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Springwatch 2016 (1 Viewer)

John Cantelo

Well-known member
A trip abroad would definitely liven things up. However, in lieu of that, I do reckon they should at least start sending the guest reporters off to europe – given the increased interest in rewilding, looking at Europe's bears, lynx, wolfs, boars, beavers, non-sheep-wrecked-uplands, etc would make a lot of sense.

A nice idea ....
 

IAN JAMES THOMPSON

Well-known member
Has anyone else been watching the live BBC Springwatch webcams via the BBC's red button or on the BBC Springwatch website today. Probably the highlight for me today has been the Stone Curlew and the Sparrowhawk.
Ian.
 

King Edward

Well-known member
A trip abroad would definitely liven things up. However, in lieu of that, I do reckon they should at least start sending the guest reporters off to europe – given the increased interest in rewilding, looking at Europe's bears, lynx, wolfs, boars, beavers, non-sheep-wrecked-uplands, etc would make a lot of sense.
I think there's a lot of potential in this idea - not simply looking at European wildlife, but looking at it in relation to what we have in the UK. I'm not sure how well this would fit into the Springwatch series - it might be better as a separate programme/series.

For instance, there's been a certain amount of coverage of the reintroduced beavers in Scotland, but it would be really good for a programme to take a broader view by looking at the effect an established beaver population has on habitat and other wildlife, issues around human/beaver conflict and management, and downstream effects on e.g. water quality, flow regulation and flooding. Given the current debate and pressure for beaver reintroduction, and the long-term effects this would have on the UK environment, you could actually argue that something like a 3 part mini-series just on the beaver issue would be an important part of the BBC's public service remit.

I don't know much about the details of TV making, so I'd be interested to know how much something like this would actually cost to make. I'm thinking more of a documentary style with interviews & case studies, rather than hours of actual wildlife footage, so it ought not to be too expensive.
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
That sounds like a good idea. The programme is mainly focused on animal behaviour (and just saying this makes me realise how little plants feature in the programme) and it would be brilliant to see something looking at the wider ecology. There's often talk about the focus on preserving charismatic megafauna, but having an understanding of ecosystems and the interactions between their living and non-living components then we can think about all the organisms and how they all play a vital role, from the humblest phytoplankton to a top level predator or keystone species.

I've always said that we should see more about the geology too. This underpins everything we see around us. It determines soil types and therefore what plants live where and by extension whole ecosystems. By the very nature of some rocks being more resistant to erosion than others then this determines the paths that rivers take or the shape of beaches and headlands or the formation of cliffs on which birds of prey may be found or rare plants.

Looking at rocks also gives a glimpse into past environments - not just fossils, but sedimentary structures can give clues as to what the environment was like at the time the rocks were deposited: for example rounded, pitted grains of sand indicating past desert or beach environments; angular sand indicating transport in rivers. And on top of this we have structures like cross-stratification showing where past dunes and ripples at different scales existed - you could take a walk along a beach today and see these structures being built now. But these beach deposits are often disturbed (bioturbated) by animals and plants and they could show worms, crustaceans and other organisms living in beach deposits today and how they're disturbing the sedimentary structures.

You could extend this by looking at the organisms around us today and how they relate to organisms of the past. What groups of organisms have been the successful ones that have come through mass extinctions and left descendants with us, and which lost out and are no longer here? Corals have often been victims of mass extinctions (indeed whole groups are gone) but some groups are still with us today, but facing problems with ocean acidification - let's look at that today, explore the conditions that allowed some to survive and what needs to be done to make sure today's corals are not wiped out by human activity.

The British Isles has some of the most varied geology in the world. While it's not particularly active today, there's environments where we've had extensive volcanism and structural change (for example the Moine Thrust fault in the north-west Highlands) as well as areas of extensive carbonate deposits, like the Chalk of south-east England. We've got extensive coal deposits up and down the country showing where there used to be tropical swamp environments during the Carboniferous period. There are absolutely amazing folds in rocks around Cornwall and other parts of the country. The Scottish Midland Valley was an extensional regime similar to the East African Rift Valley - maybe they could tie in migratory birds that travel from one rift valley to another.

Geodiversity might not be a word many people have heard of, but it's becoming more and more important. We have geoparks around the country and the focus is to promote and preserve the diversity of our geological landscapes.
 
