The extraordinary wildlife, culture and history of this immense, fascinating ocean and its myriad islands are revealed in stunning detail. With its coral reefs, turquoise lagoons and dramatic oceanic atolls, the South Pacific is the archetypal paradise. It is still relatively healthy and teeming with fish, but it is a fragile paradise. International fishing fleets are taking a serious toll on the sharks, albatross and tuna, and there are other insidious threats to these bountiful seas. We look at what is being done to preserve the ocean and its wildlife.
Hunger at Sea follows blue whales, sharks, sea lions, frigatebirds, dolphins and albatrosses to reveal the strategies they use to hunt for prey in the big blue. The open ocean is an immense wilderness that covers more than half the surface of our planet, yet for the most part it's a watery desert, largely devoid of life. Predators face an endless search to find and catch food, yet these great tracts of ocean are home to some of the most remarkable hunters on the planet.
Category:Nature Duration:57:01 Series: The Hunt
A dramatic journey along the coasts of South America, from the Falklands to the tropical Galapagos. The cold currents create rich fisheries, and support such diverse marine life as dolphins, killer whales, sea lions and albatross. But the most biquitous creatures are the penguins, which inhabit surprising locations - lush forest, arid desert and even equatorial areas.
Category:Nature Duration:50:00 Series: Wild South America
The second programme deals with the mechanics of flight. Getting into the air is by far the most exhausting of a bird's activities, and Sir Attenborough observes shearwaters in Japan that have taken to climbing trees to give them a good jumping-off point. The albatross is so large that it can only launch itself after a run-up to create a flow of air over its wings. A combination of aerodynamics and upward air currents (or thermals), together with the act of flapping or gliding is what keeps a bird aloft. Landing requires less energy but a greater degree of skill, particularly for a big bird, such as a swan. Weight is kept to a minimum by having a beak made of keratin instead of bone, a light frame, and a coat of feathers, which is maintained fastidiously. The peregrine falcon holds the record for being fastest in the air, diving at speeds of over 300 km/h. Conversely, the barn owl owes its predatory success to flying slowly, while the kestrel spots its quarry by hovering. However, the true specialists in this regard are the hummingbirds, whose wings beat at the rate of 25 times a second. The habits of migratory birds are explored. After stocking up with food during the brief summer of the north, such species will set off on huge journeys southwards. Some, such as snow geese, travel continuously, using both the stars and the sun for navigation. They are contrasted with hawks and vultures, which glide overland on warm air, and therefore have to stop overnight.
Category:Nature Duration:50:00 Series: The Life of Birds
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