Autumnwatch is back with Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams showcasing wildlife around the UK, joined tonight by astronaut Tim Peake
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams have packed their warm coats, wellies and binoculars and are returning to the wilds of the Cairngorms in the Scottish Highlands for a week of live broadcasting.
Autumnwatch begins on Tuesday at 8pm and continues nightly throughout the week (see our TV Guide for full details).
Ancient forests, deep lochs and snowy mountain peaks are home to a spectacular range of species, including tawny owls, pine martens, red deer and mountain hares, which the team hope to catch on camera.
They’ll also follow the progress of Cairngorms Connect, the UK’s biggest conservation project.
The big question is: will those elusive otters make an appearance this year?
In an exclusive interview with TV Times, Chris, 58, tells us why Autumn is his favourite time of the year…
How can we look after the animals in our gardens or around our homes?
If people haven’t been filling the bird feeders during Summer, it’s time to get going. A lot of species like great tits, coal tits and nuthatches will be stocking up now.
They’ll take the food and store it nearby for the Winter.
Autumn is also a good time to clean any ponds, although it’s important to do it in halves – one half this year and one half the following – so you don’t damage the populations of water beetles, dragonflies and so on.
And it’s hibernation time, so people intending to have bonfires need to be vigilant of hedgehogs who may be hidden beneath piles of vegetation.
What are the stand-out moments from all the Watch series you’ve hosted?
What I love most is the surprises – we never know what we’re going to see.
I remember watching footage of a stoat climbing up a tree and going into a woodpecker’s hole, where it quickly dispatched all the young.
Any textbook will tell you stoats eat rabbits, they don’t eat baby woodpeckers, but technology has meant we can capture incredible things that as naturalists we would never see in our lifetimes.
It’s a huge privilege to share that with viewers.