery Beacon in the north of Exmoor National Park in search of one of Britain's rarest butterflies.
Lionel Kelleway visits a valley in Exmoor National Park in search of a rare butterfly.
|Great Bustards||20090830||The Great Bustard has long been extinct from the British countryside, but, as Lionel Kelleway discovers, a determined re-introduction programme from a captive-born stock of animals might change all that.|
Now, the first chicks have been born outside captivity.
Lionel Kelleway finds out about a programme to re-introduce the Great Bustard to Britain.
|Grassland Meadows||20090906||Britain's geology makes for diverse grassland meadows and with it wild flowers, as Lionel Kelleway discovers.|
Lionel Kelleway is taken to some special grassland to see its wild flowers.
|Autumn Crickets||20091108||As the days shorten, the classic sound of the summer makes an untimely focus for Lionel Kelleway as he heads to Dartmoor to get close to the rhythmical autumnal chirping of grasshoppers and crickets.|
Lionel Kelleway heads to Dartmoor to get close to the autumnal chirping of grasshoppers.
|Sika Deer||20091115||are aliens to the UK but now are established as part of the landscape.|
Lionel Kelleway heads to Purbeck in Dorset to experience the sights and unusual sounds of sika at the start of the rutting season.
Lionel Kelleway heads to Purbeck to see sika at the start of the rutting season.
|Dartford Warbler||20091122||numbers were reduced to only 20 pairs in Britain during the 1960s, thus becoming an iconic emblem of conservation.|
Lionel Kelleway visits the Arne RSPB reserve in Dorset in an attempt to see one of these rare and secretive little birds for himself.
Lionel Kelleway visits the Arne RSPB reserve in Dorset to see the rare Dartford warbler.
|Autumn Ivy||20091129||The ivy is a common sight throughout Britain; in the autumn its flowers provide an important late source of nectar for insects, while its evergreen leaves are a haven for wildlife.|
Should ivy therefore be so maligned?
Lionel Kelleway explores the important benefits of ivy to British wildlife.
|Tufty Of Thirlmere||20091206||The ear tufts of the red squirrel are what help make this much-loved species of the British countryside such an icon for conservation.|
As the autumn colours of the Lake District intensify, Lionel Kelleway sets off on a quest to find his own autumnal Tufty in the mixed woodlands of Thirlmere.
Lionel Kelleway searches for his own autumnal 'tufty' red squirrel in the Lake District.
|Pike||20100131||The pike has a fearsome reputation as Britain's most successful freshwater river predator. Keen fisherman and retired freshwater biologist Mike Ladle will never forget the first time he landed a pike. He was trying to catch eels, and hauled up a pike instead. When he tried to release the hook from inside its mouth, he soon found out why fishermen treat pike with such respect: their mouths are lined with rows of backwardly pointing teeth. They even have teeth on their tongue, a tongue which is green in colour! So once a pike has trapped its prey in its mouth there is no escape from those rows of thorn-like teeth.|
Lionel Kelleway joins Mike Ladle on the banks of the River Frome in Dorset for a spot of fishing, using a curved hook and a dace as bait to lure their pike. While the two men watch the cork on the line bobbing in the water, Mike reveals some of the traits which make the pike so successful and why these fish are not choosy about the species of prey but the shape of the prey. Pike are also cannibalistic and will eat their own relatives, and even their own young.
Pike have been described as jet-propelled mouths. They are cylindrical in shape and all the large fins are at the rear end of the fish, which gives them the thrust they need to spring forwards in the water after prey. They hide under cover at the edge of the bank and then curl their tail round which then acts like a spring to thrust them forwards at their prey.
Years of catching, tagging, releasing and studying pike has given Mike a fascinating knowledge of these formidable creatures, but even so, there still remain some mysteries about the pike as Lionel discovers when he meets a self-confessed 'pikeoholic', gets to peer inside the mouth of a predator and learns about a fish called Isaac.
The pike has a fearsome reputation as Britain's most successful freshwater river predator.
Keen fisherman and retired freshwater biologist Mike Ladle will never forget the first time he landed a pike.
He was trying to catch eels, and hauled up a pike instead.
When he tried to release the hook from inside its mouth, he soon found out why fishermen treat pike with such respect: their mouths are lined with rows of backwardly pointing teeth.
They even have teeth on their tongue, a tongue which is green in colour! So once a pike has trapped its prey in its mouth there is no escape from those rows of thorn-like teeth.
Lionel Kelleway joins Mike Ladle on the banks of the River Frome in Dorset for a spot of fishing, using a curved hook and a dace as bait to lure their pike.
While the two men watch the cork on the line bobbing in the water, Mike reveals some of the traits which make the pike so successful and why these fish are not choosy about the species of prey but the shape of the prey.
Pike are also cannibalistic and will eat their own relatives, and even their own young.
Pike have been described as jet-propelled mouths.
They are cylindrical in shape and all the large fins are at the rear end of the fish, which gives them the thrust they need to spring forwards in the water after prey.
They hide under cover at the edge of the bank and then curl their tail round which then acts like a spring to thrust them forwards at their prey.
Lionel Kelleway goes fishing for a fearsome predator, the pike.
|Cave Spiders||20100207||are one of the largest spiders found in the United Kingdom, with adults measuring up to 5cm legspan and 15mm body length.|
For arachnophobes they are probably the stuff of nightmares, but to spider lovers they are creatures of great beauty with shiny brown abdomens rather like polished conkers.
There are two species found in Britain, Meta bourneti and the slightly more common Meta menardi.
Both species like dark places, but only Meta bourneti has been found in the damp cellars of Witley Court.
Cave spiders can be identified by their large teardrop-shaped white egg cases, about the size of a damson, which are suspended on a silk thread from the roof of their dwelling.
When the spiderlings hatch (and there can be 100 spiderlings in a single case) they are attracted to light, unlike the adults which are strongly repelled by light.
This helps the young find new areas to colonise.
They release silken thread from their spinnerets and drift on these threads which are caught up and blown by the wind, so they can travel long distances.
Once they land they produce a small orb web in which they catch insects.
In mid-summer the spiderlings seek out dark caves or tunnels in which to spend the rest of their lives.
Spiderlings have two moults before they reach the adults, and cave spiders feed on small insects and woodlice which they catch in their fine orb webs.
Lionel Kelleway explores some very dark cellars in search of some very big spiders.
|The Deer Park||20100214||On a very blustery autumn morning, Lionel Kelleway joins naturalist Phil Gates from Durham University in Bishop Auckland Deer Park in County Durham where he learns about the history and wildlife of this undulating landscape in the grounds of Auckland Castle.|
Auckland Castle is the home of the Bishop of Auckland.
It is built above the Rivers Wear and Gaunless, 10 miles south-west of Durham.
It was established about 800 years ago, and has expanded over the centuries.
In 1822 it became the official residence of the Bishop of Durham.
The grounds would have been a managed forest in medieval times, then converted parkland with a collection of now slowly disintegrating trees (wonderful habitats for wildlife) - amazing old sweet chestnuts whose trunk and branches grow twisted like a corkscrew, decaying beeches, giant redwoods with soft bark, horse chestnuts, poplars, birches and old oaks.
A fine stone deer house still exists.
This would have been used to shelter the deer.
A watchtower was built for guests to view the animals, and there was at one time a banqueting apartment where guests would have feasted on the venison.
Today, while only the occasional wild roe deer might be spotted in the park, there's a metropolis of meadow ant hills.
Yellow Meadow Ants, Lasius flavus live primarily underground in meadows and very commonly in lawns.
The nests are often completely overgrown by grass and mosses and form mounds.
Below ground, the nests are highly intricate with numerous fine channels; the whole structure strengthened by the plant roots.
Usually the mounds have one flat face which faces south east to gain the maximum benefits from the heat of the sun.
Like all ants, meadow ants live in organised social colonies, consisting of the reproductive female, the queen, a few males and large numbers of workers, which are non-sexual females.
Mating takes place in summer during a 'nuptial flight' when a male and female form a pair and mate on the wing.
After mating, the female finds a suitable place to establish a new colony.
Where there are meadow ants, there are often Green Woodpeckers, as these birds feed on as many as 2,000 ants a day, digging a hole into the mound and licking up the ants as they rush out.
As they explore this undulating landscape, Lionel and Phil also find a fine collection of autumn fungi and huge numbers of berries and nuts before the blustery wind blows them on their way.
It's a beautiful and fascinating park in any season, but in autumn, when the wind whisks up the leaves in a whirling dance, and the river in the valley gurgles and chuckles over the rocks, nature is perhaps at its most playful.
Lionel Kelleway discovers a metropolis of ant hills in a Deer Park in Durham.
|Herons||20100221||Until recently only two members of the heron family bred in the UK.|
Today in southern England four species now regularly breed.
Could a fifth species of heron start breeding before too long? Lionel Kelleway travels to the RSPB's Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset in an attempt to see all five species, including the bittern, a bird he has never seen in the wild in the UK.
Lionel Kelleway travels to the RSPB's Ham Wall nature reserve to look for heron.
|Crayfish||20100228||Lionel Kelleway investigates the plight of our largest freshwater crustacean.|
|Islay Birds||20110501||The island of Islay is the most southerly island of the Southern Hebrides and as such has an important role to play in Scottish birdlife.|
Also known as the Queen of the Hebrides this small island is, in winter, host to thousands of winter migrant birds as they escape the harsh Arctic weather.
Some birds use the island as a stop over point to rest and feed before heading away on migration, other species, such as barnacle geese stay the entire winter, leaving in the spring.
This weeks Living World, finds Michael Scott leaving the Scottish mainland to travel the two and a half hour journey by ferry to meet an old friend of his Malcolm Ogilvie.
