Springwatch episode 8 2021: There’s theft in the Scottish seas – but do great skuas deserve their reputation as pirates of the skies? Megan McCubbin goes to the Welsh border to investigate why restoring peatland bog is so important for wildlife. There’s also a live round-up of the wild soap operas playing out in Norfolk and a peek at a secretive owl in Northern Ireland.
Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, sometimes known collectively as The Watches, are annual BBC television series which chart the fortunes of British wildlife during the changing of the seasons in the United Kingdom. The programmes are broadcast live from locations around the country in a primetime evening slot on BBC Two. They require a crew of 100 and over 50 cameras, making them the BBC’s largest British outside broadcast events. Many of the cameras are hidden and operated remotely to record natural behaviour, for example, of birds in their nests and badgers outside their sett.
Springwatch begins on the Spring Bank Holiday and is broadcast four nights each week for three weeks. After the success of the first Springwatch in 2005, the BBC commissioned a one-off special, Autumnwatch, which became a full series in 2006. Winterwatch began in 2012, broadcast in January or February.
Springwatch episode 8 2021
The great skua (Stercorarius skua) is a large seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae. It is roughly the size of a herring gull. It mainly eats fish caught at the sea surface or taken from other birds.
The great skua was described from the Faroe Islands and Iceland by the Danish zoologist Morten Thrane Brünnich in 1764 under the binomial name Catharacta skua. It is now placed in the genus Stercorarius that was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760.
The English name and species name “skua” is believed to originate from the Faroese skúvur or skúgvur and is the only known bird name to originate from the Faroes that has come into regular use elsewhere. In Britain, it is sometimes known by the name bonxie, a Shetland name of Norse origin. The genus name Stercorarius is Latin and means “of dung”; the food disgorged by other birds when pursued by skuas was once thought to be excrement. The species is monotypic: no subspecies are recognised.
A bog or bogland is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, mosses, quagmire, and muskeg; alkaline mires are called fens. A baygall is another type of bog found in the forest of the Gulf Coast states in the United States. They are often covered in heath or heather shrubs rooted in the sphagnum moss and peat. The gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog functions as a carbon sink.
Bogs occur where the water at the ground surface is acidic and low in nutrients. In contrast to fens, they derive most of their water from precipitation rather than mineral-rich ground or surface water. Water flowing out of bogs has a characteristic brown colour, which comes from dissolved peat tannins. In general, the low fertility and cool climate result in relatively slow plant growth, but decay is even slower due to low oxygen levels in saturated bog soils. Hence, peat accumulates. Large areas of the landscape can be covered many meters deep in peat.