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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine December 2018

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.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

The dedicated and intrepid photographer, Sue Flood, who has spent many years cataloguing the lives of emperor penguins in Antarctica, worked as a camerawoman in the BBC’s Natural History Unit for 11 years, notably on the first landmark series of Blue Planet and Planet Earth . Latterly, she has been concentrating on still photography, to stunning effect as you can see on p72. She spends six weeks at a time in a small tent on the ice, patiently waiting for her fish-loving models to get into frame. It pays off in lovely images, but I can’t envy the polar lifestyle! Looking forward to next April, we’ve got an exciting partnership with the Grant Arms Wildlife Book Festival in the Scottish Highlands. Many of the expert naturalists who contribute to our magazine…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

DANIELLA RABAIOTTI Zoologist and author Daniella asks whether content about the natural world should be funnier. “Most things are more interesting when they are funny, so why not nature shows and books?” she asks. See p28 MIRIAM DARLINGTON Nature writer Miriam travelled to Serbia to witness a huge gathering of long-eared owls. “In the low-lying villages, with their small houses, there seem to be more owls than people,” she says. See p34 MEGAN SHERSBY Editorial Assistant and naturalist Megan was charmed by olms during a visit to Slovenia. “I found them completely fascinating, and spent ages watching them in the vivarium,” she says.” See p66 SUE FLOOD Photographer and zoologist Sue became captivated by emperor penguins over 10 years ago. “For me, they’re perfect,” she says. “Beautiful, hardy, with an extreme lifestyle and fascinating family bonds.” See…

4 min.
wild month

1 | KINGFISHER Frozen out When the ‘Beast from the East’ brought Siberian weather to much of Europe in March this year, a photograph of an unlucky kingfisher frozen solid in the ice of a Dutch canal was widely published in newspapers and went viral on social media. Ice looks pretty, but it’s a killer. For some birds, freezing spells lasting any longer than a couple of days can be a major cause of mortality. Kingfishers are particularly susceptible, as are grey herons, barn owls (because their rodent prey stays underground), and insectivorous species such as goldcrests and Dartford warblers. A big freeze sends their populations tumbling, though numbers recover after a run of mild winters. Data from the UK’s BirdTrack citizen-science project shows the impact clearly, explains Dawn Balmer, Head of Surveys…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

Orchards have been an integral component of Britain’s landscape for so long that it’s difficult to believe the ancestral species of cultivated apples and pears actually hail from foreign climes. With apples emanating from Central Asia, and pears originating from Central and Eastern Europe to southwest Asia, their initial introduction to Britain must be credited to the Romans. As monasteries, and then large estates, carried on the fruity tradition after the Romans departed, by World War II the orchard had become a well-established feature of small-scale mixed farming, from Kent to Herefordshire and Somerset to Worcestershire. Such became the home-grown expertise in grafting and selective breeding that it is believed as many as 3,000 different varieties now populate British orchards. Orchards are surprisingly biologically diverse for what is essentially a cultivated crop,…

1 min.
species to look out for

Redwing A combination of rusty-red flanks and underwings along with a creamy-white supercilium above the eye easily distinguish the smallest of our native thrushes. Arriving in southern Britain from Scandinavia, wintering flocks are generally shy and easily disturbed. Their soft, thin ‘sssip’ flight call is also immediately diagnostic, once learnt. Fieldfare Slightly smaller than a mistle thrush, this winter visitor from northerly latitudes has a grey head and rump, which contrasts with a chestnut back and a spotty breast. With its distinct ‘chack, chack, chack’ call, this bossy denizen of winter hedgerows and orchards is frequently heard before seen, so keep your eyes and ears open. Mistle thrush A ‘mistle’ on the ground appears both larger and with greyer upperparts than its song thrush cousin. The distinctive white underwings and bounding flight should also clinch…

1 min.
choice locations

A traditionally managed, historic orchard will have the most to offer in terms of fauna and flora. The following selection, which are also designated nature reserves, should fit the bill nicely. 1 Killerton estate in Devon, is run by the National Trust and has 50 acres of orchard, playing host to over 100 apple cultivars, including the oddly named ‘slack ma girdle’ and ‘hangy down’. 2 The Sturts North is an old, one-hectare cider orchard managed by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust. The reserve contains a number of old and newly planted trees, with local fruit varieties. 3 Knapp and Papermill Reserve on the edge of the Malverns is managed by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and plays host to a fine collection of apple trees. 4 Tewin Orchard northeast of Welwyn Garden City, this orchard is managed…