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September 15, 2015

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September 15, 2015

BBC Autumnwatch 2015: Everything you need to know

September 15, 2015
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This year Autumnwatch has returned, click here to read the latest article for 2016.

BBC’s fantastic Autumnwatch 2015 is on its way and will begin on Monday 2nd November and last until Thursday 5th November. It’s a great time to get thinking about nature in the UK, and of course in your back gardens and all the birds you could attract and observe. It is, as Shakespeare described it, the season when ‘bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang’, a time of beautiful sunsets and fields shrouded in majestic fog, yet that time ‘as the death-bed wereon it must expire’.

Last year saw a plethora of advice, hints and tips, and of course lots of photos and videos submitted by people across the UK – in fact, the official BBC Autumnwatch Flickr page is here, and no doubt many more new photos for 2015 will be added here. You can also keep an eye on Autumnwatch on the official BBC Autumnwatch 2015 page here as well as the Autumnwatch 2015 live feed.

Where will BBC Autumnwatch 2015 be located?

Caerlaverock Castle from the North West

Autumnwatch 2015 will be broadcast live from the west coast of Scotland, with its set up at the WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre near Dumfries. The Caerlaverock Wildfowl & Wetland Trust reserve attracts thousand of wild birds over Autumn, and offers a unique opportunity to observe wildlife from places as far away as Greenland, Scandanavia and Iceland. Once a working farm, Caerlaverock has since been developed into a huge reserve of saltmarsh and wetland habitats.

 

What can you expect from Caerlaverock?

There is a lot of wildlife action to be discussed and talked about from Caerlaverock this year, but some of the key highlights include:

  • Starlings: this wonderful and well-known ‘garden bird’ will arrive in late October, a time when they will go into roost. The BBC team will focus on the wonderful murmurations product by starlings as they flock together.
  • Whooper swans
  • Barnacle geese
  • Caerlaverock Badgers
  • Triops: a tiny and ancient crustacean; in fact, Caervalock in one of only two places in the world where these can be located

 

Who will present Autumnwatch 2015?

624On BB2, presenters Chris Packham, Micaheala Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games will be the key ‘observers’ and reporting back to us with lots of wonderful wildlife action. This time around, the series will examine varying weather conditions and how our wildlife is subsequently affected. One key question is why it is that this year’s autumn is different from others.

You can also catch up on TV with Red Button & Online, where live cameras will broadcasting live action, including a badger cams, pond cams and underwater cams (with an emphasis on otters). Check out the BBC blog post here.

8 birds to look out for over autumn and winter

 

What birds will you see in your garden?

Blue Tit

Blue Tit in Autumn
 
© Francis C. Franklin, available under public license

You will find many of the usual garden inhabitants, such as blackbirds, robins and blue tits, but you may be surprised to find that these aren’t the same birds as those over Spring during the breeding and fledgling seasons. They are more likely to have migrated from colder climates in countries further north of the UK. These birds will of course require similar types of food, but with the season entering a much colder time you will want to consider higher energy foods such as suet fat balls and peanuts.

Find out more about UK birds by visiting our A – Z of British Garden Birds.

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120 comments

  1. I had a pair of blue tits starting to next in a box in back garden. I went out front and left bits of fluff and hay in front garden ( not bear box) but I’ve not seen blue tits since ? Have I dune wrong?

  2. Hello, My name is Ken & I live backing onto farmland near Hailsham East Sussex. Today I have just seen something that quite took me by surprise. A crow caught a female blackbird & continued chasing it across the field until it finally killed it & ate it. Is this normal ?

    Regards Ken

  3. A couple of months ago you asked about reports on any murmuration no matter how small. Yesterday I witnessed a small one here in South Wales (near Porthcawl) overlooking Kenfig NNR. The flock was probably only 100 to 150 birds so I was well placed to notice a couple of things. First of all when 3 jackdaws made a feint at the group the flock split into 2, then 3 groups and flew off in 3 different directions to lead the jackdaws off. This is well recorded by others I think. Shortly after they regrouped and it seemed that each group employed a few birds as scouts, or communication dispatch riders, to liaise with the other groups presumably to make sure the skies were clear of other predators or problems. Then the big group looked set to roost in some Leylandii but instead it seemed that they mere flushed the stand of trees and a raptor flew into their midst. I would guess a buzzard by the flight pattern and tail. The starlings repeated their split, feint and disperse tactics again. The raptor disappeared. Then the groups regrouped from three to two. First one group disappeared to roost – in a place frustratingly out of my sight. Shortly after a few turns and feints over the general direction the second group also disappeared to roost. I suppose I stood watching for about 20-25 minutes. The time was early evening , maybe you would call it late afternoon – murky day. The interesting thing for me was that the group was small enough for me to see the tactics of splitting and regrouping. The scouts were interesting too, they definitely seemed to fly back and fort with messages between the groups but never in single birds – always about 3 together. I hope this little bit of information is useful. I had fun watching although my young collie was getting a bit impatient with me!

