Time-lapse photography captures Britain in the grip of winter, as the mist swirls in the hollows, frost shrouds the country and water begins to freeze, expanding and destroying plant cells. We see how British wildlife copes with the cold, as red kites track the farmers ploughing the hard ground, uncovering grubs and worms; and owls use their super-sensitive hearing to dive on voles under the snow. We discover how the changes of the seasons and the challenges they bring are reflected in the lives of British people.
Stunning time-lapse filming reveals the countless plants, shrubs and trees up and down the country trying to be the first to make use of the sun’s life-giving energy. Spring marks the start of an epic race for life where timing is everything; trees explode with blossom and mornings fill with the magical chorus of bird song. Long-tailed tits frantically build nests, whilst in our oceans, seahorses sway to a graceful courtship dance.
The third episode of The Great British Year shows Britain at its warmest. More sun means more food, but animals keen to have their share are arriving from foreign lands. That means fierce competition. Hunters time their arrival from Africa to feast on the huge glut of flying insects; hobbies race after dragonflies, and nightjars, revealed by thermal cameras, snare moths by night on a Dorset heath. Summer is a fickle season - one day intense UV rays force sea urchins to cover up, the next, thunderstorms bring out hordes of hungry snails!
The fading sun brings an energy change to Britain. A time of storms and unpredictable weather. The trees go dormant, but not before a final fling of colour. For animals, the shortening days are a cue to prepare: hibernating and hoarding for the dark times ahead. For some, it’s still a time to breed: deer rut, seals give birth and the Atlantic salmon leaps waterfalls in order to lay its eggs. Beneath the fallen leaves, slime moulds, earthworms and fungi take advantage of autumn’s spoils. By December, the darkest month of the year, the time of preparation is over as the first snowflakes start to fall and the country transforms into a winter wonderland.
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