Silverdale’s “ancient aura of wilderness” inspires BBC’s Autumnwatch

RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve
RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve

TV presenter Chris Packham has described RSPB Leighton Moss in Silverdale as “one of the jewels in Britain’s wildlife crown” after it was chosen to host this year’s Autumnwatch programme.

The popular BBC2 nature series, which follows stories from the UK’s wildlife in autumn, will be broadcast live from Leighton Moss between Tuesday, October 29 and Friday, November 1.

Chris Packham

Chris Packham

Chris Packham said that the nature reserve had its own “ancient aura of wilderness”, while staff at Leighton Moss said they were “truly delighted” at being picked to stage Autumnwatch.

Chris said of Leighton Moss: “Its great swathes of reeds screen the secrets of some of the UKs most sensational birds like Bittern and Bearded Tit and its proximity to the mudlands of Morecambe Bay mean it’s one of the jewels in Britain’s wildlife crown.

“It will be the perfect place for Autumnwatch and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Robin Horner, site manager at RSPB Leighton Moss, said: “We are truly delighted to have been chosen as the home of this year’s Autumnwatch.

“There is an amazing variety of autumnal wildlife here at Leighton Moss, making it the perfect setting for the show.”

The series, hosted by Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games, will examine how the unpredictable nature of the UK’s weather can dramatically affect our wildlife.

Thousands of migrant wading birds gather at Leighton Moss in the autumn months; otter and kingfisher hunt for fish in the reserve’s reed beds, and rare species such as bittern and bearded tit prepare for winter.

The show will cover topics such as how winds in the North Sea affect migrating birds crossing from Scandinavia, and how falling temperatures influence the changing of colours for leaves.

Another highlight will be the stunning aerial displays of starlings, with up to 100,000 starlings roosting on the reserve, gathering in huge numbers and making incredible patterns and shapes as they pick their spot to spend the night as the sun sets.

Red deer are the largest of the residents in the reserve, and cameras will follow them as they rut among the reed beds.

Scenes will also showcase the huge flocks of oystercatcher, knot and turnstone as they gather to feed in the rich Lancastrian mud out on Morecambe Bay.

Autumnwatch will also showcase the beauty and drama of this diverse season, exploring nature’s key events and wild spectacles as well as explaining why this season is such a critical time for all of the UK’s wildlife.