Presenter Michaela Strachan Shares Her Autumnwatch Secrets

Michaela Strachan, 49, co-hosts BBC Two’s Autumnwatch with Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games. She tells us more about her passion for wildlife and the new series…

How did you get into wildlife presenting?
I started my career in musicals, but later fell into wildlife presenting when I got asked to do the children’s show OWL/TV – and my interest grew from there. Many of our family holidays involve wildlife now. My nine-year-old son Ollie loves it. My highlight was going on a hot air balloon over Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve and having pancakes for breakfast in the Savanna.

What’s in store for us in this series of Autumnwatch?

We’re filming from a new location, the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust’s Caerlaverock Wetland Centre in Dumfriesshire, which makes it all very exciting. It’s a hot spot for migrating birds coming from Iceland and Greenland, so we’ll hopefully see some migration spectacles, possibly barnacle geese, pink-footed geese and whooper swans. There could be up to 30,000 barnacle geese, so it may be a rather noisy place to be!

You’ve been working with Chris Packham for years, what’s that partnership like for you?

I adore working with Chris. We hit it off when we met 26 years ago and we’ve got on ever since. We filmed two other series together since The Really Wild Show, both for Animal Planet: Postcards from the Wild and Big 5 Little 5. We respect each other, support each other and laugh a lot at each other. I also adore Martin – every ‘Watch’ I look forward to seeing them both. They can both be highly irritating too!

What’s been your most memorable moment working on the series?

I loved being in Aigas in the Scottish highlands a few years ago. They have a loch with beavers in and we had live cameras on them – they provided us with plenty of entertainment. There were a few unintended innuendos – it’s hard not to when you’re talking about beavers – but I think my worst was when I said, “Well there’s been plenty of beaver action tonight and many of you have been enjoying it on the Internet!” Oops!

What about your most challenging moment?

The challenges get worse for Winterwatch – last year our cabin blew up in a storm! We went to the Cairngorms, so we got snow and extreme weather, which certainly poses challenges. The main one is keeping warm when it’s -12 degrees!

Autumnwatch starts on BBC Two on Monday 2nd November and runs over four nights.

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