In the past few months, it’s been a privilege to be appointed producer/director on a film about avian migration, where we finally have the time and budget to follow species like swallows all the way from their wintering grounds in South Africa, to their breeding grounds here in the UK. Whilst we can’t say too much on a public forum at this stage, we have already started with some remarkable events that happen to Swallows in South Africa, and are now looking forward to a long summer of filming the other end of their journey, here in the UK.
Whilst swallows are evidently a widespread species, in Somerset and across the UK, I am looking for particularly high densities of nesting swallows in Somerset in a workable area where we may be able to base a film crew. Ideally, within one vicinity/village/rural area/nature reserve, we would have ample opportunities to capture the full gamut of behaviour amongst these familiar yet utterly wonderful birds - including drinking, bathing, mud-gathering, nest-building, mutual feeding and aerial insect interception. Ideally, the location would be scenic - imagine halcyon farmhouse or old barn, not metal cow-shed. The highest density I know of is Steart and the villages around there, but I’d welcome the advice of the many seasoned Somerset birders on this forum.
As with any international broadcast production, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of animal ethics, and any filming of nest-building and adults at the nest, would be done with careful advise from BTO and RSPB, although I am myself a Schedule one license holder and familiar with nest ethics. In addition, we do have the budget to agree location fees with relevant private landowners and or reserves, in order to ensure that their investment in our film is worthwhile financially, as well as good fun.
The wonderful Stephen Moss has also kindly agreed to be a consultant on the film, which will ensure another level of story-telling depth when we finally get to the edit in 2023. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to show the swallow’s journey on screen, and I hope some of you may be able to step forwards and help make this the best film possible.