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Inverness-shire osprey becomes internet sensation

By SPP Reporter

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This osprey's hunting skills have been viewed over 13 million times online.
This osprey's hunting skills have been viewed over 13 million times online.

The osprey clip from Highlands – Scotland’s Wild Heart has gone ‘viral’ and become an internet sensation.

The clip on BBC Scotland’s Facebook page has had more than 13 MILLION views,more than double any other video on the page.

And it has circled the globe, having been shared over 200,000 times.

“Great Video! Loved the aerodynamic power of the wing strength and the persistence, caught in slow motion! Thanks for sharing,” commented Ross Page.

Another Facebook user, Becky Jung Thapa, said: “Beautiful. The slow motion enables the viewer to fully appreciate the strength, adaptation and beauty of the osprey.”

Anthony Browne, Executive Producer of BBC Scotland’s social media team said: “This clip is the perfect social media storm; it has stunning wildlife, beautiful photography and a thrilling battle of nature.”

The amazing footage, which featured in the first episode of Highlands: Scotland’s Wild Heart, was filmed for the first time in super slow motion at 800 frames per second.

It reveals an osprey’s titanic battle with a large trout in the water – with the osprey almost dragged underwater before eventually winning out and taking to the sky with its prize. All of which was over in a matter of a few seconds, but which viewers can see in unrivalled slo-mo detail in the clip.

The footage was shot in Inverness-shire by cameraman Lindsay McCrae, who said: “You have to be well hidden, because the ospreys won’t tolerate you being there.. They want to know they are safe to land in water.

“But it meant I couldn’t have an overhead view to check out the sky and had no idea if there was an osprey overhead. I had an assistant out on a hill watching through binoculars who was on the radio saying: ‘There’s one in the air. Get ready.’

“You really don’t know where the bird is going to hit the water because you can’t see the fish.

“You just have to frame an image on a bit of water and hope the osprey hits that particular bit… And because of the way the camera operates you just have to make a judgement call as to whether it is in the bag, as it takes time for the camera to process. And in that time, if you have missed it, the bird could dive again.

“There are big risks involved and it takes a lot of persistence. But if you get it right, you get spectacular footage.”

The second episode of the series, which is narrated by Ewan McGregor, goes out tonight (Wednesday, May 18) on BBC One Scotland at 9pm.

As this episode – entitled Summer – The Greatest Race - reveals, each animal behaves differently – some working together in pairs, others single mothers fishing and hunting ceaselessly.

The island of Handa off the Sutherland Coast is the location for a spectacular wild drama with the tiny guillemot chicks, known as jumplings, leaping for their lives from the towering 400 feet cliffs. It’s a unique sequence – filmed here for the very first time.

Further down the coast a family of otters are revealed hunting and playing along the shore’s edge. Golden eagles, the lords of the air are also followed in unsurpassed close-up detail. They’re shown hunting hares and tenderly caring for two feisty youngsters at the nest.

“Of all the seasons in the Highlands, summer is the most intense but it is also the richest with the seas and mountains yielding their greatest bounty. By midsummer, the sun will rule for nearly 18 hours a day, “explains narrator Ewan McGregor.

“For the animals of the Highlands it’s a race to raise offspring before the days shorten and the storms of autumn arrive.”

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