-> 2008 -> Review of The Wildlife Gems of Islay

Saturday, 16/Feb/2008

Review of The Wildlife Gems of Islay

Picture of an otter sitting on some seaweed near the water

It is a beautiful sunny day here in Swindon, yet I'm sitting in front of my laptop. There must be a very good reason for not being outside, enjoying the sunshine. The reason is something the postman brought this morning, a letter with some Islay content: My copy of the Islay Wildlife Movie by Gordon Yates arrived this morning and I just couldn't wait to watch it. At least one other copy will be on a journey to the continent while I'm writing this. And a few copies (I assume Gordon and Pauline will take several with them) will soon be travelling to Islay. What can the recipients expect?

Picture of geese flying over the top of a sea loch

In short: A great journey through the seasons on Islay and the changing wild- and birdlife. The main focus is the birdlife, the vast variety of birds Islay is famous for, but there are also some great shots in particular of otters. After a general overview of Islay and some highlights of the wildlife the movie leads the viewer from the geese arriving in autumn through the winter storms to spring and then summer. You get to see a huge variety of wildlife, all pointed out and named by Gordon. Brilliant shots of the elusive corncrake calling, various scenes of otters hunting and resting, butterflies including the rare Marsh Fritillaries. I found the scenes with the birds of prey hunting (usually the male) and then bringing the food back to the nest and the female particularly fascinating. After an hour the circle closes with the geese arriving again on Loch Indaal. A nice touch at several points during the video: Instead of talking over the birds singing or disturbing the quiet peace of the landscape Gordon uses subtitles to name the birds or flowers, a very good idea I think.

Anything to criticise? On some occasions I would have liked to stay with some of the birds slightly longer, slowing down the pace just a tiny bit. Just my personal preference. This must have been very difficult for Gordon though, deciding how long to make the scenes when editing all the hours of material he had.

Picture of a grey wagtail, sitting on a metal rail

To summarise: Highly recommended for anyone either interested in Islay through the seasons or in bird- and wildlife, not to forget the flora. Or both. Or all three of it. Did I mention you get to see some beautiful sunsets? Well, I have now.

So head over to Gordon Yates website and blog, if still not convinced watch the preview (the first couple of minutes from the real thing) and then order it. I think you won't be disappointed. I'm hoping to post another review of it next week, mainly for the benefit of my German readers. Just need to convince the potential movie critics to write one for me ;-)

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