Feb 22

Viewers in the UK are set for a wintery treat tonight, as the team behind Autumnwatch and Springwatch return to our screens for a one off special, celebrating our winter wildlife and taking a look at how our resident plants and animals cope with the changing conditions of the season. If you just can’t wait for tonight, we thought we would give you a little sneak preview of what to expect…

Otter photo

Otters are a big favourite here in the ARKive office, and we’ve heard that ARKive media donor Charlie Hamilton James will be heading out to discover why otter cubs are around at this time of year, as well as finding them in a rather unusual place – we are intrigued!

Dipper photo

The team will also be heading out to look for dippers, small aquatic birds that have evolved amazing methods of hunting. They can swim underwater using their wings, walk along the bottom of the river, and swim on the surface, making dives into the water – impressive stuff!

Ptarmigan photo

The Scottish race of the ptarmigan is found only in Scotland, and is the only bird in Britain to turn white during winter. Roosting occurs on the ground in flocks during winter, and if it has snowed, individuals huddle for warmth. Tonight the team will reveal why it could be the UK’s toughest bird!

Tawny owl photo

Winter is a hard time for owls as they can sometimes struggle to find sufficient prey, but it is also a great opportunity to spot them. Tawny owls pair up in the winter and can often be heard hooting and calling as their courtship takes place. Tune in tonight to find out about a surprising influx of owls.

Barn swallow photo

Of course, some species manage to avoid winter altogether, heading south for warmer climes and returning again when it is time to breed. For a bird of such small size, the barn swallow undertakes hugely impressive, long-distance migrations. Tonight Michaela Strachan reports from South Africa, where millions of swallows have arrived from the UK and beyond.

Have you seen any spectacular winter wildlife? Do you have a favourite wintery photo on ARKive? Get in touch using the form below and let us know!

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher