This Nuthatch is a real climber. It can climb a tree head up and head down, unlike the Treecreeper which can only climb up and then, as it reaches the top, has to fly down to start over.
If you want to keep your feet dry on this favorite Spoonbill hangout you've got to be prepared to fight off the competition. Wanna see what happened next? Check out my blog: http://goo.gl/ZuAo5h
This Great-crested Grebe came up right in front of me in nice evening light. No catch this time for the hungry youngsters begging for fish. But it did catch one about every three dives, so they were well served :-)
Scottisch Highlander - Bos Taurus ss. You don't get to see these gentle giants fighting a lot. most of the time they are grazing heads down and don't make great subjects to photograph because it's heard to get eye contact. So I was very fortunate to find these two quarreling right in the middle of the path. :-) More photos on my blog: http://serveewijsen.blogspot.nl/2013/07/gevechtfight.html
Roe Deer love this field of Wild Radish flowers, as do dragonflies. You can spot one in the distance... More photos and stories on my blog: http://serveewijsen.blogspot.nl/2013/07/walhalla.html
This Roe Deer got quite curious when it saw the Hare in the foreground in this field of flowering Wild Radish. The Hare's defense is to lay it's ears flat and sit absolutely still, even though it has nothing to fear from the Roe Deer... More photos and stories on my blog: http://serveewijsen.blogspot.nl/2013/07/walhalla.html
And yes, it really did come out crossed the road after stopping for a moment to stare at the strange creature, being me, sitting on the path... More photos: http://serveewijsen.blogspot.nl/2013/07/grazersgrazers.html
In our densely populated country, nature is crossed by many roads, paths and trails. Convenient for us people to get around, but animals also like to use their own favorite 'roads'. These paths arise from walking the same route every day to get to food sources and from marking their territory. If you know where these path are and which route animals frequently walk, you can anticipate on this. In this case I had followed the Roebuck for a while and I could easily guess where it would cross the (human made) road. It peeked first from behind the bush to make sure the coast was clear and then crossed the road in the beautiful evening light, not bothered by me sitting nearby on my knees to take some shots...
This buck is king of the flower field, and steps into the spotlight of the last sun-rays that reach the field through the trees on the left outside the frame. Roe Deer gather here to eat from the Wild Radish flowers....
A Predator in the making... This juvenile Goshawk sits on a branch just above the nest, but is not yet capable of flying. Its eyes are locked on me as I walk under the trees. It waits patiently for one of its parents to provide food. But soon it will be hunting the forest by itself. It has incredible eyesight and can fly between the trees and branches with amazing speed and ease and attack prey like birds and small mammals by surprise...
Hopefully this little bunny is just as clever and aware of danger as its cartoon counterpart. A lot of danger is lurking in the shadows and above. Foxes, Buzzards, and Goshawks all like to take a bite of this cuteness...
It's always great to watch and photograph animals with their young. But I usually stay clear of going close to nests and feeding animals because I think you should NEVER disturb them especially not when feeding their offspring. This Great Spotted Woodpecker excavated its nest just one meter above ground in a tree right next to a crossing of a cycle path, a horse-riding track, and two walking paths. If you don't have an eye for it you won't even see it and the Birds don't mind people passing by at close range. But if you stand still near the nest, they immediately call alarm. So sitting there was NOT an option. Still this photo was taken from about 3 meters away. I waited for the parents to fly off to get food, installed the camouflaged camera on a tripod behind a tree, flicked the mirror up to reduce sound, hand focussed on the hole, and sat 30 meters away with binoculars and a wireless remote to take the shot. The Woodpeckers kept feeding undisturbed and came back to the nest with food every 10 minutes...
...at least on this bush. In the month of june Roe Deer like to feast on the Yellow flowers of Broom brushes, which are flowering abundantly here in heathlands. You just have to find the right spots with nice background and lighting and get your timing right.