  4. I thought there would be a warning about bonfires and hedgehogs, they getting ready to hibernate now and need all help and publicity they can get SAVE THEM , we will lose them otherwise….

  5. Badgers sett to be closed by developers over next few days to make way for Giant warehouse. Licence granted by natural England to close sett, the last time I looked at the artificial sett provided by developers Badgers had not been anywhere near it. Is there any evidence that they actually use these setts when closed out of their existing sett.

  6. Hello,

    Can you help identify a bird that was in my garden last week? There were two on a piece of garden which I had just dug, they were grey looking over the head, down the back and tail, when they flew they has a red/russet rump. They were not as large a starlings and not as small a blue tit, they were lovely looking birds, I can’t find in any books that I have. I live on the coast at Bexhill on Sea.

    Great programme as always.

  7. We have just seen what looked like a greenfinch in our garden.it was twice the size of a normal one. Is this unusual

  8. I have seen badgers in Wednesbury, West Midlands. They make their way to a lady’s front door where they are fed by her every night. We saw five in total. There are also badgers near the centre of West Bromwich. They often visit an allotment not far away from the centre. Badgers have also been seen at Newton Street allotments in West Bromwich.

  9. This program needs to be on for longer than 4 nights, with more out and about information.apart from Martin Hughes games there’s not enough. .. The bbc has great wildlife camera men most never get the credit they deserve !! Let’s have more.

  10. One evening last week we had a small lizard outside our back door. We shone a torch to see it more clearly and it was pale purple in colour. We are led to believe that this could be a sand lizard. We would welcome any advice you may be able to give. We live in a small town in Derbyshire and wonder how unusual this might be.

  11. I think you’ll have geese arriving tomorrow – they’re flying over us in Doune (north of Stirling) right now

  12. In the middle of October a flock (around 30) blackbirds ( not our natvie species) ,the size of a trush, the beak was slightly longer and dark coloured and the feathers all black. The flock descended on our 3 large rowan trees, stayed for about 15 minutes and within 4 days the trees were stripped bare. They landed en masse then after the trees were stripped they disappeared and never returned. Can you tell us what the species was please. This is in Houston, Renfrewshire. They were not fieldfares of redwings. They were all black

  13. My husband Simon and I live in Ulceby North Lincolnshire and whilst walking the dogs am and pm see large flocks of geese we think landing in the stubble fields. Not sure what type of bird they are as we don’t want to disturb them but what are they eating ? As on the programme you say they eat grass.

    Great show look forward to watching

    Jill & Simon

  14. We have a large Badger snuffling on our small green in Essex amongst a particularly built up area. We also have Foxes which also snuffle in the green. Shame to read the rude comments from Dorothy Readman, many viewers are delighted to watch the Badgers on the programme & even more so in our front gardens!

    1. Hi Li

      Thank you for your post. It is always amazing and inspiring to see wildlife and even more so when it is on our own doorsteps. There is not enough appreciation given to these animals, especially when you take into consideration all the hardships they endure!

  15. We live in Millhouses, a suburb of Sheffield,and have had up to 4 foxes and two badgers every night all year. The fox usually comes first around 7.30pm and eats the sausages, followed by the badger around 10.15pm, who eats the peanuts. However, if the badger gets here first he eats the lot!

    1. Hi Jim,

      Your wildlife is very privileged! Peanuts and sausages sounds like a feast fit for kings. Do you have any photos?

