Ninon and Sarah filming at Sweetwater - © Blanca Baranda

In August we were visited by camera technician Ninon Hives. She studied for a master on director of wildlife documentary at the university of Poitiers, France, and chose to do a documentary for the mountain chicken project as her project work. Great! Our lovely frogs will be famous! Ninon spent one month at the Herpetology Department of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey) where the captive breeding programme is being carried out and after this, she came to Montserrat for a couple of weeks and filmed how the mountain chicken project is working in the field.

As soon as Ninon got in the island, she and Sarah organized the timetable to coordinate the

Ninon filming from the sea © Sarah-Louise Smith

activities of the project with the film work. So…3, 2, 1…Action!!!  Ninon came with us to the forest every day. Sometimes the trail was long and steep, making it hard work to carry the camera and the tripod. I guess that is one of the difficulties of making wildlife documentaries. But our tireless Blacka was there to take the tripod everywhere looking as agile as always. Ninon got footage of the different surveys the project is running: surviving frogs, release site, frog loggers and tree frogs sampling. And every time it was required for the documentary, the members of the team were happy to explain in front of the camera different aspects of the project.

Learning to wield the camera © Sarah-Louise Smith

With the help of the National Trust and the Department of Environment, Ninon also ran a half-day workshop for wildlife photogrpahers and filmaker enthusiasts. The workshop was well attended and Ninon demonstrated to everyone how to work her semi-professional camera and to take the right shots in the field. Some of the members of the workshop used the beautiful back-drop of the National Trust gardens to practice.

View of the volcano and exclusion zone during the boat tour - © Blanca Baranda

One of my favourite memories from those two weeks is the boat tour. We went around the island from the north to the southwest, and we could get a more realistic vision about the habitat change since the volcano erupted. Amazing experience for all of us.

Days went by fast, and the moment to say goodbye arrived. When we took her to the airport a “funny” surprise was waiting for her, but that is another story… We still miss this lovely girl and the sweet smell of homemade cake coming out from the kitchen…yum!

– Blanca Baranda


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