Malcolm has been studying the geese of the island for nearly 50 years and has been resident here for half that time.
But Islay has so much more birdlife to offer than geese; indeed in the autumn and spring keen birdwatchers come to the island to attempt a remarkable feat, to see over 100 different species of birds on the island in a single day.
Michael and Malcolm visit over the winter and therefore aim for lower numbers of birds to be seen during this visit, by concentrating on one small but beautiful area of Islay, Loch Gruinart on the northern coast of the island.
Beginning at the head of Gruinart, huge numbers of barnacle geese can be seen feeding on the flooded fields below, geese that move and erupt into restless flight in ever increasing numbers, a spectacle that is both beautiful and awesome to behold.
At the head of the Loch is Ardnave Point where different species of birds can be seen both on a small isolated lochan and at the spectacular mouth of the Loch, framed by the islands of Jura and Mull beyond.
However one of the real jewel species of these islands is a rare member of the crow family, the chough.
Islay holds a sixth of the UK's chough population and Michael is keen to see these birds on this visit as he scans the horizon from a windswept dune system overlooking the sea.
Is that their call being carried along by the buffeting wind on the ridge? Yes, here they come, these acrobatic specialists, right on cue.
The island of Islay hosts spectacular birdlife from geese to eagles to the rare chough.
|Dymock Daffodils||20110508||Writer and naturalist Paul Evans visits the famous daffodils of Dymock.|
This corner of north Gloucestershire is home to some of the very best wild daffodil spectacles in the British Isles, plants whose pale primrose flowers with egg-yolk trumpets spill over motorway verges, infiltrate hedgerows and crowd into copses for a few precious weeks in late March and early April.
The area is also famous for hosting a remarkable collection of poets just before the First World War, lured there by the idea of a rural idyll.
Among them were Edward Thomas, who was killed in action, and the visiting American poet Robert Frost, whose verse, "The Road Not Taken " includes the well-known line "two roads diverged in a yellow wood".
Was this perhaps a reference to the tides of Dymock daffodils?
Paul finds out from his guides Roy Palmer, folklorist and chairman of the Dymock Poets Society, and botanist Ray Woods, who reveals the resilience and also the vulnerability of this surprising flower, which is showing promise as a relief for dementia.
Blending literature, history and wildlife, Living World takes the poets' path into the heart of wild daffodil country in this unique corner of England and revels in the coming of spring.
Paul Evans revels in the blooming of spring daffodils at Dymock in Gloucestershire.
|Oil Beetles||20110515||Devon is a beautiful area of the British Isles, an area of the West Country best known for its farmhouse cream teas, rather than a county able to produce its own oil.|
But it is oil that brings Paul Evans to south Devon where, for this weeks' Living World he meets naturalist John Walters.
This oil though is part of a fascinating defence mechanism and life cycle of the subject of this weeks' programme, that of the oil beetle.
John has long been researching the ecology and life history of the four species of oil beetle found in Britain, the violet, black, short necked and rugged.
By far the rarest species to be found in the country is the short necked oil beetle, a species that until 2007 was thought extinct in the United Kingdom.
Can he and Paul possibly see all four species in a single day?
On a warm sunlit spring day, Paul and John begin their quest in oak woodland near Dartmoor, a wood carpeted with celandines, the favoured flower of the oil beetle.
Soon they discover a male violet oil beetle and its associated cloud of minute flies, an indicator of the remarkable life cycle of these little understood beetles.
Close by a huge egg bearing female absorbs the suns rays on her jet black jewel-like body.
From here the pair head off to an unimproved wet meadow where John has been studying the flight patterns of this wingless insect, using solitary mining bees to hitch a ride and in return parasitize the eggs of the unfortunate aerial host, once in its burrow.
Paul and John leave this area near Dartmoor to travel south to the coast.
With sunlight shimmering off the sea, the first migrant swallows making landfall overhead, the rugged oil beetle proves elusive; but there, under a single gorse bush, the rare short necked oil beetle delights these beetle hunters.
Devon hosts four oil beetle species, one of which has only recently been rediscovered.
|Raft Spiders||20110522||Nestling alongside Wales and the English Midlands, Shropshire is a much unexplored county, but one with many surprises.|
Paul Evans is on home ground for this week's Living World as he heads off to the north of the country to meet John Hughes from Shropshire Wildlife Trust, in search of one of Shropshire's most unusual and beautiful surprises.
Meeting John at Wem Moss National Nature Reserve Paul discovers that in the midst of farmland, the landscape between here and the Dee Estuary is peppered with interlocking Mires and Moors, wetland relicts of the last glacial period in Britain.
On a cool, windy spring day, Paul and John first explore a small wet woodland, a relic of a once extensive ancient habitat in this area, long cleared by man for farming.
Emerging from the trees there in front of them, is an expansive open moss.
Mosses in this area are glacial depressions which over time have become filled with peat deposits and are a valuable wetland for a myriad of wildlife.
Fed by rainwater these are ideal habitats for the raft spider Dolomedes fimbriatus, Britain's largest native spider.
But this spring has been unusually dry, with strong dry winds from the east, so much so the wetlands are drying out.
Walking over the moss, evidence is everywhere of the lack of rain in these parts for weeks.
Will this wetland specialist still be able to cling on to a precarious existence in this increasingly hostile environment? Join Paul and John to find out if they indeed do find this beautiful spider after all.
In Shropshire's wetlands Britain's largest and arguably most beautiful spider can be found
|Farne Island Puffins||20110731||Just 2 miles off the Northumberland coast, the numerous Farne Islands, viewed from the mainland resemble a dark pod of whales in the glistening North Sea.|
For Living World this week, Paul Evans is on a quest to learn more about one of our favourite seabirds, the puffin.
Catching an early boat, he arrives on Inner Farne to all the sounds and smells of a seabird colony at the height of the breeding season.
Here he is met by David Steele, a warden on these islands for 11 years.
To begin their adventure, they must head towards the Pele tower, which means that David and Paul have to negotiate the dive bombing attacks of another breeding bird on the island, the Arctic tern.
Avoiding razor sharp bills is not for the faint hearted, the terns though are just protecting their eggs and chicks which are all around Paul's feet as he walks.
Scrambling to the top of the Pele tower this allows not only a respite from the bombarding terns but a panoramic view of the island beyond the adult puffins relaxing on the edge of the tower.
Paul encounters a wandering puffin in the courtyard allowing an opportunistic, if painful, close up encounter with this charismatic member of the auk family.
But where do these birds breed? David leads us over to the grassy slopes near the sea cliffs where, with his arm all the way down a burrow, he searches for the single downy chick.
Blinking in the summer sun, this chick has never seen daylight before.
But in just a few short weeks on a dark night, it will leave the safety of its burrow for ever.
With no assistance from its parents, it will scramble across the island and swim off into the great unknown of the North Sea for three solitary years, before returning once more to land to breed as an adult.
Just off the Northumberland coast, the Farne Islands are home to thousands of puffins.
|Limestone Pavements||20110807||Nestling beneath the towering shape of Ingleborough, this weeks' Living World looks closely at the complex botanical structure associated with Limestone Pavements.|
At 723m, Ingleborough is the second highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales.
However further down its slopes at a mere 350m are some of the world's rarest geological structures.
Created some 300 million years ago in the Carboniferous period, in a tropical sea, since then glaciers, erosion and man's activities have greatly modified this landscape to form a mosaic of block and fissure features, known as clints and grykes.
Michael Scott travels to Ingleborough where he meets Tim Thom, an ecologist from the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Britain is home to almost all the limestone pavements on earth, which over time have become habitats for unique associations of botany.
Exploring this fascinating landscape is something which Tim is passionate about.
In just a few feet, remnant woodland plants such as dogs mercury, wild garlic and bluebells flourish in the humid grikes, alongside sculptural ferns.
But alongside these grassland plants such as quaking grass, orchids and wild thyme flourish on the exposed clints while in ungrazed areas stunted trees make for an African Savannah scene.
Beautiful though this landscape is, it is not without its dangers.
Rain can make the limestone as treacherous as walking on seaweed covered rocks, while deep fissures can trap the legs of unsuspecting walkers.
Fortunately on a wonderful mid summer day, with blue skies and white billowing clouds flicking shadows across Ingleborough's slopes, Michael and Tim can relax and unfurl the story of this unique habitat through the plants they see.
Producer Mr Andrew Dawes
Presenter Michael Scott.
Almost all the world's limestone pavements and their unique botany are found in Britain.
|Vampire Plants||20110814||For this weeks Living World on Radio 4, Paul Evans is in Weardale in the North Pennines where he joins Dr Phil Gates from Durham University on a botanical exploration with a difference.|
Walking through this breathtaking wildflower rich landscape in high summer, all is not as tranquil as it first appears.
Nature has a twist in its tail as Paul is shown some of the underhand tricks developed by flowering plants to help them survive nutrient starved environments, highly competitive situations or extremely toxic soils.
Journeying from a boggy hillside where carnivorous round leaved sundew consumes its live prey, to the highly toxic lead mine spoil heaps nearby, home to spring sandwort, Paul discovers that far from being the vampires of horror movies, these plants have adapted to a harsh environment and in many cases, actually are beneficial to conservation and land reclamation.
Producer Mr Andrew Dawes.
A wildflower rich landscape in a Durham Dale has a sinister botanical twist in its tail.
|Malham Caddisfly||20110821||Malham Tarn is a unique wetland habitat nestling high up in the Yorkshire Dales.|
Surrounded by upland acidic environments, surprisingly the Tarn itself is an alkaline, base rich, upland lake home to many species not usually found at this altitude.
At a maximum depth of just 14 feet, it is also a very fragile habitat, where its' clean but shallow waters could easily be damaged by surrounding land use and activity.
