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BBC Springwatch 2021: Wicken Fen ranger Ajay Tegala joins the team



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A ranger at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve has joined the BBC Springwatch team for their new series, which begins on Tuesday night (May 25).

Ajay Tegala has spent three months on secondment from his National Trust role, gaining experience with the BBC Natural History Unit, and has been looking forward to three weeks of live programmes with Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan.

Ajay Tegala. Picture: Dan Sunderland (47530837)
Ajay Tegala. Picture: Dan Sunderland (47530837)

Ajay presents a film for the series on cranes, which explores how the restoration of an area has created valuable habitats for wetland wildlife.

He said of his secondment: “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,” he said.

“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.”

He also reviewed BBC archive footage of zebras, in preparation for filming Liz Bonnin for the BBC2 series of Our Wild Adventures, which began on May 9, and found some “interesting parallels” with Wicken Fen’s Konik ponies.

“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.

“And no doubt I will be chatting to Chris Packham about Wicken Fen and dragonflies when I’m on set with him during the Springwatch live shows.”

Ajay Tegala with Megan McCubbin at Pensthorpe Natural Park for BBC Springwatch 2021. Picture: Ajay Tegala (47530853)
Ajay Tegala with Megan McCubbin at Pensthorpe Natural Park for BBC Springwatch 2021. Picture: Ajay Tegala (47530853)

Ajay will feature on the Instagram Live shows on Monday May 31 and Monday June 7 at 1pm, discussing what the team has been seeing on the Norfolk nest cams over the weekends. He is monitoring them between 4am and 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Springwatch this year is based at Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk, where Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan will be based, while Iolo Williams will be enjoying the solitude of The Highlands of Scotland and Gillian Burke is immersing herself in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

Featuring on this year's Springwatch will be, from left, Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke. Picture: BBC, 2019. Photographer: Jo Charlesworth (47531370)
Featuring on this year's Springwatch will be, from left, Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke. Picture: BBC, 2019. Photographer: Jo Charlesworth (47531370)

Springwatch runs from May 25 to June 11, 2021, at 8pm, from Tuesdays through to Fridays on BBC Two.

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