They are small. They are angry. And every four year or so they appear in masses seemingly from nowhere. Meet the Norway lemming, perhaps the most misunderstood and mysterious animal of the Scandinavian mountains… And the hero of our latest wildlife documentary!
In the past half year we have been chasing lemmings all over Scandinavia for our new project “Return of the lemming”.
It’s quite a challenging shoot, because the locations are very hard to reach. These are the most remote wild corners in our continent, I guess.
There will be regular posts about this crazy shoot, but until then, as usual, please check our facebook album about this filming.
In my humble opinion the most exciting thing in wildlife filmmaking is witnessing and recording extraordinary behaviors that were not filmed before or perhaps weren’t even known for scientists! Our audience has seen enough from the animal kingdom, viewers are hard to surprise. Still we need to deliver something outstanding…
But besides this, honestly, I’m so excited myself too about filming such behaviors in the wild that I must admit often my fingers start to shake when pressing the Rec button in such situations! And I feel happy that we were lucky to film some amazing wildlife actions again for the Everglades film.Perhaps the most interesting is the story of the tool using alligators. I heard this from my colleague, Florida-based wildlife filmmaker Mark Emery with whom we spent quite a time at a rookery.
During nesting season there is a shortage of available nesting material and egrets take risk to pick them up from the water surface. It seems that alligators are aware of this and they position and balance sticks on their snout as bait. We filmed as gators catch birds this way, I guess we filmed it first time ever. I mentioned it to a scientist, Vladimir Dinets who has seen this in other places too. He went more into the subject and came out with an article.
Another behavior was one of my dream shots too, to capture alligator and manatee interaction – underwater. After all they share the same habitat during winter (warm springs) so there must be some kind of encounter. And indeed there was! But finally this clip didn’t make it into the film, so I insert it here:
Just like the iguana story. Iguanas are invasive species in Florida and thought to be vegetarians. Read more…
Well, the Everglades film is ready, we are packing and leaving from the location. It’s hard to leave behind all the friends that we made here and a place that we fell in love with so much.
I started with this project… oh my god… back in May 2011 and now it’s January 2015! We moved here with my family and my daughters started the school in Florida. Can’t beleive it!
But there was no other way to spend so much time out in the wilderness to capture rare or even never before seen animal behaviors (I will post about these soon). But maybe one day we return, at least I have some plans…
Now we start to focus on our new adventure in a totally different region of the planet, as our next project takes us to the icy highlands of Norway and Sweden.
Posts coming soon!
We were shooting owl chicks in the Everglades when a guy stepped to me and politely asked if I am that Hungarian wildlife filmmaker. It just turned out that he followed me on Facebook. In that moment I realized there are people out there who are truly interested what and how we are doing.
And immediately I felt a bit embarrassed about being so reluctant with my blog. Simply we had too busy times – but this may not be a good excuse if somebody started a blog.
We are already editing the film in Hamburg, Germany though still there will be a couple of weeks of exciting shoots back in Florida.
Anyway, at least I managed to upload lots of photos to my public Facebook album regularly.
So as a compensation to the visitors of this blog, here is the link to those photos.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
But 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!!
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…