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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine December 2017

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

2 min.

We loved choosing the photos for this year’s BBC Wildlife calendar because it reminded us of all the amazing pictures our readers have taken in 2017. Finding the right combination and most appropriate ones for each month wasn’t easy, but it was fun. I hope you’ll agree they are all absolutely stunning! The overall winner of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2017: PIED WAGTAIL SILHOUETTED BY THE LIGHTS OF HEATHROW’S TERMINAL 5 by DANIEL TRIM Our Your Photos page in the magazine every month puts us in touch with wildlife lovers all over the world – a global community of people who care about wild animals and have the patience and skill to capture the incredible images they share with us. Staying with the theme of fantastic photography, I was proud to be…

1 min.

ELLEN HUSAIN Wildlife filmmaker Ellen grew up on the Cornish coast. She explored waters close to home for a recent project. “I was incredibly impressed with the blue sharks,” she says. See p 20 SHELLY PERKINS Wildlife artist Shelly travelled to Antarctica with the Royal Navy. “My work has led to some incredible experiences but this was the trip of a lifetime,” she says. See p36 SUZI ESZTERHAS Suzi spent two months photographing giant pandas in China. She says, “It’s easy to see why these delightful creatures have captured the world’s imagination.” See p76…

1 min.
many happy returns

“ROBINS HAVE GRACED CARDS AT CHRISTMAS SINCE THEY WERE FIRST POSTED EN-MASSE IN THE 1860s.” Pictured among snow-dusted holly berries or on a garden spade or chair, fluffed up against the cold, or nesting in a discarded rusty teapot or battered boot, the robin enjoys iconic status in British popular culture. Especially so at Christmas, when this perky member of the chat family holds a special place in our affections. The barn owl – its closest rival in 2015’s poll to choose a national bird, organised by the ‘Urban Birder’ David Lindo – never really stood a chance. Robin Redbreast romped home. Familiarity has something to do with it, as does the species’ tameness in the British Isles. (Its appealingly large-eyed face can also melt the hardest heart.) During the last winter,…

3 min.
uk highlights

• TURNSTONE GLOBE TROTTERS After breeding on High Arctic tundra, turnstones spread out across the planet, visiting coastlines of every continent except Antarctica. Our wintering population comes all the way from Canada and Greenland. These tough, chunky waders busily work through tideline flotsam and jetsam, turning over seaweed and pebbles to snap up small invertebrates underneath. They’ll happily pick at the carcasses of seabirds, seals and cetaceans; some will even come to bread. FIND OUT MORE Visit the Wadertales blog: www.wadertales.wordpress.com • HOLLY SEASON’S GREETINGS Many people decorating their homes with holly will be unaware of its ecology. It is dioecious: trees are male or female. This is why some are devoid of berries, as only female hollies bear them. Technically, the fruit is the stone-like part in the middle; the scarlet skin is the exocarp,…

1 min.
also look out for…

RED-LETTER DAYS Stake out the feeders at Scotland’s Loch of the Lowes (Scottish Wildlife Trust) and Abernethy (RSPB) reserves for fantastic views of red squirrels. Both locations also have webcams trained on the feeders. Wardens top them up throughout the winter – you might spot crested and coal tits too. ROADSIDE SPECTACLE In winter the hedges and scrub beside motorways and railway lines often seem to have been smothered in foam, rather like the off-white scum whipped up by a river. This is the feathery seedheads of traveller’s joy, also known as old man’s beard – our native species of clematis. WINTER BLOOMS Gorse is famous for flowering in every month of the year, adding a welcome splash of midwinter colour to bleak heaths and hillsides. With searching, you can also find a surprising number…

3 min.
hidden britain

They’re probably among the most unbreakable creatures on Earth, able to survive dehydration, microwaving and temperatures as hot as 150ºC or as low as –273ºC. They can also cope with being exposed to the ionising radiation of outer-space. Not tough enough? On top of all of these credentials, they can exist in suspended animation for over three decades. It is also claimed that these animals have the physiological capabilities to be the last beast standing in the event of a nuclear holocaust. Tardigrades, which translates as ‘slow walkers’, are found from the deepest ocean sediments to the top of Mount Everest. But, luckily for you, they live in less exotic and more user-friendly locations too. That clump of moss on your garden wall or in your blocked gutter, for instance. Tardigrades are…