Frozen Planet

Autumn

16 Nov 2011


Species features in each Sequence

1
Polar bear
2
Beluga whale
3
Thick-billed murre, Arctic fox
4
Polar bear
5
Polar bear
6
Muskox
7
Barren-ground caribou
8
Southern giant petrel, Northern giant petrel, South Georgia pintail
9
Adélie penguin
10
Leopard seal
11
Emperor penguin

# Species by IUCN Conservation Status

1
Polar bear
Ursus maritimus
VU
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnPolar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnPolar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Hudson Bay, Canada

Polar bears gather on the shores of Hudson Bay in Canada in autumn as they await the sea ice to form. In these times they switch from their usual diet of marine mammals, such as seals, and instead gorge on the surrounding vegetation, plucking berries from out between the thorns of the foliage. Outside of the breeding season, male bears are generally tolerant of each other, even in such close quarters. They engage in play fights, perhaps as a way of testing each others' strength. Females with cubs tend to stay at more isolated beaches, away from the rowdy males.

John Aitchison filmed these bears at Hudson Bay in Canada according to his blog [1]
[Link 1]
2
Beluga whale
Delphinapterus leucas
LC
Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnBeluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnBeluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Cunningham Inlet, Somerset Island, Nunavut, Canada

In the autumn, before the sea freezes over again, great numbers of beluga whales come to a particular inlet on Somerset Island in Canada, where the water is warmer and less salty than in the ocean. Here, they swim into the shallows at low tide and begin to flail and spin, rubbing up against the gravel at the bottom to exfoliate their old skin. Many belugas are accompanied by their calfs, which swim atop their mothers and, in doing so, are pulled along by their slip stream.

According to a behind the scenes clip [1]: "While filming the beluga moult at Cunningham Inlet in Arctic Canada, the team stumbled upon a stranded young beluga that had become stuck at low tide."
[Link 1]
3
Thick-billed murre
Uria lomvia lomvia
LC
Thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia lomvia) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnThick-billed murre (Uria lomvia lomvia) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnThick-billed murre (Uria lomvia lomvia) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Svalbard, Norway

John Aitchison filmed these bears at Hudson Bay in Canada according to his blog [1]: "John filmed [...] Arctic terns in Svalbard where other Arctic birds, including Brunnich's guillemots, nest on immense seacliffs.". Subspecies ID based on location as per Shearwater.nl [2]
[Link 1] [Link 2]
3
Arctic fox
Vulpes lagopus groenlandicus
LC
Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus groenlandicus) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard (Spitzeberg) foxes may be synonmous with groenlandicus subspecies https://academic.oup.com/mspecies/article-pdf/doi/10.1644/0.713.1/8071638/713-1.pdf
4
Polar bear
Ursus maritimus
VU
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnPolar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnPolar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Svalbard, Norway

A carcass of an 18-metre-long fin whale floating on the surface of a fjord draws the attention of scavengers, including several polar bears. With so much to eat, the bears are incredibly tolerant towards each other, even sociable. Some head underwater to reach the harder-to-access but tastiests part of the whale, while others even feed on seaweed on the lakebed.

Some time after the entire carcass had been eaten, the vertrebrae of the fin whale could still be seen at the bottom of the lake [1]! According to a behind the scenes clip [2], this sequence was filmed in the northwest tip of Svalbard.
[Link 1] [Link 2]
5
Polar bear
Ursus maritimus
VU
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnPolar bear (Ursus maritimus) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Svalbard, Norway

With the encroaching winter, the sea ice is reforming. For a mother polar bear and her two cubs, this is a signal that they have managed to survive the tough spring and summer months and can look forward to better hunting opportunities on the sea ice in the coming weeks.

