More springwatch preparations today with generators arriving, cables laid to some of the wildlife hubs and microphones set up near the heronry. The duct and fibre optic cable has been laid to the Visitor Centre from the Studio location and we will hopefully be getting these connected early next week. This will allow us to show some of the springwatch live web-cams onto a television screen recently installed in the Centre. Keen-eyed staff are looking out for late nests close to the wildlife hubs and we should have a good variety of bird species with young when the live filming starts. Some species are a bit trickier, having reared young already, but we have fingers crossed for a late pied flycatcher or redstart. The production village, set up on a nearby farmer's field, is growing with marquees, caravans and cabins. Work on the Studio nears completion. The programme is slowly drawing closer and our excitement is building. Only ten days to go!
Here we are at the end of the first week of Springwatch at Ynys-hir. All I can say is...WOW.. what a week we have had at the reserve. The build up since last summer, when the BBC team had a good old look at the site and said - 'Oh yes, this looks pretty good' - to today, after a week of amazing footage, it is obvious they made the right decision to base the programme at this outstanding venue. Who can deny the absolute joy of watching the webcams and saying 'oooh' or 'ahhh' at least a couple of times during a nightly hour of pure entertainment?
Hectic couple of months
It has been a pretty hectic couple of months while the reserve team have prepared for the whole magical Springwatch experience. In this first week of the programme, we have brought in 20 extra volunteers, a catering company, new signage, and an extra car park with major mud issues (and a predicted unbelievable increase in visitor numbers; thank you Pensthorpe for the warning) So, with these little management items on the agenda, we had to plan, and plan well we did!The production team have been fantastic during the build up to the Springwatch. The studio, which is almost unrecognisable from the humble (sorry Kate) tractor shed it was originally, is a regular stop-off point on our daily 'Springwatch' tours. It is such a joy to see a middle-aged man jumping up and down with delight (you know who you are) at seeing this usually out of bounds spectacle. We had to be very careful if the BBC crew were filming, but the presenters and crew have been unbelievably accommodating. The heronry cam, redstarts, pied flycatchers and the small section of the 40 miles of cables come a very close second in the excitement factor, but the walk is very popular and the staff and volunteers scramble to lead these increasingly popular tours.
What a buzzThe buzz at Ynys-hir has been amazing this week and we sincerely hope every visitor has had a wonderful time.
We worried about parking! The reserve's usual car park is very small. We get an annual average visitor total of 15,000. The car park is fine for this number of lovely visitors, but we knew we would have to make parking a priority. Despite the quarter-mile walk in from the overflow car park, comments have been very positive as folk see a completely new view of the reserve and can enjoy the spectacular wildlife en route - especially the hundreds of baby toads on the access path. As we don't want our visitors to go hungry we brought in the extremely professional and delicious (oh dear, I've gained several pounds in weight) Black Box Kitchen. The food is out of this world and we only hope that the guys stay on for the whole three weeks of the show. We also have light refreshments in the visitor centre, so don't despair if you have not brought a picnic.
Bring on the next two weeks!
Ynys-hir loves being on the TV. It is long overdue that this outstanding reserve has had the airtime it deserves on national telly. We cannot wait for the dramas that will unfold during the next two week, both on and off-screen.I'd love to know what you've all thought about Springwatch and the reserve so far. Leave me a comment below.Oh, and did you hear Kate mention me on Springwatch Unsprung? I was so proud.
With just 4 days to go, almost the whole Springwatch crew are now onsite and it's busier than ever! We've been sneaking around taking some pics to show you how things look when the cameras pan out...
Our humble tractorshed has been transformed into the Springwatch studio...
And is now home to a brand new Springwatch sofa...
And check out the new Springwatch viewing platform to the side of the studio. Hopefully with some sunny weather you'll see Kate and Chris presenting from out here in front of the breathtaking views of our reserve.
More to follow soon, don't forget to tune in on Monday at 8pm, BBC2.