Friday, 28 January 2011

Away from the crowd

This month the Flevopolder was the bird photography hotspot in The Netherlands, with Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus/Blauwe Kiekendief) and Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus/Ruigpootbuizerd) as the main actors. I went there too on this sunny cold winter day, and photographed the big two as well. But lining-up in a large car queue on a small road didn’t give my much joy. So I decided to try my own luck in the afternoon.
Driving along the Bovenwater lake, I spotted Smew (Mergellus albellus/Nonnetje) and Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula/Brilduiker) and decided to try my luck. I found a spot were I could lie down at water level. I camouflaged myself … and waited, hoping for an intimate low point-of-view encounter. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos/Wilde Eend) and this ♀ Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula/Kuifeend) came close. I especially like the 2-nd picture with the outskirts of Lelystad in the background; it tells something of wintering ducks in a densily-populated country like The Netherlands. After 2 hours in a strong eastern breeze I was almost frozen and got-up. At that very moment 3 ♀and 1 ♂ Smew were floating at close range just behind me. I saw them, but they saw me as well and flew off immediately. Next time I should withstand the cold a little longer.
On my way back home I passed the entrance of the nature reserve “Oostvaardersplassen” and decided to check out the famous hide close to the visitor center. Nobody was there. While I was enjoying sunset suddenly 2 Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus/Wilde Zwaan) appeared. At first I was taking pictures with a 1.4 converter, but then I was realizing what I was seeing: 2 lonely swans in a huge sheet of ice with pinkish-purple colors, and I removed it asap.

* Canon EOS 40D with 500mm/f4 IS and 1.4x; ISO-400, f6.3, 1/800s; from beanbag.
* Canon EOS 40D with 500mm/f4 IS and 1.4x; ISO-400, f7.1, 1/640s, +0.3 stop; idem.
* Canon EOS 40D with 500mm/f4 IS; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/125s, +0.3 stop; idem.

Monday, 3 January 2011


Thaw set-in. But there are still many ice-covered places. I fancy birds that live in or around the water, so I will keep returning to them. They are one of my favorite photographic subjects. Today I went to the Ooijpolder near Nijmegen. I positioned myself under a camouflage cloth close to a large hole in the ice and waited for 2 hours on what was going to happen. Only this ♂ Shoveler (Anas clypeata/Slobeend) came into the range of my telephoto lens. The shy Teals (Anas crecca/Wintertaling) were already displaying. Unfortunelately they kept (as usual) their distance.

* Canon EOS 40D with 500mm/f4 IS and 1.4x; ISO-400, f7.1, 1/500s; from tripod.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everybody! The first upload this year is one with a nostalgic value for me. During my highschool period (about 30 years ago … ouch!) I watched these brownish Little Grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis/Dodaars) every winter on the Dommel river in Eindhoven. They dive in and around the rich vegetation of the banks in search of something edible. Over the years I forgot the plain beauty of this scene. Until today.

* Canon EOS 40D with 500mm/f4 IS and 1.4x; ISO-800, f5.6, 1/200s, -1 stop; from beanbag, lying in the snow.