My Autumnwatch Experience!

Yesterday I visited the RSPB reserve, Leighton Moss, for the first time. But this wasn’t to have a look around the wonderful site and look at the wildlife, it was to feature on BBC Autumnwatch Extra. Although I did have some time to look around I didn’t see very much as there were lots of people about but I will be going back to visit again in the near future!

We caught our first train to Leighton Moss at 7.35am and after a few hours of travelling and delayed trains we eventually arrived at 12. Straight away I had a chat with the producer and the presenter of the Autumnwatch Extra show, Brett Westwood. I also got to chat to Michaela Strachan and Nick Baker.

After lunch we went for a walk around the reserve then did some filming with one of the presenters, Lindsay Chapman, where I spoke more about the practical side of using trail cameras and compared my set ups to the ones at Leighton Moss. It was great fun and I really enjoyed myself!

Later on we went to Lilian’s hide ready for the Extra show. It was very exciting, especially when they were counting down to going live! When I was on I spoke about my passion for trail camming and how brilliant it is. I also spoke through some of my favorite clips explaining what was going on and how I managed to get the footage. Unfortunately I only had 2o minutes but I could of gone on for hours speaking about my trail camera set ups, what I’ve managed to film and the behavior.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stop for Unsprung but we were allowed to have a look around the studio and watch one of the rehearsals which I thoroughly enjoyed! It was brilliant and I really did have one of the best days ever due to it being a fantastic reserve and everyone being such friendly and enthusiastic people! I really did enjoy the experience and it was so inspiring too!

You can watch my part on Extra by following this link and skipping to the 1:58:00 mark – http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0299myp/autumnwatch-extra-2014-4-day-two-part-two

Here are some photos from the day.

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All ready for my Autumnwatch debut!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by an Autumnwatch producer asking me if I’d like to go on Autumnwatch Extra. This was after they had seen my appearance on CBBC Wild. When I’m on Autumnwatch Extra tomorrow afternoon I will be on the teatime show with Brett Westwood talking about various trail camera clips.

I’m so excited to go to Leighton Moss tomorrow as it will be my first time and I’ve been assured to see otters and bearded tits! You can see my part tomorrow, Wednesday 29th October, on the BBC Two Red Button between 4.30 and 5.30.

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Save Hopwas Wood, Staffordshire!

Yesterday morning I found out about proposed plans to turn one of my local patches into a quarry. I regularly visit the ancient woodland as it isn’t far from where I live. I’ve visited it for as long as I can remember, for example walking through the woods on a number of occasions and taking photos of the wonderful wildlife. I was very upset when I found out this news and decided that I wanted to do something about it.

After hours of research I decided to create an online petition as I hadn’t found any others. My petition is targeted at the local Council as they are currently discussing the plans and a verdict will be released on the 5th of December.

Along with many others Hopwas Wood, also known as Hopwas Hayes Wood, is one of my favorite outdoor spaces. It consists of approximately 385 acres of ancient woodland which date back to the doomsday book.

The area is listed by the SPNR as a large ‘primeval forest’ and ‘a good place for plants which frequent woody places’ as well as birds and insects. It is also important for a number of protected species such as otter and grass snake.

Here’s a link to the petition I have set up. I would be extremely grateful if you could sign and share – https://www.change.org/p/staffordshire-county-council-save-hopwas-wood-staffordshire

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Mammals go exploring!

Once a month I go to a local Wildlife Watch meeting at the National Memorial Arboretum. As I’m quite a bit older then the other kids I act more as a leader within the group. Yesterdays session was about all about various mammals which are present at the Arboretum. A local mammal expert, Derek Crawley, set 39 traps out the night before then we went to collect them during the session and to see what mammals had been trapped over night.

Yesterday the trapping was to show the children a close up of different species but this method is often used to monitor the numbers of various mammals. The traps were set up at roughly ten feet apart beneath an unused grassy area. When we found a trap which was closed we opened it up to see what had been caught. We then examined the mammal, looked to see if it was male or female then let it go. It was brilliant to see the species close up. We managed to catch seven wood mice, a bank vole and a field vole. Here are some photos I took.

Something else I found out yesterday was the mammal tracking phone app. This is to record different mammals in the UK so more can be found out about whereabouts they are and numbers. You can follow this link to download the app for your apple or android phone – http://www.brc.ac.uk/mammal_tracker/

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IMGP7045A wood mice that escaped down a sleeve!

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IMGP7059The children having a real hands on experience with one of the voles that was caught.

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IMGP7034Another escapee!

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