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John Cantelo

Well-known member
I don't know much about the details of TV making, so I'd be interested to know how much something like this would actually cost to make. I'm thinking more of a documentary style with interviews & case studies, rather than hours of actual wildlife footage, so it ought not to be too expensive.

I'd imagine that it'd only be economically viable as some sort of joint venture with a local TV company.
 

Lawts

Supa Silly Un
I'm getting a tad bored by all the UK locations; once you've seen one herd of rutting Red Deer you've seen 'em all ;-) ! I guess expense and logistics militate against it, but I'd love to see them do something earlier in Spring in SW Spain and then later in the season in the far north or to the east. It's a constant complaint of mine, but I'm irritated by the fact that we see unending wildlife programmes based in Africa (especially), Asia, Australia, America etc., etc., but very few just across the Channel on the European continent.

Couldn't agree more. Really underwhelmed so far.
Very little is actually live anymore. I suppose an evening slot means most things will be pre-recorded. The eagle footage tonight was the same as the night before - same bit of grass on the bill, same yawn. If you've gone to the trouble of rigging all that up let's see it, and less of the presenters. I think some of the Sprawk footage was the same as the night before. It wasn't worth battling across to the Farnes for a bit of burrowing Puffin. What's really live - Blue and Great Tit broods.
We could be looking at a Black Woodpecker nest or a Slender-billed Gull, whatever it might be and not as John says on the other side of the world. I think it's time to change something. Hopefully this series will improve.
 

pe'rigin

Well-known member
The simple answer is if you don’t like it…. then don’t watch it. I’m sure there’s something more suitable on Freeview for those who find the programme ‘boring’.

The clue is in the title – Springwatch, and it’s aimed at what people can see within reason within the UK and I think the BBC does a very good job in presenting footage we can all enjoy and is suitable for all ages.

It’s ridiculous to want to see European species such as Black Woodpecker, so you’ll see the same footage of a hole with the male visiting every hour for 10 seconds, that’ll be boring too. Most of the audience will or have never seen this Woodpecker, you can’t see it here, so why show it?

This isn’t a programme for the twitching brigade, a Gull Billed Tern will have no relevance to the wider audience, it’s a white bird with a black bill – so what, I can’t see it here in the UK.

The BBC try and show a broad spectrum of species that the majority of the viewers can connect with and I think they do a pretty good job to educate, inform and show behaviour patterns.
 

Sandra (Taylor)

Registered User
Supporter
The simple answer is if you don’t like it…. then don’t watch it. I’m sure there’s something more suitable on Freeview for those who find the programme ‘boring’.

The clue is in the title – Springwatch, and it’s aimed at what people can see within reason within the UK and I think the BBC does a very good job in presenting footage we can all enjoy and is suitable for all ages.

It’s ridiculous to want to see European species such as Black Woodpecker, so you’ll see the same footage of a hole with the male visiting every hour for 10 seconds, that’ll be boring too. Most of the audience will or have never seen this Woodpecker, you can’t see it here, so why show it?

This isn’t a programme for the twitching brigade, a Gull Billed Tern will have no relevance to the wider audience, it’s a white bird with a black bill – so what, I can’t see it here in the UK.

The BBC try and show a broad spectrum of species that the majority of the viewers can connect with and I think they do a pretty good job to educate, inform and show behaviour patterns.

Well said -

Sandra
 

Monahawk

Well-known member
The simple answer is if you don’t like it…. then don’t watch it. I’m sure there’s something more suitable on Freeview for those who find the programme ‘boring’.

The clue is in the title – Springwatch, and it’s aimed at what people can see within reason within the UK and I think the BBC does a very good job in presenting footage we can all enjoy and is suitable for all ages.

It’s ridiculous to want to see European species such as Black Woodpecker, so you’ll see the same footage of a hole with the male visiting every hour for 10 seconds, that’ll be boring too. Most of the audience will or have never seen this Woodpecker, you can’t see it here, so why show it?

This isn’t a programme for the twitching brigade, a Gull Billed Tern will have no relevance to the wider audience, it’s a white bird with a black bill – so what, I can’t see it here in the UK.

The BBC try and show a broad spectrum of species that the majority of the viewers can connect with and I think they do a pretty good job to educate, inform and show behaviour patterns.

