June 21, 2015 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette June 11th 2015
My evenings are going to be sad affairs from now on and stuck I will be with red wine and Mackie’s ice cream, my Yoda experience complete. Yes, you have guessed it, Springwatch 2015 is over and what a joy it has been.Hungry baby barn owls, wrens, blue tits, bearded tits in their nests, – never seen one, never likely to and, in this particular case, the chicks were all gobbled up by a passing rat – dancing grebes, shovelers, swifts, pigeons and gulls all procreating and fledging in my very own front room in high definition. And if you want to know how to tell the difference between a male and a female stoat it is best to watch them running in slo-mo HD and let their bouncing rear ends give you something of a clue. I could have done without the adders and sticklebacks but not the otters or badgers and foxes all on the RSPB reserve at Minsmere and all free to perform in their natural habitat before hidden cameras that often run for 24/7 so that, by going on line you can watch them at any time day or night. A true reality show in every sense of the word unlike the so called television reality shows – a misnomer there if ever there was one – you put a camera and a microphone in front of a human being and they will perform, do tricks and generally show off which renders the reality part of the title quite superfluous. And, at the end of the delightful hour in the company of Chris Packham and chums you have the red button. I have no idea how this works and my red button is now a faded pink but it still functions and somehow or other I am transferred to a makeshift studio on the reserve where Packham interviews seasoned wild life experts and takes questions and comment from viewers in a cheerful and often humorous manner. Lots of laughs on the half hour red button show, good dry wit and, unlike most comedy shows these days, the only fowl language is when it is in reference to ducks. Oh and yes I learned the herring gull is an endangered species which I know will please a lot of Littlehampton folk but not I. Should it be raining outside during my viewing hour well then, of course, I put on my Barbour jacket, leggings and waterproof boots and pretend I am out there with them….