One of the most dramatic scenes in the first episode of Blue Planet II – the BBC natural history unit first heard a tale about fish picking birds out of the sky from local fishermen. On a remote atoll in the Seychelles, the team finally captured the behaviour on camera.
Bioluminescent plankton help produce an incredible ligthshow when mobula rays rub up against them, making the sea shimmer with a neon glow.
False killer whales and bottlenose dolphins
Filmed off the North Island in New Zealand
The False Killer Whale is actually a type of large dolphin, mainly found in the open ocean. (BBC NHU)
When is a deadly chase not a chase? When it’s actually a happy reunion. In the waters off New Zealand, false killer whales (Pseudorca) are dark black, up to six metres long and look incredibly intimidating. However, their ‘pursuit’ of smaller bottlenose dolphins actually appears to be a way of the two species cooperating as part of a huge hunting party.
A male Kobudai (Asian Sheephead Wrasse) in Japan (BBC NHU)
These bulbous-looking fish are known as Kobudai, or Asian Sheepshead Wrasse, and they have a special trick up their sleeve. When a female Kobudai reaches a certain age, they are able to change sex. The male, which can weigh up to 15kg, is said to benefit from this transformation as they are able to pass on more of their genes by mating with multiple females.
Killer whales and humpback whales
Filmed in Vengsoya & Andfjord, Norway
The Aurora Borealis shining overhead, this section proves one of the most atmospheric in the first episode. The fjords in Norway are ice-free thanks to the Gulf Stream bringing warm water up from the south, and fruitful hunting grounds for killer whales.
Walruses and polar bears
Filmed in Svalbard, Norway
A walrus mother and calf rest on an iceberg in Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle (BBC NHU)
The final sequence is a powerful reminder of how climate change has had a profound impact on the natural world. Attenborough explains that in the Arctic, in the past 30 years the extent of the sea ice in summer has been reduced by 40 per cent. Safe ground is becoming harder and harder to find…