The Tarn is home to the subject of this weeks' Living World.
First documented over 50 years ago by the then warden of Malham Tarn, Paul Holmes, since then very little has been discovered about our rarest caddisfly, Agrypria crassicornis, which for this programme and with agreement from the scientific community, has now been given a common name of, The Malham Sedge.
Paul Evans travels to Malham and joins Ian Wallace for a different Living World.
With the caddisfly's nearest population to Britain being in Scandinavia, no one really knows how or why it is here, or how it survives in this upland lake.
Aware the last confirmed sighting of a Malham Sedge was in 2007, from the beginning, Paul does not know if the Malham Sedge still exists in Britain.
Joining Ian on an agreed research project, the pair attempt to re-locate this caddisfly while along the way testing and devising acceptable monitoring techniques for future research.
On a tranquil summer's night Paul and Ian clamber into a rowing boat and head off onto the calm waters of the lake.
As darkness envelops them, using a light trap, within a short while a snowstorm of thousands upon thousands of emerging caddis fly surround the pair and the boat.
The air is alive with tiny wing beats but are any of these of the caddis fly the actual species they are searching for?
Paul Evans travels to Malham Tarn to try to locate rare caddisfly the Malham Sedge.
|Stone Curlew||20111030||The stone curlew is one of the rarest birds in Britain.|
The historical change in agricultural practices across the country resulted in the decline of suitable habitat, such as grazed chalk grassland and fallow areas, which are the kinds of habitat most favoured by the stone-curlew for breeding.
Subsequently, their numbers dwindled to an all time low in the mid-1980s of just a few dozen pairs in the Brecklands in East Anglia and the Wiltshire downs.
For this weeks' Living World, Joanna Pinnock travels to a remote part of Wiltshire to meet Nick Adams of the RSPB's Wessex Stone Curlew Project where she is keen to discover for herself the lifecycle of this strange almost prehistoric wader, with wide open beady yellow eyes and knobbly knees.
Secretive and difficult to see in the breeding season due to their nocturnal behaviour, in the autumn, stone curlews gather in roost flocks to prepare for their migration to Africa.
So, after a wet autumnal day, as the light begins to fade, for this Living World, the pair listen and wait for the eerie calls of this summer migrant resonating around the equally strange and prehistoric landscape near Stonehenge.
With increasing darkness, stone curlews begin to leave their daytime roost sites to forage and disperse over the landscape.
In doing so Joanna and Nick become eager spectators to a cacophony of calls as birds fly from area to area, calls that in days gone by people likened to banshees of the night.
All too soon darkness envelopes the pair, but pointedly this is Nick Adam's very last day on the project, and as the calling becomes more intense, are the birds saying goodbye to Nick for one last time?
Producer : Andrew Dawes.
On a wet autumnal day Joanna Pinnock goes in search of the rare stone curlew in Wiltshire.
|The Celtic Rainforest||20111106||High in the hills of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales, can be found a rare and fascinating habitat.|
For this weeks' Living World, Paul Evans joins Ray Woods from Plantlife Cymru on a voyage of discovery into the Celtic Rainforest.
In an area where 200 days of rain each year is normal, Paul and Ray don their waterproofs and venture up the valley of the Rhaeadr Ddu, the Black Waterfall.
The landscape in this valley is dominated by water, not only from the exceptional rainfall this area is known for, but from the river thundering along many rapids and waterfalls providing a constant mist of high humidity within the Atlantic wood enveloping the valley.
Linked to a mild climate in this part of Wales, everything in the woodland is a carpeted in a magical sea of emerald green moss, fungi and lichen.
This valley is home to some rare and exotic plants, the filmy ferns are however special in this landscape.
Ray and Paul eventually make it to the side of the huge Rhaeadr Ddu waterfall itself, where, as the roar of the water almost drowns their voices, there on a single rocky outcrop, bathed in constant spray they discover the rare, minute and exotically beautiful Tunbridge Filmy-fern.
Nearby a Wilson's Filmy-fern is found on a single boulder of an ancient moss encrusted dry stone wall.
How did this Filmy-fern get here is a point of discussion.
We all know of the importance of the Tropical Rainforests, however these Celtic Rainforests are in a way even rarer, with Britain being home to most of the best preserved examples in the World.
The Valley is changing and time could possibly be running out for these remarkable and sensitive habitats, which have been suffering from pollution and climate change since the dawn of the Industrial Age.
Producer : Andrew Dawes.
In Snowdonia, a hidden valley reveals a magical Celtic rainforest along the forest floor.
|Waxcap Grasslands||20111113||West Wales receives a lot of rain, which is perfect for this week's Living World.|
Paul Evans joins Bruce Langridge from the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Dr Gareth Griffiths, a mycologist from Aberystwyth University on a fungal foray with a difference, as they look for waxcaps hidden amongst grass.
With over a million fungal species in the World, understanding these could be a daunting prospect for someone new to the science of mycology.
However waxcaps are a good entry point as in Britain there are just 40 or 50 of these beautiful fungi species.
Apart from being wonderful to view, waxcaps are now known to be an indicator species of the health of a grassland, especially below ground.
Waxcaps generally are in decline in Western Europe as unimproved grasslands succumb to agricultural intensification, with increased nitrogen fertilizers being especially harmful to their microrhiza in the soil.
So to begin the journey Paul travels to a remote rural chapel where Bruce has been working to improve the habitat of the graveyard for the benefit of waxcaps.
The vibrancy of colour these little fungi buttons produce is astounding, but as Gareth recalls, no one really knows why they are so bright as their one and only function is to disperse spores across the landscape.
From there the trio head down the valley to an organic farm to find the fabled ballerina waxcap, a shocking pink candy sweet looking fungi poking through the green sward.
Once thought very rare, these waxcaps have now become the iconic flagship for waxcaps.
So why should we conserve these waxcap grasslands? Well as both Gareth and Bruce explain they are the visible evidence of a healthy soil ecosystem underneath the grass who's activity is as important as photosynthesis.
Producer Andrew Dawes.
From a rural graveyard to an organic farm, Wales is an important place for waxcap fungi.
|Winter Ladybirds||20111120||Its autumn, the leaves are falling, the temperature dropping and as the nights lengthen, this is a time when many animals begin to slow down and prepare for the long winter months ahead.|
The gardener's friend, the ladybird is one such animal which in late autumn begins to move into many houses as a welcome guest.
For this weeks Living World Joanna Pinnock heads to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxfordshire where on a windy day, she joins Dr Helen Roy and PhD student Richard Comont to investigate what is happening as ladybirds come indoors.
Beginning inside Helens house Joanna notices ladybirds all around the windows.
Ladybirds like pale walls, a reminder of their natural environment, rocky mountains with light coloured surfaces.
But recently our native ladybirds have been joined by the harlequin ladybird, a species that is more likely to be seen in the house this year.
Why this is the case remains a mystery.
There are over 40 species of ladybird in Britain, with the 7 spot the most familiar.
However when they come into their dormant state, parasites and fungi begin to attack the 7 spot and other ladybirds, with the winter months being the time of greatest mortality.
But new research is being carried out to see if this parasite is about to begin attacking the harlequin.
Richard takes Joanna to see his experimental plots and explain why the ladybirds need a winter dormant state to survive.
Producer : Andrew Dawes.
As the cold nights draw in, the ladybird comes indoors for the winter months.
|Cuckoo Trees||20111127||In early winter, Joanna Pinnock heads up to the Stiperstone Hills in Shropshire.|
Here she meets up with Sara Bellis and Carl Pickup from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust at a remarkable place, The Hollies.
Here high up on the windswept hills, Joanna encounters ancient holly trees, which could be as old as 400 years.
Holly, naturally an understory tree of more developed woodland, is not suited to grow up here in the cold windy conditions.
But how and why these trees came to be here is something of a mystery.
These holly trees though are a living link to a past age in this landscape, where lead mining was once common and over 2 centuries ago there were thousands of people eking a subsistence living up here.
Possibly the hollies we seen now, gnarled and twisted though they are, are all that remains of a woodland which at one time covered all the hills around here.
That woodland was subsequently cleared for whatever reason, leaving the holly trees as a valuable source of winter fodder.
With the altitude and animal grazing on the hills these days, young holly cannot regenerate, so this landscape is one of preservation not conservation.
But the story ends with a surprise, the cuckoo trees up here.
Sometimes known as bonded trees, here Joanna witnesses the growing of full height rowan trees, inside the trunks of older holly trees.
How did the rowan trees get there, well, it all has something to do with winter thrushes, as is revealed in the programme.
On a Shropshire hillside ancient holly trees reveal an astonishing relationship with rowan
|Jackdaw Roost||20120129||For this week's Living World, Joanna Pinnock heads to a site in Cambridgeshire which is currently part of a long term study into jackdaw behaviour. Here she meets Dr Alex Thornton on a blustery morning before dawn. As first light begins to creep silently over the horizon the first chattering's of a jackdaw roost can be heard. With increasing light, this chatter becomes louder until at some given signal, the jackdaws simultaneously leave their night roost in a cacophony of sound. It is a winter spectacle often overlooked but rivalling any in the natural world. So what is actually going on here?|
Some corvid roosts are recorded in the Domesday Book and throughout history they have associated themselves with humans, and even have a sinister reputation as robbers of rare and precious gems. Corvids are known for their intelligence, in fact some scientists refer to members of the crow family, as the Feathered Apes. Science understands the biology of these birds, they pair for life, and a strong social cohesion exists, but as Dr Thornton expands, these familiar birds are deeply mysterious. There is a lot more to jackdaws than meets the eye. In fact the jackdaw eye is unusual in the animal kingdom in that it is similar to a human eye and will gaze at an object inquisitively. As the birds head out into the fields to feed, Joanna herself goes in search of them, asking why jackdaws are often in mixed flocks with rooks.