  16. spring 2014 i was given frog spawn developed into frogletts but not quite frogs stayed this way till 2015 spring when i transfered them to a larger pond
    this year had frog spawn in the pond and given more from someone they are still tadpoles this week november 1st why are they late developers and will they survive the winter have plenty of weed and feed them fish food
    any sudgestions

    1. Hi Hazel,

      Thank you for your post. Do not worry, although not overly common, it has been known that some tadpoles will fail to complete their change from tadpoles to frogs before the winter sets in they choose to stay in their ponds until spring, when more often than not, these late bloomers will transform into frogs. It is a phenomena that is still not fully understood. I have attached an article that you may find interesting.

      http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2010/nov/17/tadpoles-over-winter-in-pond

  17. I have a Cornus Kousa Tree in my Garden and it is absolutely loaded with large ripe red fruits the size of strawberries but no birds, not even Pigeons,
    will touch them, Why is this because I don’t think they are poisonous

    1. Hi David,

      Thank you for your post. The photo of your tree certainly looks appetising, however at this time of year the birds simply may just be being fussy. Though the fruits look tasty, other berries and fruit may appeal more because of taste and nutritional value with winter on its way, the birds will be stocking up on foods high in fat and sugar to prepare for the cold!

  18. My aunt has two visiting badgers in her garden. She does encourage them by feeding them. Back in 2002 in my father’s garden, which had 1/2 acre of land, became home to a badgers sett. The contractors who were developing the land had to wait for them to leave before building work could take place. Both properties are in Stourbridge ( West Midlands) and within a minutes walk of the towns ring road and town centre.
    I have also seen a solitary badger walking along the permiters of the town in Norton and Wollaston/Stourton.
    Exciting stuff.

    1. Hi Lucy

      Thank you for your comments. It is very encouraging to hear when building companies take wildlife habitats into account. Unfortunately as time has gone on, and the need for buildings has increased, wildlife such as badgers keep finding themselves displaced. This is even more unsettling when we know animals such as badgers will use their setts generation after generation. Should you get any photos, please do send them into us, we love receiving photos of wildlife.

  19. I have a badger visiting my small garden in Todmorden West. Yorks, most nights between 11.30pm and 5.45 am. There may be 3 as have noticed different head markings, size and eating habits. I watch them through my kitchen window but once when letting the cat out a badger strolled round the corner and stood below me on the step and stared up at me for 15 seconds before it ran up the garden. I feel very lucky to have them visit, sylvia

    1. Thank you Sylvia for providing us with such detailed photos of your beautiful garden visitor. Badgers truly are fascinating creatures and every credit to you! Your regular and safe food supply will be what is attracting him back to your garden. With the loss of habitats and urbanisation of countryside, it can be hard for all wildlife to find food, especially in the winter months. Any extra help we can provide these animals just helps to ensure they will be around for generations to come.

  20. We had our own ‘Autumn Badger Watch’ this year for the first time. We had spotted fresh scat at a well excavated badger site in Hampshire and went back on two evenings to be rewarded with a real delight. We stood stock still against a tree and watched five badgers in total snuffling around in the leaf litter, digging, using their latrine and emerging from the sett. Surprisingly they seemed curious about us and came up close to us, apparantly unperturbed by our presence. We were thrilled to be allowed to share their world for this brief period. i managed to get several photos – see attached.

    1. What a beautiful photo! Thank you for sharing your very special experience with us. Indeed badgers are generally cautious but can become accustomed to humans. It seems you have adopted a great method to spot and observe them. It is common for badgers to live in complex social structures which usually consist of about five adults. What a treat to have seen so many in one go. The photo you have uploaded captures this one beautifully!

  21. Late yesterday afternoon as we drove home the sunset was beautiful behind the hills. As we neared home stopped the car to take some pictures. Thats is when we saw the geese, well I presume they are geese in groups of 20 to 50 waves and waves of them. Got home and just watch the geese going over the house for about 1/2 hour, we must have seen thousands of them. I could not identify the type of goose and the funny things was they were silent, no noise, strange. They still came even when dark but it looked as though they heading in the direction of the sunset. The fields around us have been cut recently and there are lots of geese there obviously eating the grain. Bird watching guys what type of Geese will they be ??????

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comments. Did you manage to get any photos of them? 1000’s of Geese migrate from the colder climates of Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard and come to us here in Britain around October time. What a delight to have witnessed something so spectacular!

