I was about to sort out some pictures of species that I’ve never shared before in order to write a new species article when I figured that it will be a big difference between the date when the new species photos were taken and the date of the pictures that I still want to share. So I will stop making the new species/picture selection articles and instead I will mix them together and keep a chronological order is photo sharing. This way I can describe a scenario and display all the photos from that day without keep referring back to the article where I’ve started the story. I will also drop out the 6-7 pictures limit and the weekly upload. I will put a different number of pictures in every article, to fit the narrative, and as long as I have one picture per day to share on social media I will not upload a new one. I will try to upload on Wednesdays even though it will be a surprise on which Wednesdays.
It will soon be obvious why I choose this title; I may also have to change the name of the blog to BirdEnthusiastBlog if I keep photographing birds (kidding). After all bird chicks will grow up I will start focusing on insects more and some mammals.
But despite the title, I will first share a cute Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) I met by accident. I was walking through the forest with my camera and without an explicit purpose when with the corner of my eye I’ve noticed movement off the path. I turned my head to see this little squirrel freeze with a nut in her mouth. I did not dare to try and get low to her eye level, in fear that she will notice that I’ve noticed her. I managed to take 3 frames with the camera’s ‘’silent’’ mode before the squirrel started moving along pleased that I wasn’t a threat. Unfortunately, the sun was against me but I managed to smooth out the shades a bit in this picture.
There is at least one family of Common buzzard (Buteo buteo) living in the forest and if I spend enough time out it is almost impossible not to hear them calling while they fly through the area. More difficult is to photograph them through all the trees and get them focused and properly exposed. I didn’t get quite that in this picture but I like how the light backlists his feathers and the light effect created on the unfocused branches. For this picture, I have used F/6.3, 1/3200 sec. shutter speed and the auto ISO1250 with exposure compensation of +1.7.
This is the only two worth sharing picture from that day proving that the forest walks are not as productive as the lake walks.
The next pictures were all taken on the same day, at the end of February, on a walk along the lake. It was a sunny day, much warmer than a normal day at the end of winter and the wildlife was very animated. Lots of bird activity with gulls that were chasing each other for food, crows joining the race, ducks flirting and lots of other species carrying different activities. There were times in the day when I didn’t know where to point my camera.
Because there was no shortage of light I could afford to use high shutter speeds without having a too high ISO, so the action shots were taken with 1/3200 sec. shutter speed decreasing just a little bit to 1/2500 sec. for the static shots. Because of my positioning according to the suns position most of my subjects would turn a bit shady so I’ve used a +0.7 to +1 exposure compensation and because I was on auto Iso this raised my Iso a bit higher than the normal value the camera would choose illuminating my subject better. I must admit this was a mistake in the case of the gulls that got overexposed because of it. The highest the ISO was raised all day was at 1000, with values sometimes as low as 320.
The Black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) were diving in the water to catch fish and find other food so I’ve tried capturing an interesting shot. This one is the best that I’ve got in a moment when the gull was completely submerged in the water keeping only his wings out. I will sure give it another try when I’ll have the chance.
After the hard work of catching the food, keeping it safe would prove to be even more difficult. Other gulls and even crows would chance the hard working one in hopes for an easy meal. I got a frame that looks like is from a theatrical play. It is a heavy crop and the subjects are not the sharpest but I find the composition to be compensatory.
A group of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) was quite close to the edge of the water and when they’ve started preening I turned my attention to them. I have anticipated they will flap their wings and I managed to freeze the action.
Further on the lake, a pair of Goosander (Mergus merganser) were fishing and flirting undisturbed. The nesting season was near and the warm day made them want to strengthen the bond between them. The female caught something at one point and started what looked like playing but probably had a purpose that I didn’t get.
On a different part of the lake, a flock of Wigeons (Anas penelope) was periodically coming out of the water to graze on grass, then, at first sign of distress would fly off back onto the water. I’ve laid down on my belly to get some eye leveled shots and I’ve also made a small video focused on one wigeon preening.
Around the flock of wigeons, other ducks have gathered like this male Teal (Anas crecca) that I’ve took some shoots off.
And this Gadwall (Anas strepera).
Different birds were flying from one part to another and from time to time I turned my attention to them. I like how I caught this two Mute swans (Cygnus olor) having the same flight position creating a nice pattern.
But the best in-flight shot from that day if that of a Greylag goose (Anser anser) that was flying quite close to where I was positioned.
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.