Good post. Whilst a lot of old subject matter is covered in each series, I still think Springwatch is excellent value and one of the best, if not the best wildlife series on on the box at present. There will come a time of course when the series will eventually wind down, but not too soon I hope. I love the Springwatch Live cams and often peak at them when I get a chance. Good relaxing stuff with no commentary.

Si.
 

Allen

Well-known member
Slightly off topic but always fun - is Packham still dropping song lyrics or the like into the program and if so what's this years theme?
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
I've not noticed any lyrics so far, but he's dropped a couple of references to his book so far. Obviously being the BBC he can't be overly explicit about this.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
The simple answer is if you don’t like it…. then don’t watch it. I’m sure there’s something more suitable on Freeview for those who find the programme ‘boring’.

The clue is in the title – Springwatch, and it’s aimed at what people can see within reason within the UK and I think the BBC does a very good job in presenting footage we can all enjoy and is suitable for all ages.

It’s ridiculous to want to see European species such as Black Woodpecker, so you’ll see the same footage of a hole with the male visiting every hour for 10 seconds, that’ll be boring too. Most of the audience will or have never seen this Woodpecker, you can’t see it here, so why show it?

This isn’t a programme for the twitching brigade, a Gull Billed Tern will have no relevance to the wider audience, it’s a white bird with a black bill – so what, I can’t see it here in the UK.

The BBC try and show a broad spectrum of species that the majority of the viewers can connect with and I think they do a pretty good job to educate, inform and show behaviour patterns.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to suggest ways in which you think a programme could be improved. Positive criticism is always worthwhile whereas a "if you don't like it don't watch it" approach is guaranteed to ultimately end up with a stale product well past its sell by date.

The title is indeed "Springwatch" but not "Springwatch in the UK". Arguably many sites in Europe are more accessible to UK residents than some of the locations covered in the series. Gibraltar, for example, can arguably be reached more easily and cheaply than, say the Outer Hebrides. I'm sure that most viewers would be both astonished & fascinated to learn that thousands of birds overfly the Rock. Understanding our wildlife within a European context has huge relevance to a British audience who seem perfectly capable of relating to wildlife programmes covering African, Asian, Australian wildlife etc. Only continental Europe seems to miss out.

Embracing wildlife in a wider European context has nothing whatsoever to do with belonging to the 'twitching brigade'. Large numbers of Britons visit continental Europe but haven't the faintest idea of what can be seen there (not just birds!). Indeed, I'd suggest that it's perverse that the average viewer probably knows more about the fauna of Africa than Europe.
 

Sandy73

Well-known member
How about a compromise? Have Spring/ Autumn watch from Dungeness and northern France.

Show the species not are only 30 miles from the UK but seem not willing/ able to colonise.

Regards
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
How about a compromise? Have Spring/ Autumn watch from Dungeness and northern France.

Show the species not are only 30 miles from the UK but seem not willing/ able to colonise.

Regards

Splendid idea! Certainly a Springwatch split either side of the Channel would be very interesting indeed. Dungeness/Stodmarsh/Ashdown Forest vs Marquenterre/St Omer/Crecy would certainly throw up some fascinating contrasts. The Nord Pas-de-Calais area is more accessible to a large % of the UK population than many areas covered in the usual Springwatch programmes.
 

JTweedie

Well-known member
It was good to see the Trossachs forest regeneration featured on tonight's episode. Maybe within a decade we could have lynx in the region too...
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
The simple answer is if you don’t like it…. then don’t watch it. I’m sure there’s something more suitable on Freeview for those who find the programme ‘boring’.

The clue is in the title – Springwatch, and it’s aimed at what people can see within reason within the UK and I think the BBC does a very good job in presenting footage we can all enjoy and is suitable for all ages.

It’s ridiculous to want to see European species such as Black Woodpecker, so you’ll see the same footage of a hole with the male visiting every hour for 10 seconds, that’ll be boring too. Most of the audience will or have never seen this Woodpecker, you can’t see it here, so why show it?

This isn’t a programme for the twitching brigade, a Gull Billed Tern will have no relevance to the wider audience, it’s a white bird with a black bill – so what, I can’t see it here in the UK.

The BBC try and show a broad spectrum of species that the majority of the viewers can connect with and I think they do a pretty good job to educate, inform and show behaviour patterns.