Roe Deer just love the flowers of the yellow Broom brushes which provide a great picture frame. The animals are quite familiar with me because I frequently walk around here with my camera. As long as I move slowly and don't make to much noise, some of them allow me to get quite close :-)
Ree - Roe Deer just love the yellow flowers of the Broom bushes. So you can be sure to find them here :-)
It's always exciting to wait until after sunset to see how the light changes. This time the cloudless sky turns a subtle pink and all I needed was the Roe Deer as a subject in front of the Oak tree. It looked up and stood still just long enough to get it sharp...:-)
Another one of the Roe Deer after sunset. Some more contrast in the sky here and a little movement, which I actually like.
Once in a while you get lucky if you're prepared to go out often, get to know the animals and their habitat, be patient and be there at odd times. I envisioned this photo in my head a long time ago. This is a place frequented by Roe Deer. But they never seemed to be there at the right time. The photo was taken 40 minutes after sunset probably the only small hill in the area that obscures the horizon. Just enough light from the sun was left to color the sky red. Perfect for a silhouette :-) Hi ISO and slow shutter speeds were needed, but that's why you drag your heavy tripod with you all day :-)
It's fun enough to shoot nice pictures but the challenge is in finding special moments. The low evening sun can be a great help and makes you see things differently and ads some tension to the shot. The red spot in the foreground is caused by the sun flaring in the lens. The last rays of the sun light up the contours of this Roe Deer buck.
This Buzzard had spotted me well before I'd seen it even though I was a 100 meters away. It gave me just enough time to snap this picture as it kept an eye on me before it took off...
As I checked the number on the ring (not seen in this picture) it turns out that White Stork NLA 2E302 was ringed 311 days ago today and and was 28 Kilometers away from the nest where it was born when I took this photo. I don't know if it left the country, and migrated south because some birds do stay here, but at least it survived it's first winter, which only very few birds do. Storks are typically ringed at about the age of 5 weeks when their legs don't grow any thicker, so this bird is just a couple of weeks away from it's first birthday...
Pretty bird this one. The Common Redstart, this one is a male, likes old varied forest areas with open spaces on sandy soil with plenty of trees with woodpecker holes to breed in...
I'll bore you with yet another Roe Deer Portrait. A different animal but also very close in nice soft evening light :-)
Another portrait of the same Roe Deer taken one day later. As the sun was just about to set I was sitting on the ground by the fence watching birds on the field as I caught some movement int he corner of my eye. This fellow sneaked up un me from behind and was standing about 6 meters beside me checking out a spot to step through the barbed wire. I slowly turned my camera and it looked straight into the lens. Then it slowly walked along the fence completely at ease to fiend the right spot to cross several meters away. :-)
Same Roe Deer was kind enough to let me shoot this portrait :-)
Roe Deer posing.. They seem to be occupied with eating, grooming and recuperating from the long cold winter so much that they don't even mind me being so close :-) This one is so skinny I could count it's ribs...
Male Roe Deer staring at me to check if I don't get to close. It doesn't seem to mind much and I can get to about 10 meters before it slowly retreats. It seems to have some kind of eye disease which I've seen before with Roe Deer. Roe Deer don't have a well developed eyesight, they only recognize large objects, but can detect movement very well. And it sure knows I'm there. It cannot see me if I keep absolutely still, but it can smell me from 400 meters away and he can hear the camera clicking just fine. So I'm just lucky here to be tolerated :-)
Fallow Deer resting under a tree in the snow.
Winter is quite persistent this year, even now in March we still have snow, which is rare over here. So another winter shot before Spring kicks in. These Fallow deer live in the dunes by the North Sea in a protected area where there is no hunting. This makes them very approachable. Great for photographers and Wildlife lovers but also a topic of discussion as some people think there are too many, and they are smart enough to jump over the fences and ruin gardens of rich folk who live in the area and get run over by traffic...
UPDATE: This photo was published in an article about the European Bison of the january 2013 edition of Landschap magazine (in dutch) http://www.landschapvzw.be/landschap-magazine Fighting European Bison [Bison bonasus] @ Sunrise. Last saturday we went back for a closer look at the European Bison and were very lucky to find them in the nicest place @ sunrise! Beautiful backdrops and great light :-)
Roe Deer covered in fresh snow...
