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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine March 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.

Sometimes it’s amazing how well wildlife adapts to the obstacles we humans throw at it. Witness our photo story on page 68 that shows how the animals of the Italian Alps co-exist with the country’s most intensive marble workings. More often, though, nature needs a helping hand, and for accidental, as well as intentional, damage to be put right. On page 40, a scientist who worked on Gough Island in the South Atlantic relates what was involved in assessing the scale of seabird destruction by non-native mice, and what will be done about it in the coming years. And on page 32, we look at the salvation from extinction of the world’s only truly wild horse, as well as, on page 62, the innovative solutions to curbing the spread of…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

SALLY HUBAND Sally is a writer and naturalist living in Shetland. “The onset of winter is an exciting time,” she says. “I find myself longing for the arrival of the long-tailed ducks, or ‘calloo’ as they are called here.” See p18 MARY COLWELL Mary is leading a campaign to introduce a GCSE in natural history. “Nature has to be at the heart of our education system,” she says. “We need to give it the gravitas and respect it deserves.” See p28 KAREN LLOYD Writer Karen went in search of the Przewalski’s horses on the Hungarian steppe. “Previously hunted almost to extinction, it was uplifting being close to a herd of over 270 horses,” she says. See p32 LORENZO SHOUBRIDGE Photographer Lorenzo has explored Italy’s Apuan Alps since he was a boy. “These mountains are being torn apart…

4 min.
wild month

1 | COMMON TOAD Marching orders Countless warty bodies will soon be stirring. Unlike frogs, toads only visit water to breed, and the timing of their annual migration varies enormously from year to year, according to the weather in early spring. The ‘big push’ – when toads move en masse to ancestral breeding ponds and lakes – occurs on damp, drizzly evenings when the temperature at sunset hovers at or above 7–8°C. The event usually occurs in March or April in northern England and Scotland. All too often, the peak movement clashes with rush-hour traffic, leading to amphibian carnage. John Lewis-Stempel, in his new book about ponds, Still Water (published by Doubleday this March), describes the sickening moment when toads and drivers meet: ‘Stationary, they are white lumps, almost leaves; the car headlights…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

Let’s face it, by March many of us have had enough of winter and are desperate for spring to bring some light back into our lives. For expectant naturalists, the seasonal signposts are all around us. Nothing says spring to a botanist, for example, quite like the burst of yellow provided by primroses, celandines and daffodils. However, for the birders out there, the arrival of this season of rebirth is surely defined by the return of the first of our summer migrants after a winter spent in warmer climes. Data collated over decades, by organisations such as the British Trust for Ornithology, has revealed that arrival dates of our summer visitors to Britain seems precisely controlled, with surprisingly little variation, both between the species and from year to year. In spring,…

1 min.
species to look out for

Sandwich tern With its shaggy black crest and yellow-tipped black bill, the Sandwich tern ( below ) is the earliest breeding tern to arrive back after spending winter in West Africa. Their noisy and grating ‘kerr-ick’ call is commonly heard along our shores from late March onwards in various breeding colonies around Britain’s coasts. Sand martin Smaller than a swallow, the brown upperparts and pale underparts with a brown chest-band should easily identify the earliest of our hirundines. Having overwintered in sub-Saharan Africa, any sand martins spotted near the coast will be in transit to sand banks and gravel quarries inland. Wheatear The male is distinctive with his blue-grey back, bandit’s mask and extensive white rump. Wheatears are common anywhere along the south coast in early spring, as they tend to recuperate before leaving for…

1 min.
choice locations

1 Landguard Point is Suffolk’s most southerly point and its shingle-covered spit has become a renowned landfall for any migrants needing a break during their long journey up the east coast. 2 Dungeness RSPB Reserve on Kent’s south coast consists of shingle beach, fresh water pits and wet grassland. It’s no more than a hop, skip and a jump away for migrants flying in from France. 3 Beachy Head in East Sussex is celebrated for its open, rolling downland atop chalky-white cliffs. These clifftops are also regularly graced by ring ouzels and wheatears in spring, as they take a rest before heading inland. 4 Durlston Head, located on the east of Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck, offers a mosaic of habitats, all of which are the perfect pit stop for any tired migrants that…