Take a cross-country flight over Ireland's natural wonders and ancient ruins. In this spectacular overview of the historically significant Emerald Isle, we explore the sites, the people, and the milestones of this unique gem of Western Europe.
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Watch as birds solve puzzles and challenge our basic notions of intelligence. Call somebody a “bird brain,” and you’re not delivering them a compliment. But as NOVA shows, birds turn out to have advanced problem-solving skills that we usually assume are unique to humans. Watch astonishing tests of avian aptitude: parrots that can plan for the future, jackdaws that can “read” human faces, and crows that can solve multi-step puzzles with tools like pebbles, sticks, and hooks. Could these just be clever tricks based on instinct or triggered by subtle cues from their human handlers? To rule out any doubts, NOVA puts feathered Einsteins through their paces and reveals skills that even three- or four-year-old children have a hard time mastering—such as putting off one reward now to get a bigger one later. From this revolution in thinking about our feathered friends, the conclusion seems irresistible that bird brains see the world in ways that aren’t so different from our own.
Enter the world of the lizard: from the chameleons, masters of the arboreal life to geckos tapping a code to plant-hopper insects and baby pygmy blue-tongued skinks huddling in their burrows long after birth. In the deserts are found some of the most bizarre lizards: baby Bushveld lizards mimicking acid-squirting beetles; the well-armoured and bizarrely spiky; thorny devils and the lizard kings - the Australian monitors - fast, intelligent and efficient hunters.
The endearing pangolin is a little-known scaly mammal. Found in Africa and Asia, these shy creatures have an unfortunate tagline - they are the most poached and illegally trafficked animals in the world. Based in Namibia, conservationist Maria Diekmann rescues and rehabilitates her local pangolins. In a bid to better understand the global issues they are facing, we follow Maria to Vietnam, Thailand and China into the very heart of the crisis, where demand for pangolin products is greatest. In what turns out to be an emotional journey, Maria joins forces with a Chinese megastar to build a campaign to bring awareness to the plight of an animal most people have never even heard of.
Earthflight departs on its grand European tour, using a host of techniques including taking extraordinary footage from microlites as they fly alongside imprinted birds. Among other wonders, cameras soar with cranes and geese over Venice, the white cliffs of Dover and Edinburgh. White storks leave Africa and struggle to reach Istanbul, the gateway to Europe, while cranes take an easier route over the monkey-guarded Rock of Gibraltar. In France, the white horses of the Camargue make a splash around the new arrivals. In Rome, the heat of the city lures 20 million starlings that perform nature's greatest aerial display to outwit peregrines. In Hungary, sand martins grab mayflies from the air; and at Bass Rock, gannets create Britain's greatest natural spectacle as they dive in exquisite slow-motion. The story takes an emotional turn as storks and swallows wait for their partners to return and indulge in a spot of DIY to impress. Finally, geese touch down in Svalbard to raise a family. To protect their young, a squadron of birds assemble to see off polar bears. With views of birds flying over the Loire Valley, London docklands and the bulb fieds of Holland, this is Europe as never before.