Living the Wildlife
Emmy award-winning cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson returns to RTÉ for a fifth series of Living the Wildlife travelling the length and breadth of the country in search of Ireland's most exciting fauna. In this series, he has a close encounter with a family of Connemara pine martens, swims with blue sharks off the south coast, tracks the first journeyof eider duck chicks to the sea on Inishmurray Island in Sligo and spends a late night with barn owl chicks in Kanturk.
Once again, Colin's charisma and boundless enthusiasm for the natural world are at the fore as he treks around the country in search of the wild, the wonderful and the seemingly familiar wildlife which often turns out to be most fascinating of all.
Series highlights include a visit to the elusive pine marten family that has taken up residence in the attic of renowned wildlife artist Richard Ward in Connemara. After a patient wait in his hide, Colin is eventiually rewarded with a vision of the whole family at play.
On the Connemara coast Colin observes a nesting pair of kestrels feeding their chicks. After closer inspection and much stealthy tracking, he discovers something even more fascinating: the chicks are being fed a diet of lizards!
Seven kilometres off the Sligo coast Colin spends three nights on Inishmurray island - the summer home of eider ducks that migrate here every year from the Arctic. On his second day on the island Colin spots a family of day-old chicks and - in an incredible filmed sequence - follows their hazardous, predator-dodging journey across the island to the sea.
In the company of reptile expert Rob Gandola, Colin searching for lizards along the cliff walk at Howth Head where thousands of people stroll in blissful ignornace of hundreds of native irish lizards. Colin encounters baby reptiles the size of his thumb and a fully grown adult busy regenerating a lost tail.
Thirty years ago blue sharks were accidentlly caught by recreational fishermen and left to die on board. These days, Ireland is involved in one of the world's largest blue shark tagging programmes. After a day on the high seas with angler and tagger Butch Roberts, Colin meets scientists, Tom Doyle and Luke Harman from UCC and observes as they capture and tag a young male and female, returning months later as the taggers share the invaluable data they've collected.
We meet barn owl expert John Lusby as he searches old buildings, castles, chimneys and trees to tag and monitor the health of the chicks in the north Cork area of Duhallow. John, who knows the location of nearly every barn owl nest in the country, follows up a call from Barbara Lucey who has made a fascinating discovery at a tree in her garden hit by lightening six years ago and now home to a charming owl family, with two new chicks tucked up in the nest waiting for their parents to bring them food.
A few weeks later, Colin returns with his hide, night-vision camera and special lights to film an extraordinary sequence where the chicks make their distinctive vocalisation - often mistaken in the past for the call of the banshee.