  22. Many blackbirds are feasting on the rowan tree berries on our front garden. Both from the tree and on the floor. However, I fear they are getting really drunk ? The berries are fermenting and producing high alcohol content. The Birds are tipsy, losing their ‘sat nav’ and crashing ! We have had 12 crashes into our windows (not double aspect) including 3 fatalities very sadly this week. It seems to have got worse the last 3 or 4. I can’t send them to AA so what I can do?

  23. camera in bird box , two sets of blue tits this year but from august we have a blue tit come every night to sleep in box but there has been know nest built
    do you think this is one of the young returned. great show best on the box

  24. Just wanted to let you know HR6 0JP Stone House has had its first Redstart in the Yew Tree & Winter Brambling on the feeders TODAY – is this officially Autumn!!

  25. How many hours do we have to watch badgers, when it would be nice to see other things. Spring/Autumn watch is getting boring with badgers constantly and the presenters taking the mickey out of each other because two are getting wet while one is in the dry. Please grow up and tell those of us who can’t get out to see these things, something interesting. I can see more birds from my back garden than have been shown on the Watch programmes.

  26. We have had 4 badgers, but every night we have 1 coming right up to the back patio door feeding on nuts, raisins and fruit, especially old grapes.
    We are 1 meter away from them and feel very hounered to have these amazing creatures sharing our garden. They have done no damage apart from rummaging in the compost heap.
    We are quite urban, but have the railway line with extensive bank and thicket not far away. We live in Chalfont, Bucks.

    1. Good Afternoon

      What an honour to have so many badgers visit your garden at once. Every credit to you for providing them with a safe and constant feeding source, which inevitably will be the reason they continuously feed in your garden. Have you managed to snap any photos?

  27. I live in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire and we regularly get foxes and badgers in the back garden eating the peanuts I put out for them.

  28. WE LIVE IN WOLVERHAMPTON, NEAR TO NEWCROSS HOSPITAL.
    WE HAVE A BADGER VISIT MOST NIGHTS ALONG WITH WITH A GROUP
    OF FOXES. WE DO LEAVE FOOD FOR THEM. IN YOUR REPORT THIS EVENING
    YOU ASKED FOR ANY NEW SIGHTING’S TO BE REPORTED.
    WE FEEL SO HONOURED TO SEE SUCH WILDLIFE WITHIN METERS OF US SUCH
    GREAT BEAUTY.
    GREAT PROGRAMME TONIGHT, LOOKING FORWARD TO THE REST OF THE SERIES.

    IRENE & KEN WENLOCK

  29. Could you please tell us what the animals & birds are when you show them you might know what they are but we don’t thank you great show

  30. You were asking to be informed about badger setts. I live in Gosport and there are a couple of setts near me. I leave food out for both foxes and badgers and have had upto 3 badgers on the grassed area in front of my house. One also used to climb over my back gate to rummage in my back garden especially when the pears had dropped to the ground.. About 3 years ago he/she came face to face with my greyhound and made a hasty exit over the gate. Sadly I don’t think any badger has been in my back garden this year and I’ve only seen 2 badgers at the same time.

    1. Hi Sue

      Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately the threat of predators can scare badgers away, but badger setts can be used for many generations of badgers. We are sure they are certain to return to you.

  31. A family of foxes that live in the bushes next my house in Swansea ,this photo was take in July this year
    at 12 pm they come out all times of day and just walk around.

  32. I live in the greystones area of Sheffield I regularly see a badger on the lawn, used to be 3 but haven’t seen the others for a couple of years. Also a fox the rest of the family seems to have died. There are 2 tawny owls that live nearby. Also seen a common woodpecker for the first time.

    1. Hi Mark

      Thank you for your post. It sounds like you have very diverse wildlife visiting you. Do you have any photos ?

    1. Hi Amanda,

      We are delighted to hear you are looking to help the birds in your area. Let us know if you would like any advise.

    1. Hi Alan

      Thank you for sending us your photo, he certainly looks like a curious fellow. The colours on him are beautiful. A real contrast to the reds and oranges of autumn.

  33. We live in Coalburn, S Lanarkshire and on 2 evenings 27th and 30th September I saw literally 1000’s of geese migrating in long skeins flying roughly east to west. I heard them before I saw them! Too high to identify them – I am used to greylags as I used to live on the Isle of Lewis – these made a similar noise.
    I wonder if they were the geese going to the Solway Firth.

    We have also had swallows nesting in our garage and we watched them raise 2 broods of 3 each and watched them fledge. All the local swallows migrated by the end of September – quite a good number in the flight.

