BBC Wildlife Magazine March 2021

BBC Wildlife Magazine is a celebration of the natural world, featuring all the latest discoveries, news and views on wildlife, conservation and environmental issues. With strong broadcasting links, authoritative journalism and award-winning photography, BBC Wildlife Magazine is essential reading for anyone with a passion for wildlife who wants to understand, experience and enjoy nature more.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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13 Numéros

dans ce numéro

1 min
hope springs eternal

A tiny dot of green is all it takes. One small shoot pushing through the earth, and it begins. It feels like the surging release of a fizzy drink, the bubbles racing each other to the surface, before bursting into the air. “Here it comes,” I think to myself, as the corners of my mouth begin to turn upwards. And even if we’ve not quite seen the last of old Jack Frost, I feel like shouting it from the rooftops: “Spring is coming!” This year more than ever before, those first shoots feel like a metaphor – surely the most welcome I’ve known. I always used to like summer best, but the older I’ve got, the more I’ve come to cherish these months full of promise above all. We’ve got heralds of…

1 min
the people behind our stories

UGO MELLONE The biologist shares his story of documenting wildlife in the Sahara. “Deserts are hugely underrated – yet they are as equally deserving of the attention lavished on tropical rainforests,” he says. See p40 DAVID PATTYN The family life of great crested grebes has captured the attention of wildlife photographer David. “Once you go in the water, it’s like you are completely sealed off from the rest of the world and it’s just you and the birds” he says. See p50 JHENI OSMAN How and why do some species produce light? Science writer Jheni has the answer. “Bioluminescence has evolved independently many times throughout history and all across the tree of life,” she says. See p64 LEE DURRELL The honorary director of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust explains why she finds ploughshare tortoises so appealing: “They are…

1 min
in focus

Lapping it up Leopards can go for days without drinking – they get much of the moisture they need when consuming prey. When they do drink, like other feline species, they have a special technique for slaking their thirst. Unable to draw water into their mouths using suction, as humans would, these big cats rely on adhesion instead. They use their tongues, the tip curved backwards, to pull up a column of water, then quickly close their mouths around it in the split second before gravity takes over. Mirror, mirror On the wing from early spring to the embers of summer, the common blue damselfly is an abundant, widespread species in the UK. Seen here resting on reeds, reflected in the still water, you’re likely to spot these insects around rivers, lakes and…

4 min
wild month

1 | DARK-EDGED BEE-FLY Unicorn in the garden Some insects seem to get all the love – bees, butterflies and dragonflies especially. Flies, not so much. But in March, there is a fly that stands out for its attractiveness and fascinating lifestyle. What’s more, it is abundant and widespread through most of Britain, though no longer in Ireland for some reason. Meet the dark-edged (or large or greater) bee-fly. Flies excel at many things, including pollination and parasitism. This one is superb at both. You will often hear it first – a loud hum as it hangs motionless on whirring wings, just above head height. The next thing you’ll notice is its extraordinary proboscis. It is as if you are looking at a furry little ginger unicorn, though the long tongue is in…

4 min
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

Say it quietly, but a walk in the woods can be terribly quiet when it comes to wildlife in March. Nature aside, there is of course great joy and solace to be taken from a stroll among the trees. However, for those for whom wildlife spotting is their raison d’être , Britain’s most biodiverse habitat may have a strange ‘twixt cup and lip’ feel this month. By March, for example, many of the migratory birds that pour back each spring to re-energise our woodlands will not yet have returned. And the catalysing effect of the spring sun’s warming rays will still not have fully percolated through to where they’re needed most, meaning that many woodland floors this month will still look like they’re firmly in winter’s thrall. So, for those still…

1 min
species to look out for

Buff-tailed bumblebee Individuals spotted in February or March will all be recently emerged queens. It is their buff-coloured tail for which the species is named; confusingly, the workers have white posteriors. There is also a yellow collar, with another yellow band on the abdomen. Comma Wings open, the comma butterfly stands out from the crowd, thanks to its ragged profile with an intricate orange-and-black pattern. But once its wings have closed, its greys, tans and browns perfectly resemble a dead, mouldy leaf. The wing undersides also have a curious comma-like mark. In March, any individuals seen will have overwintered as adults. Woodcock This bird’s beautifully mottled and barred, reddish-brown plumage makes it nigh-on-impossible to spot while on the woodland floor – until flushed, that is. The best way to catch up with this secretive species…