Call +44 (0)1223 841055 | Enquiry form | MenuClose menu

10 June 2015

As this year's series of BBC Springwatch draws to a close, ACE Tour Director and environmental consultant Kevin Hand reflects with Ian Barthorpe of RSPB Minsmere about the challenges and rewards of filming at the world-renowned reserve named by Chris Packham as ‘the Disneyland of wildlife’.

ACE Interviews BBC Springwatch

As this year's series of BBC Springwatch draws to a close, ACE Tour Director and environmental consultant Kevin Hand reflects with Ian Barthorpe of RSPB Minsmere about the challenges and rewards of filming at the world-renowned reserve named by Chris Packham as ‘the Disneyland of wildlife’.

Hi Ian. There must be lots of work behind the scenes before filming begins on Springwatch. How do you prepare?

When Springwatch first visited Minsmere last year we spent several months working closely with the BBC to locate nests and plan stories and filming locations. We also ensured that we were ready for the anticipated increase in visitor numbers, providing additional car parking, catering, volunteer guides and reception volunteers, as well as lots of temporary signage to help to direct visitors around the reserve and to interpret some of wildlife highlights.

A wide range of diverse wildlife is included in the programme. How are the topics chosen?

RSPB wardens and the BBC team chat on a regular basis before and during the broadcast period to plan stories. The BBC employ an experienced nest finder who helps to locate nests that are the right stage of development to have chicks during the broadcast period. While we have certain species that we’d like to cover, much depends on which nests we can actually find, and get cameras onto. Many extra stories are featured on the red button, so we also suggest staff, volunteers and others who the BBC might like to interview about their work.

 

 

What were your most memorable moments from last year? Any new things you expect the team to see or do this time?

My favourite memories from last year’s series were the adder predating the goldfinch nest, the bittern chicks, and the nightingale nest. It was also fantastic seeing the many happy visitors enjoying our superb wildlife, meeting our guides, and joining the RSPB. The badger eating the avocet and gull eggs was obviously a big talking point, and a great example of how cruel nature can be. We’ve worked hard over the winter to replace the aging fence around the Scrape, which will hopefully keep the badgers out this year.

With so many different species of wildlife at Minsmere, we never really know which species will be featured in the series, but we do know that it will always be exciting and action-packed.

And finally, ACE’s midweek visit to Minsmere and the Suffolk coast is at a very different time, 2–5 November 2015 –Autumnwatch time! What should we look out for then?

Autumn is a great time to visit Minsmere. The colours are superb, especially on a crisp frosty morning, as the bracken and fallen leaves are a russet brown and the low sun gives the reedbed a golden glow. Fungi litter the woodland floor. Flocks of ducks feed on the marshes, and the sound of whistling wigeons fills the air. On the heath, the red deer rut is coming to an end, but stags still watch over their harems of hinds. With luck, a murmuration of starlings may gather at dusk, or an otter may reveal itself to excited visitors in Island Mere Hide.

 

 
 
Top
printFooter