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The Secret Life of the Shannon on RTE 1 TV

Bats, squirrels and the humble Irish pike are getting set for the Hollywood treatment in a ground-breaking documentary to hit RTE One this weekend on Sunday 26th May at 6.30pm.

The documentary, sponsored by the ESB, explores the little-known islands, lakes and tributaries of the Shannon River. The two-part film follows the river from dawn to dusk through four seasons and captures the changing moods and atmosphere of the river – as well as the acrobatic antics of our red squirrels, magnificent whooper swans ending their migration and the exquisite orange tipped butterfly.

Swans on the Lower Shannon cSAC, December 2011 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

Using new slow motion technology an intimate portrait of Irish wildlife is shown. The new technology allows the detail of snapping kingfishers and dragonflies at 1000 frames per second to be shown. The show also uncovers surprising secrets about the private lives of Ireland’s wildlife. The series reveals new animal behaviour, including bats hunting over water at night and remarkable underwater footage of pike and kingfisher.

The Shannon at ‘Worlds End’, Castleconnell, Co. Limerick (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

Programme one (which broadcasts this Sunday evening – 26 May @ 18.30hrs on RTE 1) opens with early morning mist rising off the Shannon river, viewers will be transported to a world few ever see. Close-ups of riverside wildflowers revealing the minutiae of river life give way to massive aerial shots of the river as it flows to the sea. Kingfishers are filmed crashing into the river on their relentless hunt for fish while the Daubenton’s Bat is filmed at night scooping insects from the water’s surface.

Programme two (which will broadcast Sunday week – 2 June) brings us to the source of the mighty Shannon river and its unassuming beginnings. From here, it is a non-stop journey through breath taking encounters with beautiful wildlife, including the migrant Whooper Swans and Great Crested Grebes and Cormorants.

The Cormorant, will feature in Programme 2 (Image: Cian Ó Conchúir)

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