Thursday, 30 October 2014

Autumnwatch Adventure!!

Well, what can say! The past three days have been incredible. 

Last week, I got an email saying one of the producers of Autumn watch had seen my 'My Autumn' video on my youtube channel. They asked if they could feature some of the clips on this years Autumn watch series. I obviously said yes! And so it began...

I later got asked if I could like to travel up to RSPB Leighton Moss just south of the Lake District, and I too said yes! My seal birth video got shown on the opening night (Tuesday 28th) of Autumn watch. A massive 2.7 MILLION people saw my clip, according to the BBC's statistics! To know that millions of people have now seen this spectacular event (the grey seal birth) is amazing, and it's even better knowing that it was my footage! Below is a still of the birth, seconds after the event. If you want to watch all the footage, click here. My footage is 57 minutes into the program.

Michela and Martin loved the clip! Martin said 'what an amazing thing to see, to actually capture on camera' followed by Michela saying 'thank you very much Billy for that.' I'm so pleased they like it, even if Martin did find it a little 'shocking'!

I spent the day looking around the RSPB reserve with my mum, and I managed to get quite a few nice shots. Pheasants were originally introduced from China by the romans, but I still love to photograph there amazing colours.

They have such elaborate characters. I really don't see why people take these magnificent animals for granted, and even purposely breed them to shoot. This individual was very confident!

The birds around the reserve were so tame, probably due to so many visits from the public. The huge variety of birds amazed me! At one point, there was a chaffinch, a great tit, a blue tit, a dunnock, a robin and a nuthatch in one tree, all the the same time! This is why reserves like Leighton Moss are so important, providing a safe haven for all different types of animals.

I don't get nuthatches on my patch, so it was a real treat to get some shots of this little chap! I think the bird below is a Dunnock, but do correct me if I'm wrong.

Me and my mum visited lots of the different hides around the reserve. At one point we saw a marsh harrier being mobbed by two crows. It was a really interesting thing to watch, as I really enjoy spectating animal behaviour between different species. 

We even spotted 3 Red deer emerging from the reed beds. It was a shame that we didn't get to see any otters or bearded tits, but it was still great to be able to see all the other wildlife. I have found out that it is possible for me to get a train all the way to Silverdale (which is very close to the reserve)! Knowing this, I am positive that I will be visiting again soon in the future.

If you watched the show, you would have seen this tawny owl. Martin was doing some live experiments with him about how they managed to fly so silently. We got to meet the owl before the Unsprung show. Whilst we were watching the main shown, I could hear all the editing and production teams contacting the presenters and cameraman on walkie-talkies. It was really exciting, and reassured  me that it is definitely the profession I want to persue. 

Here's me and my mum in the crews dining tent. Whilst we were having diner we were amongst all the crew, including the producers, the cameramen and some of the presenters. 

I'm sure most of you know who Georgia Locock is. It was great to meet her briefly, and we are hopefully going to make arrangements to meet up again in the future. Visit her blog:

I met Nick Baker after Unsprung, and even shared a car with him on the way back to the RSPB visitors centre. I managed to give him my blog details too! 

It was a long day, but it was a very exciting experience. I am going to try so stay in contact with some of the great people I met. Remember to keep tune into BBC 2 at 8 O'Clock tomorrow for the main show, and then Unsprung straight after! 

Monday, 27 October 2014

What is WildlifeBilly?

Hello Everyone, and welcome to my wildlife blog which I have been developing over the past 3 years. I have loved every second, and I hope you enjoy reading about my passion, hobby and (hopefully) future job as much as I do. I primarily use my blog to share my wildlife experiences with everyone who is interested, writing about my latest projects, my photography and my youtube videos (and much more). 

For me, the wildlife is the most important thing, and I love to watch wildlife spectacles such as rutting deer and the birth of seals. However, when I get these spectacles on camera they suddenly seem 100 times better. I think it's the fact the I can re-live that moment for a second time, or a third, or fourth. Thats why I created my blog. So I can let you experience the wonders of wildlife with me! And learn about ways to protect our wildlife…

About me
"I'm a 15 year old captivated by the magical wonders of wildlife, whether in the back garden or in the Peruvian rainforest, it's all special."

