Sunday, 22 June 2014

Back-light shrike

The FIFA World Cup in Brazil is in full swing, and against all odds the Dutch soccer team is performing very well. But at the same time at least 4 Red-backed Shrikes (Lanius Collurio/Grauwe Klawier) are breeding near the Nature Reserve “Groote Peel”. And one couple nests in blackberry bush near a small and quiet road. In particular the ♂ bird is very confident and often poses on a beautifully curved branch full of thorns. That means I have to set some priorities: Only sunny evenings and when the Dutch team is not playing I drive up to this place to do some photography. This is one of the many ‘keepers’.

* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f4, 1/320s; -0.7 stop; bean bag.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Parental love

Nature is full of deceit. All tricks to survive are allowed. The Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus/Koekoek) is a brood parasite. They specialize and lay eggs that closely resemble the eggs of their chosen host (egg mimicry). After mating, ♀♀ try to locate nests of host parents, such as in this case a Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus/Kleine Karakiet). When the nest is found she deposit one egg of her own and removes one host egg. The Cuckoo egg hatches earlier than the host’s, and the Cuckoo chick grows faster; in most cases the chick immediately evicts the eggs or young of the host species. The chick encourages the host parents to keep pace with its high growth rate with its rapid begging call and open mouth. In this stage the deceit looks really ridiculous for an outsider. The Cuckoo chick outsizes the host parents and completely fills up the nest. This shows how far parental love can go …

* Canon EOS 7D, 70-200mm @ 175mm/f2.8; ISO-800, f2.8, 1/320s.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Poppy festival

For many years I am searching for a corn field full of weeds such as Poppy (Papaver rhoeas/Klaprozen) and Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus/ Korenbloem). This year I found such a field close to home, between the city Eindhoven and the village Geldrop. It was again a privilege to be out in the field early morning with Andrew George!

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm @ 200mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f2.8, 1/1600s.
* Nikon D800, 80-400mm @ 400mm/f4.5-5.6; ISO-200, f5.6, 1/320s, +0.7 stop.