Because the species that I found in my trips begin to repeat those self more often lately, I will change a bit the way I post. Until now I was trying to post one article every Wednesday that contains pictures and facts of around 6 different species. From now on I will mix it up, one week will have pictures and facts about new species that I have encountered, one week I will have pictures of species that I have photographed before but now I have managed to get a better photo and I will describe how I did it. From time to time, when I have a fruitful day and I manage to collect a mixture of at least 6 new good photos or new species, I will post the story of that day with its findings.
So let me get started this time with an article full of new exciting species that I have discovered in the autumn of 2018. The species were discovered in different days but they are some that gave me a good dose of adrenalin when discovered and I definitely hope to have many opportunities to observe them again.
I was entering a private forest close to where my girlfriend used to work in a warm, sunny day in early autumn. It is a forest of conifers, with a lot of Christmas trees plantations annexed to it. I was moving slowly and thoroughly scouting the place for any potential subject when a bug landed on some leafs close to me. I had my 70-300 mm lens on my camera, as usual, so I didn’t need to get close and scare it, I just needed to change a bit the position for a better composition. After research and some INaturalist help, I have found out it is a Dock Bug (Coreus
Not long after I finished shooting the dock bug, while I was waiting for one of the small birds to stand still in a place where I can photograph it, one of my favourite song birds perched on a tree in front of me. It didn’t give me much time so I have only got one usable shot and not a great one. The European Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus) is a cute, small bird, part of the tit family, easily to recognise because of its specific erectile crest and white colour. This species is mostly found in coniferous forests where it nests in holes in rotting stumps and feeds on insects and seeds. I am planning to return to that place now, in winter, when the tits congregate and hope to find the crested tit again and maybe also the Long Tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus).
I cannot remember how I end up spotting these two Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris). It was probably the movement that I’ve caught with the corner of my eyes because the I remember asking myself how I’ve end up seeing them while I was photographing them. I was so excited to finally find the squirrels that I knew that lived in that forest but failed to see until that point and the best part was that they either did not spot me or just ignored me. It was a delight to watch them play, probably two juveniles waiting for their mother. The red squirrels are famous for stashing food by burring it or hiding it but it turns out that it doesn’t remember all the time where this food was hidden. Although it is not threaten worldwide, the red squirrel has suffered drastically reduce in numbers in UK in most part because of the introduction of the north American grey squirrel witch outcompetes the red squirrel and also carries the squirrel pox diesis.
Dragonflies can be very nice photography subjects, especially if they are perched on a tall grass straw or a twig like in my images. The Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) can be told apart by the similar Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) by the yellow or cream stripes on the black legs. They are ambush predators, waiting for the prey to fly past from a prominent perch – such as a leaf or the top of a gate, when they will fly after it. They are territorial on breeding waters but away from water they are not so sightings of several hundred in a single field have been seen. Because of its habit of constantly returning on the same sunny spot, it is considered to be the easiest dragonfly to photograph. I will definitely keep that in mind next time I will spot one.
This last autumn was the first time when I deliberately wanted to get the picture of a certain animal, until that point I would photograph whatever I could find. In the autumn, the deer rut is happening and now is the best time to find stags also the rut itself being one of the most fascinating spectacles of the natural world. I am extremely lucky to live near a forest where some Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) sometimes come and in the rut season is the place where they usually gather. In Denmark the deer’s are not habituated, except some parks where they are kept for petting, so it is very hard to get close to them as they can spot every move or sense every smell. For almost a month I woke up early every day and spent an hour before work in the forest to try and figure where the deer hang. Every time I spotted them and tried to get close they would somehow notice me before I could get close enough so my only option was to hide and wait for them to come to me. In a Saturday morning, just as the sun was rising I found a herd of red deer in a clearing between two small pieces of forests. Unfortunately they were pretty far away for my lens and the light was so low that I did not manage to get any good shots but I managed to film a decent video that I have uploaded on Youtube. The Red deer is the 4’th biggest species of deer in the world and the biggest one in Europe and is the stag’s are one of my favorite subjects to photograph.
I found a good hiding spot in one of the places where the Red deer used to gather, behind a fallen tree, and in some days I used to wait there for few hours. One time as I was sitting hidden a small common song bird landed on a branch in front of my hiding place. It was the first time I have seen and photographed the European robin (Erithacus rubecula) since I have started this hobby. It is not the best picture from technical reasons but I really like the composition and the way the robin seems to take a look at me over its shoulder before it flew away into the misty forest. Repeatedly voted as the national bird in Britain, the Robin is a common and popular bird also being easy to recognize with its orange breast and face. It is an insectivore bird appreciated in British and Irish gardens from various folklore reasons but treated the same as the rest of the birds in other parts of Europe. It is also a highly territorial bird being known to attack even himself if he spots his refection. Some attacks lead to fatalities, 10% of adult robin deaths being accounted to this behavior.
When I have spotted the red deer I have also spotted a Common buzzard (Buteo buteo) that I have presented before and a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) that I will present in future posts as that time I didn’t get good enough pictures.
Thank you for reading and please leave a comment below with any suggestion, information, story… anything.
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For all species found on my spotting adventures, take a look at INaturalist.
The gear that I’ve used for spotting and book used for identification, here.