dark wet miserable brilliant
Being a wildlife cameraman isn’t all fun, but usually there is positive to be had. That’s why I’ve called this ‘dark wet miserable brilliant.’
One day in early December we set out to film a couple more sequences in our city life series. The forecast said ‘dark wet miserable brilliant.’ OK, it didn’t say brilliant, but that’s how it turned out. We spent a few minutes filming a mistle thrush defending berries on very large hawthorn bushes, then it started to pour down and we dived for shelter. The we headed for location two, a little underwhelmed by the day so far.
We have a running joke within our crew about the most boring birds to film, but where would we be without those birds? Sometimes, and I imagine this is a typical wildlife cameraman thing, I stand around longing for something to film. Herring gull, meadow pipit, carrion crow, grey wagtail and pied wagtail all fit into our ‘desperation’ group. But where would we be without them. I like these birds! On this occasion we had actually gone out there to film pied wagtails. For more information about pied wagtails.
I have to be honest, I’m not a great fan of using stills form cameras for video, but they can come into their own. We reached location two just as the sun waved goodbye to the metropolis of downtown Newport. That’s that’s what I want to do whenever I’m in Newport, wave goodbye to it. Sorry, only joking, sort of. The lighting we were now enjoying came from streetlights, car headlights, shop facades, Christmas decorations and the beaming faces of native Newport people. It was a bit dark to be fair.
Dark wet miserable brilliant. This is where we get to the brilliant bit. Apart from being the best selling album of 1997 ‘the arrival’ was something that our crew awaited with eager anticipation. Wildlife cameraman. director, presenter and sound recordist, all standing on the side of the road in Newport waiting for the little grey birds to arrive. Yes, it was a waiting game, but the researcher knew it was worth the wait. One by one the pied wagtails flew in to perch on the buildings around Friar’s Walk, coming in from all directions.
As their numbers increased a peregrine shot across, trying its luck. Then, in waves, they flew down from the buildings to roost in some birch trees right in the middle of a traffic island. We filmed them fly past buses full of commuters heading home, oblivious to what was happening just a few feet away. Headlights played across these fragile little creatures as they settled down to roost. Finally they tucked their heads back for a night in this most unlikely place.