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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine January 2019

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.

Recently I was enthralled, watching the progress of the InSight Mission probe as it landed on the surface of Mars, and the pictures it sent back from a place that has figured in so many sci-fi books and films I enjoyed as a child. The technology that is giving us views of another planet in our solar system has built on the amazing development in satellites and optical equipment of the last few decades. Those improvements in picture quality, and the ability to zoom in from a long distance away, are also giving us unprecedented images of wildlife on our own planet – as can be seen in the forthcoming BBC series, Earth From Space. If you couple stunning footage from satellites, drones and camerawork on the ground, with the…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

CHLOË SAROSH Chloë produced the BBC series Earth from Space. “The satellite images of Earth are truly breathtaking,” she says. “Every day, I was reminded of just how beautiful our planet is and how lucky we are to live on it.” See p18 STEPHEN MOSS Naturalist Stephen has always loved wrens, the subject of his latest book. “The wren is such a paradox,” he says. “Even though it is our most common bird, many people tell me they have never seen one.” See p32 SUE RYLANCE Journalist Sue went on a low-tech tracking safari in Tanzania. “Without technology, you need all your senses to unravel the clues left by the animals,” she says. “You become a bush detective.” See p40 ALEX MORSS Ecologist, botany tutor and writer Alex Morss explores the power of art for keen botanists.…

4 min.
wild month

1 | SALTMARSHES Between land and sea On a raw January day, with a chill wind whipping in off the sea, saltmarshes can feel utterly bleak. They are a ‘halfway house’; an ever-changing world of glistening ooze, strange plants and saline creeks, that disappears daily under high tides. Yet this low-lying coastal habitat is of vital importance, for its wildlife riches and economic value. Huge numbers of ducks, geese and waders, including curlew ( pictured ), depend on saltmarsh during the winter. In summer, it is a breeding ground for about half of Britain’s redshanks – known as ‘sentinels of the marshes’ for their flightiness and shrill alarm calls – which nest among the hardy Spartina grass, sea purslane, glasswort and seablite. These halophytic (salt-tolerant) plants slow the flow of sea water, stopping the…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

While there may be no discernible distinction between lakes and reservoirs in many people’s minds, the one key difference comes down to their evolution. While lakes are phenomena formed thousands of years ago as a result of glacial, volcanic or tectonic activity, reservoirs, by contrast, are a product of man’s dominion over nature – ensuring our nation’s need to stay hydrated is sated throughout the year. Much of Britain’s water supply infrastructure was developed over the last 150 years, to cope with the demands of a growing population and an increased need from industry and agriculture. During reservoir construction, all emphasis was placed on the feat of actually containing the water, while precisely zero thought was given to their potential as a future conservation asset. In fact, it was not until a…

1 min.
species to look out for

Shoveler Smaller than mallards, but with a larger bill, the distinctive drakes have a dark green head and rusty-orange flanks and belly. As the breeding population departs for warmer climes, their continental cousins will arrive to spend the winter on our reservoirs. Gadwall At a distance, a gadwall drake ( below ) is unremarkable – grey with a black rear end – but at close quarters the plumage is finely vermiculated. The females, however, look like slim mallards. Most gadwall overwintering in Britain will have come from either Iceland or northern or eastern Europe. Pochard The males of this stocky diving duck have rusty-red heads, black breasts, and a pale grey back and flanks, contrasting with the mostly brown females. Overwintering numbers have dropped recently, with only around 38,000 pairs arriving from breeding grounds in northern…

1 min.
choice locations

1 Blithfield Reservoir in South Staffordshire has 21 species of waterfowl using the site in winter. A Site of Special Scientific Interest, some parts are only accessible with a permit from the West Midland Bird Club. 2 Rutland Water is owned by Anglian Water, but a large swathe is managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. It has hosted counts of as many as 30,000 wildfowl in winter. 3 Abberton Reservoir is managed by Essex and Suffolk Water. With waterfowl counts regularly up to 40,000 during winter, it is recognised as a reserve of international importance. 4 London Wetland Centre is managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and was converted into a showpiece urban reserve from four disused Victorian reservoirs in the borough of Richmond upon Thames. 5 Chew Valley Lake is…