Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Autumnwatch 2008

It's started! Love-him-or-hate-him Bill Oddie and glowing BBC icon Kate Humble returned to our screens last night for the opening of Autumnwatch 2008.

Having just had one of the coldest Summers in years, some of us may feel cheated at how soon Autumn seems to have arrived, but the Autumnwatch team have already been hard at work for weeks preparing our new Autumn adventures for the screen!

Based at Brownsea Island, home to one of the last groups of red squirrels in the British Isles, Autumnwatch 2008 is promising to take us on a journey through the season's true wild mysteries unravelling stories on land and beneath the surface fo the oceans around Britain. For a start we'll be following the Autumnwatch squirrel challenge as the crew attempts to find out if the Red Squirrel can compete with the grey's famous agility and cunning.

Simon King has returned to us from the Masai Mara to take on the much less dangerous challenge of examining the rutting and lekking behaviours of the beautiful fallow deer population at Petworth. Last night we learned that a single male may mate with up to 15% of the females in the population. Using the Big Cat Live technology we saw images of the deer at night from the infra-red cams and followed them into the dawn to examine how and why a single male can be so successful! Simon tells us it all comes down to stamina(!) and we should stay tuned for more from Britains beautiful deer populations.

The lovely Gordon Buchanan has been struggling his way out to the Farne Islands to check up on the grey seals out there whose freshly born pups are learning to suckle and of course to cope with the elements. These pups will have to become completely independent in just three weeks in order to cope with the loss of thir parents to the annual migrations. Autumnwatch are promising us serious drama from the grey seal populations where the pups are at the most vulnerable time of their lives.

Another exciting first, we'll be seeing reptilian behaviours this Autumnwatch as Dorset is home to all six of the UKs native reptiles...and some invaders!

TUNE IN TONIGHT for a look at the famous Hannibal the cannibal barn owl as well as some amazing slow motion footage from the bird feeder cameras.

If you want to get involved in Autumnwatch check out the Autumnwatch website, at which you can upload your own footage of Autumnal behaviours, chat on the messageboards about your sightings and even contribute your photos to their Flickr group.
Missed an episode?! You can catch last night's Autumnwatch now on the BBC iPlayer.


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