Oasis takes the viewer on a journey up the Esk Valley in southeast Scotland. The Esk Valley (actually two valleys – the North and South Esk – which converge) is a green corridor, which runs through the county of Midlothian. The Esk Rivers run through several different habitats from source to sea – upland moor, deciduous and conifer wood, arable farmland and grazing country, and rocky gorge. Although close to the capital city of Edinburgh, the Esk Valley is not well appreciated for its diversity of birdlife. During the journey we examine some of the less well-known species in the valley. Behaviour, songs and calls are all shown. The documentary begins with a description of the geography of the Esk Valley and opens with winter flocks (waxwings, starlings and finches). Further up the valley, in a steep gorge, ravens and peregrines are encountered and followed through the summer. Waterside birds such as kingfisher and dippers have made a remarkable recovery as water quality has improved. Other woodland species such as tawny owls woodpeckers, redstart and nuthatches are studied. Oasis closes by observing some of the passerines of the upland Esk watershed such as whinchat, redpoll and grasshopper warbler. Oasis was filmed in HDV using a Canon XL-H1A camera and some short sequences in AVCHD using a Canon EOS 7D SLR camera. Oasis (2011) is Neil Grubbs’ third wildlife film and is 27 minutes duration.
The objective of producing Oasis (and Outlands, the sequel which can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/64412415) was to provide a vehicle for increasing the awareness of the general public of the habitats and wildlife which exist in the Lothians and which are accessible. Above all Neil Grubb wanted to show local people that amazing wildlife can be seen without the medium of the blue chip documentaries. The results of this are illustrated by a letter of support from the Scottish Ornithologists Club, and from the large number of invitations Neil has received to speak (and in many cases return to speak) at local and national clubs and societies. In terms of positive results, the aim was to increase public awareness of local habitats and wildlife and to this end Oasis has succeeded in its’ objective. The films were never intended or budgeted to support a specific environmental project – indeed Oasis and Outlands can be regarded as micro-budget films, which have been produced without specific funding – i.e. out of the film-makers’ own pocket!
Letter of Support: click here
By Jason Peters