Our Swifts on BBC Autumnwatch

BBC Autumnwatch 2015

The story about one of our swift colony was shown on BBC Autumnwatch on Tuesday 3rd November 2015 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0371xqd. When Springwatch ended back in June 2015 and our chosen swift family were incubating three eggs which were just about to hatch. The BBC carried on filming them from inside the box and captured the moment the eggs hatched right up to the time they all fledged in early August. Cameramen also filmed their unique behaviour around our house throughout the summer.

BBC camaramen | Cameraman Ian in garden | Ian and Mark

BBC camaramen | Cameraman Ian in garden | Ian and Mark

The last filming was an interview in September where we talked about our love of swifts . Below are a few photos taken on that day.

Jane (assisting!) and Mark being interviewed| Mark and BBC crew | Filming in our garden

Jane (assisting!) and Mark being interviewed| Mark and BBC crew | Filming in our garden

BBC Springwatch 2015

We were asked in February 2015 if we would be interested in the BBC filming from inside our swift nest boxes. We of course said “Yes” and the planning then began to organise it without causing too much disturbance to our existing swift colony.

In April, Mark and BBC cameraman Nigel adapted a few of our existing swift boxes to accommodate the cameras and microphone. Below are photos of them discussing which box to use and installing one of our 16 swift nest boxes. The boxes were put up in anticipation of the first swifts’ arrival which this year was 2nd May – read Mark’s swifts blog for details (see nest box 5 south)

Swift box being put up

Nigel BBC cameraman and Mark adding swift boxes to our house

The BBC installed several remote controlled cameras inside our swift boxes which featured during the Springwatch series which ran from Monday 25th May until Thursday 11th June 2015 on BBC2. Unfortunately due to the late arrival of our swifts they didn’t get much airtime as we hoped.

Footage from our nests was also shown on the giant screen at Millennium Square in Bristol, along with other urban birds in Bristol, as part of the European Green Capital celebration.

Us (on left) with a few of BBC team before filming | Setting up in our garden | David Lindo & Mark in garden

Us (on left) with a few of BBC team | In our garden | David Lindo & Mark in our garden

At the end of April we were interviewed by David Lindo, The Urban Birder about our interest in swifts. Luckily the day was sunny, although cold. David and the BBC team were relaxed and made it fun, although we were a bit nervous.

BBc Springwatch swift camaras

Cameraman Iain setting up cameras & some wiring

In May 2015 complicated wiring was added to our home, so that Live filming could be controlled from RSPB Minsmere where BBC Springwatch was transmitted from.

Springwatch swifts

Swifts Fighting | Pair settling down after fight | Springwatch website Live webcam

During May the BBC filmed an intruder entering the Springwatch nest box and a fierce fight followed involving all three birds, the fight lasted nearly 20 minutes. Eventually the intruder was ejected from the nest box and the resident pair settled back down to incubate their eggs. Unfortunately the eggs hatched after Springwatch had finished. However the good news is that the BBC continued to film these swifts throughout the summer and the whole swift story was shown on Autumnwatch.

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