JAMES AND THE PEREGRINES

"As a tree canopy access expert, James spends much of his life travelling across the world and climbing up into tree canopies to film the wildlife there, but in his spare time when he's home, James loves to head through the woods behind his house and up to the disused quarry to watch the peregrines that have bred here. In 2015 he decided to keep an audio diary and follow the lives of these birds in his spare time. Historically Peregrines were prized for falconry and it's from here that we get the names falcon for the female bird and tiercel for the male.

On a freezing cold day in early February, James set off for the quarry with his recorder and microphones for the first time, and watched the adult birds patrolling back and forth marking their territory, prior to courtship. Over the coming weeks, James returned to his ringside seat as often as he could to watch these magnificent birds and determine which ledge they would choose to nest on. He followed the birds from winter through spring and summer as they bred and raised their young, as you can hear in this intimate audio diary about one of the world's most iconic birds of prey."

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...AND THE GIANT ATLAS CEDARS

"In August 2013, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reclassified the Atlas Cedar from 'least concern' to 'endangered species' . Drought as well as local pressures from grazing, logging and pests are threatening the survival of Morocco's endemic forests of Atlas Cedars. Professional tree climber James Aldred who grew up surrounded by trees in the New Forest is passionate about trees and tree climbing. It's not so much the technical challenges of climbing that James enjoys but the opportunity to explore the character, structure and ecology of the tree as he gains a unique perspective by climbing up high into the tree's canopy.

So, James travels to Morocco to explore these ancient forests and reflect on the challenges facing them. He also finds a suitable tree to climb and sleep in overnight. From his tree top hammock, he watches a spider abseiling on its silken thread and hears owls calling through the darkness. He wakes before sunrise and climbs to the top of the tree to look out across this vast ancient forest in the early morning light. Its an unforgettable experience. Back on the ground, James discovers a fenced-off area in the forest containing tiny cedar seedlings and some young saplings - a sign of hope that these threatened Atlas Cedar forests may yet have a future."


...AND THE GIANT REDWOODS

"Coast Redwoods Sequoia sempervirens truly are in a league of their own. But it isn’t just their size that makes them so captivating. They also have a fragile almost alien beauty about them that belies their bulk. They are unlike most other trees and the fact that they are direct descendants of one of the oldest tree lineages on the planet adds further mystery and allure to an already iconic tree. Ambassadors from a very remote time indeed, having changed little since dinosaurs stalked through their ancestral groves. But even the largest dinosaurs would have been dwarfed by them and it’s no exaggeration to say that many of the Coast Redwoods alive today represent some of the biggest and tallest single organisms our planet has ever seen. But what little old-growth Coast Redwood forest now remains is a mere shadow of what had once existed; just 3% in fact.

Coast Redwoods are so very special on so many different levels and for a self-confessed 'Tree-Anorak' like James, the opportunity to travel over to California to visit them on their home turf was a once-in-life-time opportunity not to be missed. Standing at the base of one of the world's tallest trees was an exciting moment for James, but the wonder didn’t stop there. Join James and his friends on the tree-top adventure of a lifetime..."

 

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...AND THE GIANT EAGLE

"When James was invited to help a wildlife team film one of the world's largest eagles in Southern Brazil, it was an offer he couldn't refuse. But what happened next was a nerve-wracking and painful encounter with one of the world's most powerful birds. Harpy Eagles have a body length of over 3ft, a wingspan of over 7ft and weigh 10-12 pounds. Their hind talons can grow up to the size of grizzly bear claws, and are used to strike their prey; monkeys, sloths and possums, which they then carry aloft. When James was asked to climb a tree, to install a camera on an eagle's nest, he found out exactly why these birds have such an awesome reputation. Harpy Eagles are found in tropical lowland forests from southeast Mexico to northern Argentina and southern Brazil. Their name is derived from the Harpies in Greek Mythology, which were ferocious winged creatures with sharp claws, a woman's face and a vulture's body. 

Recordings made by James Aldred on location are combined with interviews with ornithologist Ian Newton and field biologist, Marta Curti (who has spent many years working with Harpy Eagles with The Peregrine Fund) in a programme which explores the behaviour and ecology of Harpy Eagles and what happens when a female tries to protect her young."


...AND THE GIANT TREEHOUSE

"James is contracted by a TV production company to design and build the ultimate Tarzan-style jungle tree house in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa - a region virtually uninhabited by humans. A pristine wilderness of forest, savannah and inland lagoons home to elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, buffalo, hippos and crocs. These 5 x 15 minute episodes follow James and his friends as they search for the perfect tree and then spend a month building the house in its huge branches in preparation for the three TV presenters due to spend a month living in it.

Stung by swarms of bees, chased by angry bull elephants...building the tree house is the easy part!"

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...AND THE GIANT TREE

"Professional tree climber James Aldred climbs one of Britain's tallest trees, a giant redwood affectionately called Goliath, and sleeps in its branches.

James has always loved climbing trees. The first time he used ropes to climb Goliath, he was 16 years old; he was absolutely terrified and didn't get further than the first branch. In this programme he returns to climb the tree, even spending the night in a hammock two thirds of the way up.

Also, one of Britain's leading tree experts, Tony Russell, offers an insight into the history and natural history of the giant redwood, or Wellingtonia as it is also known. The largest of them grow in the United States, but they have become icons in the British countryside since their introduction in the 18th century."