Book Review: Untangling the Knot Belugas and Bears

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Clare Disano delves into the riveting book from thirty five-year career of British hobby photographer, turned professional wildlife cameraman, Mike Potts, which gives an fantastic insight into the life of a wildlife cameraman, the extreme locations he has
visited and the vast array of wildlife he has captured..

To understand where this journey takes us, it is useful to read how Mike Potts’ impressive career has developed from humble beginnings, working at Dudley Zoo and ringing birds with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), often enduring difficult missions when he was involved in various procedures to process and document birds and, later, moving on to work at what is now known as the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Mike was tasked with looking after their world-famous collections.

After moving to Wales to join the oystercatcher study team at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), he was then able to study their feeding behaviour, as part of a team. When the MAFF moved on to another location, Mike got a job at the White Fish Authority as a laboratory technician developing techniques for hatching and rearing oysters, eventually moving on to a hatchery where he was in charge of breeding oysters on a large scale.

It was at this time that he began to film birds in his spare time using a hide. This included coverage of the incubation, hatching and rearing of sparrow hawk chicks in their nest, over several months.

Having been introduced to BBC producers, Mike did some minimal freelance work, but it was his introduction to Irish filmmaker Éamon de Buitléar, that worked out well for him, as the filmmaker was wanting a recording of sparrow hawks, and Mike was able to supply him with his recent footage. This, in turn, led on to a commission to make a short ten-minute film for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) about the work that the society was doing to restore wetlands, culminating in a job as the the RSPB’s staff cameraman, working on various productions for them....


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