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The crab eating bird… and deer

  • Tuesday, 05 November 2013

I promised myself not to include any more stories in the film.
I truly decided as I had the feeling we already have to many for a 50min production.
…But how can you keep your promise if you happen to come across a cool behavior that has been rarely filmed or if ever?

So, here is the story:

We were after the Key deer rutting in the noseeum infested mangrove of the Florida Keys (the mosquitoes are kind and nice creatures compared to these ones) but it seemed we were late, the bucks finished the fight. Too bad.
But then we just saw a little grey bird that was walking silently under the bushes… and then all of a sudden he picked up a land crab! A big one, I mean.
Wow, I thought it looked very cool and could add a nice cutaway, so we made some slow motions.
I didn’t guess that we’re going to end up spending more than a week on that little meadow in the mangrove. The scene started to be a wildlife hotspot with all kind of animal interactions. A curious deer came to the bird, then the racoon turned up foraging for the leftovers of the crabs, lizards were hunting for the ants that also came to the tiny crab pieces left behind the heron’s hunt.
And then one deer just picked up the shell of a crab and ate it loudly crunching.
I couldn’t beleive it.
Maybe they like the salt or the calcium? Anyway finally beside our crab eating juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron we got a crab eating deer as well. And it only took eight days sitting in the heat!

25 days

  • Wednesday, 02 October 2013

I really hate the emotional rollercoaster side of the wildlife filmmaking…
In July I was so happy to find her nest in a hammock forest.
gator female
The “Queen” as we call her…
She hasn’t got babies last year so hopes were high that she was going to become a mother this year and we could follow her adventures of raising gator babies in the cypress dome.

We started to check back on a regular base from the 22nd of August to catch the moment of hatching. We drove out every morning around sunrise and spent some time out there.
Gator hatching usually happens at dawn so if there was no activity until late morning we left.
She got used to us so so much that she didn’t care about us anymore and we could approach the nest very close… I mean really very close. It’s always so touching to earn the trust of a truly wild predator! You just stand there, she stares at you as she could read your mind… well, at least she knew well that we didn’t mean any threat.  Actually I think at some point she even might have been quite bored of us!
But as September was approaching I felt that something must be wrong, but I just couldn’t give it up and I always extended the deadline of shutting down the whole operation.
Then 25 days after that we started the checking, she has abandonded her vantage spot. Finally we could walked up right to the nest and opened it up.

Well, the eggs were bad, never have been fertilized… 25 days, 5100km (3200miles) driving for nothing…
You still want to be a wildlife filmmaker?!

Anyway, I think we will tell the real story of this female in the film not making it up as if the babies were hatched.
Also the summer sunrises in the Everglades were unforgottable, we captured more than enough of them for the film.

Timelapse Making Of

  • Monday, 05 August 2013

We just have finished two busy weeks with timelapsing in South Florida.
83.429 exposures… countless cups of coffees… 75 timelapses in total in just 14 days.

Here is a short Making Of how we attempt to capture the changing sky in the vast Everglades.

Busy in the Glades and the 29th award of Wild Hungary

  • Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wow, I’ve just checked back and it was in March when last time I wrote a post here. Too bad…
Well, not because I became reluctant but simply there was no time, spring was very busy in the Glades. And seems there is no rest in summertime either…
fbBut at least I regularly manage to upload some photos to Facebook for my colleagues and now I made these Making of photos public on this link, please just click on the photo.

…And meantime Wild Hungary got its 29th festival award, this time in Poland!!

 

King of Nine Mile Pond

  • Friday, 08 March 2013

My two little daughters already have met him during a short kayak trip when actually I was not there. They even named him Zozo which is my nickname because they thought he looked like me… gray and old. Thanks, girlz’…
But somehow he was always hiding when I was around. Not yesterday when finally I met him too, face to face. Almost like looking in the mirror, yep?
So here he is, an American crocodile, the king of Nine Mile Pond in the Everglades. Will be tough to get a story with this amazing piece of motionless but living rock…

 

Gator in shallow water

  • Wednesday, 06 March 2013

Today’s alligator shot. The water is getting shallower and the poor fellows have smaller and smaller place. Well, not that poor because the fish are trapped too, so soon the gators will get plenty of food!