All too soon the light begins to fade, and so the pair head back to find pre roost birds in trees around the village. As night gathers, jackdaws in their thousands provide an aerial dance over the Cambridgeshire countryside, before in a role reversal of the morning, a given signal returns them to the roost once more.
Producer Andrew Dawes.
Joanna Pinnock joins scientists to discover what makes jackdaws roost together.
|Dippers||20120205||For Living World this week Miranda Krestovnikoff visits the fast-flowing streams of the Brecon Beacons National park in South Wales to catch sight of dippers. Dippers are extraordinary birds, shaped by the rivers in which they feed. As her companion, Steve Ormerod, dipper specialist and freshwater ecologist from the University of Cardiff points out, they are beautifully adapted to the life aquatic. Their plumage is dense and water repellent allowing them to dive and pick prey from the stream-bed and their blood can carry more oxygen than that of other birds their size.Even their call is pitched to be heard above the white noise of the rushing torrents.|
Steve shows Miranda dippers feeding at the edge of streams where they catch small bottom-feeding fish such as bullheads and insects like caddis-fly and mayfly larvae. Steve Ormerod demonstrates the richness of the mountain stream by kick-sampling " for insects, disturbing stones from the stream-bed and catching the potential dipper prey in a net held just downstream.
Not all streams are suitable for dippers, some because they don't have the combination of features that dippers need, but also because pollution has reduced their prey. After exploring the oxygen-rich , upland streams , Steve takes Miranda to Aberfan, downstream in the heart of the once active Welsh coalfields. Here, as a result of improving water quality , dippers are returning to rivers that they deserted many decades before. As indicators of environmental quality, dippers are the "canaries in the coal mine" which tells us that in some areas at least, pollution is on the wane.
Miranda Krestovnikoff explores the watery wintery world of the dipper.
|Ponds In Winter||20120212||What goes on under the surface of a pond in winter? To find out , Miranda Krestovnikoff joins Jeremy Biggs, director of Pond Conservation for a special Living world devoted to the ponds of the New Forest. Jeremy has chosen these as some of the finest of their type because they are keep open by grazing ponies and deer, don't suffer from pollution from roads or agricultural run-off , and are some of the cleanest ponds in the United Kingdom. When they go pond-dipping , kneeling in muddy water in chest-waders, he proves it by finding some of our rarest plants and animals including the mud snail which thrives in shallow pools whose margins dry out in summer. Damselfly larvae prowl among the plants and there are even newts active in January , animals which have grown too slowly in the previous summer and are spending the winter as youngsters. Best of all, in the shallows of the pond are clumps of the year's first frogspawn, in mid -January.|
This pond contains water all year round, but temporary ponds are a speciality of the New Forest. At Burley, Jeremy shows Miranda a roadside pool which fills with water in winter but is a grassy hollow in summer. Here they dip for one of Britain's rarest animals , the delicate fairy shrimp which can only survive in pools which dry out. These beautiful creatures are some of the oldest living animals on the planet, virtually unchanged in appearance from their ancestors 400 million years ago. Their eggs can survive in soil until the rains fill their ponds again in autumn and a new generation hatches to swim. safe from fishes in the New forest's temporary ponds.
Producer: Brett Westwood
Editor: Julian Hector.
Miranda Krestovnikoff explores the surprising world of New Forest's winter ponds.
|Woodcock||20120219||In this week's Living World, Miranda Krestovnikoff tracks down one of our most mysterious and elusive birds, the woodcock. This mysterious wader spends most of its life in woodland and is wonderfully patterned to blend in with dead leaves. In summer there are about 160, 000 woodcocks in the UK, but in winter their numbers are swelled to over a million by migrant birds from Scandinavia and Russia. With their long bills, woodcock probe for worms and when the soil freezes, birds are forced to move south to the British Isles.|
Woodcock are nocturnal , hiding by day in dense woodland. To see one, Miranda enlists the expertise of Dr Andrew Hoodless, a woodcock biologist with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust who's been studying the birds for 20 years to find out where they feed, how they're affected by hard weather and what type of woodlands they require in the breeding season.
Miranda Krestovnikoff searches for the mysterious wading bird, the woodcock.
|Winter Flies||20120226||Where do flies go to in the winter? It's a question often asked and in Living World this week, Miranda Krestovnikoff is in search of answers. Her guide is Erica McAlister, the Collections Manager of Diptera (two-winged flies) at London's Natural History Museum. The location is an ice-bound pool and woodland near Kidderminster where the conditions look anything but favourable. When they arrive nothing is flying, but Erica's backpack suction sampler (what she calls her "ghostbuster gear") reveals a host of metallic greenish flies hiding under the leaves of a tussock sedge. These are known as "dollies" to fly experts..easier to say than dolichopodids!|
These dollies are expert dancers and Erica explains that they can be seen on most garden ponds in summer when the males pose on the surface film and wave their wings to flirt with females and threaten other males.
As indicators of good habitat, flies are excellent says Erica. With over 7500 species in the UK they outnumber butterflies, moths and beetles and get into every niche, so if you want to study the health of a habitat look for its diversity of flies.
Producer: Brett Westwood
Editor: Julian Hector.
Miranda Krestovnikoff finds out where flies go to in winter.
|The Woodman's Butterfly||20120429||The Pearl Bordered Fritillary, sometimes called the 'April butterfly', is one of the first to emerge in Spring. A jewel of the woodland they have white 'pearl' markings on their wings but sightings are increasingly rare. The 2010 European Union target to halt the loss of bio-diversity has not been met for the UK's butterflies. Three quarters of species showed a decrease in either their distribution or population levels. The Pearl Bordered Fritillary is one such population with numbers declining by 42% over ten years.|
Sarah Pitt finds one of the few remaining sites where they can be seen in England and finds out why they are also known as 'the Woodsman's butterfly'. This butterfly is termed a 'habitat specialist'. As it emerges from winter hibernation, its larvae feed only on leaves of violets. Woodland management techniques have changed over time and violets are no longer common in British woodland. What can be done to help the highly endangered Pearl Bordered Fritillary? Richard Fox and Gary Pilkington discuss the state of Britain's butterflies.
Produced and Presented by Sarah Pitt.
Sarah Pitt goes in search of the endangered pearl-bordered fritillary.
|Bee Flies||20120506||There's a pretender on the wing. Joanna Pinnock joins naturalist John Walters in Devon to find out more about a bee mimic, the Dark Edged bee fly. With its reddish hairy body and rapier-like proboscis it's said to look part bee, part mosquito and is often spotted in gardens in Spring hovering and darting above the ground. The long proboscis helps it take nectar from deep within flowers rather like a hummingbird.|
While this furry, buzzing, rather attractive fly is harmless to humans, its pretence of being a bee is to help its young get a good start in life by using others' nests. In Spring the female bee fly coats her eggs in dust to give them some added weight and then hovering near solitary bee nesting holes will flick her eggs at the entrance. As they develop, her larvae head inside the bee's nest and devour the emerging bee larvae. It's a fly-eat-bee world...
Producer: Sheena Duncan
Editor: Julian Hector.
Joanna Pinnock discovers the extraordinary masquerade of the Dark-edged Bee Fly.
|The Pasqueflower||20120513||The beautiful purple pasqueflower with its distinctive yellow anthers is one of the few Spring flowers to be in bloom around Easter. Once found across most chalk and limestone grasslands in Britain the flower declined severely from the late 1700s when these grasslands were ploughed so that crops could be grown. It is now found at only 19 sites in the country and at only 5 of those sites are they found in large number and at small colonies, pasqueflower populations are becoming very isolated.|
Joanna Pinnock joins a botanist and reserve manager at one of the largest remaining colonies in Cambridgeshire to find out more about the fascinating history and botany of the pasqueflower and how colonies are being helped back from the brink with grazing - as it needs short grass in order to be able to thrive - and other conservation methods.
Producer: Sheena Duncan
Editor: Julian Hector
|Lesser Horseshoe Bats||20120520||live in close proximity to people because their maternity roosts are found almost exclusively in buildings. Since the 1900's their population has declined and now they can only be seen in south west Wales and in parts of south west England.|
Sarah Pitt visits the Usk Valley in Wales on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, to talk to Henry Schofield from the Vincent Wildlife Trust. Henry is part of a team leading a number of initiatives to involve the wider community in protecting these bats by building a sustainable bat-friendly environment. In Spring lesser horseshoe bats move from their cooler hibernation sites into their warmer summer or maternity roosts. Visiting a roost offers the opportunity to examine these tiny, delicate bats with their butterfly like flight as they emerge at dusk to forage for insects or pick their prey off foliage.
|A Home In The Reeds||20120729||New Series. Joanna Pinnock explores the shady world of the reed warbler.|
New Series - The Living World: A Home In The Reeds
The elusive reed warbler weaves its cup-like nest among the swaying stems of reeds which makes it hard to study. For The Living World Joanna Pinnock joins Dave Leech from the British Trust for Ornithology in his study area in an East Anglian reed-bed.
Dave Leech is researching why reed warblers are bucking the trend of decline in long-distance migrants by counting nests and ringing chicks. Unlike turtle doves, nightingales and other birds which winter in south of the Sahara and which are disappearing from any areas of the UK, reed warblers are increasing in numbers and in their range. Part of their success could be in their amazing productivity, with some pairs producing two broods a year. They can also nest over open water which makes the nests less vulnerable than those of ground-nesting birds, and could be benefitting from reed-bed creation by conservationists.
