Sir David Attenborough has returned to our screens with the first episode of his new documentary series Seven Worlds, One Planet. Here’s your guide to the unmissable moments from episode one, which explored the wonderful wildlife of Antarctica.
The hour-long episode, which explored the wildlife of Antarctica, featured up-close footage of some of the world’s most incredible habitats, from the elephant seals of South Georgia Island to the reefs which thrive with life underneath the sea ice. All in all, it was a beautiful, and, at times, heartbreaking watch – and we’d seriously recommend sitting down with a cuppa to watch the whole spectacle unfold.
But if you haven’t got the time to enjoy the whole thing, we’ve collated this list of some of the best moments from last night’s episode, to make sure you don’t miss out on the mind-blowing footage captured by the documentary’s crew.
So, without further ado, here are seven unmissable moments from Seven Worlds, One Planet in Antarctica.
1. The Humpback whales’ incredible feeding technique
Undoubtedly one of the most picture-perfect moments from the episode was watching the humpback whales employ their uniquely wonderful hunting method to catch their prey.
Working together to blow bubbles in a spiral pattern, the whales drive the krill into the centre of the circle, where they then enjoy their feast. This feeding technique, which is used throughout the summer months when the seas are full of life, allows the whales to put on the fat reserves they need to survive the whole year.
2. That dramatic Elephant seal stand-off
The proximity from which the documentary’s film crew were able to capture this moment makes the footage even more extraordinary.
As one male elephant seal squares up another in a fight over territory, the two massive seals run at each other in a fight scene which feels lifted out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Besides the fact that they almost flatten the other smaller seals and penguins gathered near them, the verocity and power with which the pair fight is truly extraordinary to watch.
3. The grey-headed albatross chick surviving against the odds
The impact of climate change is evident in this moment between a grey-headed albatross chick and its mother.
Due to changing weather patterns (aka one of the many results of climate change) 70mph winds now regularly hit Bird Island, a small land mass off the coast of South Georgia. While this may not seem that big of a deal on the surface, the unnatural weather conditions leave many of the grey-headed albatross chicks exposed when their parents look for food – and sees many of the youngsters knocked off their nests.
In this heartwrenching moment, one of the chicks fights to get back on its nest. Grey-headed albatross’ don’t recognise their babies by look, smell or any other sense – the only way they’ll accept the chick as their own is if they find them on the right nest, so falling off the nest is a life threatening scenario.
4. The penguin struggling away from its predator
In this moment, a leopard seal chases an unlucky penguin as it struggles to make its way through the ice out to sea.
Due to the warming effects of climate change, more glaciers in the area are crumbling, leaving the seas filled with blocks of ice. Besides the fact that the disappearance of glaciers is a problem, these fields of ice make it harder for the penguins to make their way to the sea to feed, and makes them prime targets for hungry leopard seals.
5. The stunning time lapse that reveals the life below the sea ice
This unmissable moment sees the activity beneath Antarctica’s sea ice sped up to reveal the true extent of life which survives underneath the frozen water. From starfish to nudibranchs, the footage is simply mind blowing, and a definite must-watch.
6. When a cluster of sea anemones literally eat a jellyfish
Yep, you read that right – despite the fact that sea anemones are anchored to the sea bed (and therefore incredibly easy picking for predators), this footage shows a group of sea anemones trapping and eating a jellyfish.
Absolutely mind blowing.
7. The friendly and inquisitive southern right whales
Southern right whales are so naturally inquisitive and curious that they were hunted voraciously by whalers before the act was banned in 1935 – at one point, just 35 females remained.
This footage captures their incredibly curious and gentle nature, and is just beautiful to watch.