These Roe Deer are easy to find under 'normal' weather conditions. Today with temperatures well below zero, strong winds and snowfall, I had to search a little harder. Lucky I knew were to look. They stay closer to the edge of the forest out of the wind where it's less cold and easier to find food. What a nice day :-)
Another shot of a male Bearded Reedling...
A male Bearded Reedling feeding on seeds of reed plumes. Quite a challenge to photograph in these strong windy conditions as they are swept from left to right and up and down all the time. They seem to have no problem keeping their focus on feeding though. It was an overcast day and the snow on the lake bounced back the light from the 'sky softbox'. That's why the bird is so beautifully lit from below :-)
A male Bearded Reedling can, as the name of this beautiful little bird suggests, be recognized by it's beard. In summer they feed on insects and are very hard to spot in the reed fields. In winter they switch their diet to seeds and can be found in sometimes very large groups feeding on the seeds in top of the reed plumes.
Great Spotted Woodpecker [Dendrocopus Major] dozing away in the sun. A very common species in our forests. It's brain is protected by shock absorbers so it won't get a headache from hacking it's nest in a tree. Still it prefers soft wood like that of a Birch tree.
Thousands of Dunlins [Calidris alpina] soaring over the sand plates @ the North Sea coast like one big organism. What a view! About 30% of all European Dunlins have their winter residence in The Netherlands.
Thousands of Dunlins [Calidris alpina] soaring over the sand plates @ the North Sea coast like one big organism. What a view! About 30% of all European Dunlins have their winter residence in The Netherlands.
These Roe Deer [Capreolus capreolus] are looking up because they are disturbed by some screaming kids. Although they're used to a lot of human activity here, they are always on guard because people bring dogs, which should be on a leash, but they are not always. Dogs like to chase deer, deer don't like to be chased. This time it was just kids...
This Short-toed Treecreeper [Certhia brachydactyla] is very hard to spot against the bark of a tree due to it's perfect camouflage. As I was standing under this very tree I could shoot it against the clear blue sky. This bird starts from the bottom of the tree picking insects out of the bark and climbs its way up in a spiral around the tree. When it reaches the top it flies back down to the same or a different tree as it can't climb upside-down like a Nuthatch can...
This Magpie [Pica pica] is about to land on the Fallow Deer [Dama dama] like African Oxpeckers they like to feed on parasites in the fur of the animal.
European Bison [Bison bonasus] @ sunrise grazing in a beautiful sunlit landscape. It was supposed to be a grey overcast day, but surprisingly it turned out to be a beautiful morning well worth getting out early :-)
European Bison [Bison bonasus] looks like he's making fun of this little tree :-) The light was so unreal @ sunrise that I even had to desaturate some of my photos to look more 'natural'.
Male Wisent - European Bison - Bison Bonasus. 900 Kg and almost 2m tall you don't want to disturb this fella.. Especially since it can easily outrun you at 65 Km/h...
Female Wisent - European Bison - Bison Bonasus. Their ancestors roamed the continent ages ago with Mammoths, a hundred years ago the last survivors went extinct in the wild by loss of habitat and hunting and poaching. Breeding programs brought them back to about 4200 now living in Zoo's and Wildlife parks across Europe. Nearly as rare as the Tiger!! This one lives in Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland in the Netherlands, which is the only place in the world were they don't get additional food from humans. 6 were released in the park in 2007 & 2008 as part of a scientific research project. 9 calf were born since, only one didn't survive. The aim of the project is conservation of the species, study of feeding behavior, use of habitat and interaction with animals and people of which little is known. Results are positive. They are much less dangerous and more shy of people than they were thought to be according to 'legend'.
A beautiful light-colored Buzzard [Buteo buteo] hunts mice in the field and does so by 'floating' on thermals in the rising hot air or by absence of such, from a lookout post in a tree or on a fence like in this photo...
