OK… it’s not Irish wildlife exactly…but the BBCs Springwatch and Autumnwatch programmes are firm favourites with Irish wildlife fans, so you’ll be delighted to know that Springwatch is set to return to our screens from 30 May 2011 at 8pm on BBC2.
This year Springwatch is moving from Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk, which has been its base for the last three years, and is setting up shop at the RSPB’s Ynis Hir (literally Long Island) nature reserve near Machynlleth in mid-Wales.
With nearly forty miles of fibre-optic cable laid and more than fifty remote mini-cameras deployed we’re in for a real wildlife-soap-opera as spring unfolds across the water.
“We’re delighted that the Springwatch team has chosen Ynys-hir as their new location, especially as this year we celebrate a hundred years of RSPB’s work in Wales,” said Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive, on the conservation charity’s website.
“Springwatch does a fantastic job of inspiring millions of people about wildlife. I know that many of our members, volunteers and staff love watching it, as do my family.
“What’s especially important about it is how it encourages people out of their armchairs to enjoy wildlife first hand. We know that these personal encounters with nature are a crucial factor in motivating people to step up and save it. “
Some of the highlights look set to include live pictures from the resident Grey Heron colony, great- and lesser-spotted woodpeckers and birds of prey like buzzard, goshawks and red kites, along with flamboyant summer visitors like redstarts and pied flycatchers.
Ynis Hir also boasts rivers, waterfalls and freshwater ponds – so aquaphiles are bound to feature prominently – with dippers, kingfishers, sedge, reed and grasshopper warblers all on the cards – and bankside cameras should catch on-the-water action from species like otters and grebes.
For those of you who love your invertebrates (and from the postings on the Irelands Wildlife page on Facebook there are quite a few of you) Ynis Hir sports 19 species of dragonfly, 26 species of butterflies and over 400 species of moths.
So there’s plenty to keep everyone happy. It’s just a shame it’s not viable for RTÉ to consider a similar live-action wildlife programme in Ireland. Now that really would be something to shout about!