    1. Hi Pam
      Thank you for your post. We were very excited when we read your post as it may very well be you witnessed the Migration of thousands of Barnacle Geese that migrate to Caerlaverock every year from Svalbard. They complete their 2000 mile journey in just 41 hours. As you are directly above Caerlaverock it is very possible you were fortunate enough to witness this.

  34. Hi
    Swallow and House Martins migration.

    I live in Angus NE Scotland and have for many years had the pleasure of nesting swallows and house martins in my house eves.
    This year they arrived in late April which is about the usual time but their departure was much later 3rd October although one large gathering departed exactly one month earlier in September. Could these later migrants have been from further north and late in leaving their nesting sites?
    My own lot were gone with the first gathering in September.
    Good luck with the programme look forward to watching.

    Lesley

    1. Hi Lesley

      Thank you for the post and for sending us your photo. Many species seem to be migrating earlier due to changes in climate, breeding and feeding patterns so it is interesting to hear you have observed later migrations?

  35. Would like you to know that here in the Dordogne s w France we have seen over the past few evenings wonderful displays of murmurations

  36. My son and I cannot wait since we knew Autumnwatch was starting on November 2th. We like your program so much! !
    With nature love from the Netherlands.

  37. Please can you help me. Since July my husband and I have been picking up dead or dying wasps from our window sills in the back bedrooms or the kitchen in our home. It hasn’t been unusual to pick up 8 or nine at a time. We cannot see any nests near by, neither do we see them flying around. I found four dead ones yesterday and so far three today. One of my close neighbours as had the same problem. Has anyone got any explanation for this please.

  38. Can you give information about hedgehogs please. Not just the usual, ” be careful to check your bonfires”, but on what people should be doing to care for hedgehogs in their gardens, what to feed them on and that they need water to drink, but what sort of size they should be before hibernation, plus please make ponds save for them. We have several in our garden (only a small garden) and are putting out food every evening. There are at least three young ones, one of which is much paler in colour than the others, almost silvery, and one that is larger but we don’t think is a full adult. We think the smaller ones may be autumn babies and the larger one could be a Spring baby (?). What has really upset us is that what we assume was a parent (which we had been feeding since early September) was drowned in the pond next door. They are all looking well and active at the moment, but we may have to contact a rescue centre if they hibernate before they are large enough.

    1. Hi Helen,

      Thank you for your query.

      You are most lucky to have these visiting your garden. There numbers are declining and anything you can do to help is important. Hedgehogs are interesting creatures. Though traditionally known to be cautious, these days we here many stories of hedgehogs coming into gardens to feed and in some cases even approaching humans.

      Hedgehogs are wild animals in their purest form, they are mainly insectivores feeding on insects, beetles and worms predominantly. These may be hard to come buy in the winter so we especially recommend Spikes semi moist food. It is made up of meaty bits that hedgehogs can’t seem to get enough of. I have attached a link to recommended hedgehog food for you to look at.

      http://www.gardenwildlifedirect.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?cat=0&q=hedgehog

      It is popular amongst feeding enthusiasts to leave out bread and milk. But please do not do this, as milk can make hedgehogs very ill. The best thing is to leave them some water and top this up daily. They tend to come out at night and as long as they feel safe in the environment they are being fed, they will continue to visit you. A grown hedgehog can weigh up to 1 kg and can reach lengths of 6 -8 inches. It does sound as though the little ones may have lost a parent and it is always heartbreaking to hear when this happens. The best thing to do is ensure there is plenty of food and water available for them to fatten up on before they hibernate. For any more information please do email into us.

  39. We live in West Sussex Please can you tell us why our blackbirds have disappeared from our garden lately we feed regularly and always had male & female blackbird visitors we miss them

  40. We leave a small dish with seed in under a bench for some woodmice who visit they usually clear it all but yesterday they didn’t come,this morning the dish had a layer of gravel plus some small twigs and leaves on top of the seed what would do this?