Whooper Swans [Cygnus cygnus] migrate south in winter from their breeding grounds in Iceland, Scandinavia and RussIa. Birds from Iceland can be found in Great Brittain and Ireland, birds from scandinavia in Continental Europe, like this one in Germany. About the same size as the resident Mute Swans but much bigger than Bewick's Swans which by far outnumber them and look moor alike in terms of their black and orange beaks.
Adult European crane (Grus grus) flyby. As these cranes are very shy and turn away from you as soon as they see you, you have to position yourself in the right place out of sight and with patience and a little luck they fly by close enough to get a shot like this :-)
European Cranes [Grus grus] strolling in a harvested corn field...
European Cranes [Grus grus] flying trough the red colored sky at sunrise..
Juvenile Crane (below) with parent.
Around this time of year European Cranes migrate south from their Scandinavian breeding grounds. On their way they take a 'pitstop' in Germany to feed on the leftovers from the corn harvest. Right now there are about 42.000 birds to be found in Diepholzer Moor Niederung, Germany. An impressive sight to see them and hear their loud trumpeting sound.
"Wild" Konik Horses [Equus caballus caballus] are as wild as Horses get in Europe. These are descendants from the "original" european wild horse, the Tarpan, which was sadly wiped out in the late 19th century by excessive hunting. The last mare in the wild died when it crashed in to a ravine in the Ukraine while it was chased by men trying to catch it in 1879. These Konik were bred back from half wild horses in Poland in the 1930's to resemble these Tarpans. In the 1980's they were released in the wild in the Netherlands...
The rings on birds legs often disturb a photo in my opinion, but if it's readable it does tell you a lot of history on the bird. This beautiful Male White Stork (5241) was born in 2001 in Meppel and successfully brought up 27 chicks since 2004 on a nest in Ankeveen, Netherlands This year 4 out of 5 chicks made it:-)
The same Roe Deer calf as in the previous picture as it approached me curiously...
As the Roe Deer calf within close range it started to 'flap' it's ears when it heard the shutter click :-)
This curious Roe Deer calf is just a couple of month old and is straying further away from it's protective mother. It came straight at me and posed for me at close distance for several minutes wondering what the strange 'creature' blocking it's way and all the clicking noise was all about...
European Hare in the 'purple haze' of the blooming heather. It let me get close enough to shoot this portrait :-)
Griffon Vulture [Gyps fulvus] soaring on thermals in Verdon National Park, France.
Long-eared Owls [Asio otus] are night predators. They are not very shy, just hard to find as they are well camouflaged. I heard the sound of a shrieking door hinge in a patch of forest, and saw no door :-) That's when I knew it was a juvenile Long-eared owl calling. I found 5. Two adults and three grownup youngsters. Had to take a quite long exposure of 1/5 sec at ISO 800 to keep the noise acceptable from a tripod with wired release to get this shot in rather bad light and windy conditions. Not bad :-)
Roe Deer calf [Capreolus capreolus] running after it's mother...
As I was concentrating on taking pictures of juvenile Kestrels, suddenly this beautiful fox stood there staring right at me in late evening light... What a nice way to finish my day :-)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) calf running at full speed in the late evening sun...
Flying is 2nd nature for this juvenile Kestrel. The landings are not yet so elegant...
The juvenile Kestrels start exploring the ground, trying to catch anything that moves, like insects. No success...
Sandwich Tern [Sterna sandvicensis] and their young flying up from the nesting site at any sign of danger, Hundreds at once, with there chicks, who can fly but still get fed, and some Common Tern [Sterna hirundo]
Sandwich Tern [Sterna sandvicensis] taking a fish, which it caught at sea, to her chick which resides still at the nesting site behind the dike gaining strength for the long flight south due soon...
Pied Avocet [Recurvirostra avosetta] feeding in the shallow water...
This one was a lot friendlier. Probably because I was in the car, or there were no youngsters around. Still they are pretty shy birds.
