Best of Natural History Radio
Summary: The BBC Natural History Unit produces a wide range of programmes that aim to immerse a listener in the wonder, surprise and importance that nature has to offer.
Trai Anfield visits a wintry Bovisand Bay in South Devon in the company of Keith Hiscock, Associate Fellow of the Marine Biological Association. They rummage amongst the storm strewn seaweed making up the strand line at the top of the beach. It is here that insects and crustaceans flourish in the food rich and clement micro world, in turn drawing in birds like wagtails and turn stones. Down in the inter-tidal zone, along with finding a host of marine molluscs are the excitingly named volcano barnacles and beautifully coloured beadlet anenomies.
Photographer Andrew Heptinstall goes on a quest to represent sound within a photographic image, which takes him from the camera, into the mind and back again.
The spined loach is a small freshwater fish that spends most of the time buried in the silt of riverbeds. It is believed be in the UK as a result of the melting from the last Ice Age when the UK was connect to Europe. After the Ice Age rescinded, the ocean water levels increased for a time before decreasing enough to essentially separating some of the species from the rest that live in Europe. Brett Westwood joins Environment Agency Fisheries Officer Andy Beal and his team conducting a survey of this secretive and rare animal at Morton's Leam; a 15th Century river artificial course of the River Nene in Cambridgeshire. Produced by Jamie Merritt
The final programme in the series recorded in the Natural History Museum in London. Four experts from different fields chose an object that symbolises our relationship with nature.
When Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15, little did he think that he'd still be writing notes, nearly 40 years later about the same local patch in North Worcestershire. The River Stour has its source in the industrial Black Country and flows through Brett's local patch on its way to the Severn, about 9 miles away. Today, although it is polluted, the river is far clearer than in years gone by, thanks to rigorous controls on pollutants. With their absence, fish have returned and damselflies such as the white-legged damsel which is sensitive to pollution, skim across the surface.
When Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15, little did he think that he'd still be writing notes, nearly 40 years later about the same local patch in North Worcestershire. Fairy Glen is a small natural woodland in Brett's patch carpeted with bluebells in spring. This was once oak has become a sycamore wood. However it's now a great place to spot warblers; chaffinches and bramblings feeding on aphids in spring, and during his visit Brett watches a pair of Nuthatches bringing back food for their young to their nest hole in the trunk of a tree.
When Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15, little did he think that he'd still be writing notes, nearly 40 years later about the same local patch in North Worcestershire. n this programme, Brett visits a farm at Whittington. When he was a teenager, sewage was pumped out onto an area of about a square mile where cattle were grazed. In icy winters the fields did not freeze owing to the warmth provided by the sewage and the life breeding in it! Unusual for the West Midlands in winter, a regular flock of up to 200 curlews were joined by a pink-footed goose, pintails, wigeon, and in winter 1976 two spotted redshanks.
When Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15, little did he think that he'd still be writing notes, nearly 40 years later about the same local patch in North Worcestershire. In this programme, Brett visits the valley. Since Brett started visiting his local patch, the landscape here has been changed more radically than any other area in the patch, not as a result of management, but of nature taking its course. The valley is a sandstone dip between two horse pastures and its steep sides have deterred any cropping or grazing.
The world has lost so much wildlife some conservationists think half the earth should be set aside for nature to ensure the world can continue to provide all the services we need such as clean water, unpolluted air and soils, healthy food and so on. But one recent study shows that 50% of wildlife has disappeared in the last 40 years. As human population grows and pressure on resources increases many feel there needs to be a bold plan to ensure we can share the planet with other forms of life so that they and us can continue. One proposition is called Half Earth - make half of the earth just for nature. The vision is for a meandering network of nature corridors that open out into huge parks set aside for wildlife. In a special programme from the Natural History Museum in London Monty Don and a panel of experts in subjects ranging from conservation science to urban planning and economics discuss whether this could work?
When Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15, little did he think that he'd still be writing notes, nearly 40 years later about the same local patch in North Worcestershire. In the first programme Brett visits an area of arable and pasture land where corn buntings sang their crackly songs, grey partridges creaked in spring dusks and the pee-wit cries of lapwing were regular sounds.
Coral reefs are renowned for their beauty and diversity, and they provide us with a wondrous spectacle, but as the seas warm and become more acidic will they survive?
The lemurs of Madagascar are the most endangered mammals on earth - driven to the edge of survival by habitat loss and hunting. How can we save them from extinction?
Migrating birds exemplify our problem to share the planet with wildlife. These birds fly thousands of kilometers with many species needing protected stop over places to feed.
Few creatures have infiltrated our psyche as much as wolves. They haunt our imagination and appear in our stories, myths and legends. They are at once the embodiment of the devil and of the wild, enough dog that we relate to them, but also rugged, unpredictable and wild. They roam vast, untamed landscapes and then appear in our midst, hunting sheep and spreading fear. Our relationship has been so conflicting that they were almost eradicated from the earth by the end of the 19th Century. But since being protected they are slowly coming back in both Europe and America. Are we now able to live with them? Do we want to? Monty Don explores the enigma that is the wolf and looks at how our attitudes have shaped their destiny.
Orang-utans live in the peat rainforests of Malaysia and Indonesia. It can be tough terrain to travel through on foot so studying and surveying wild orang-utans is difficult and dangerous. Can drones help to answer questions about the number and distribution of the 'people of the forest' and monitor illegal logging of this endangered ape's habitat? This week Shared Planet explores the potential of drones to help us share the planet with orang-utans - but also explores the possible pitfalls of using this controversial technology.