dinsdag 28 april 2009

Texel the Bird Photography Workshop

Last weekend i went over to the isle of Texel again and this time with a group of photographers to host my Bird Photography workshop. As mentioned earlier on this blog Texel is one of the best places for migratory and nesting birds.

We left early around 05.00 hours to catch the first boat out to the island where the group would meet near the harbour at 07.00 hours. As the first daylight started to appear on the boat and the sun was getting warmer i felt this was going to be a good trip.
Everybody was present at the meeting point and we could head out to photogaph the Spoonbills wich we had planned to start off with that morning. They flew by very gracefully and gave us loads of opportunities. In the afternoon we visited a nesting site of Marsh Harriers wich i had seen nesting the week before and unfortunately they did not show themselfs well this afternoon but not to worry as we had many other occasions on wich the diverse Harriers posed well in flight.

Later that afternoon we went to look for passerines in the dunes and found a Nightingale, some Lesser Whitethroaths, Reed Warblers and Bluethroats. After all that excitement we went over to our lovely hotel where we had a good meal and then headed out to try to spot a couple of short eared owls near their nesting site but as diner was rather good and turned out longer then expected by the time we where at the Short Eared Owl location light was setting rapidly and we could only get some pheasant shots before the sun went down.

After a good but short night sleep we went out the next day to shoot waders and gulls such as Avocet, Redshank, Tern and Black-headed Gulls. We where at the location of the waders just when the sun started to appear wich gave the Avocets a wonderful golden glance. We had a superb morning with gorgeous light and loads of cooperative birds.
Then we went over to one of Texel's little harbours to have a good fish lunch and in the afternoon we headed out to a location where i had spotted some Eider ducks the week before and had some fun photographing these remarkable looking birds.
Back to the hotel for a good diner and as requested they served us a little faster as the day before so we could have another go at the Short Eared Owls. Unfortunately luck was not on our side this evening and again they did not show themselfs to us. Nevertheless we had a great day and where able to fill many of our memory cards.

On sunday we started out early again and despite some rain we where able to photograph some waders again and then headed out to lunch in one of the lovely beach restaurants. The afternoon was free to everyone to spend as the liked and most of the photographers went out to photograph the tulip fields wich where in bloom but i spend the afternoon with one of them to shoot Spoonbills out on the sand banks. This was a wise decision as we had some great opportunities to photograph the Spoonbills.

looking back it was a great weekend with a wonderfull group of photographers and i hope i will be able to host the workshop again next spring.

Here are some more random shot's from the weekend workshop Bird Photogrphy:

Smoothy anyone..??

There are only three species of snakes in The Netherlands wich are the Adder, the Grass Snake and the Smooth Snake. The first two are well known by most people but the last one has a secretive way of living wich makes it very unknown and it it also the most scarce snake we have.

When i was out to look for Adders last week i was in a bad mood as i could not find any... The males had all gone to the moorland to look for females and in the moorland they are very hard to find. So on my way to a cup of coffee i suddenly stumbled across this wonderful brown snake.. At first i thought it was a female Adder but after closer inspection the circular pupils of it's eyes gave it away...oohhhh yess...it was a Smoothe Snake!

So here a a couple of shots from the encounter i had with this beauty..

dinsdag 21 april 2009

A day at Texel

Texel is one of the Dutch isles up north and is one of the best places to go for bird photography in spring. There are loads of migratory birds but also regular inhabitants wich nest at the isle.
Last sunday i went over to Texel to prepare next weeks "Bird Photography Workshop" and my cousin Conrad joined me on the trip. We also joined Emanuele Juza who is a very talented Italian nature photographer who was on the island for the same reason as us, to photograph birds.

When we came off the boat the first place to go was the "Mokbaai" wich has a wonderful vantage point from which to photograph Spoonbills and several species of Harriers.

Quite unexpected we also spotted a pair of Lesser Whitethroats wich are quite scarse on the mainland and a species i had been anxious to photograph for a long time.

There was also a couple of nesting Marsh Harriers around and they gave us quite a show with their aerial performances. We even saw them exchanging prey wich is one of the things i am looking forward to photograph a little closer...

Another rarity presented itself with this Montague Harrier flying by. I just love Texel for all its Harrier species. They are one of my favorite birds of prey and are very elegant to watch. We even saw a couple of Hen Harriers but the photographs i took of these where too poor in quality to show over here as they where just too far away.

Later that day we set out to photograph waders such as the Avocets for wich Texel is well known. There are several places to spot them such as Ottersaat, De Petten and De Slufter but Het Waagejot is the best place for me as it offers a very low point of view.

At the other sites we also came across many Terns, Gulls and Geese such as Brent Geese and Greylag Geese.

In the afternoon we went to the north-west side of the island to look for one of the most beautiful species of duck the Eider. I had photographed female Eiders before but the males where still high on my wishlist.We where very lucky as the males where showing their courtship activities by blowing up their neck and making really weird sounds. Besides the Eiders there where also some lovely passerines present such as Wheatear and Reed Bunting.

Later on in the afternoon we went to look for Bluethroats and Reed Warblers in the dunes and where able to get some shots of the Bluethroats. The Reed Warblers where present but did not show themselfs well..

At the end of the day we headed out to a location where i had heard that a couple of Short Eared Owls where hunting. As allways this elusive species did not show itself to me but perhaps i will have better luck next week during the workshop. Allthough the Short Eared Owls where not cooperative there where a couple of Pheasants at this location who where more then willing to pose for our camera's!

Looking back at the day i can say we have had a wonderful day with gorgeous weather and loads of photographic opportunities. I am really looking forward to hosting next weeks workshop and expect similar conditions.

Here are some more images i shot last sunday and now it's back to work again...