Welcome to JONN.CO.UK, the UK's best website for all things TV, Gaming and Music.

Social Media

Monday 27 May 2024

Interview with Chris Packham - Springwatch 2024

Chris Packham

Chris Packham (Image: BBC Studios)

Springwatch 2024 returns with a thrilling lineup, broadcasting from RSPB Arne in Dorset and exploring diverse wildlife across the UK, including the Isle of Bute, Loch Lomond, and Glasgow. Airing on iPlayer and BBC Two from 27 May, the programme features live updates, behind-the-scenes insights, and a new array of nest cameras. With the theme "Little Things Make A Big Difference," it highlights the significant impact of collective conservation efforts. Presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, and Megan McCubbin will captivate audiences with stories from rare birds in Dorset to urban wildlife in Glasgow, showcasing the UK's rich biodiversity and the challenges it faces.

How can we support local wildlife this Spring?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you want viewers to learn from Springwatch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No comments:

Post a Comment