But as Joanna discovers, the warblers can't escape from one of their parasites. Reed warblers are a main host of the cuckoo, a bird which is declining even as the reed warbler is increasing. The discovery of a cuckoo's egg in an unsuspecting warbler's nest is no surprise to Dave Leech who has been observing cuckoos and their relationship with their hosts at this site and others. Here cuckoos parasitize around 5-8% of the reed warbler's nests and seem to be thriving, so in the face of huge decreases in the numbers of British cuckoos, could the reed warbler present them with a lifeline?
|The Uk's Rarest Frog||20120805||The Living World: The UK's Rarest Frog|
The UK's rarest frog is the pool frog and just 60 of them live in ponds at a secret location in Norfolk. Although the last native English pool frogs died out over a decade ago, they were reintroduced here from Sweden in 2005-2008. The Swedish pool frogs are most similar in colour and size to the original British pool frogs and are mottled dark brown with a bright lime-green stripe down their backs. In Living World Joanna Pinnock meets John Baker, a consultant specialising in reptiles and amphibians, who is monitoring pool frog numbers. Male pool frogs have a loud quacking call and so to count them in the breeding season John plays frog recordings to which the males respond by ballooning out white air-sacs at the corners of their mouths.
Pool frogs are related to European marsh and edible frogs, and like them, enjoy basking in warm sunshine. Extrovert behaviour like this makes them vulnerable to predators though and many frogs have been eaten by herons, grass snakes and even otters. Joanna comes face to face with a couple of grass snakes on site and encounters their very smelly defence strategy!
For the frogs, conservation efforts will aim to protect this slowly growing population and perhaps extend the range of pool frogs in East Anglia to ensure the return of this native.
Joanna Pinnock discovers the UK's rarest frog, the pool frog, in deepest Norfolk.
|Ouzels Of The Moor||20120812||Ring ouzels are birds of wild upland country, migrant thrushes rather like blackbirds with a bold white bib.In fact, ouzel, is an old word for blackbird or thrush.|
Unlike blackbirds, these are shy creatures which winter in North Africa and breed in remote craggy places in Wales, the north of England and Scotland, but are nowhere common. In southern England their decline has been sharp, with just a handful of pairs remaining on Dartmoor.
For The Living World, Miranda Krestovnikoff tracks down these elusive birds with the help of naturalist Nick Baker who's been studying the Dartmoor ouzels for the RSPB in an attempt to find out why the birds are in decline.
By late June, some birds have already fledged, but near other nests, the male birds are still singing and both parents are visiting the young. Although singing birds are easy to locate, proving that birds have bred at any particular site is a different matter as Nick admits, and this season has already provided him with some surprises.
Miranda learns that while the birds are declining across the whole of the UK, ornithologists are still uncertain about the reasons. Climate change may be drying up their mountain grasslands, or disturbance and nest predation may be the reasons, but the mysteries surrounding this stunning bird remain to challenge the dedicated teams striving to save it.
Miranda Krestovnikoff visits Dartmoor in search of ring ouzels, the mountain blackbirds.
|Little Owls||20120819||The little owl is not only our smallest breeding owl, but is also our only introduced one. Little owls, which aren't much bigger than a mistle thrush, were introduced to the UK from Continental Europe in the second half of the 19th century. Since then they have prospered and unlike many introduced species, have been generally welcomed.|
For Living World, Miranda Krestovnikoff visits a Wiltshire village which is home to a thriving population of the owls. This is the study area of Emily Joachim, a Ph.D student at the University of Reading who for four years has been following the breeding success of little owls in nest-boxes around an equestrian centre. The boxes, some of which are converted army ammunition boxes, allow her access to the owl chicks and to monitor how the birds are faring from season to season. This is important because she and other ornithologists suspect that little owls are declining in parts of England and Wales, and the reasons for this are not clear. While Emily's study can't produce easy answers, it is showing what the owls eat, and how they cope with variations in climate.For example, one study pair raised a record five chicks even in this recent damp spring, showing that they are robust and capable of adapting to the worst English summer for some time.
Together Miranda and Emily have intriguing glimpses of the owls and hear their distinctive call as dusk falls. Emily also has good advice for anyone with little owls on their land and who wants to keep them there.
Miranda Krestovnikoff tracks down Britain's smallest resident owl in a Wiltshire village.
|The Night Island||20121104||As dusk begins for this weeks Living World ornithologist Chris Sperring travels by boat over to Skomer where he is joined by David Boyle, an ecologist researching two of our most mysterious seabirds, the Manx Shearwater and the storm petrel.|
A visitor to Skomer island in the daytime in late summer will find sea the strewn with rafts of guillemots, razorbills and puffins, which scatter, leaving watery trails of sunlit footprints across the surface, or dive deep to make a pathway for the approaching boat. But at night a more dramatic wildlife spectacle unfolds as storm petrels and tens of thousands of nocturnal Manx shearwaters return to their burrows, skimming the air like half-seen shadows and tumbling clumsily to the ground.
Once the day flying seabirds have fallen quiet, in the semi-moonlit night Chris and David sit on a cliff edge waiting with anticipation for the first birds to come in from the sea; soon bat like shapes fly around their heads as the sparrow sized storm petrels begin to arrive. Although few in number on the island, storm petrels give a clue to the islands other and much bigger nocturnal seabird, the Manx shearwater. Moving further into the island Chris discovers that these true global seabirds, who travel thousands of kilometres from Wales to South America in a year, have difficulty landing and walking as their legs and feet are designed for swimming and digging. A true seabird.
Sitting amongst the huge Manx shearwater breeding colony, birds begin to crashland all around them and with so many birds all calling at once, the intensity of their discordant cries smothers the island in a nocturnal blanket of noise.
|The Harvestman's Garden||20121111||In the autumn harvestmen, with their exceptionally long thin legs and small central body, are some of the most visible and numerous invertebrates to be found in our gardens and countryside. For most observers harvestmen are just long legged spiders; however this is not the case. Autumn is the best time of the year to look for harvestmen and so for this Living World Trai Anfield travels to Sheffield where with entomologist Paul Richards she goes on a harvestman safari unravelling the many differences between harvestmen and spiders.|
One of the joys of studying harvestmen is that most of the 27 species can be seen in and around people gardens and to illustrate this Paul leads the way into his suburban garden to explore. As they rummage amongst his garden borders Paul explains that harvestmen are more closely related to scorpions than to spiders and that their scientific name Opiliones is Latin for "shepherd" referring to the ancient use of stilts by shepherds to watch over their flocks. Harvestmen do not spin webs, and although they do feed on other invertebrates, unlike spiders they will eat berries and fruits.
After a thorough search of his garden, Paul reveals that although there are 27 recognised British species of harvestman, earlier that week he found what is believed to be a newly discovered harvestman in Britain; so newly discovered that this species 28 doesn't even have a name yet.
|Centipedes And Millipedes||20121118||We are all familiar with these long cylindrical animals running across the soil in our gardens when we disturb a pot or some vegetation; their many segmented legs carrying them swiftly to safety. But how many of us really know what a centipede or a millipede actually is? Superficially they may look like the same species, but there are many differences. For this Living World, Chris Sperring heads off into the Oxfordshire countryside with Myriapod specialist Steve Gregory on a personal quest to find out more.|
On suitably damp and overcast autumnal day Chris discovers there are remarkable differences in the ecology of the predatory centipede and the unrelated dead wood specialist the millipede. It turns out that centipedes and millipedes are as distantly related from its other as they are from spiders or flies. Learning that the easiest way to tell them apart is that centipedes are fast moving and have one pair of legs per body segment, Steve then reveals that Millipedes have two pair of legs on each body segment and are much slower when disturbed, often rolling up into coil or ball.
Distantly related land dwellers of lobsters and crayfish centipedes and millipedes have evolved to a life on the land, one of the oldest terrestrial fossil is a millipede, but they are more at home in moist leaf litter or behind rotting bark where they can hide away from predators during the day, coming out at night to feed. Autumn is a perfect time to look for these cylindrical species so beginning in a beech woodland the programme moves to an ancient wood near the banks of the River Thames where Steve reveals how well adapted these two species are to this moist habitat and how important they are in the life cycle and health of our woodland and garden ecology.
|Brambles||20121125||are amazing plants, once introduced into New Zealand they began to spread at a rate of 30 feet each year to colonise vast stretches of the country and must come a close second to oaks for their importance. It not only provides the most accessible 'food for free' for us, it must rank as one of the most important plants in Britain for wildlife, providing nesting sites for at least 26 species of bird and around 100 insect species that depend upon brambles, and are a major component in a good habitat mosaic, which is often the best invertebrate habitat and is relatively resistant to rabbits which make it good in creating shelter.|
For this Living World, James Brickell travel to mid Wales to join botanist Ray Woods on a personal exploration of the humble blackberry bush in an attempt to learn more about the importance of brambles in supporting a myriad of nature. With over 300 species of bramble in the British Isles, some inhabiting small areas and highly adapted to soil type or aspect such as the sub-erecta group living at over 1000 feet above sea level. Ray explains the role of the blackberry in the wider landscape and how its complex ecology is a boon to the wildlife that inhabits, utilises and finds shelter from its structure.
Brambles are a very good nectar source, food plant mainly for many species; the fruits are a wonderful reservoir for raspberry beetles and feed wasps in late autumn! Humans have been eating blackberry fruits, known as drupes, for millennia and historically man may be one of the main vectors of spreading the seeds across the British Isles. Recent research though has uncovered a possible link to bramble growth and Climate Change, which once again illustrates the complexity surrounding brambles.
|The Living Deadwood||20121202||All trees, even ornamental species, at the end of their life are great providers of dead and decaying wood, whether they are in recognised woodlands, or as single specimens in our parklands. However far from being the end of life this provision of dead and decaying timber provides the beginning of life for rare invertebrate and fungal species. From a biodiversity point of view the conservation of this deadwood in woodlands is of critical value as many species are associated with specific species of deadwood, or certain trees.|
In Living World this week, Trai Anfield travels to an old park woodland near Helmsley in North Yorkshire where she meets up with entomologist Dr Roger Key for a daylong safari looking for invertebrates contained within deadwood. The story begins with fungi. Fungus spores carried in the air are deposited on the dead wood and with luck will germinate and send hyphae into the wood gradually breaking the wood down and thus providing suitable habitats for invertebrates and their larvae.
