Ok I know I told you I don't like hurdling around a bird with lots of other birdwatchers or photographers. But last week another visitor from the north was close to my home, the great northern loon (Gavia immer). All members of the loon family are intriguing to me with their spooky sounds. So as the great northern loon was close by the temptation became too much. Too escape the crowd though I decided to go at sunrise and this was a great choice as I was the first to arrive. Shortly after arriving I spotted the bird whom was swimming and hunting for fish close to the shore. After almost two hours enjoying the relative quietness of morning and the loon with two other birdwatchers more birdwatcher came. So as the crowd became larger I decided to leave. As the great northern loons do not make much sound out of the breeding season I haven’t heard the spooky sounds. Nevertheless I did had a great time watching and photographing the bird.
Whilst I was up north last weekend I read a blogpost of Aaldrik Pot at natuurspoor.com about the White-throated Dipper, Cinclus cinclus. For those whom understand Dutch check it out! Too my surprise he spotted one a day before very close to where I stayed. