Wild at heart
a new series reveals the amazing ways that nature has adapted to life in america’s legendary, but brutal, Great Frontier…
equoia trees are only found in the Sierra nevada mountain range and at nearly 300ft tall they are the world’s largest single trees. Living in their shadow is a bright red wildflower, the Snow Plant, which has no need for sunlight, instead stealing raw materials off its big neighbours. In exchange, they provide a lifeline for the beautiful anna’s hummingbirds, that help in plant pollination.
‘It’s a fascinating story,’ says Patrick. ‘The Snow Plant is a parasitic plant that taps into the roots of the Sequoia tree to get its nourishment. It comes out in early spring and it attracts the Anna’s hummingbirds early in the season
when they are desperate for good sugary nectar.’
Yee-ha! Thanks to John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, for many of us, ‘The Wild West’ conjures up cinematic images of rootin’ tootin’ cowboys wearing Stetsons and riding around dusty towns on magnificent horses.
But there’s so much more to America’s legendary great frontier than saloon bars and sheriffs, as new BBC2 nature documentary Wild West: America’s Great Frontier shows us this week.
Over millions of years, powerful forces have formed here some of the most dramatic landscapes on Earth – from the continent’s hottest deserts and red rock canyons to towering snow-covered mountains and a magical coastline.
It’s a brutally tough area to live in, but nature has found some extraordinary ways to survive. And over three episodes, the series gets us up close to the animals and people who have managed to tame this place to call it home.
‘The series is about the natural history, the landscape and the people of the Wild West,’ explains producer Patrick Morris, who has over 27 years experience in making wildlife documentaries, including David Attenborough’s award-winning Life.
‘There are three dramatically different worlds – the classic deserts, the great mountain ranges of the Sierra Nevada and the Rockies, and the great Pacific coastline and Sea of Cortez.
‘It’s steeped in legend and fascinating history, with an amazing diversity of wildlife and some of the most dramatic landscapes anywhere on Earth.’
The series was filmed over two years, with Patrick’s team making over 30 different trips to nine American states to unearth fascinating and unusual stories.
Here’s what to expect in Wild West: America’s Great Frontier…
is previewed on pages 42-43 avvy coyotes are infamously camera shy, but the team tracked some down at a golf course in the mojave desert, the hottest place on Earth.
‘We were trying to film them scavenging, but the people who run the golf course told us that at certain times of the year the coyotes really go after migrating birds stopping to drink at the pools there. It shows just how adaptable coyotes are – they are able to live in all sorts of different habitats.’ at home in the wild: Coyotes can adapt to their conditions
allies in nature: The Snow Plant and an anna’s hummingbird