During her quest, Trai Anfield uncovers what is actually meant by deadwood, and that as a specialist Dr Key is known as a saprophytic entomologist, one who specialises in the lifecycles of deadwood insects. During the day, Dr Key uncovers a species he has known about but never seen in the wild in 30 years of searching for it.
Exploring the park woodland it becomes clear that a complex ecosystem is in place which if we become too tidy and clear up our fallen wood it can often be the worst thing people can do as this removes vital habitats from the lifecycle of many invertebrates and ultimately reduced the vigour of the woodland itself.
|Urban Kites||20130127||Over the past 200 years the UK red kite population dwindled, largely due to human persecution, until only a small population remained in mid-Wales. Since 1989 a number of reintroduction projects have begun to restore the red kite to its former range across the UK.|
Between 2004 and 2007 the Northern Kites Project re-introduced 94 red kites into the lower Derwent Valley. This Project was unique; whereas the previous ones had been carried out in rural areas, this one brought back the kites to a semi-urban environment, close to the large conglomeration of Gateshead and its neighbour on the north bank of the River Tyne, Newcastle. People can now walk to admire the red kites in the Lower Derwent Valley and yet only six miles from the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne.
For this week's Living World, Trai Anfield travels to Tyneside to see for herself these majestic birds. Starting at one of the release sites, Train is joined by Harold Dobson from Friends of Red Kites in the north east of England, who takes Trai on a journey through the Tyneside landscape following red kites in the winter landscape. But the real spectacle is when 46 red kites cover an electricity pylon like candles on a Christmas tree, only to fly slowly over head and into a woodland roost. Something everyone there found a deeply moving experience.
|Godwits||20130203||Black-tailed godwits are an elegant long legged bird about the size of a pigeon. In the summer they are found in the arctic where the Icelandic race of this species then migrates to Britain to spend the winter in relatively warmer weather. For this week's Living World, Chris Sperring travels to a private estate in Hampshire where on the flooded meadows along the River Avon, he joins Pete Potts from Operation Godwit.|
On a cold day Chris and Pete first of all see a few hundred godwits in the distance but with a bit of fieldwork and time they manage to get close enough to count leg rings on these birds, birds that Pete Pots will have ringed in Iceland. As the afternoon progresses more and more godwits come onto the flooded meadows until as the last light fades well over 2000 black tailed godwits could be seen wheeling over the landscape. This part of southern England may hold a quarter of the Worlds population of the Icelandic black-tailed godwit over winter.
In a few short months these birds will head back to Iceland and Pete explains to Chris the work he does for Operation Godwit and how it is connecting both conservation and communities.
|Tree Sparrows||20130210||were once so common in Britain they were at best ignored, at worst considered a pest by farmers. In China, Chairman Moa, led to believe it was enough of an agricultural pest to justify a purge that in 1958 he included it in ' the great leap forward' by ordering the nation to kill all sparrows. It was a part of the 'Four pests campaign' against the rat, mosquito, fly and tree sparrow. China went on a peoples campaign to stamp out the Sparrow, many were harassed by people banging pots and pans together, the aim being to keep them airborne until they dropped from exhaustion and could be killed, others were shot, trapped and their nests destroyed.|
In Britain the population of this once abundant bird crashed spectacularly between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, by more than 50% due to changes in agricultural practices, and now in western Britain it is a rare bird indeed. It should be remembered that, for every Tree Sparrow today there were perhaps around 30 in the 1970s, and any recovery therefore has a very long way to go.
This programme looks to identify the bird in situ and discuss the history, current population and the future of this most wonderful little bird, which comes in to gregarious winter flocks with other birds at this RSPB reserve.
|Birds Of The Taiga||20130217||In January Sweden can be a cold and inhospitable place. Despite winter temperatures dropping to minus 15 southern Sweden is alive with birdlife which, like in Britain, heads south from the high arctic to the relatively warmer climate of Scandinavia. For this week's Living World, Chris Sperring travels to the Vastmanlan area of Sweden where the huge taiga forests begin, forests that stretch east all the way to Alaska. Travelling 40 km north of the town Vasteras he meets up with Torbjorn Hegedus a local ornithologist and Tom Arnbom from WWF Sweden to head out for the day and see what birds they come across in this snowy wooded landscape.|
In the taiga birch woodland pygmy owl is a common species which Torbjorn attempts to lure down with a series of calls. This calling brings down crested tit, coal tit and a whole host of species, feeding in the woods. Penetrating deeper into the woods rewards the trio with a sighting of a hawk owl, a true specialist of the high arctic, but if that wasn't enough excitement for a day, pine grosbeaks come and mob the hawk owl. A wonderful example of the varied birdlife that can be seen in that area of Sweden which is at the same latitude as Shetland.
|The Wolf Tracker||20130224||For this week's Living World, presenter Chris Sperring goes in search of a large carnivore he's never seen before in the wild, the grey wolf. To do this he travels to Sweden where he meets up with Pierre Ahlgren a wildlife ranger in the Vastmanland area of Mid Sweden, where they are also joined by Tom Arnbom from WWF Sweden.|
With thick snow on the ground Chris, Pierre and Tom travel to a snowy woodland 50 km northeast of the town of Vasteras. Heading deep into the woodland almost immediately they stumble across wolf tracks. Closer inspection reveals these tracks are nearly a week old but as this is Chris's first sign of this illusive animal his excitement grows and the pair head off into the woods in the hope of seeing more recent tracks and maybe a wolf. One surprising fact is that wolf plays a vital role in the whole forest ecosystem. Along the way Pierre and Tom discuss with Chris the conservation of these wolves and how Sweden although it did not have any wolves until 1983, it is now one of the best places in Europe to see them with nearly 300 individuals roaming this vast empty country.
|Golden Pheasant||20130428||One of Britain's scarcest birds is also one of its most beautiful. The flame-coloured golden pheasant is a riot of red, orange and bronze and is native to Chinese forests. The birds are popular around the world as ornamental species and over the years have been introduced on country estates. In a few places they have thrived and a few populations have now established themselves in the wild and are classed as British birds.|
For Living World, Brett Westwood joins Paul Stancliffe of the British Trust for Ornithology in search of wild golden pheasants in the conifer woods of Norfolk. Here, in spite of their bright colours, they are very elusive and behave much as they do in their native China, skulking in dense undergrowth and glimpsed only as they dash across rides. The population here raises questions as a new atlas of British bird distribution is about to appear later this year. How viable is the population of "goldies" in the UK? As a non-native species should we consider them at all? As numbers in China are in decline, do our UK pheasants have an international importance? They're also inspirational birds which have adapted to our dense forests and are breath-taking to see in the wild. They appear on china, in art, and even in the stained glass window of a nearby church. They prefer to run rather than fly and call loudly at dusk in spring, so this visit is the best chance that Paul and Brett have to see one - a bird that's one of the toughest challenges that the countryside can offer.
|Dawn Chorus Day||20130505||May 5th is International Dawn Chorus day and to celebrate this worldwide event presenter Trai Anfield heads to the Coombes Valley near Leek in Staffordshire to experience the emulsion of sound of a dawn chorus there.|
Well before dawn, for this special Living World, Trai Anfield meets up with Jarrod Sneyd from the RSPB. Here standing in oak woodland their sense of anticipation rises as with the first shimmers of light breaking the eastern horizon, the first pipings of the thrush family begin to break the silence. Slowly and imperceptibly more birds and different species join the awakening woods, the warblers, flycatchers and redstarts are then followed by the seed eaters until, soon after sunrise, the wood is alive with nature's choral sound. Can there be any better way to celebrate the arrival of spring.
During the morning Trai discovers what birds are actually doing at dawn and why this is a special time of year. She also discovers that there is a dusk chorus, no less spectacular, but with increased ambient sounds in the evening, this is an event that is often overlooked. Sadly and all too soon, the dawn chorus in this little corner of England begins to wane and the countryside reverts to background ambient sound as those songsters head off to forage in the woods. Likewise Trai packs up her microphone and heads off for a breakfast with the memory of that sound still fresh in her memory.
|The Tenby Daffodil||20130512||For many the emergence of the daffodil is the real, true harbinger of spring. That flash of yellow across the countryside breathes vitality into a previously grey and dormant winter landscape. The spring of 2013 has been exceptionally cold and so these vibrant flashes of sunset yellow are an even more welcome sight to gladden the heart. There are around 26,000 species of daffodil in the World, however Britain is home to a special collection of true wild daffodils; smaller and less showy than the more usual cultivated stock, but superbly adapted to survive in our cold wet climate.|
For Living World, presenter Chris Sperring joins botanist Ray Woods in search of one such daffodil, the Tenby daffodil, the National emblem of Wales. This daffodil is unique in that it is found nowhere else on the Planet except around Tenby and southwest Wales. Most often associated with places of habitation, its origins and history are now lost in history, but by the 1800's this species was abundant in hedgerow and field.
