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Woodland

   2023    Nature
Sir David Attenborough explores the incredible diversity of Britain’s woodlands, taking us on a seasonal journey through our forests, and revealing a host of spectacular animals and the hidden dramas that rule their lives.
In an ancient pine tree in the Cairngorms, two eagle chicks are on the verge of fledging their gargantuan nest. In winter in the Forest of Dean, the reintroduction of wild boar has given the robin a lifeline. As they root through the thick snow, the boar unearth the worms with their snouts, which the robins otherwise couldn't find.
Back in Scotland, a male capercaillie displays to gathering females. These birds are on the edge. With only around 500 left, they are some of the rarest and most threatened in the British Isles. In a beech woodland outside London, the deciduous trees burst to life in spring, and huge colonies of wood ants awaken and go looking for food. Also looking for sustenance is a female roe deer. With no large predators left in our woods, the deer are free to browse on new growth to the extent that they can damage the woodland itself.
In Sussex is an ancient-looking landscape, but one that has only been recreated in the past 20 years. This is the wood pasture of Knepp, created by using old grazing methods that generate a mix of scrub, open areas and ancient trees. In the Scottish Highlands, red squirrels battle it out for access to ripe pine cones at the top of a tree. It’s an acrobatic and energetic encounter, with more than a little cunning required to win the day. As the summer finally fades, we encounter a honey buzzard nest, where two chicks feast on wasp grubs, squabble between themselves and grow up before our eyes.
Autumn brings the fallow deer rut. The woods resonate with their calls, and bucks fight for supremacy. The season also brings colour, both in the leaves but also in the fungi that fruit at this time of year. The mushrooms are just a tiny part of their story, however, and we travel underground to see how the wood-wide web connects the whole forest together.
Series: Wild Isles

Asia and Australia

   2012    Nature
In this bird's-eye view of two continents, demoiselle cranes negotiate a dangerous Himalayan pass on their way to India while high-flying bar-headed geese take the fast track five miles above. In Rajasthan, vultures watch hunting tigers hoping for a meal and pigeons visit a temple dedicated solely to sacred rats. Pigeons are also our guide to the greatest gatherings of camels on Earth and learn to dodge buzzards around the battlements of Jodhpur Fort. 9,000 cranes overwinter in the most unlikely of spots - a barbed wire compound in the centre of a desert town. In Australia, rainbow lorikeets drop in on Sydney and patrol Australia's Gold Coast. In the outback, white cockatoos swirl in thousands and budgerigars pass Uluru (Ayers Rock) and gather in the biggest flocks ever recorded. In China, swallows and swifts visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City of Beijing. In Japan, the country's most revered birds - Japanese cranes are fed fish by appreciative locals and are joined in strange, momentary harmony by hungry red foxes, white-tailed eagles and Steller's eagles. As peace descends, Japanese cranes dance beautifully in the snow.
Series: Earthflight

Meat-Eaters

   1998    Nature
This episode examines those birds whose sustenance comes from flesh and their methods of hunting. In New Zealand, Sir Attenborough observes Keas, parrots that do not eat meat exclusively, raiding a shearwater's burrow for a chick. However, it is the dedicated birds of prey, such as owls, buzzards, eagles, falcons and vultures, to which much of the programme is devoted. In order to spot and pursue their victims, senses of sight and hearing are very acute. Vultures are the exception, in that they eat what others have left, and once a carcass is found, so many birds descend on it that the carrion seems submerged beneath them. The Turkey Vulture is an anomaly within its group, as it also has a keen sense of smell. Eagles defend their territory vigorously, and a pair of sea eagles are shown engaging in an aerial battle. The Galápagos Hawk hunts Marine Iguanas, but can only do so when its quarry is vulnerable, during the breeding season. The African Harrier Hawk has adapted to extracting burrowing animals by virtue of an especially long, double-jointed pair of legs. By contrast, a shrike is not equipped with the requisite sharp beak and talons needed for butchery, and so dismembers its kill by impaling it on the thorns of acacias. The Lammergeier eats bones, and will drop them on to rocks from a great height in order to break them down to a digestible size. Also featured are the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Goshawk and Peregrine Falcon.
Series: The Life of Birds
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