Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Back to Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix/Korhoen) lek. Same tent, same spectacle. The only difference was that they already started at 1h45! Again the temperature dropped below zero. Here you see some pictures of the kingbird on his small hill at sunrise. The backlight was really breathtaking.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4.0; ISO-800, f4, 1/500s.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Common Crane

We spent the second day and night in a floating hide. Conny brought us to the hide with a canoe. A Crane (Grus grus/Kraanvogel) pair was breeding in the marsh forest behind the hide. Often the cranes forage right in front of the hide. But not today, probably the strong wind was not favourable. Other species of today are: White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla/Zeearend), Goosander (Mergus merganser/Grote Zaagbek), Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula/Brilduiker), Teal (Anas crecca/Wintertaling), and Wigeon (Anas penepole/Smient). We were quite happy to be released after staying 24 hours in a limited space of 2x2x2 m3.

* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/1250s; -0.3 stop; bean bag.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm @ 135mm/f2.8; ISO-800, f8, 1/200s.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Black Grouse lek

I have never started a nature photo trip like this. We (Jos van de Kerkhof and I) arrived yesterday evening around 22h30 at Skellefteå airport in Västerbottens län, Sweden. I looked over my shoulder when we crossed the platform and walked over the tarmac towards the airport buildings. The SAS plane was beautifully lit-out against the late evening sky that was still not completely dark at this time of year. A pity that I could not take any photos (my tripod was in my suitcase). At this small northern airport it was easy to spot our guide Conny Lundström (I looked-up his photo on Facebook). We shook hands with Conny and his wife Catharina, picked up our bags, and left in a 4 wheel-drive Toyota. After a 2-hour drive we stopped at what looked like an arbitrary spot. Some snow patches were still present at the roadside. In the dark we changed clothes and put on our rubber boots. Soon after that we followed Conny for a 15-minute walk on the bog; 3 torch lights struggling to go forward on this marshland in the middle of the night, that must be a funny sight. Soon I spotted a 2´2 wooden hide and 2 small tents; we arrived at the Black Grouse lek! After I installed in the tent I tried to catch some sleep, without success. I was too excited about what was going to happen. Then, all of a sudden I heard the first drawn-out “kakakakakakeh” besides my tent, and 5 minutes later I was surrounded by a wall of rookooing sounds. Before I zipped open my tent I checked my iPhone, 2h15! The view was unbelievable. About 20 Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix/Korhoen) were moving around, threatening and fighting, faint red stripes in the sky already announced the day. The AF didn’t work, it was still too dark, but there was plenty of time, the light increased all the time, very slowly. Around sunrise 2 Cranes (Grus grus/Kraanvogel) visited the bog. The Black Grouse display went on until 7h30. Below you find some impressions. Around 9 o’clock Conny picked us up and we drove to his house in the hamlet Kalvträsk (35 inhabitants) for a proper breakfast, smiling faces!

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4; ISO-640, f4.5, 1/160s; bean bag.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/160s; +0.7 stop; bean bag.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4; ISO-640, f5.6, 1/250s; +0.7 stop; bean bag.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4; ISO-640, f5.6, 1/500s; +0.7 stop; bean bag.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Into the Cuckooflowers

It was a beautiful morning with fog. I went to a small wet forest area called “Heerendonk” close to the village where I grew up. This is where it all started. For many subsequent years (in the ‘90’s) I carried out a bird monitoring project in this forest. Those were the days of breeding Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos/Nachtegaal), and Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus/Wielewaal). Today I was here to search for resting butterflies between the flowing Cuckooflowers (Cardamine pratensis/Pinksterbloem). All in all I found 4 Orangetips (Anthocharis cardamines/Oranjetip), 7 Green-veined Whites (Pieris napi/Klein Geaderd Witje), and 1 Small White (Pieris rapae/Klein Koolwitje). Oh, and I also heard my first Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus/Koekoek) of the year!

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 180 mm; ISO-200, f5, 1/320s; +0.7 stop; hand held.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Lonely Oxlip

I got up early today, hoping to photograph dew-covered Orangetips (Anthocharis cardamines/Oranjetip) on Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis/Pinksterbloem). I found some but they were not on the right spot. So I changed my attention to the upcoming Oxlip (Primula elatior/Slanke Sleutelbloem) flowers. For me this is one of my best photos!
Tomorrow evening I give a lecture object “Small en Big Flying Objects” in Eindhoven; it’s about birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Later today I have a radio interview about this lecture that will be broadcasted this evening between 22.00 and 23.00 on Radio 5 (NTR Academy).

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 175 mm; ISO-400, f5, 1/640s; +0.3 stop; hand held.