Midlands Today, Springwatch and Minsmere!

It has been quite a week! It started with the piece I did for Midlands Today, at Yew View, going out on BBC 1. I do not get to see the film before it is released, so it is always exciting to see how all the filming gets edited into the final piece. We always film way more than is actually used, but I was thrilled with how the team managed to condense so much of what we do, into just 3 minutes!!

If you missed it, you can catch up with the piece below:

I then had a trip to Minsmere to look forward to! I had been asked to do a piece on Springwatch Extra with Lindsey Chapman, all about how to set up your own wildlife cameras. I was also invited to be in the audience of Springwatch Unsprung on the Wed night. Martin and I drove down on Wednesday, arriving in the afternoon and having a wander along the coast at the RSPB reserve of Old Warren… a rather blustery day, but a lovely walk!

We had to arrive at Minsmere for 7pm and, after we had all been briefed about the show and what was going to happen,  we were all taken to a marquee on the staff village to watch the show as it went out live.  With about 20 minutes to go before the show ended, we quietly made our way down to the unstrung set and some of us were led inside, whilst the show was still going out and Michaela, Chris and Martin were filming on the patio area outside. We all had to be very quiet until the show ended. As the ending credits started to play, there is a mass flurry of activity as all the  audience are rushed in and positioned around the studio. New cameras come in and it is not long before we could hear the Unspung music starting! A countdown and the show was live!

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It was a super show and, as it was all over, the sun was setting over the reserve… a beautiful evening.

The following morning, we arrived back on site and I met up with Anne Gallagher (The  SW Extra Producer). We had already discussed what we were going to talk about and I met with Lindsey Chapman and we headed off onto the reserve to film some pieces that would be used in my interview later in the day. My brief was to show people how they could have a go at filming wildlife themselves, with a nest box kit initially and how I then take the cameras out and use them on other projects. We filmed some pieces, including my Mammal Box and also how I go about setting up a trail camera.

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We filmed for over an hour, then that piece had to be rushed off to edit to be condensed down , ready for the 4.30pm Extra piece. I then had a couple of hours to whizz around the reserve which is totally stunning! If you have not been to Minsmere before, then I thoroughly recommend it. With a beautiful day, it was really shown off to its best. Of course, I had my camera with me and was able to trap a couple of shots of a Sedge Warbler singing in the hedgerow, a Redshank posing on a post and some lovely Linnet on the gorse.

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It was soon time for me to meet back up with Lindsey, have a final look through the order of what we were going to talk about and for me to gather all my props! Springwatch Extra is filmed from the truck with all the live streams, so it is always great to have a look in there and see the story developers hard at work!

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We were set for the show! It was great fun and easy to just chat a long with Lindsey all about what I do and how easy it is for anyone to set up a simple camera in their own patch….

A big thanks to the Springwatch team and especially Anne and Lindsey for a great piece!

With the sun still shining and Minsmere stretching out before us, it was time to explore a little more and make the most of a wonderful evening. Heading for the Bittern hide, we settled down as the sun started to lower and a lovely golden light stretched across the reed beds….. we did not have to wait long. A stunning Marsh Harrier quartered the reeds, drifting on wide wings and rising and falling, often before dipping below the reeds or out of sight . It was spectacular to watch and I did take some shots, but it was pretty distant and most of these shots are a pretty heavy crop….

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Miraculously, just as the light faded, another bird I had hoped to see, appeared! A Bittern sneaked out of the dappled shade in the reeds and made a brief appearance before disappearing again…. I was thrilled…. 2 birds I had never photographed!

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Just as we were about to leave as the light was fading, a Red deer doe appeared to our right…. what a perfect end to a fantastic day!

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Thank you again to Springwatch for inviting me and for another superb series… it has had me gripped for the whole 3 weeks!