Including American wildlife in Autumnwatch New England and The Parachute Murder Plot
NEW wildlife Autumnwatch New England Monday-thursday, BBC2 Hd, 8pm
WITH THE NIGHTS drawing in and the clocks going back at the end of the month, it’s time once again for Autumnwatch’s seasonal snapshot of how wildlife is adapting to the changing seasons.
This year, however, there’s a big change to BBC2’S popular series of live broadcasts because presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke are heading out to Squam Lake in New Hampshire, in the heart of New England, which is famous for its spectacular foliage as the seasons begin to turn.
The usual network of high-tech hidden cameras have been installed to capture footage of the local wildlife, which include moose, black bears, flying squirrels, coyotes, raccoons and bobcats.
In anticipation of this feast of flora and fauna, Tv&satellite Week caught up with Packham, 57, to find out what’s in store…
WHAT EXCITED YOU MOST ABOUT TAKING Autumnwatch TO AMERICA? It’s an opportunity to learn more about that part of the world and see how it contrasts with this one. Some themes will be the same, such as migration, but there’s a lot of difference in the migration. We also have overlaps in the species – grey squirrels, American mink, starlings and house sparrows. So, looking
at the contrast in their behaviour will be interesting. If a squirrel runs across my garden, I don’t look twice. But out there, in its natural environment, it will be interesting to see what grey squirrels do.
THE LIVE SHOW LOCATIONS LIKE?
There are two hubs. Michaela and I are going to be at a log cabin on Squam Lake – which is where the film On
Golden Pond was filmed, so I hope Michaela’s watched it so we can include lots of references. And Gillian’s going to be at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.
ARE YOU LOOKING
FORWARD TO STUDYING
THE BIGGER MAMMALS LIKE BEARS AND MOOSE?
Oh, yes. Here, we have this cosy existence where the largest thing we bump into at night is a fox or a badger. But there, they have bears, bobcats and huge moose.
I am particularly interested in animals like raccoons and skunks, because they have overcome adversity and are doing well and, despite their reputation, are fascinating. There are also timber rattlesnakes, and New England is famed for its raptor migration.
HAVE YOU LEARNT ANY INTERESTING FACTS WHILE PREPARING FOR THE SERIES?
I learnt that moose, like otters, beavers and seals, have muscles in their nostrils. This means they can close them when they’re feeding on plants that are underwater. As well as having a nose that can close, they also have the capacity to bite underwater without drowning – I had no idea! Also, year after year, timber rattlesnakes go back to the same dens in the Autumn, emerging again in the Spring. They will go back to exactly the same hole in the rock for 20 years.
‘it’s a chance to see how that part of the world contrasts with this one’ CHRIS Packham
WILL THE TEAM SPOTA MOOSE?
A TIMBER RATTLESNAKE