Fens ranger joins BBC Springwatch series in Norfolk
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A former Norfolk wildlife ranger returns to the county this month to take part in BBC's Springwatch programme.
Ajay Tegala, a ranger at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, used to be gatekeeper at Blakeney Point in north Norfolk.
He's spent the last three months on secondment from his National Trust job, working with the BBC and getting ready to join Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan on screen.
From tonight, and for the next three weeks, Springwatch will be broadcasting live from Wild Ken Hill in west Norfolk.
He has made a special film for the series, in which he sets out to find out why they are doing so well in the Fens of East Anglia.
Mr Tegala said: "Having the opportunity to network with other Fenland and East Anglian nature reserves, including the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts and Pensthorpe has been hugely beneficial to my ranger role.
"I now know a lot more about cranes and also that the Corncrake that turned up at Wicken Fen last May was from a nearby reintroduction programme which is progressing this year and may lead to more sightings at Wicken Fen in the future.
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“It has been a great experience working with the Springwatch team. Everyone has been really supportive, I’ve picked up some useful tips and had the chance to work with lots wonderful, talented people including the lovely Megan McCubbin. With the live shows about to kick off, the best is yet to come."
To go along with his special report on the cranes, Mr Tegala will be presenting live on Instagram, taking it in turns with other presenters like Ms Strachan, Mr Packham, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke.
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Technicians have spent weeks at Wild Ken Hill setting up more than 30 remote cameras. Fibre optic cables stretch out to the chalk downs, into the woods and off to the wetlands.
Footage from the barn is beamed straight to the BBC's wildlife unit in Bristol to be edited.
Millions will be tuning in to the BBCs flagship nature programme when it begins its 2021 run.
Mr Packham said nature had offered "respite and solace" to many through the pandemic. But while watching on TV or online offered "almost the same peak of intensity", a wet, late spring meant it was impossible to predict what they might see.
• Springwatch begins at 8pm tonight on BBC Two.