In wildlife photography you can have days when you don’t even get a single good shot but there can be days when you can get multiple shots that are worth sharing. The only place where I post just my best photos is Flickr, in rest I post decent or interesting posts that in my opinion are worth sharing. For this article I have chosen photos from many different days and places but all from the second part of March.
I was describing in the last blog post the small lack that offers the eye-level perspective without having to lay down and as I was saying then the rightful owners of the place is a colony of Black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus). Because I’ve stayed in the same spot unmoved the gulls got relaxed in my presence and gave me the chance to take close-up shots. I have also captured some courtship behavior in an interesting composition. The gulls were on the other side of the hill and only their heads would pop-up. For all the shots I have managed to keep a low ISO by using a 1/800 sec. shutter speed.
On the same hill a Eurasian coot (Fulica atra) appeared, scratched for a wile than went back to the water’s edge. Coots have those crazy red eyes that pop out in the picture especially in contrast with their black feathers. They somehow look escaped from hell. For this shot I have used the following settings: F6.3, 1/800 sec. shutter speed, auto ISO at 220 and +0.3 exposure compensation.
I found some Western jackdaw (Coloeus monedula) in the area that were nice enough not to fly away when I got close and laid down. The jackdaw is another bird with crazy eyes, this time gray-blue-is eyes that gives me the idea to try and make a crazy eye compilation. For this shot I have used the following settings: F7.1, 1/800 sec. shutter speed, auto ISO at 400 and +0.3 exposure compensation.
While I was walking on the way to this lake, something caught my attention. With the corner of my eye I have spotted a European hare (Lepus europaeus) lying down in front of a bush. I took some times to get some frames of the sleepy hare before continuing my walk but the next picture was taken on the way back to the car as the hare was still there, in the same position, when I’ve turned back. I used F6.3, 1/800 sec. shutter speed, auto ISO at 400 and +0.3 exposure compensation.
There is one big and important advice that any wildlife photographer will give, and that is to always take the camera with you. That is what I did on a trip to the mechanic, I took the camera with me and while my car was getting fixed I’ve explored the area. On a small lake in a neighborhood, a pair of Red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena) was getting ready for a new breeding season. The sun was high in the clear sky and the reflections in the water and the feathers were giving me a hard time to get a clean focus. The low perspective that I’ve went for meant that I had to be quick in the moments when the birds were between the vegetation. I have missed focus or got motion blur exactly on the most interesting shots as sometimes happens in this hobby.
In the trees next to the lake I caught this Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) eating the newly formed buds. This time, with the help of the shade created by the tree I have got sharp pictures with the right focus. I used F6.3, 1/800 sec. shutter speed, auto ISO at 280 and +0.7 exposure compensation.
On a short weekend trip to the vest-coast of Denmark I didn’t get to many good photos but I want to share this photo of an Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) that I’ve managed to frame between the wooden poles. He too has some crazy red eyes that look good with that crazy red beak.
Another bird I’ve photographed that day is one that I often see hovering and singing up in the sky, the Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis). The males are able to perform this hovering because they have broader wings than the female and the ones that sing and hover for longer periods are preferred by the females. They tend to sing for two to three minutes, but later in the mating season the songs can last for 20 minutes or more. In order to freeze the body of the bird I have used 1/1600 sec. shutter speed.
Next photos were all taken on Aarslev Engso, a lake close to my house, on different days. First I found this Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) that was cleaning and building what soon would be his next nest. Every time he would come out he would have something in his beak than he would return empty.
The Common Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) is another small bird that I found in that period around the lake. I was so glad when it landed on a tree closer to me than I saw that another one landed on the same tree, too bad I couldn’t get both in the same frame.
Sunsets can get crazy in spring here, amazing colors cover the sky and the landscape becomes a painting. A purple color dominated the scenery when this Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) flew across the sky and then landed in a stream nearby where the purple color was reflected in the water. The night was magical.
Sometimes you can just sit in one place, in nature and the wildlife will eventually come to you. This was the case when I was sitting on a bench at the edge of the lake, taking with a friend. A European Starling (sturnus vulgaris) landed on a dead tree near us, sang for a while then flew away.
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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.