Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Avocet
As the logo of the RSPB, the slender black and white avocet is a familiar bird in winter on the river Exe in Devon, but not in the summer. By the mid Victorian era the avocet had all but stopped breeding in Britain and it was not until 1947 that the first avocet bred again in Suffolk. Since then the breeding population has increased dramatically with over 1000 breeding pairs as their range has expanded out of the South East corner of Britain. To discover more in this episode from 2001, Lionel Kelleway heads off to the Exe on a winters day, where he joins Malcolm Davies from the RSPB. Beginning at low tide, Lionel and Malcom discuss what has happened to avocet numbers since their return as a breeding species although they do not breed in the South West. but in winter avocet arriving from the Continent can swell numbers towards 7000.
Much has changed since the programme was first broadcast, therefore in this revised episode, wildlife presenter Lindsey Chapman revisits this Living World from 2001, bringing the story up to date for today's audience.
Producer Andrew Dawes
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Dungeness
The shifting shingle world of Dungeness is a remarkable place. There are four internationally important shingle peninsulas in the world. Two in Germany, one in America, (Cape Canaveral) and yes you've guessed it, Dungeness in Kent. The unique landscape of Dungeness has been studied since Medieval times giving scientists such as Erica Towner and David Harper from Sussex University a wealth of historical data to work from.
Which is why Peter France joined Erica and David on a timeline walk from the sea edge to dry land in this Living World. Along the way, Peter discovers shingle is a very underrated habitat and far from being like a desert the area is teeming with life. Dungeness has also the RSPB's oldest nature reserve created in 1932 from land bought in 1930 on Denge Beach. As part of their journey the trio look at the nuclear power stations on Dungeness, which were built on good former shingle sites of Special Scientific Interest. That destroyed the shingle but on the positive side, the power stations provide cliff habitat for redstarts and rare lichens, and their warm discharge water provides feeding areas for birds. As can be imagined on a shingle headland, tree cover is limited, though visiting ancient holly bushes on Ministry of Defence land usually not open to the public provides a startling glimpse into the past.
Lindsey Chapman revisits this edited Living World from 1990 to gently bring the story of Dungerness and it's wildlife up to date with a unique wildlife project.
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - The Oak Tree Planters
The jay is one of Britain’s most colourful birds. A kaleidoscope of fawns, pinks, greys, black and white, alongside striking blue wing patches which, if you’re lucky enough to get close to see, alter in graduated shades of blue and prove unmistakable in a discarded feather. Colourful they may be, for many of us though the normal view of a jay is as it disappears into woodland raucously screeching and alerting us to its presence. In autumn however, jays have other things on their mind, like collecting acorns for the winter larder. And it was in autumn at the time of peak activity that finds Brett Westwood heading to the Wyre Forest to watch the bird nicknamed the "colourful crow". Joining Brett is ornithologist John Tulley who explains that jays have excellent memories and will return to most of the acorns they bury - but not all - making them a key species when it comes to the rejuvenation of Britain's forests. even uphill.
Lindsey Chapman hosts this revised Living World from 2004 by gently bringing the story up to date for today's listener.
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Underwater Architects
Today’s fashion for self-built homes may have started a few decades ago, but for nearly 200 million years, a family of insects have been quietly developing their own, des res. Depending on where you come from, they are sometimes known as ‘straw worms’, or ‘case worms’, but for most they are simply called ‘caddis’. The origin of the word "caddis" is unclear, but it seems to date back as far as Izaak Walton's 1653 book The Complete Angler, where the angling hero notes how to fish for roach or dace using "case-worms or cadis" as bait.
There are almost 200 species of caddisfly in the UK, the largest of which is more than 3cm long. In this episode of Living World, Lionel Kelleway hopes to find just a few of this number when he is joined on Lake Windermere by caddisfly expert Ian Wallace, who attempts to guide Lionel through these curious pond, lake and river dwelling insects. Along the way they discover some of the intricate biology which leads to the creation of their self built homes, a process that has even been adopted by jewelry designers in recent years.
Lindsey Chapman hosts this revised Living World from 2007 and gently brings the story up to date for today's audience.
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - The World's Largest Slug
In this episode, Lindsey Chapman will bring this story up to date since this episode was first broadcast in 2008, offering some up to date thoughts on all things molluscan.
It is not often on the Living World that the largest or biggest of any species is discovered. Yet in this episode Lionel Kelleway is in search of a large slimy creature. Though locally common across Britain's ancient woodlands, this slug is very much at home in the warm damp woodlands of Dartmoor and is the world’s largest ground slug, the “Ash-Black” slug. This mollusc is known to reach up to a length of 25 to 30 centimetres. Lurking under the bark of dead trees during the day, at night they slip obsequiously into the open looking for fungi of all kinds to eat. Guiding Lionel is renowned Dartmoor, naturalist John Walters who explains these large slugs are quite easy to identify by their characteristic dark edged sole, with a pale, ash coloured stripe running through the middle. Their presence is an important part of the ecosystems that keep ancient woodland alive. As if encountering this leviathan was not enough, the duo also stumble across Britain's largest ground beetle, Carabus intricatus.