The team are back to chart the changing of the seasons for Autumnwatch 2020 - here's how you can watch the Watch...
Autumnwatch 2020 is here at last!
The varying levels of lockdown might mean that many of us are unable to stray far from our homes right now, but that's all the more reason to be grateful for the outside space around us.
Fortunately, Autumnwatch is back to track what's going on in the nation's gardens, skies, fields and hedgerows - and for twice as long as usual! Here's what we know about the 2020 series...
Autumnwatch 2020 start date: when does it begin on BBC2?
The latest series of Autumnwatch is due to begin on Tuesday 27 October at 8pm on BBC2. The series will continue weeknights at 8pm until Friday 30 October, and return in the same pattern from Tuesday 3 November to Friday 6 November.
Autumnwatch presenters: who is hosting the series?
The core quartet of Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke will all be returning to present Autumnwatch this year. It will be particularly sweet for Michaela, who had to sit out Springwatch this year as she was unable to travel to the UK from her home in South Africa.
"I wasn't so much part of the team on Springwatch this year - but I watched it every night!" says Michaela. "I think Covid has made us all so uncertain of the future, and during that time there was so much anxiety that most of us felt - but I think a lot of people found enormous solace just being able to get to their garden. We all understand now the healing power of nature. I thought it was a brilliant series. I was so proud of the team to have brought it together the way they did."
Location: where will they be?
For Springwatch this year the team all reported from areas near their own homes, but for Autumnwatch they have been allowed farther afield - in most cases, anyway! Chris will still be reporting from near his home in the New Forest, while Michaela is off to Tentsmuir Forest in Fife. Gillian will be at RSPB Old Moor in South Yorkshire, and Iolo will be based at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.
"I'm getting excited about the species - there'll be lots of birds this time," says Gillian. "And we're able to set that in the backdrop of a habitat that has been restored from what seemed like an impossible scene. It was one of the most heavily polluted areas in Europe, and now it's got these sexy species like spoonbills. The reason for being there is to tell the story of how habitats can restore, and the importance of doing that."
"Working at home raises the game, because obviously I know the area really well, so that makes me look and work twice as hard," says Chris. "I'm very keen to show people my patch, because I have an enormous fondness for it - more than any other patch of this planet."
Autumnwatch wildlife: what species can we hope to see?
Obviously there are no guarantees in nature, but the team have big plans for their two weeks on the air. Cameras have been set up on an island in the Firth of Forth to capture all the drama of grey seal pupping season, and pre-filmed stories will also introduce us to a bobtail squid in Loch Carron, wild goats on Llandudno's Great Orme, and giant eagles on the Isle of Wight.
Other species that the team are hoping to see this year include: badgers, foxes, deer, red squirrels, otters, kingfishers, brown hares, barn owls, waterfowl, pine martens, hawfinches and Greenland white-fronted geese.
What else do we know?
- Chris's stepdaughter Megan McCubbin will be returning to the series, and the two will be going head to head in a series of tricky experiments.
- London teenager Kabir Kaul will be sharing his personal map of the best places to spot wildlife in the capital.
- Hannah Stitfall will be at Cornwall's only hedgehog rescue centre to report on the fight to save the spiny creatures from extinction.
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