2017 | Documentary | 52 min. | Russia

People say that this bird is the first to greet the sunrise. While the rest of the world is still asleep, Blakiston's fish owl is already hunting in the first beams of the awakening sun. There is not a single creature more mysterious on the eastern part of the continent, on the shores of the majestic Pacific Ocean. This fish-owl belongs to a genus so ancient that nobody dares claim with certainty where it comes from. This rarest bird chooses the most remote corners of the Ussuriysk taiga as its home. However, we have taken up the challenge to spot this secretive fish owl. And we admit the difficulty of this task. It is incredibly hard to find Blakiston's fish owl since you can’t be sure if it is even there or not… And once you’re off to the Amur taiga in search of this rarest bird, prepare to become the one who is looked for!

Directors statement

Living Planet TV Channel is dedicated to nature, which is why we pay significant attention to the preservation of vanishing animal and plant species. The channel’s mission is to tell the viewer about the fragility of nature, show its beauty and remind us that we are responsible for the life around us. The vanishing of living creatures cannot be reversed! We have already filmed several movies about the Far-East Leopard and Amur Tiger to make this fact clear to everyone. So it’s not surprising that the issues surrounding the world’s largest blakiston's fish owl left us anything but indifferent. It is always interesting to take on something complicated, which is why the production team was given such difficult tasks. We refused to film the bird in the studio right from the start. It was decided to film this rarest of birds in its natural habitat. But that is much easier said than done! First, we needed to find a tree where a fish owl might make its nest, then find the actual nest. What guarantee did we have to succeed? So of course, we consulted the professionals. The success of our film is owed in large part to one of our ornithologists, Sergey Surmach. But even Sergey could not guarantee any results 100 %. We prepared filming areas near two different trees at once, which might theoretically be appealing to blakiston's fish owl families. The distance between the filming spots was about 50 km, with no roads in between them! Expeditions into wild nature have a special place in the movie. The crew spent several months in the unforgiving taiga! The team members lived through lots of losses and showed their savvy every day, like coming up with creative lighting plans at below zero temperatures, developing special infrared sensors, restoring dozens of wet batteries, and building garrets to film nests. There are some really cool unique shots in the film! Viewers are treated to scenes of the fish owl hunting fish, and feeding its young. But despite fortune smiling on us as we filmed the fish owl, our main character fell into trouble. Nikolai Zinoviev, a renowned nature photographer, had been studying this bird for several years and dreamt of getting a picture of a fish owl nestling. Then in the course of the second expedition, Nikolai got lost in the taiga... The second line of the plot had not been initially thought out, but we couldn’t help telling viewers this amazing story.

Director: Ilya Tsyganov

Producers: Maria Korchagina and Ekaterina Fedorova

Studios: “TV-Port” Ltd. and JSC "My Planet"