OK: so why have we got Blue Tits for the umpteenth time? Why not Marsh Tits? Why not highlight the dire straits Willow Tits are in? Why show the one species that every grockle sees every day in their back garden, year after year after year? Why don't we see Cetti's Warbler nests? Bearded Tit nests? Redstart nests? They're at Minsmere for goodness sake, its got amazing bird species in abundance but all they show is the same old tedium.

Today it was Rabbits. Well cor blimey flip, they really don't want to do anything difficult, do they. Lazy lazy lazy. And since black and white birds were mentioned negatively, personally if I never see another Avocet on a TV programme I shan't be very upset. Show me something I haven't seen before on Springwatch.

That said there has been some good stuff, and for once it includes Martin HG, whose exposure of survey work within the reserve has been very good. Today's segment from Nick Baker was making proper use of his talents. They get more right than wrong.

But the programme does need a refresh and to grow a bit: moving up to a European context would be a great thing to do. It would allow them to deal properly with migration matters rather than just showing birds appearing here as if by magic. It would allow them to emphasise that it doesn't matter a rat's ass if the RSPB does amazing work here, if all the birds are annihilated on their journeys through Europe. Birders have to notice Europe. Everybody should care about Europe's effects on wildlife - our wildlife - and be prepared to get stuck in, not spout nonsense about things not being here so not relevant. When I started birding Little Egret was a rarity. Now its a common breeding species. Perhaps the next Little Egret might be Black Woodpecker.... or perhaps something else.

Off soap box.

John
 

King Edward

Well-known member
The simple answer is if you don’t like it…. then don’t watch it. I’m sure there’s something more suitable on Freeview for those who find the programme ‘boring’.
I don't agree with the idea that "if you don’t like it…. then don’t watch it". People aren't criticising Springwatch because they find the whole concept boring, but because parts of it have got pretty repetitive and the presenting style is often (in my view at least) rather tedious. Martin particularly. The focus on British wildlife is fine, but it could be better. The country has plenty of fascinating wildlife, so why does it have to be badgers again and again and again.

Martin particularly irritated me this week in the first episode when he pointlessly grabbed a big handful of underwater mud to talk about the huge amount of creatures living in it, despite the fact that most aquatic invertebrates are not living buried in the mud at all (at least, not the more interesting ones). I remember him doing exactly the same thing last year. Why not do some proper pond netting instead, preferably accompanied by someone who knew what they were doing, which would be both more interesting and more informative.

I've no problem with the attention given to nesting birds, but I think there could be rather less of the 'live' coverage of birds doing nothing in particular and the exagerated 'drama' of fledglings leaving the nest. To me, the single best clip they've shown was the Grass Snake a couple of years ago raiding a Meadow Pipit's nest. That's the advantage of having cameras on multiple nests for long periods - you catch these very rare events. In real time though, a bird just sitting incubating her eggs doesn't make partiicularly interesting TV.

I also don't like the way Michaela tends to do down Chris's bar charts etc. - you could argue it's just inter-presenter banter, but I think it reinforces the whole anti-intellectual, science is uncool & nerdy aspect which is prevalent in British culture. If you're going to be watching nests for weeks round the clock, it's interesting to show what the parents have been feeding & how often etc, rather than just laughing at the clumsy/cute way a chick falls out.

PS. Wrote the above before seeing John's post, which I pretty much agree with. Less so on the European aspect, although I'm not against it, but they could do the British wildlife a lot better.
 

Peewit

Once a bird lover ... always a bird lover
Springwatch was fabulous last night. It is getting better by the year and the nesting species are superb!

The female Gooseander sitting in Chris's arms was a treat, and the bird remained cool, and not flustered at all - so different

The Bittern babies Wow, and the the LTT nest great to see

The Gyr Falcon was a treat the night before, and to see it flying in contrast with a Peregrin - the Peregrine was slower - wow!!!

Hey, forget abroad, and enjoy the UK species for what we see on daily basis on our doorstep!!! :-O:-O:-O
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Nobody on this thread has mentioned twitching except you.
Springwatch, however, once featured the Aberdeen Harlequin Duck!


.

Gyrfalcon is hardly an everyday bird, either, even for a twitcher. I've seen five but I've done a few miles in order to do so (sometimes reaching nearly seventy miles per hour). Well worth it though for such a beautiful and magnificent bird.

Luckily the Springwatch team accepts the entire spectrum of the birding community.

John
 

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