Hamza: Strictly Birds of Prey

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Nature Documentary hosted by Hamza Yassin, published by BBC in 2023 - English narration

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Wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin travels across the UK to track down and attempt to film his favourite birds – our birds of prey. His journey takes him from the wilds of Scotland to the heart of Ealing Borough in Greater London. Along the way, he meets a host of old friends, dedicated conservationists and fellow film-makers, whose love for the natural world shines through. Hamza starts his journey at home, on the remote and beautiful Ardnamurchan Peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. The incredible array of wildlife here gives him the opportunity to film many different birds of prey and his first love - eagles. He has been following and filming a family of white-tailed eagles here for years, watching every stage of their life cycle from a hide he built on a steep sea cliff near the nest. It has given him an intimate knowledge of these impressive eagles – the largest bird of prey in the British Isles. White-tailed eagles were reintroduced to the UK 50 years ago. Along with cameraman John Aitchison, Hamza recently filmed the astonishing spectacle of them hunting geese for Wild Isles. They reminisce about what it took to capture this remarkable and never-before-seen behaviour. In stark contrast, Hamza travels to the London borough of Ealing to track down his next bird of prey – the peregrine falcon. To film the fastest animal on the planet, he works with a team of spotters to keep up with the falcons as they defend their nest on a hospital building and chase off a potential predator. As well as nesting opportunities, our capital city offers the peregrine rich pickings in the form of ring-necked parakeets. Hamza witnesses the moment the male passes his catch to the female in midair to feed their family. Back in Scotland, he meets an expert who helps him to track down the majestic and elusive hen harrier. These birds are known for their elaborate courtship display, known as sky dancing, which is a rare sight due to illegal persecution. Here in the Cairngorms National Park, some landowners are restoring the natural environment to help wildlife. In a beautiful oak woodland behind Hamza's house is a family of buzzards. Hamza has been keeping a close eye on them as the fluffy, white chicks grow up carefully brooded by the female bird. He revisits the wooded hills to check up on the family now that the chicks have fledged. He spots the moment one of the parents catches a meal to take to a hungry chick waiting in the trees nearby. Tucked away in the forest on the shores of Loch Garten in the Scottish Highlands is a special bird hide with an enchanting history. Hamza visits the RSPB reserve to discover more about what it took to bring a species back from extinction. A bird most famous for the spectacular way it goes fishing, the osprey migrates from Africa to the UK every spring to breed. He shares his enthusiasm with the next generation. On the Somerset Levels, on a beautiful summer morning, the first rays of light gently warm the wings of thousands of dragonflies. This proliferation of insect life attracts one of our smallest and most agile birds of prey – the hobby. This pint-sized predator catches its dragonfly prey on the wing and cameraman Simon King explains how incredibly agile these birds are. The marshes also offer a place to nest and find food for another wetland specialist – the marsh harrier. With its lighter-than-air flight and keen sense of hearing, it can detect its prey amongst the reeds. Thanks to Simon's local knowledge, Hamza manages to capture them on camera. We also learn what makes this landscape a beacon of hope for conservation. In suburban Sussex, naturalist and wildlife photographer David Plummer has transformed his garden into a wildlife haven. As David's health has deteriorated, he has found wonder and delight in this most familiar of spaces and worked hard to attract our next bird of prey – the tawny owl. Along with camerawoman Katie Mayhew, they witness the moment an owl swoops down and snatches prey from under Hamza's nose. Hamza's last bird of prey is his favourite – the golden eagle. He returns to the Cairngorms, where he filmed them previously for Wild Isles, hoping to get a chance to finally film a pair at their nest. Sadly, this nest has failed, but Hamza's pals and fellow conservationists Ewan and Jenny offer him unique access to a nest where Hamza finally gets up close and personal with some golden eagle chicks in an experience he will never forget. His journey ends where he started, back at the very first bird hide he built in Ardnamurchan when he was just starting out as a wildlife cameraman. Here, he finds a note left for him by well-wishers, and it makes him reflect on his journey, the incredible things he has seen and how the actions that people are taking to help and protect our birds of prey give hope for the future.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x265 CABAC Main@L4
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 22 (~2473Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC (Apple)
  • Audio Bitrate: q82 VBR 48KHz (132/169Kbps avg/peak)
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Audio Gain: 3dB
  • Run-Time: 57 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 1
  • Part Size: 1.04 GB
  • Source: HDTV (1080i/h264 4812Kbps VBR 2.21GB)
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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