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Springwatch – the lull before the storm

May 28, 2010

By Nicky Hoar

Communications Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust

You know that time when the wildlife disappears, the birds stop singing and everything seems peaceful but somehow you know it isn’t, just before a storm?  Maybe it’s the funny-looking sky that gives the game away or its your own sixth sense – or you’ve seen the weather forcast – but something tells you that this is a false calm and it won’t last?  Well, that’s how it feels now as we head into the bank holiday weekend before all Springwatch breaks loose on Dorset.  So – piece of cake and a cuppa to gather some strength..  (pic taken on Brownsea Island – when we hosted 2008’s Autumnwatch)

There is nothing so quiet as a BBC wildlife cameraman on your reserve.  He just melts into the surroundings and you only know he’s there when he comes out from hiding.  Every now and then we come across one in the open, but mostly they are invisible.  Which is why they get the most amazing footage of wildlife in its natural surroundings,  carrying on as if nothing was happening – by being as elusive as the wildlife themselves. 

The other thing that’s quiet is one of the top target animals this Springwatch – red fox.  One minute they are all over the place and cubs are gambolling, but when you want to film them, they seem to get camera-shy.  Simon’s team are after a really rural fox family this year, because they like to make things hard for themselves.  We keep hearing from helpful people who ‘definitely had a fox family here every year except this year’ or ‘oh, you’ve just missed them – the cubs were early this year’ or ‘maybe they’re late because of the cold spring’.    In the more urban areas, they seem to be much more visible.  For the first time ever, I had a fox lounging in my east Dorset garden this spring.  They pass through often enough, throw things around and leave their marks, but this is the first time I’ve seen one so relaxed and at home. (Pic taken by my Dad)

Fox asleep on my lawn in Corfe Mullen, Dorset

Just to add to the eerie quiet, we are waiting for our very own Springwatch eggs to hatch – we have kestrel and barn owl webcams this year, spying on nests at our Lorton Meadows reserve and we are expecting the first one to hatch any minute now.  Check them out live.  

So – this is the moment when everything is about to kick off.  Watch it all, starting on Monday at 8pm on BBC2.   Don’t miss it! – and in the meantime there’s our own Springwatch web pages  www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/springwatch  Catch up with you next week, but right now – somebody has just reported a fox cub wandering around, might be worth a look…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 5, 2010 8:23 am

    nice to see the fox so relaxed – did the camera wake it?

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