The beauty of Strangford Lough and the spectacle of the Brent Geese migration are to be featured in a special film to be broadcast on Friday 31st October at 8pm as part of this yearâ€™s BBC Autumnwatch.
Cinematographer Sophie Darlington travelled to Northern Ireland at the start of October, choosing Castle Espie Wetland Centre as a vantage point to capture the spirit of Autumn. The film entitled Autumn Beauty Wildlife focuses on the tens of thousands of Brent Geese who make the incredible journey from the Arctic to Strangford Lough each year.
Sophie has filmed all over the world but felt that there is something about the autumn light of Northern Ireland that she finds particularly inspiring describing it as â€ś limpid, glorious and magicalâ€ť. Over four days she filmed the feasting and the flight of the Brent Geese against the scenic backdrop of Strangford Lough. Having spent part of her childhood in Drogheda she also visited Killyleagh and St Johnâ€™s Point which also hold memories of her childhood.
WWT Castle Espie Centre Manager, Sarah Clarke said:
â€śNaturally weâ€™re really excited to share the beauty of our corner of Strangford Lough on BBC Autumnwatch. Each year 90% of the Brent population comes to Strangford Lough and thousands of people visiting Castle Espie get to be part of this wonderful migratory journey by spending time in our hides and the Limekiln observatory. Our wetland environment attracts the geese as it is rich in eel grass and a vital feeding ground.â€ť
The first Brent to return to Strangford Lough, having travelled nearly 3,000 miles were spotted at the start of September, with recent counts indicating that over 27,000 geese have successfully completed the gruelling journey from Arctic Canada over the Greenland ice cap.
The Brent Geese will start to disperse in late Autumn to find more food in bays and estuaries throughout Ireland and northern France. A few thousand geese stay to spend the entire winter on Strangford but by May all will have departed on their journey back to their breeding grounds in the Canadian high Arctic.