Sunday, September 8, 2013

Follow-up to "Watch TONIGHT: Earthflight -- A New Series on PBS' Nature ...

Great Egret -- James Island County Park, Charleston, SC -- August 25, 2013

            In my previous post, last Wednesday, September 4, I announced a new series, Earthflight, (originally made for and broadcast on BBC) being shown on PBS' Nature show for the next few weeks with the premiere episode to show that night at 8 pm.  Carl and I watched it and we were delighted, generally speaking, with the program.  I have become rather discerning about this type of filmography and was indeed impressed with the superb quality of the footage.  Frequently, the film presented a birds-eye in-flight perspective.  It relayed the stories of life-threatening challenges met by different northbound migrating species such as Brown Pelicans, Snow Geese, and shorebirds along various flyways of our country.  They also showed the feeding habits of certain species such as the California Gull feeding on billions of brine flies on the shores of the toxic Mono Lake and Brown Pelicans dining on a Sea of Cortez beach full of spawning Gulf Grunion -- a fish that swims to shore to lay its eggs and then wriggles back into the water!  You will see Bald Eagles hunting waterfowl and family groups of these eagles playing catch with their prey as well as a Snow Goose successfully defending itself from a Bald Eagle.   Again, the footage is spectacular!

           A bit less impressive was the narration which included at least one inaccuracy.  They reported, for example, that certain egrets in our SC coastal area have given up fishing for themselves and rely exclusively on fish driven ashore by strand-feeding dolphin.

Strand-feeding Bottlenose Dolphin -- Morris Island, Charleston, SC -- October 20, 2012
Additionally, they failed to mention the Red Knot as the primary shorebird species reliant upon the spawning Horseshoe Crabs during their northbound migration.  Instead, they mentioned the Sanderling and sandpipers, but never the Red Knot specifically.  Hmmm -- these are the mistakes that I caught due to my familiarity with these natural phenomena in my area.  This makes me wonder what other mistakes or serious omissions were made on the coverage of species of other areas.
Red Knot with spawning Horseshoe Crabs -- Harbor Island, SC -- May 25, 2013

         In all, the imagery in this film is outstanding and it seems that most of the information is generally correct.  I still do indeed recommend the film (with 3.5 stars) and I look forward to what is revealed in the nest five segments in the series.

Red Knots over the Kiawah River near Captain Sams Spit -- Kiawah Island, SC -- March 31, 2013

            If you missed this episode, I recommend that you check your local listings.  Many PBS affiliates re-air the Nature show at different times during the week.  Here in SC, this Earthflight -- North America segment will air again tonight on ETV - World at 10 pm (locally here in Charleston, this is Channel 7-3).  Or, you can watch the entire episode in a low-res version on your computer from this Nature site.

           Myself, I look forward to the next segment in the Earthflight series on Africa next Wednesday, September 11!  The superb imagery of wildlife in action draws me in and, if a fact check, is necessary, there are reliable sites for that.  

Black Skimmers above terns and Ruddy Turnstones on Harbor Island, SC -- May 25, 2013

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