In May 2016 there was a photo competition at Canvey Island and my photos were through to the last round. Mike Dilger from The One Show was the judge, he was also supervising the guided walks. We decided to go on one of them before the judging of the photos began.
On the walk I pointed out a Skylark and Reed Warbler by recognising their bird song and Mike was impressed. As we walked along my dad suddenly stopped because there was an Adder resting under his foot. He had noticed it just in time before stepping on it. As we continued on towards the hide Mike warned us to be quiet as there was a Great Tit nest nearby. In the hide we saw them flying back and forwards from the nest. After a look around we spotted two Great Crested Grebes dancing and performing to each other.
Finally some ducks flew in and one was a Wigeon. I thought to tell Mike straight away because it was strange that they were here this time of year. Wigeon would normally migrate in the summer to places such as Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia. I told Mike but he did not believe me. “There’s a Wigeon over there”, I kept telling Mike. “They have migrated“, he replied, finally he looked and realised that actually there was a Wigeon, that made him a bit embarrassed, but it also made him more aware of my knowledge.
When we got back it was time for the judging of the photo competition. After he looked around at the pictures he announced the winners.
I managed to get first and second prizes which was amazing and made me very happy.
My winning photo of a Turnstone on Southend Pier
We all had a good day with other events such as bug hunting, pond dipping, we also played some of the games and climbed a rock wall that they had there.
Couple of days later, we were at Minsmere walking round, whilst looking at a Great Spotted Woodpecker nest we bumped into Mike Dilger, Jason Singh and one of the Springwatch producers. We said hello and Mike retold the Wigeon story to the other people, after chatting to them all the Producer invited us to be in the audience of Springwatch UnSprung (episode 3 2016).
It was great as I managed to stand behind Chris Packham and Mike in the audience and had a really good view of them both. My mum said I was also very visible on the screen and she had told all my family to watch. It was interesting seeing different parts of the set and what they were doing and how it all ran behind the scenes. At the end of the show Mike introduced me to Chris Packham and I had my photo taken with them.
I also met Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games they all signed my little black nature book. Was a great end to a long day at Minsmere.