In the 1830's a horticulturalist in Tenby saw the economic potential of selling these miniature wild daffodils to gardeners and with the arrival of the railway to London, thousands of tons of Tenby daffodil bulbs were dug up from the Welsh countryside and sent to Covent Garden markets. For a few years daffodil mania gripped Britain, the countryside was harvested for bulbs, with reports of one farmer receiving £80 for the daffodil bulbs which were dug up in a single field. By the 1950's this once abundant species was almost extinct in the wild and it was only a chance query in the Tenby Tourist Information office in the 1970's saved this species from extinction, and in doing so revived the fortunes of other wild daffodils in Britain.
|The Yuan Yang||20130519||In traditional Chinese culture the mandarin duck is believed to bring lifelong fidelity to couples and frequently used as symbols for wedding presents or in Chinese art. Formerly abundant in their native Far East, numbers of mandarin ducks have declined due to habitat destruction (mainly logging) and over-hunting. It is difficult to estimate exactly how many remain in the world, but estimates are around 60,000 to 80,000 birds, which includes a free living introduced and naturalised population of 7,000 birds in the UK.|
For this Living World, presenter Chris Sperring travels to the river Dart in Devon where starting underneath the busy A38 trunk road he meets up with naturalist John Walters who has been studying a winter roost of mandarin ducks here. In mid-winter up to 100 birds can roost here but in early spring they are beginning to pair up and disperse along the river Dart. Leaving this noisy suburban area, Chris and John then head off up the river to search for pairs of these wonderful tree ducks in the Devonian landscape.
The male mandarin is possibly one of the most colourful species of waterfowl and an unmistakable bird with its plumage covering most colours in an artist's palate. The male has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye, a reddish face and "whiskers". In full breeding plumage the most striking of all these feathers are two vibrant orange "sails" at the back which signal his presence to females and other males. Despite all these vibrant colours they are a surprisingly difficult bird to find in the wild as they are well camouflaged against the shrubs and habitat they move into to breed. Unlike most British ducks, these 'tree ducks' nest in tree holes, the emerging day-old ducklings have a perilous fall to the ground below.
Chris discovers in the programme that Britain's wild Mandarin population could probably be more numerous than that of the duck's true home, China and the Russian Far East, where it is now endangered. But how did this exotic alien came to be in Britain in the first place and how it is now on the British Bird List? First recorded in the 17th Century where they were brought to Britain as ornamental waterfowl on stately homes, they eventually escaped; although it was not until the 1920's that they became a truly wild living species, although as Chris discovers, intervention from humans plays a vital role in maintaining this exotic species in the British countryside.
|Coquet Terns||20130728||This week on Living World, presenter Trai Anfield is on home ground and heading off to Coquet Island, just a mile off the Northumberland coast at Amble. Coquet Island is now the last breeding colony in Britain for the roseate tern, a charismatic seabird sharing the island with 40,000 other seabirds.|
This is a rare privilege for Trai as during the roseate tern breeding season no landings are allowed on the island, nor are boats allowed close by. However guiding her through the natural history of this declining bird is RSPB's Paul Morrison, who manages the island, and BTO's Tom Cadwallander, the only person in the UK able to ring roseate terns. Even for this programme, Paul is not able to land on the island but he skilfully manoeuvres the boat just a few feet away from the nest boxes the RSPB install to assist the roseate terns to breed.
As Tom explains at the time of recording, there were only 71 breeding pairs of roseate terns on the island, making up about 99% of the UK population. The nearest large colony is in Ireland where around 1000 pairs breed at Rockabill. On Coquet Island the roseate terns share space with 3 other tern species, the sandwich, arctic and common.
Even though Trai cannot step onto the island, the spectacle of all these seabirds just feet from the shore is something she revels in while learning just a little more about this birds natural history.
Producer: Andrew Dawes.
|Glow Worms||20130804||This week on Living World, presenter Chris Sperring is in Buckinghamshire on the lookout for glow worms. Literature is full of references to these enigmatic little beetles who glow when its dark enough not to be able to differentiate colours. With Chris is Robin Scagell who has been studying glow worms for over 40 years and still gets a sense of excitement seeing one in some long grass by a lake near Little Marlow.|
Related to fireflies which do not occur in the UK, the glow worm lifecycle is fascinating. After hatching from eggs the larva may take up to 3 years to develop into adults, during which time they will feed on snails and molluscs. When they emerge as adults, neither the winged male or the wingless female have any mouthparts and their sole purpose is now to mate and start the next generation off again as eggs.
As Chris learns on a wonderfully warm July night, it is the female in vegetation that glows, it is this glow that the flying male is looking for. Once mated the female then switches off her light and after laying eggs, dies. While recording the programme, Chris witnessed a male come to a female and mate with her. Something that is very rare to see in the wild.
|Pine Marten||20130811||This week on Living World, presenter Trai Anfield travels to mid Scotland for an encounter with one of Britain's rarest mammals, the pine marten. Here in a remote landscape she meets up with Martyn Jamieson from the Field Studies Council for a safari with a difference, can they find a female with young, high in the tree tops? Although martens are not confined to woodland they do prefer this habitat as they are expert tree climbers. Like other Mustelids, pine martens are mainly carnivores and feed on small mammals, invertebrates and carrion, but they will also eat a lot of fruits and nuts. Best seen at dawn or dusk, pine martens are sometimes referred to as nocturnal, but they are frequently active during the day, especially in the summer months.|
Until the 19th Century, pine martens were found throughout much of mainland Britain, the Isle of Wight and some of the Scottish islands. Habitat fragmentation, persecution by gamekeepers and a trade in marten fur, drastically reduced this distribution. Their low point in terms of numbers came in the 1920's when they were restricted to a small area of north-west Scotland, with small numbers in North Wales and the Lake District. More recently through changes in land management and conservation research, pine martens are slowly recolonizing their old areas but still remain one of the rarest native mammals in Great Britain, with a total population of around 3-4,000. In Ireland there are probably more but data is sparse there.
The planting of big conifer woodlands has really helped the marten recovery as a territory can be around 150 hectares in size. Finding one in this Scottish woodland will be a challenge for Trai. Luckily at this site martens are seen regularly, and in the evening Martyn and Trai head to a quiet location to sit and wait by a well-used area as the dusk gathers. Will they be lucky on this July night?
Producer: Andrew Dawes.
|Native Lime||20130818||This week's Living World sees presenter Chris Sperring heading to Hampshire where with native lime tree specialist Hugh Milner they embark on a journey into the remarkable life of the UK's native lime trees. Most people's association with lime is a sticky mess on car windscreens from street planted non-native common lime. This is a hybrid of the 2 native species of lime tree in Britain, the small leaved lime and the large leaved lime.|
Small leaved limes were one of the 40 or so tree species which recolonised the country after the last Ice Age, before the land bridge between Europe and England disappeared under the sea. For millennia these two species have been something of a relic species in Britain as they were unable to produce viable fertile seed following a change in the climate which cooled dramatically around 3000BC. From then until now they were lost from the pollen records. In recent years however lime trees have begun to occasionally produce seed again and Hugh Milner takes Chris to see small leaved lime saplings in possibly the only woodland in Britain where lime seedlings are being established.
As a woodland species, small leaved lime has been used for centuries as a coppicing tree, not just for wood, but primarily for bast, a thick fibrous bark layer that was prized by rope makers. The bark, or more importantly the sap from the bark is also a great delicacy for great spotted woodpeckers, who it is now believed, after drilling their holes, wait until insects become trapped in the sap to take back to their young in the nest. More surprisingly lime trees can walk across a landscape, as they have the ability to regenerate from fallen timber or if branches make contact with the ground. This vegetative regeneration means that some of our oldest British trees may be lime, such as one in Westonbirt Arboretum which may be 3000 years old.
Producer: Andrew Dawes.
|Segestria Florentina||20131027||In the first Living World of the autumn run, Chris Sperring travels to Exeter to find a species hidden within the walls of Exeter's magnificent Cathedral. First found at the Cathedral as far back as 1890, the large tube-web spider or Segestria florentina, is the largest European spider from the Segestriidae family and one of the largest spiders found in the UK. Believed to be native to the Mediterranean region, the species was introduced on ships and first recorded in the UK in the mid-19th Century.|
Chris Sperring and Peter Smithers, Professor at the School of Biological Sciences at Plymouth University, go on a quest (with a surprising array of props) to find the species concealed amongst the Cathedral's gothic architecture.
Members of the Segestriidae family have six eyes rather than eight and their front six legs point forward in contrast to many arachnids which have only the front four legs pointing forward. They spin tubular webs in cracks of walls and hunt using a series of trip wires which when triggered causes the spider to spring out of the hole using its back two legs and bite their prey with their large green jaws.
Presented by Chris Sperring
Produced by Jim Farthing.
|The Ivy Bee||20131103||This week on the Living World Chris Sperring accompanies entomologist Richard Comont to Dry Sandford Pitts in Oxfordshire in search of a relative newcomer to the UK. Only named as a new species in 1993 and first recorded on British shores in 2001 the ivy bee (Colletes hederae) has been working its way north ever since.|
A real autumnal species the ivy bee is only active between September and November so its short year begins and ends within the space of a few weeks. As the name suggests its primary food source is the pollen from ivy blossom - the last of the year's flowers. Male ivy bees emerge first in order to be ready for the first females. Unmated females are pounced on my several males all attempting to be the first to mate with her. Unlike honeybees or bumble bees the ivy bee is solitary - the female prepares a nest-hole on her own in which to lay her eggs which she will provision with ivy pollen. Whilst the ivy bee is solitary they tend to dig their nest holes in large aggregations, sometimes in the thousands, in suitable sloping sandy banks.
The ivy bee seems to be bucking the trend of general decline in bee populations and spreading northwards as its range expands. Dry Sandford Pits is one of the most northerly of its known locations. Where will it be spotted next?
Presented by Chris Sperring
Produced by Ellie Sans.
