Mar 192010

Barn Swallow in flight I got an e-mail from Cepa Giblin a few days ago. Cepa’s a fan of the Ireland’s Wildlife page that I run on Facebook, and is a producer with Crossing the Line Films.

She asked me if I’d give her latest venture a shout. It’s a wildlife series for RTÉ called Wild Journeys, which hits the screens on RTÉ One, Sunday night at 6:30pm. If you’ve seen the trailers running on RTÉ you’ll know it looks likely to be a cracking programme.

The series follows the long haul travellers of the Irish wildlife scene – from true leviathans in the form of the humpback whales and basking sharks that visit Ireland’s coasts every year, to the deceptive fragility of the beautiful painted lady butterfly – which somehow manages the mammoth journey from north Africa to Ireland.

The series will follow some of Ireland’s most iconic serial voyagers, like the Barn Swallow the Atlantic salmon and the European eel, as well as some less well known, but no less extraordinary, ones.

Here’s a summary of the wildlife feast that awaits in what promises to be a real feast not just for wildlife enthusiasts, but for everybody (taken from the CTL Films press release):

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Jun 042009

Adult blue tit bringing food back to hungry chicksWe live in an old schoolhouse, and bisecting the garden is a six-foot stone wall — effectively separating what were once the boys and girls yards. It’s a charming throwback to a bygone era, a lovely original feature of the property, and this spring it’s also home to a family of blue tits. They’ve chosen to nest in a small hole between the stones about a third of the way up, the entrance secreted behind the leaves of a young pear tree that’s fanning across the wall.

I first noticed the parents coming and goings a few weeks ago, but thought I’d keep it to myself until I was sure the eggs had hatched. The girls love nature and wildlife, but their enthusiasm they can get the better of them sometimes, and the last thing I wanted was an abandoned nest. Once both parents were busy feeding their hungry chicks the likelihood of that happening was pretty slim, and so when I could hear the insistent cheeping that told me they’d arrived I showed the girls the adult birds’ comings and goings, the caterpillars and grubs they were bringing, and, in between the parents’ visits, I showed them the nest itself.

In the darkness of the hole you could just make out the bright yellow gapes of five hungry little mouths. The excitement was palpable.

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