BBC4 Alaska Bears

Bear with salmon

Well, my hour long special, “Johnny Kingdom and the Bears of Alaska”, is finally about to be shown on BBC4. Tune in on Wednesday 27th at 9.00 am and see what I got up to when Julie and me went to this wonderful place to see the bears.

I’ve already seen it myself and think it’s really good. I want to thank Available Light in Bristol for doing such a great job filming and editing it, with a special thank you to Wendy and David.

The programme has stirred a bit of interest in the media and a few nice articles have come out. There was one in the Bideford Gazette here in North Devon, and Anna at the gazette in Minehead also did a very good write-up for which I’d like to thank her.

This Wednesday morning I will be on Radio Devon with Judy Spiers. If you don’t live in Devon you should be able to listen in over the Internet.

I’ve some more news on the tawny owls in one of my owl boxes. They are definitely nesting, which is great. Someone I spoke to this week knows of a tawny already sitting on an egg. I’ve mentioned before that they are early nesters and this proves it. By the time the barn owls are ready to lay, this little chap will have hatched and be ready to fly.

Tawnys do pop out of the nest early mind, when they are still a bundle of fluff, whereas baby barn owls grow their feathers before they show themselves.

It seems there are a lot of owls around at the moment which is so good to hear, and quite a few otters as well. All good news.

What is not so good is that some other species seem to be having a bad time of it, especially goldfinches and siskins. I picked up three dead goldfinches and two siskins in our village recently and other people have reported finding dead birds. It’s so sad.

Maybe there is a disease going around. I don’t know. Dirty bird feeders can spread viruses quickly and harbour disease, so do make sure you keep yours clean. Don’t stop feeding the birds though as they really need it in this cold weather.

Up on the land I’ve taken all my equipment out of my tree hide and set it up in the cabin again. I can sit in there nice and warm, watching and filming the wildlife. The cameras are also set up for night filming. I love doing this as it’s great to see what is about when we are all in bed asleep.

I’ve made a feeding station about 70 metres in front of the cabin which is attracting plenty of visitors. Yesterday I saw three badgers and a roe deer. There was an active badger sett on the site three years ago and now several holes have been freshly dug out so it seems the feeding is bringing them back.

Do you remember the bird box on the cabin I told you about where 18 wrens once squeezed in to roost? Well they are using it again and I saw five in there the other day. Will they beat their record this year I wonder?

I had an enquiry the other day from a lady asking what gear I wear. It’s Jack Pyke and is really good stuff that’s warm, comfortable and waterproof. You can find their website address on my “Useful Links” page. Swarovski are also on there, whose binoculars and scopes I use. They are quite costly but the best I’ve ever used, and will last you a lifetime.

That’s about it for this month. I do hope you enjoy the BBC4 programme on Wednesday. I’ve made my own DVD about the trip. It’s in my online shop if you are interested.

Take care now and let’s hope the weather is a bit warmer by the time the next blog post comes around.