This is my all time favourite shot. It would not have been possible without the help of an expert, here, Oxford cuckoo guru Mike Bayliss. The aim was to film a cuckoo laying in a reed warbler's nest, and several times we had come very close. After many hours in the hide I heard this female land heavily in the reeds to the right of the nest - I can still hardly believe it happened.
Great Welsh Parks Margam Park
Great Welsh Parks Margam Park was broadcast on Monday night, BBC One Wales. You can catch up with it here on BBC iPlayer. Memories of being a wildlife cameraman usually revolve around the difficulties and circumstances of capturing a particular sequence. However, at Margam, I don’t think any of the crew will forget filming the Daubenton’s bats on the pond behind the large house for another reason.
Last year the Euros were pretty exciting for the Welsh. There we were, soldiering forth into the semi finals, in the same qualifying group as England. It couldn’t be more exciting. The bat sequence happened to be filmed on the same night that little old Iceland came up against England. We were waiting for it to get dark enough for the bats to emerge and start hunting for insects around the surface of the pond. Pete, our sound man and great anti England football fan (like the rest of us) had a radio. So while we waited we listened to the radio.
Foxes and football
No, I’m not talking about Leicester City and their great achievements last year. I went for a wander before filming started, keeping an eye open for foxes emerging, perhaps looking for scraps that visitors had left behind. Iolo saw one, but I didn’t. It was while prowling around the rhododendrons that I heard a massive cheer go up from down by the lake. Iceland had scored the equaliser. Later there was an even louder cry from the rest of the crew as Iceland took the lead, which they held to the end. I’m a wildlife cameraman but I do have other interests, one of them being football. To be honest I did feel a bit sorry for England: they should have done better in the whole tournament with the resources and players they had.
The bats performed with as much spirit as the Iceland team, and as always it was fascinating filming their behaviour in the dark under infra red lights, but the football won the day.