Below are some of my best shots and clips of footage, giving you a taster of what I do : 

My Magical Autumn Video

The Hedgehog and the cat!

Blue tit Stories 2014

Those extracts sum up some of my work, however feel free to have a browse round my blog using the tabs at the top. Enjoy!

Bird box Building Blast!

Over the past few days our garden has been invaded by cameras and gadgets to monitor and record our wildlife!

 I have set up 2 camera bird boxes, and wired them back to the computer, enabling me to watch, record and share the footage. Another camera has been positioned filming my bird feeders, which I hope will get some nice shots of the huge variety of bird visiting my patch! Here are some pictures illustrating my progress! Don't hesitate to comment or give me any tips. 

I have installed a camera in the bird box above, which primarily attracts larger species such as Great tits. Last year, a group of 5 chicks successfully hatched and fledged. I hope to capture this amazing story again with the help of my camera, which is tucked away at the top of the bird box!

The bird box above has been installed with the latest HANDYKAM camera, which offers crystal clear images and excellent audio quality, not too far off Springwatch's standard! This bird box has successfully homed two families of blue tits, which were both a joy to watch.

To read more about my bird box projects please head over to the 'Bird Boxes 2014/5' page at the top!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Flying Formations

There has been a question on my mind for a while now…. What factors affect the flying formation of birds? 

As it is now autumn and getting colder there are many birds starting to fly to warmer climates (either in the UK or abroad), and I have therefore seen lots of birds past whilst walking Pippin. 

In the typical 'V' shaped formation, what affects the order?

  • Hierarchy (the pecking order)
  • Fastest flying birds at front
  • Random formation
  • Relationships within the group
  • Confidence of navigation
Why do bird fly in the 'V' shaped formation?
  • Aerodynamic 
  • Easier to navigate? - less likely to veer off in the wrong direction
  • slip-stream (like with cyclists) - why don't they fly in the straight line then?
  • Easily shows hierarchy
  • All the birds can see the leader - presuming its in order of hierarchy 
Why are some formations not 'V' shaped?
  • Number of birds in the group
  • Species of birds
  • Experience of birds 
  • Not as effective with too many birds
  • some species may have better aerodynamics and therefore don't need to be in a formation
Why does the formation constantly change?
  • gusts of wind could move them about
  • slip-stream (cyclists) - tired birds move to the back as the bird at the front do more work
  • birds need to communicate with the leader?
  • competitive within the group, some sort of race
Why are there sometimes sub-groups or individuals flying alongside the main group?
  • Different families
  • Different ages/species/social classes?
  • outcast birds could fly solo alongside the group
  • more anti-socials birds fly solo
  • could be a completely different group of birds

A large group of 25 birds in a typical V formation

 The group of 25 is then joined by 2 sub-groups, each 6 birds strong.

The front 8 birds on the left hand side (not including the leader) then peel of and form a soldiery diagonal line.

Here is another group of birds, 9 strong in a V formation. From the birds perspective there are 3 birds on the right and 5 on the left, and the leader up front.

As the birds passed over head, it became very clear that the V was unevenly distributed. The formation could have been even (4 on each side, leader at front,) but the birds instead flew like this. Why did the birds choose to fly like this? Could 2 birds of split up from the group, leaving it uneven? 

As the birds flew into the distance, the bird at the front speeds up and separated itself from the group. Why?

These are all questions I want to look into and maybe even figure out myself. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

New fox footage!

After setting up my trail camera in various woods, I have managed to gather various clips of foraging foxes! 

Here are a few of the clips. I am going to continue to use my trail camera in the areas where these shots were taken, to see if I can gather anymore footage! 

A fox caught in the daylight!

The two clips below were taken in the same locations. However, the two foxes filmed are different individuals shown by the shape of their ears. 

I am currently contacting the owner of another wood near my patch to see if I can use my trail camera in there too!