The first in a new series about the most dramatic wildlife spectacles on our planet. The summer melt of Arctic ice, opening up nearly three million square miles of ocean and land, provides opportunities for millions of animals, including beluga whales, families of Arctic foxes, vast colonies of seabirds, and the fabled Arctic unicorn, the narwhal. For polar bears, however, it is the toughest time of year. Why? How will they survive? A mother polar bear and her cub make their first journey together onto the sea ice. They are looking for ringed seals, their favourite prey. It is a serious business but the cub just wants to play. The melting ice makes it harder for them to hunt and threatens their survival. In a unique aerial sequence, the migration of narwhal with their distinctive unicorn-like tusks is filmed for the first time. The whales' journey is risky as they travel along giant cracks in the ice. If the ice were to close above them, they would drown. Hundreds of beluga whales gather in the river shallows. They rub themselves on smooth pebbles in one of the most bizarre summer spectacles. Guillemot chicks take their first flights from precipitous sea cliff nests to the sea 300 metres below. They attempt to glide to safety but many miss their target. Their loss is a bonus for the hungry Arctic fox family waiting below. As the melt comes to an end the bears gather, waiting for the sea to freeze again. Two 400kg males square up to each other to spar. In the final ten-minute diary, Quest for Ice Whales, the crew show how they managed to capture footage of the elusive narwhal on their annual journey through the ice
Every year, the survival of grizzly bears in North America depends on a spectacular natural event: the return of hundreds of millions of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to the mountain streams where they were born. This great return provides food not only for bears, but for killer whales, wolves, bald eagles and the very forest itself. Will the salmon return in time to keep the hungry bears alive?
Each year over one million wildebeest and zebra invade the Serengeti grasslands, making it a paradise for the predators the live there. But what happens when the herds move off again? We follow the moving story of one lion family's struggle to survive until the return of the great migration. Nature's Great Events tells the story of the epic trek of herds that follow the rains to fresh pastures, and the tale of the predators they leave behind. The crew captures the desperate plight of a single pride of lions, revealing a different side to the Serengeti. Rather than being a predators' paradise, it is a land in constant change, with wildebeest following the rains and leaving the lions to tough it out. The Ntudu pride has seven cubs, and is already suffering as the wildebeest leave to find fresh pastures. The four pride females struggle to find enough food for their hungry offspring. As weeks turn to months, the pride members become more emaciated and frailer, and the number of cubs dwindles to just two. As the herds begin to return, the plains reveal one final secret. For the first time since 1967 the Serengeti's only active volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai, begins to billow ash and smoke. Filmed from the air, the team captures the exciting action. Fertilised by the volcanic ash over millions of years, these short grass plains are among the most productive grasslands in the world. After months of hardship, the pride's tragic story, through sickness, drought and fire, is over as the herds return, providing plentiful food. The final 10 minute diary, Pride and Peril, tells the harrowing story captured by film-maker Owen Newman of the Ndutu pride which he followed for over a year.
A mighty army of dolphins, sharks, whales, seals and gannets hunt down the billions of sardines along South Africa's east coast each winter. This is the Sardine Run: an underwater Armageddon, the greatest gathering of predators anywhere on the planet, and the most spectacular event in the world's oceans. From intimate moments of the creatures caught up in the run, to the dramatic finale of this spectacular event, The Great Tide is an action-packed feeding-frenzy, filmed underwater, on the ocean's surface, and in the air. However, in recent years the sardine run has become less predictable, perhaps due to the warming effects of climate change. If the sardine run does not happen, the lives of the animals caught up in the drama hang in the balance.
The complete set of Diaries (Behind the scenes) for each of the episodes