Chris Sperring meets up with Richard Comont to find out more about the ivy bee.
|Fairy Rings||20131110||Both mysterious and fascinating fairy rings are steeped in mythology and. In this episode of the Living World Chris Sperring accompanies fungi expert Lynne Boddy from Cardiff University to the National Botanical Garden of Wales to bust the myths and explore the little known subterranean world of fairy rings. Each ring is formed of a single individual fungus and are at their most obvious when their mushrooms appear above ground on pasture and in woodland.|
Chris discovers that while the short-lived fruiting bodies, which often appear in the autumn, may be the most noticeable indicator of the presence of fairy rings the real action is taking place all year round below ground. A network of fungal tubes called mycelia make up the bulk of each individual fungi. This network spreads out underground decomposing, parasitizing, or forming mutualistic relationships with trees and grasses depending on the species of fungi. And when two fairy rings meet a battle ensues that often results in mutual annihilation. In learning about fairy rings Chris also finds out just what an important role fungi play in the world's ecosystems.
|Winged Buffet||20131117||Every autumn Spurn Point National Nature Reserve is inundated with small migrating birds from continental Europe. Exhausted from their journey across the North Sea blackbirds, redwings, stonechats and other small birds make easy picking for one of the UK's most charismatic birds of prey. Also the smallest falcon in the UK, merlin are dynamic and quick - blink and you'll miss them as they dash past on the hunt.|
Chris Sperring meets Peter Wright, former head ranger of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and an expert in merlin having studied them in their upland breeding habitat for many years. Chris and Peter join Andy Gibson, the Outer Humber officer for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust who shows them what attracts merlin - and other birds of prey to Spurn Point National Nature Reserve.
|Barnacle Geese Of Caerlaverock||20131124||After a long summer spent raising their young in the Arctic, barnacle geese need a safe place in warmer climes to fatten up before the breeding season begins again. Every winter the whole population of Svalbard barnacle geese make their way to one place in the UK; the Solway Firth on the west coast of Scotland. One of the best places to see them is the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust centre at Caerlaverock. Each day the barnacle geese gorge themselves in the fields around the centre. Just before dusk, quiet falls over the feeding birds, signalling it is time to return en masse to roost in the salt flats out of the way of opportunistic predators. Presenter Trai Anfield joins Brian Morrell to find out how their long journey has affected them and witness this incredible spectacle.|
Produced by Ellie Sans.
|Grey Seals Of Blakeney||20140202||A small group of female grey seals first chose the naturally managed sand spit Blakeney Point, on the North Norfolk coast as spot to haul out and give birth to their pups back in 2001. That year twenty-five pups were born and since then the new colony has grown year on year.|
Now every year, as autumn turns to winter, a whole soap opera plays out on the beach. Throughout November and December, white furred pups are born, weaned, and abandoned within three weeks. Males fight; establishing loose territories among the females to secure the best chance to sire next year's pups. Females raise their pups while the males slug it out and as soon as their pups are big and fat enough to go it alone their mothers mate and head back into the sea.
Twelve years after the first pups were born at Blakeney the colony is thriving. By the end of December 2013, over fourteen hundred pups had been born with more on the way. Although delighted with the success of the new residents this burgeoning population has led to major challenges for the landowner, the National Trust to keep both the grey seals and the curious public safe from one another.
To add to the challenge early December saw the biggest tidal surge in 60 years hit the north Norfolk, inundating many of the nature reserves along the coastline, including Blakeney.
Presenter, Trai Anfield goes to Norfolk to see how well the Blakeney grey seals weathered the surge and to witness the drama.
Produced by Ellie Sans.
|Lepidopteran Winter||20140209||Each year Britain's butterflies and moths attempt to make it through the cold, dark and often wet winter months. Some species will spend the winter as eggs, others as caterpillars or pupae but some get a head start on the spring flowers by spending the winter as adults. Being at their largest and most conspicuous in a time of hunger for many insectivorous predators, is a risky strategy for butterflies. Richard Fox of butterfly conservation explains how Lepidoptera pass the winter months and takes presenter Chris Sperring to a winter hideaway for a group of adult peacock butterflies, which have some surprising strategies to keep predators at bay.|
Produced by Ellie Sans.
|Long-tailed Tits: The Winter Flock||20140216||Seeing a flock of black and white striped, powder puff pink flanked long-tailed tits bouncing through the grey and brown winter landscape is a cheering sight. Scruffy and bandit faced they are often heard before they are seen with piping calls to keep the flock together. Charging around in family groups these diminutive birds will spend the coldest winter nights roosting together, lined up along a branch jostling for the best position. These groups, determined by behaviour in the breeding season, are essential to winter survival. Adults that were unable to raise a brood themselves help out other more successful family members as currency to spend the winter as part of the flock. Naturalist John Walters takes Chris Sperring to the southern fringes of Dartmoor to introduce him to one particular family group.|
Produced by Ellie Sans.
|A Starling Eruption||20140223||Each year the reedbeds of the Somerset Levels become the winter home for hundreds of thousands of starlings. Making their way from across the UK and Europe these birds have found a safe haven to roost with plenty of food nearby. The famous evening murmuration, fantastic formations of huge flocks of starlings coming in to roost, brings hundreds of visitors to the levels each winter. But far fewer people see the spectacle of the dawn eruption when the starlings take off en masse to start their day foraging in the surrounding fields. Simon Clarke of Natural England talks Trai Anfield through the spectacle on Shapwick Heath. When it is all over and three quarters of a million starlings have departed for the day, thoughts turn to the reedbed and the effect the presence of so many birds has on their winter roost site and the animals they share it with.|
Produced by Ellie Sans.
|Crossbills||20140302||Crossbills, so named due to the overlapping tips of their bills, are finches with large heads and bright colours: the males are red and the females are olive green. What makes them so unusual is that the tips of their beaks are crossed over; allowing them to rip into pine cones and extract the seeds. Different species of crossbills have different sized bills, which have evolved in association with the species of cones they eat. The Common Crossbill is found across the UK all year round and its numbers have been boosted by the planting of commercial conifers such as pine and larch. A real prize for birdwatchers is the larger and much rarer Parrot Crossbill, which has a very deep bill and can tackle the biggest and thickest cones. Parrot Crossbills breed in very small numbers in the UK, almost exclusively in native pinewoods in Scotland. In winter 2013/14 small flocks of parrot crossbills arrived in eastern England including Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.|
Presenter Trai Anfield and ornithologist Ian Newton, who has studied the movements of crossbills, take the rare opportunity to track down this flock, which probably irrupted from the breeding forests in Scandinavia. Population irruptions occur when the pine crop fails in their native countries and so the birds wander widely in search of a fresh supply. If food supplies in Sherwood Forest run out, the birds could disperse at any moment, so the search for these unusual and colourful species will be a gripping one for all involved, listeners included.
Produced by Jim Farthing.
|Mendip Voles||20140427||Living World presenter Chris Sperring this week joins Dr Fiona Mathews, Senior Lecturer in Mammalian Biology at Exeter University on a quest to unravel the secrets behind one of the most abundant if secretive mammals in the UK - the vole. Travelling to the Mendip Hills in Somerset their journey begins with the knowledge that there are three types of vole found in the UK, water voles, bank voles and field voles; three species not to be confused with similarly sized mice. At nearly 1000 feet above sea level, the Mendip Hills is a hotspot for both field and bank voles and as Chris and Fiona set out to see a vole for themselves it proves much harder than they think. Despite an estimated population of 75 million field voles in the UK these animals lead a precarious and all too brief life. Living for just a few months voles are prolific breeders and populations can fluctuate up to tenfold on a three to four year cycle which can have drastic effects on the species which prey on them including arguably Britain's most loved bird, the barn owl.|
Produced by Jim Farthing.
|Adders Of Loch Lomond||20140504||On the eastern edge of Loch Lomond adders are preparing for another summer. Spring-time sun has coaxed them from their winter hibernacula and as the weather warms males have begun to look for potential mates. The adder is one of the most studied and yet misunderstood British animals. With distinct markings and predictable habits individual adders can be tracked for years by the people who know how, exposing their mysterious behaviours. Yet adders are still despised by some, unaware that their docile and cautious nature makes the risk of their painful, but very rarely dangerous, bite very small. Trai Anfield joins Chris McInerny on a showery, but warm early April morning to seek out these beautiful and captivating reptiles.|
Produced by Ellie Sans.
|Springtime In The Hazel Coppice||20140511||The ancient tradition of coppicing, the periodic cutting of trees and allowing the stumps to regrow, was once common throughout lowland Britain but has been on the wane since the late 1800's. The mosaic habitat of coppiced woodland provides opportunities for a wide variety of wildlife to thrive. With more light reaching the forest floor, recently cut areas are awash with springtime flowers. As the trees regrow they provide habitat for the sleepy and secretive dormouse and many woodland butterflies. Presenter Chris Sperring visits a traditionally managed hazel coppice in Dorset and is joined by coppicer David Partridge and botanist Andy Byfield. As David describes this ancient form of woodland management Andy identifies the woodland plants that are given breathing space by this vanishing tradition.|
Produced by Ellie Sans.
|A Shell Nesting Bee||20140518||Solitary bees build their nests in some interesting places, but none more so than Osmia bicolor, a mason bee that's preferred real estate is the empty shells of snails. Emerging in spring a few weeks after the males, the mated female spends two days lining and provisioning the shell before laying her eggs and sealing the shell. But she's not finished yet. Perhaps to prevent hungry predators in search of its original slimy occupant from destroying her nest, the snail bee hides the shell under a wigwam of twigs and sticks. Join presenter Trai Anfield and naturalist John Walters as they look for this pioneering little bee on the chalk hillsides above Cerne Abbas.|