I was getting too close, that was the obvious message this Black-tailed Godwit was screaming at me. When they fly up and circle around you, it's a clear sign that there are chicks around. The grass was too high to see them though.
Spoonbill flying in warm evening light
Weird shadow? No, actually the 'shadow' is a Lapwing flying closer to me as I took this picture, so it's shape is blurry and makes it appear to be further away.
Roe Deer love to eat these Wild Radish flowers.
This field of wild Radish is like a magnet for Roe Deer.
I knew they were gonna come through the fence sooner or later, so I just lied down and waited..
A baby Roe Deer was playing in a field of flowers. I just had to wait for it to jump high enough to get a shot. And to do me a favor it was doing it's very best to do so in the very last stroke of sunlight to hit the field :-)
Here's one in natural light on a brighter day
I experimented for the first time by adding a little hi-speed sync flash to light up the dark eye just a touch. Also nice to see the water drops.
Northern Goshawk taking it's prey to the nest
Northern Goshawk with prey flying almost straight at me.
Purple Heron flying to the nest
Purple Heron with great hairdo
Purple Heron Landing at nest
Gekraagde Roodstaart - Common Redstart
Barnacle Geese flying in the mist. the kept flying in circles because they were constantly disturbed by the noise from very nearby construction work which they could not see through the thin mist.
Goshawk maneuvering through dense forest. I was lucky to catch the eye.
Great camouflage. From where I was standing you couldn't see the Goshawk with the naked eye.
A Roe Deer coming out of the forest in late evening light.
A very common bird in my country, a male Stonechat is singing from the highest branch in the neighborhood trying to attract a female which is nowhere to be seen....yet.
Composite of a group of bearded reedlings gathering in a reedfield @ Oostvaardersplassen, Netherlands
Pied Flycatcher, near the nest
A small selection of about 250 Tundra swans that were sleeping on a lake flying off in the early morning.
Haven't seen them since so maybe they're already heading north to their breeding grounds.
Common Guillemot @ Helgoland
Wild Konik Horses @ Lauwersmeer
Raven spreading it's wings to cool down on a very hot summer day after feasting on a Roe Deer carcass.
European Starlings. Thought it looked much better in black & white. Like a painting almost...
This female Roe Deer showed up in front of me out of nowhere as I was silently enjoying the beautiful light @ sunrise over the lake. She was very relaxed and wasn't bothered by me being there. :-)
Portrait of a Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) Helgoland, Germany
Northern Gannet couple on the nest
Northern Gannet hovering above the nesting cliff
Northern Gannet approaching the nest
Northern Gannet flying too close over a neighbor's nest
Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) gazing down in the water to search for a meal
Male Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) hovering above the water in the mist
Kingfisher looking for a meal in thick fog
Black Kite hunting for fish
Red Kite hunting for fish
White-tailed Eagle dives down to catch a fish
White-tailed Eagle catches a fish
Seeing this adult male White-tailed Eagle snatch a fish from the water right before my eyes was a really extraordinary experience.
No Fear! This Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) attacks a male White-tailed Eagle (haliaeetus albicilla) who enters it's territory
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) catches a fish floating on the surface. Rather strange for a crow, I think! They copy this behavior from the Kites which hunt for fish in this lake.
While sitting in the hide waiting for birds of prey like Kites and Eagles I didn't expect this 'strange bird' to show up. It's rare to see a Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in daylight, even though it was early morning. I was still setting up my camera and there it was already. As I found out later it was two years ago since someone had last seen one in this area!
Just as I was putting my camera away, these two Galloway bulls started a fierce fight in the water @ Blauwe Kamer, Netherlands
Curious Red deer hinds searching for apples...
Male Red Deer making clear he rules around here.
Bluethroat male on the lookout close to the nest
Blauwborst - Bluethroat
Portait of a Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Portrait of a Roe deer
Hare in flowerfield
Juvenile Spoonbill landing
Spoonbill in flight
Common Seal chillin' on the beach