  41. I am very local to Caerlaverock and go on to the merse a great deal, painting etc. I hope Chris you are not going to start being vile about us country folk, like you are so often. So glad you thinks cats are innocent to our song bird crisis I think you have that very wrong!! You must keep your popularity ratings up so damning cats is not a good start. Yup Hedgehogs v Badgers? Have seen one Hedgehog this summer and a great many Badgers, we have Red Squirrels here I trap Greys and shoot them, Buzzards are taking Reds, and also they had both of our Barn Owls, I found the remains. So Chris any ideas? Oh yes I forgot Foxes, where shall I start. Would you be interested in visiting the Fox Hound kennels before you leave and learn about how it all works? so you can talk actually knowing what you are talking about! You would be very welcome, and it would be important for you understand a little about what makes the countryside and its rural communities tick don’t you think?

  42. I am watching a feeding frenzy in my back garden. In the large pear tree four pairs of Goldfinch are enjoying the black thistles. About a dozen Starlings (bullyboys) are scrapping over mealworms on the bird table. Two Blackbirds are eating earthworms down below. Blue tits are checking out the bird boxes and Great tits the suet mix. Wee Jenny Wren is hopping about in the tree after bugs and mites not bothered in the least by the Green finches. All this activity is accompanied by a Robin singing merrily at the very top of the tree. Amazingly and a first sighting for me in flies a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Blooming fantastic…I love autumn !
    No way is four evenings of the programme Autumwatch 2015 enough. What on earth is the BBC thinking. I vote for less Strictly Come Dancing and more Autumwatch.

  43. I took the attached picture last week (22 October). Is it a juvenile Jay or is it a Jay in “anting” posture? I thought it might be a bit late in the year to see a juvenile Jay. Can someone please confirm.

  44. My partner was at work and saw a Crow flying with something in its beak. The crow landed and was struggling to keep its prey in its beak so decided to hop over to the puddle, drown the prey and then flew off like it had just made life easy for itself. Is it usual for this to happen? Amazing intelligence!

  45. Hi, we have some strange glowing green and red lights in the oak tress around our house. I thought that might be glow worms, but I contact someone and they said glow worms do not live in trees. And thought on what it could be.

  46. Today there was a murder of 40 plus crows high several trees in my local park.
    Every time another bird flew past them ,( usually a gull) the racket they made was brilliant.
    Have seen individual crows mobbing a buzzard in this park, but not so many crows flocked together. Why would they do this?

  47. I was interested to see a female sparrowhawk eating a pigeon and then leaving the leftovers for her mate -fascinating! and I took some pictures-
    one attached. I am worried though about their frequent visits to the garden and their taste for goldfinches – apart from stop leaving food out – has Chris got any advice?
    kind regards

  48. Could you explain the strange action and notices been made by a group of urban foxes. They running around and rubbing trees in our street but most of all were the strange noises they were making, it was almost like a hammering/drumming noice, very strange. The foxes were very large and in very good condition with white tips to there tails.

  49. Question for the team, we have been watching two Ravens flying together almost sincronised and clucking to each other, amazing aerobatic display, why at this time of year?

  50. Hi, my fish pond is still full of tadpoles. Since the Spring it has had thousands of tadpoles and I’m amazed that there are still plenty in there, some without legs. Is this normal for the end of October?
    Sue.

  51. Can you identify this bird?

    Hello – I came across this dead bird early this morning and have been unable to identify it. It is the size and shape of a wood pigeon, with green legs & beak. The top of the body is dark grey, with some white under it’s tail. The underside is mottled grey. The area it was found in is countryside on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire/Shropshire borders.

  52. a pair of birds been bugging me for months not sure what they were then today sat next to pond in garden and one came down to bath.it was not bothered right next to me so got a good look firecrest as I live in co durham thought this was a bit unusual

  53. Hello, I wonder if you could help me identify a bird!
    Last Thursday I was in Buckland, Oxon, and saw a bird having a wonderful splash in the birdbath in the garden. At first I thought it was one of the resident blackbirds, but then I noticed that it had white on it, a neat half-moon collar on the back of its neck, and its body was deeper than a blackbird. When it fluffled its wings to splash the water all over it, its back from under the wings to its tail had splodges of white which were hidden when the wings were folded. Its head was different too, more like a dove, black beak (and I think dark eye) I did not see its feet, but when it flew away, it flew in a straight line on the same level, noisily and vigorously. I can’t see one among the regular garden birds, I wonder if you can help me?

    I love your ‘Watch’ programmes and I’m delighted to see that Autumnwatch is on TV next week!

