THE SECRET LIFE OF THE SHANNON

by | Oct 1, 2016 | Celtic Times | 0 comments

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE SHANNON

The Shannon is Ireland’s greatest geographical landmark and the longest river in the British isles. For 340 kms the river carves its way through the heart of the country almost splitting Ireland in two. It is both a barrier and highway – a silver ribbon holding back the rugged landscapes of the west from the gentler plains to the east. On its journey, the Shannon passes through a huge palette of rural landscapes; where on little known backwaters, Ireland’s wild animals and plants still thrive as almost nowhere else. For a year, wildlife presenter Colin Stafford Johnson explored the river – camping on its banks, wandering its islands and paddling through its many tributaries in his canoe – all to reveal the secretive wild life that make this place their home. The Shannon is Ireland’s greatest geographical landmark and the longest river in the British isles. For 340 kms the river carves its way through the heart of the country almost splitting Ireland in two. It is both a barrier and highway – a silver ribbon holding back the rugged landscapes of the west from the gentler plains to the east. On its journey, the Shannon passes through a huge palette of rural landscapes; where on little known backwaters, Ireland’s wild animals and plants still thrive as almost nowhere else. For a year, wildlife presenter Colin Stafford Johnson explored the river – camping on its banks, wandering its islands and paddling through its many tributaries in his canoe – all to reveal the secretive wild life that make this place their home.

Beautifully filmed, and accompanied by an atmospheric score, ‘The Secret Life of the Shannon’ is a gently-paced poetic encounter with an under-valued area of Irish natural beauty. Filmed over the course of two year, the series reveals the wildlife and the wild places of the river as never seen before. From dawn to dusk, through four seasons it capture the river’s ever changing mood. It explores the countless rivers, islands, stream and lakes that make up the entire river system. It focuses on some of the river’s more unusual inhabitants and those that are more common, it looks at through fresh eyes. It is not a journey from source to sea, it is a journey of discovery as we follow the wildlife activity through the year.

Produced by Wicklow-based company, Crossing the Line, this series pushes the boundaries of wildlife film making in Ireland. The team have used a variety of techniques to capture wildlife at its best, most notably specialist high-speed photography to reveal animals in all their glory. From the delicate wing-beat of the Orange Tipped Butterfly to the nightly adventures of Daubenton’s Bats, the acrobatic antics of our Red Squirrels to the lengthy migration of the Whooper Swan. The filmmakers also gained access to remote places few of us could ever experience – filming the intimate goings-on at a little egret colony as parent birds brood their young in their giant nesting platforms, thirty feet in the air.

High speed footage captured of the flitting kingfisher is breathtaking. As the movement of these birds is slowed down, we see the true beauty and striking colors most of us can only catch a glimpse of as they zoom up the riverbank. The kingfisher is revealed as a bird that would not look out of place alongside the colorful hummingbirds or parrots of the Southern Hemisphere as opposed to its actual home on a midland river in Ireland. In addition to filming the wildlife on land, the camera team have also ventured underwater capturing for the first time on film the ferocious Pike during the spawning season in Lough Allen.

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