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Old November 9th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #1
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"LIFE" on bbc

I've just seen the most wonderful wildlife documentary about birds filmed by Barrie Britton & team and scripted & narrated by David Attenborough & team.

Not one "new" bird on show but the filming skill, location selection and image quality produced 60 minutes visual experience surpassing anything I've ever seen. And I learned so much that I wanted so much to learn. Don't miss it when you get a chance.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #2
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I was amazed and a little shocked to see the pelicans raiding the gannet colony and eating the chicks alive!
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Old November 10th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #3
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That behaviour was news to me too. Fortunately our gannets are safe at present - but global warming could change that!
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Old November 10th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #4
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Here is a link, I think ...

BBC iPlayer - Life: Birds

Re gannets, when both parents leave an unprotected chick you may guess they are new to the parenting experience. When fish are scarce pelicans have a lean time against this sort of survival kit, quote ...

Gannets hunt mainly herring, mackerel and sandeels, by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Gannets have a number of adaptations which enable them to do this:

they have no external nostrils;

they have air sacs under their skin in their face and chest which act
like bubble wrap, cushioning the impact with the water;

their eyes are positioned far enough forward on their face to give
binocular vision allowing them to judge distances accurately at speed.

Gannets can dive from a height of more than 30 metres, achieving speeds of 100*km/h as they strike the water; then they supplement the plunge by flying underwater using bent wings to depths of 25m or more, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than other airborne diving birds.

Last edited by Brendan Marnell; November 10th, 2009 at 01:20 PM. Reason: more info
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Old November 11th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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I was thinking exactly the same thing about the gannets on Grassholm Annie!

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Old November 11th, 2009, 10:24 AM   #6
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When you are walking amongst the gannets on Grassholm (can't do it any more as the RSPB don't allow people to land) you think they are big birds. The Cape Gannets are similar, but the pelicans dwarfed them.

Brendan - here is a fish's view of a passing gannet - they can also see downwards as they fly forwards. This was taken with a 300mm Nikon f4, 1/1,000s - I didn't dare use anything longer from a small boat, and didn't try the video camera either. If a gannet pulls out of a dive at the last minute, it's likely to hit the water belly first and go along like a bouncing bomb. That bit I didn't manage to photograph.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 02:54 AM   #7
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Nice shot, Annie.

For shots of diving gannets it is best to shoot from a boat, preferably surrounded by a shoal of mackerel. Some fine day, maybe!

There is no point hoping the gannets will dive inshore as I was doing when I took these blurry images ...
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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:25 AM   #8
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And to think we can watch 'Life' in full HD, no subscription (other than the license fee) with no adverts and having the fascinating 'making of' tacked on at the end. Marvellous!
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Old November 16th, 2009, 05:53 PM   #9
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If only I lived in the UK...
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