It might sound an unlikely pairing, but Chris Packham from ‘Springwatch’ and ‘Love Island’ winner Jack Fincham have been on a date together. A bird watching date.
As part of a new BBC programme ‘Nature Dates’, which airs on BBC iPlayer and YouTube from Wednesday 13 June, the unlikely pair met up for a wander around London’s Walthamstow Wetlands, spotting cormorants, coots, and an elusive kingfisher together – all while sharing their mutual love of birds.
Here are seven things we learned while watching Jack and Chris go twitching.
1. Jack really loves birds.
As winner of ‘Love Island’, you’d expect this. But did you know his favourite kind is the feathery, winged type? (Don’t tell Dani). He particularly loves kingfishers, it turns out. “Oh my god! Mate, that is unbelievable,” he says as he geeks out over one. He also has a penchant for other wildlife: “I love squirrels”, he declares, whipping out a pair of binoculars to take a closer look.
2. Birds really like nesting.
According to Chris, birds use both spit and spider webs to build their nests, which means they’re pretty resourceful. Needs must, we guess. It’s not like they get free furniture from big brand endorsements. That we know of.
3. Jack is a Chris Packham megafan.
“Honestly, I told my mum and everything I was meeting you, and she was like no way!” Jack excitedly tells the calm and collected wildlife expert. “I just thought you’d be the perfect person. I’m going to learn loads today.”
And in case he wasn’t clear: “I’ve watched all your programmes. Springwatch, Autumnwatch. The Really Wild Show...”. We hope he likes a Smiths’ lyric.
4. But Chris hasn’t watched ‘Love Island’. Ever.
“Jack, I’m an honest bloke so I’ve got to tell you the truth about something,” says Chris, turning to Jack. “I didn’t see a single episode, not a single programme. Not one. I feel really guilty now.”
5. Peregrine falcons are speedier than Dr Alex with a buggy.
It turns out peregrine falcons, which can be spotted in the UK and like to perch on the pylons in Walthamstow Wetlands, are the fastest animal in the world, with flight speeds in excess of 200 miles an hour.
6. Jack used to bird-watch, even in Casa Amore.
In an effort to persuade Chris to go on ‘Love Island’, Jack reminisces about his twitching time in the villa. “Funnily enough, right, I used to sit at the edge of the pool on these bean bags, and on these bean bags you’d have all these conversations with girls and arguments and stuff – there was always drama. But I used to sit on them and watch the birds over the mountains,” he tells Chris.
“And I’d see swifts and swallows feed off the pool and birds of prey in the distance. And I used to love it. I sort of turned it into my own bird-watching holiday.”
7. Kingfishers aren’t blue, it’s an illusion.
“Do you want me to tell you something astonishing about that bird?” Chris asks Jack, pointing at a kingfisher. “There is no blue pigment in that bird at all. All of that is what we call structural colour, it’s made from the light bouncing through the feathers.” Now that’s what we call peng.