OSPREY NEST 2

  • Saturday, 02 March 2013

Dry season supposed to be here in South Florida but instead it’s been raining already for 3 days.
So, unfortunately I have time to write a post…
The Osprey nest that I started to film isn’t going to work this year, it seems the pair gave it up. I guess they just have chosen a bad place as it happens to be in the middle of a popular kayak route. Even worse, when it’s windy in the Keys, as it is so often in these days, their tiny bay is still well sheltered and fishermen show up in herds. And oh lord, they don’t see anything over the tip of their rods and often I saw them cruising right to the nest without noticing it’s there…
So, I was not surprised that the birds got fed up. Shit happens in wildlife filmmaking, actually I just feel it does too often… But I checked the other nest that we scouted with Chad yet back in early January and guess what? It works even better, the birds are there, can be filmed from four different angles – in fact it’s five if we get it from underwater as well.

Here is a short making of, Janne shot the super slomotions while I was closer to the nest sitting in the bushes in seawater. (Note the shot at 0:55, it’s not hunting, the bird cleans its feet after feeding. Cool isn’t it?)



Vulture problem

  • Thursday, 07 February 2013

Vultures are a problem in the Glades…

This is what happens when you forget to cover your car at Anhinga Trail (or elsewhere).

They like warm hoods on cold mornings and the delicious rubber parts for breakfast.

Be careful where and how you leave your car…

 

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So, otherwise I am back in the Everglades, filming Ospreys and still trying to track down a cool bunch of gator babies in one of the cypress domes.

Unfortunately our nice female alligator doesn’t have any this year.

Too bad, she is really friendly and nice, isn’t she?

 

 

 

 

Pacific Northwest, USA

  • Thursday, 24 January 2013

Roosevelt Elks, Salmons, Black bears, Sea lions… they sound a bit different than the wildlife in the Everglades, don’t they?…

Indeed I am bit off the tropics, but still in a very humid place, in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest helping a good colleague in his wildlife film project about the Olympic National Park.

We had amazingly nice weather during last week and apparently more amazing luck with the North American River Otters.


On the very first day on location we came across one of these shy animals feeding on a large salmon.
God knows how he got that big fish which was almost twice the size of the otter…

Anyway his pals turned up too, there were four of them playing and swimming around us. They were very relaxed and surprisingly close to us (sometimes only 1 meter / 3 feet away!!) and they constantly kept returning to the salmon carcass.
We got some really nice footage!
They were still around the next day but then, when we got prepared some sophisticated shots with my new toy with the Polecam, well,  they just didn’t turn up anymore.
Typical…


So at least I could practice a lot with the Polecam, but only imagining there is an otter swimming in front of the camera.
Still, it’s a nice creek, isn’t it?


 

Well, it’s always very hard to give up and move on so we still kept on waiting for two more days… but nothing.  Nice, long hours on a slope overviewing the creek, part of wildlife filmmaking.  But it seems they must have fed themselves fully and weren’t too interested anymore to act a bit more for a NatGeo wildlife show…
Can’t blame them.

More photos about this shoot in my public FB photo album.

 

Owly days

  • Tuesday, 15 January 2013

An owl that eats crayfish and even wades in water if needed?!

And here in the Everglades?!

Wow, I need to 
film this creature! Show me somebody who doesn’t like owls, especially the lovely chicks?
So I decided to give a little side role to this strange bird species in the story. Specially that they live in the same cypress dome that our main character, the alligator mother calls home as well.

Only that we had to find them…

Well, with Garl it was not difficult at all! It sounded that he and these owls really knew each other on a kind of personal level, only that I had to be introduced too. I truly hoped the feathery guys were going to like me too…

As we entered into the cypress dome and started to wade in the cool water a strange loud voice filled up the air. Sounded like monkeys in the jungle but in fact it’s the sound of the Barred owl. Hair-rasingly beautiful.

So, they are here!

And we found them on the same place where they always used to be according to Garl.
I like reliable animals (and men, though quite rare species in these days), makes the life of a natural history filmmaker so much easier.

Even,  I could get to them so close that I felt I could almost touch them! What a cool shot when you see yourself in the eye of a wild animal!
Quite unusual, but these winged folks really seemed to know Garl pretty well and finally it also seemed they trusted not only him but his pal who carried that strange thing on his shoulder.