Although not a regular Facebook user, I had a quick look at the BBC Springwatch page this morning and was dismayed to hear of the overnight death of 'runtie', the smallest of the nuthatch chicks. Although I know this happens often in nature it's still sad news. Programmes such as Springwatch not only show what superb wildlife we have in Britain, but they also have a way of making viewers identify with what the wildlife they're watching, sympathise with and become attached to what they see. Sadly, for some, this may be the only experience of the natural world they have. The more involved people become the more likely they are to care about nature as a whole and to step up and support conservation charities, like the RSPB, in order to help protect it. For this reason I think 'runtie' didn't die in vain.
On a more cheerful note, I'm glad to see that all three ospreys have hatched at the Dyfi osprey project and many congratulations to everyone involved for this continuing success story.
Just around the corner, at Ynys-hir itself, the mini-camera team have been busy finding yet more nests which will be gradually shown as the series continues. With such a great variety of habitats on the reserve and over 70 species of birds nesting here, there's a good chance of more news birds to Springwatch featuring in the show like last night's wood warbler.
With such cold and wet weather in April a lot of our bird species have nested later than normal and many are incubating or have young at just the right time for filming. There seems to be plenty of food for them at the moment with lots of caterpillars descending from the trees on thin silken threads. Today, it's raining heavily and I hope this won't reduce the amount of food available for both adults and chicks. It is good, however, for our lapwing and redshank young. The rain will soften the ground after the recent spell of hot weather, making it easier for them to find food and will replenish the pools and ditches where they spend most of their time feeding.
A local school is here today with our field teachers and despite the weather have thoroughy enjoyed their trip. In an age of computers and other distractions it's essential that young people have a chance to appreciate and learn about the natural world and and it's for that reason that campaigns such as 'Every Child Outdoors', launched here in Wales last week and highlights the importance of outdoor learning, are so important.
Osprey image: Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
It's day three of Springwatch and there's plenty going on. The Springwatch team have been busy around the reserve, putting up loads of new nestcams. Hopefully we'll get introduced to some new faces tonight as well as catching up with some of the familiar ones. I even spotted a camera bobbing around on the end of a stick over Dick's garden fence whilst we were showing a school group round. Will tonight's show reveal what they were filming? I hope so!
Last night's show was another corker. My favourite bit had to be the macro photography. I'm used to seeing the after effects of snail snacktime, but I've never actually seen it happen close up. I'll definitely be taking Chris's advice and trying to get the live show by putting sugar solution on a window for a snail to snack on. Not sure I fancy the clean up operation afterwards though!
If you've been enjoying the stunning scenery and wildlife on the live shows then why not come across to Ynys-hir and see it for yourself. You can't quite understand how beautiful a place it is without seeing it with your own eyes. We're still open during Springwatch, from 9 am to 7 pm everyday. There's the chance to see where the magic happens on our daily Springwatch guided walks (11 am and 2 pm) and you can catch up with all the action from the nuthatches, chaffinches, barn owls and blue tits (as well as others) with the live nestcam link up in the Visitor Centre. (Be warned - it's seriously addictive watching!)
Don't forget to tune in again tonight from 8pm on BBC 2.
The second day of BBC Springwatch is here and, after watching last night's programme, I can't wait until 8pm tonight! It was a fascinating and informative programme throughout, but I particularly enjoyed the underground filming of the moles - a species I rarely see though evidence of them here on the reserve is fairly obvious by the numerous mole-hills. With 38 mini-cams now on the reserve there'll hopefully be a few surprises in store, though there's already some fab wildlife starring on the web cams - the first Springwatch nuthatches with the tiny runt, our barn owls with four young, late-nesting blue tits and a sneak preview of the grass snakes in our Area Managers garden.
Nuthatch, Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)
The sun has encouraged a good emergence of dragonflies and damselflies over the last few days with eight species now flying around the reserve, including hairy dragonfly (a relatively scarce species here in the west), both four-spotted and broad-bodied chasers, and the rather smart common hawker. The ditch between the Marian Mawr and Saltings hides is a great spot to see dragonflies. There's lots more to see this year thanks to the work we've been doing in the area, putting in more pools and ditches which are perfect for them. These flying jewels are definitely worthy of Springwatch stardom so we'll have to see if they appear on the show.
Hairy dragonfly, Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
Broad-bodied chaser, Andy Hay (rspb.images.com)
A chance encounter with a brown hare lolloping down a track yesterday made my day, but it was topped by a couple in the Ynys Eidiol hide who had great views of an otter with two cubs slowly swimming across the pool. It's these sightings, the un-expected, a privileged sharing, that BBC Springwatch does so well; allowing all of us to enjoy the magic that is our natural heritage.