It's unclear whether the filmmakers followed the same mother and cubs since the "Spring" episode, where such a family was filmed in Svalbard. I assume this sequence took place there too.
6
Muskox
Ovibos moschatus
LC
Muskox (Ovibos moschatus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnMuskox (Ovibos moschatus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnMuskox (Ovibos moschatus) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Alaska, USA

According production still captions on various media outlets [1] [2], this was filmed in Alaska: "Bull musk ox fighting over females, Alaska. The impact is like a car crash at 30mph and these battles can be fatal"
[Link 1] [Link 2]
7
Barren-ground caribou
Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus
VU
Barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnBarren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnBarren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

According to an interview with episode director Adam Scott, this was filmed near Yellowknife, Canada [1]: "The caribou were in the barren lands where there isn't a single human footprint. So we were staying in a lodge that was 80 miles from Yellowknife [a city in Canada] on the edge of the tundra zone. So we had to fly in from Yellowknife to the lodge and everyday we'd have to find the caribou with the helicopter. We had the aerial camera on the helicopter, the aerial cameraman and myself, and Jeff who was the cameraman on the ground."
[Link 1]
8
Southern giant petrel
Macronectes giganteus
LC
Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnSouthern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
South Georgia

Both the Southern and Northern giant petrel species are featured here, identifiable by the different colours they have on their bill tips - green in the Southern species and reddish in the Northern. Greener-billed individuals can be seen at 30:32, 30:41, 30:50 and 30:55.
8
Northern giant petrel
Macronectes halli
LC
Northern giant petrel (Macronectes halli) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnNorthern giant petrel (Macronectes halli) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnNorthern giant petrel (Macronectes halli) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
South Georgia

8
South Georgia pintail
Anas georgica georgica
LC
South Georgia pintail (Anas georgica georgica) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnSouth Georgia pintail (Anas georgica georgica) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
South Georgia

9
Adélie penguin
Pygoscelis adeliae
LC
Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnAdélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnAdélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Fish Islands, Antarctica

This sequence was filmed on the Fish Islands as detailed by cameraman John Aitchison in his book and in Series 3 Episode 1 of 'A View Through the Lens' [1]: "John travelled with a team whilst making the BBC series, Frozen Planet, to Dream Island a remote, cold, hostile island despite its name, whose only inhabitants are elephant seals and Adelie penguins. Over fifteen years ago, another team from the BBC came here to film what happens when young penguins go to sea. There were thousands of chicks in the colonies then, and when they reached the water, several hundred leopard seals were waiting for them. But John discovers the colony is less than a fifth of its original size, and there are far fewer leopard seals so he travels further south where the breeding season is shorter and later. On the Fish Islands, he finds what he's looking for; a larger colony of Adelie adults and chicks."
[Link 1]
10
Leopard seal
Hydrurga leptonyx
LC
Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnLeopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnLeopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Fish Islands, Antarctica

This sequence was filmed on the Fish Islands as detailed by cameraman John Aitchison in his book and in Series 3 Episode 1 of 'A View Through the Lens' [1]: "John travelled with a team whilst making the BBC series, Frozen Planet, to Dream Island a remote, cold, hostile island despite its name, whose only inhabitants are elephant seals and Adelie penguins. Over fifteen years ago, another team from the BBC came here to film what happens when young penguins go to sea. There were thousands of chicks in the colonies then, and when they reached the water, several hundred leopard seals were waiting for them. But John discovers the colony is less than a fifth of its original size, and there are far fewer leopard seals so he travels further south where the breeding season is shorter and later. On the Fish Islands, he finds what he's looking for; a larger colony of Adelie adults and chicks."
[Link 1]
11
Emperor penguin
Aptenodytes forsteri
NT
Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnEmperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) as shown in Frozen Planet - AutumnEmperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) as shown in Frozen Planet - Autumn
Cape Washington, Antarctica

The behind the scenes segment also included shots filmed underwater of the penguins, which looked stunning - a shame they didn't make it into the final cut! It also shows that this was filmed just off Cape Washington. Cameraman Didier Noirot writes about it too on his website [1]: "But when in 2009 we got to McMurdo, it was not our final destination. I was working on the BBC's Frozen Planet series at the time and it was a Twin Otter that dropped the 5 members of our team on the ice floe in Cape Washington, 400 km north of McMurdo."
[Link 1]