  54. Hi we were cycling along the bottom of the pyrenees last month and came across this by the side of the cycle path and we were wondering if you knew what it was thanks for any input Peter

  55. As the warden of Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve 1974-1980, I was amused to see the photograph of Castle Urquart on the banks of Loch Ness instead of the distinctive triangular Caerlaverock Castle.

    Looking forward to the programme

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you very much for pointing this out for us. We’ve now updated this and the image is of Caerlaverock Castle from the North West.

  56. Dear Autumn watch team,
    I have become very concerned this summer as the Blackbird population in our area has declined considerably. We live in Mottram St Andrew near Alderley Edge in Cheshire. For as long as I remember we have always had a thriving population of Blackbirds, always having at least 2 clutches a year been reared in our garden.
    This year none, and other species seem to be thriving as normal. There is no evidence of Blackbirds in the woodland we walk daily and no song early morning.
    Do you have an explanation and is this happening in other areas?
    PS, love the programme, keep up the good work.

    Regards

    Jude

  57. Hi
    I have some apple blossom on my apple tree even though the fruit is fully ripe, I have also got flowering cow slips and have seen may flowers! on hawthorn trees in October! this warm Autumn is playing tricks on the plant life.
    Also I drive a lot around the Oxfordshire area and I have noticed a large amount of dead grey squirrels on the roads in the last two weeks far more than any other time of the year, What is the reason for this.
    Regards
    Alan

  58. I seen this bird today. It’s not a great photo but I’m sure it’s an albino magpie . I have more pictures of it will try to put them on

    1. Hi, that could very well be an albino magpie. The tail is representative of a typical magpie, and the colouration indicates albino. I would hazard a guess that is is. Good find, and thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the question. To be honest, fieldfares typically begin to arrive in October and gradually increase in numbers over winter. So, there’s nothing unusual there.

  59. Hi I know you don’t start till November but I have just seen a pair of green wood peckers not strange you may think but I live on a housing estate in high Wycombe there are more houses than trees but it was a lovely sight.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for sharing with us. It’s great you’ve seen a pair of green woodpeckers. They are a resident UK bird and can be found all over the country. Believe it or not, green woodpecker take well to areas with shortened grass – shorter grass allows a good opportunity for them to feed, so I’m not entirely surprised that they appear in a built up area. Do you have a local park nearby?

  60. I live in Norfolk, and have always watched , Spring / Summer / Autumn Watch, to the point of watching the live Web Cam’s through the night , but is it worth it , just for just 3 Day’s / Night’s ???,.. and Scotland ?? where it’s going to be more like Winter, don’t think I will bother this time …………………………………..

  61. In Clacton on Sea, Essex, (where I live) 3 miles of improved beach and sea defense have been created. I thought it might interest you and you could check on the flora and fauna that start to arrive on the fishtail groynes for the next time you come. Thank you.

  62. I have attached a video of a Seagull eating the meat we had put out for the Red Kites in our garden in Reading. It seems that the Kites were not impressed. Are Red Kites territorial and are they known to attack other birds?

    1. Hi Danny,

      Thanks for your question. Red kites typically reside near wooded valleys, farmland and other open areas. With regards to their territoriality, red kits have a typical zone of 2/3 miles. They are not particularly aggressive birds, but are very protective of their nest areas.

      Hope this helps.

  63. Got Mr or Mrs Hedgehog in our garden.feeding it cat food and mealworms ment for the birds.Lots of poo left in the morning. Question. Any ideas how old or even sex! Pics taken using a cheep camera wired to a PIR motion trigger- both running on a big battery. Can’t afford the swan ones at £80. Pics attached
    Mr Stevens
    Tewkesbury

  64. I have seen rooks taking conkers from trees near my home do they eat the nuts and how do they open them. they fly off and you can see the nut in they beaks

  65. Hello, I’d like to ask a question if I may.
    I have recently noticed that the birds in my garden have started to use the many bird boxes that I always have up, why is this? In all the years I’ve lived in this house and enjoyed feeding, watching the birds I’ve never seen this happen before?

    Regards
    Ladyley

    1. Hi, thanks for your question. That’s an interesting scenario, but without knowing the specific details, it’s difficult to determine why. Saying this, it’s entirely possible that if you moved your nest boxes to a more hidden location, more birds could roost there. Also, any major changes in your garden, for instance if any natural nesting areas have been disturbed, may cause your birds to use the nest boxes.