Stunning film of osprey catching fish in Highlands becomes online sensation

A shot from the stunning footage of osprey lifting off the water with fish in talons. Picture: Lindsay McCrae/Maramedia
A shot from the stunning footage of osprey lifting off the water with fish in talons. Picture: Lindsay McCrae/Maramedia
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FOOTAGE of an osprey eventually winning a spectacular battle with a massive trout has already been viewed millions of times.

The bird of prey was captured on film for the hit new series ‘Highlands - Scotland’s Wild Heart’, narrated by Ewan McGregor.

The osprey, shown in slow motion in the first episode of the series, has already been viewed over 13million times of Facebook and a further 11,000 times on YouTube.

It was shot near Inverness by wildlife cameraman Lindsay McCrae, who told BBC Scotland’s website that the filming took patience.

He 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.’”

He added: “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.”

The new four-part series for BBC Scotland is already proving to be popular, just like a previously documentary also narrated by actor McGregor, the acclaimed Hebrides – Islands on the Edge.

After recording the narration earlier this year, the Crieff-born star told social media: “I just finished 2 day recording of the narration for Highlands - Scotland’s Wild Heart. It’s incredibly beautiful and made me incredibly homesick.”

Since its screening in 2013, Hebrides - Islands On The Edge has been sold onto 100 territories across the world including France, Australia, Canada and the USA.

This new project has been three years in the making.

A team from production company Maramedia filmed for more than 300 days across the full gamut of Scottish weather.

The series follows the course of the seasons over a wild year in the Highlands, revealing how the animals and people of this stunning part of the world manage to turn adversity to their advantage and make a real success living here.

Filming for the series ranged right across the Highlands, north of the faultline from Arran, up and eastwards through the Cairngorms, and also includes the dramatic northern seascapes.

Filming challenges included a night when 15,000 lightning strikes hit across Scotland, as well as one of the autumn’s biggest storms, with gale force winds during filming of seal pupping.

Like Hebrides, it will follow the seasons over the first three parts with a fourth episode looking at the people who work and live alongside the animals and amid the amazing landscape.

The team on the Highlands project include wildlife cameramen Lindsay McCrae and Raymond Besant, who have cut their teeth on a range of projects, including the recent Winterwatch, the previous Springwatch and The Great British Year series in 2013.

When the announcement the programme was to be broadcast, Nigel Pope, managing director of Maramedia, said: “All the favourite Highland animals make show-stopping appearances: Otters Red and roe deer, seals, dolphins, red squirrels, golden eagles, ospreys, pine martens, seabirds, capercaillies and mountain hares.

“But many strange and unfamiliar plants and animals also put in an appearance: the bizarre timberman beetle with antennae five times the length of its body; the insect-devouring sundew plant and the spectacularly-coloured Slavonian Grebe - Scotland’s rarest breeding bird.

“We have macro-photography illuminating some of the smallest but incredibly fascinating wildlife and slow motion capturing some of the grandest flights and hunts, while aerials shots, using a state of the art system, reveal the Highlands in all its glory.”

Craig Hunter, commissioning editor for the BBC, said: “Viewers will be treated to a beautiful portrait of life, in the Highlands, for the animals and people that live there.

“Some of the animal behaviour captured for this series has never been filmed before and it’s great to have Ewan back narrating this blue chip series, set in his back garden.”