Live Springwatch 2021 leaps onto our screens

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian BurkeChris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke
Tuesday: Springwatch 2021; (BBC Two, 8pm)

As the UK gradually emerges from a year like no other, Springwatch is back to remind us all how important nature has been in our recovery.

Never before have we appreciated the natural world more or taken such an interest in the environment around us.

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However, the Springwatch team are not ones to dwell on what has gone before – they are looking forward and working to keep the UK connected to our native wildlife.

Nature has been there for us, they say, and now we need to be there for it.

During three weeks of live programmes with an over-arching theme – A Vision For The Future – Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke will present stories of hope, inspiration, beauty and co-existence from every nation in the British Isles.

While Chris and Michaela are exploring a landscape with co-existence at its heart in Norfolk, Iolo will be enjoying the solitude of the Highlands of Scotland, and Gillian is immersing herself in the tranquillity of the glorious Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

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Added to the quartet’s reports, there will also be nature notes from a raft of wildlife presenters across the UK.

In tonight’s first edition, Chris and Michaela are at Wild Ken Hill, as cameras capture the daily dramas of birds such as avocets and barn owls, lapwings and yellow hammers.

Iolo sees eye to eye with some red deer at Alladale Wilderness Reserve, and Gillian dips into the vast waters of Strangford Lough to see why it’s a great place for the bird nicknamed the sea swallow.

Tomorrow, Gillian follows the fortunes of a harbour seal who’s in hospital, and Iolo’s on the look out for golden eagles in the Glen. Plus, Michaela and Chris assess the effects of this year’s late spring on our wildlife, and we drop into an oak tree to see why so many thousands of creatures choose to live there, and reveal the secret history of a London wood.

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On Thursday, after Chris and Michaela have brought us the latest dramas from the live nest cameras in Norfolk, Iolo heads to Loch Fleet on Scotland’s east coast hoping to see ospreys and otters out fishing.

Gillian checks out the batty nightlife at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Castle Espie, and Megan McCubbin joins conservationists shaping the UK of tomorrow.

Finally, on Friday, Iolo is on a mission to see one of the most photogenic birds in the UK – the black-throated diver – and Gillian enters the twilight zone to check out a British shark that can glow in the dark.

Although the team are looking to the future over the next few weeks, Chris insists he doesn’t want to look too far ahead. Despite turning 60 at the beginning of this month, and with younger wildlife enthusiasts snapping at his heels, he has no plans to give up the show yet. “Basically, I really enjoy doing it,” he recently told the Daily Express.

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“I really look forward to doing the Watches. I’m excited about how we do them. I enjoy the live process and the challenge of doing that and I enjoy the result, the engagement with our audience.

“Look, I’m 60 years old. At the moment, they might need a bit of natural history maturity, but the time will come when I want to be part of the process of growing talent.”

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