This film is part of Free

Nursery Island

The birdlife of Northumberland's Farne Islands comes under the spotlight in this pioneering documentary from the Secrets of Life nature series.

Documentary 1936 18 mins


Mary Field's delightful documentary showcases the birdlife of Northumberland's Farne Islands: courting kittiwakes, baby oyster-catchers, guillemots and of course the puffin, described as "the ridiculous-looking bird on the left". Un-aided by modern stealthy cameras, Oliver Pike's breath-taking photography stands the test of time, while the wry commentary is refreshing and at times very funny.

Nursery Island benefits from the direction of Mary Field, a former teacher who became education manager at British Instructional Films, and the photography of nature enthusiast Oliver Pike, who developed groundbreaking techniques to film animals in their natural habits (including an early camouflaged cine-camera). Field and Pike worked on the pioneering natural history series Secrets of Nature (1922-33), followed by Secrets of Life (1934-1950), effectively launching the popular genre of wildlife documentary as we know it today.