In early 2020, wildlife film-maker James Aldred was commissioned to make a documentary following the lives of a family of Goshawks in the New Forest – the place of his childhood. He began to plan a treetop hide in a remote site that would allow him to film the Gos nest, their newly hatched chicks and the lives of this elusive and enchanting bird.
Then lockdown. And as the world retreated, something remarkable happened. The noise of our everyday stilled. No more cars, no more off-roaders, no more airplanes roaring in the skies, no one in the Goshawk woods – except James.
At this unique moment, James was granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to keep filming. And so, over that spring and into summer, he began to write about his experiences in a place empty of people but filled with birdsong and new life.
Amidst the fragility and the fear, there was silver moonlight, tumbling fox cubs, calling curlew and, of course, the soaring Goshawks – shining like fire through one of our darkest times. A Goshawk summer unlike any other.
James Aldred is the celebrated author of The Man Who Climbs Trees (Allen Lane) and an Emmy Award-winning documentary wildlife cameraman and filmmaker. He works with TV and production companies around the world including the BBC and National Geographic. He has collaborated with Sir David Attenborough on numerous projects including Life of Mammals, Planet Earth and Our Planet and been nominated for BAFTA/RTS awards many times. He was lucky to spend the national lockdown of spring and summer 2020 filming in the New Forest.
"Magical and transporting. James Aldred's account of a season spent filming Britain's most powerful and mesmerising avian predator shines with the shifting complexities of weather, season, mood and place. In these dark times, it's a beautiful and deeply evocative hymn to love, hope and connection."
– Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk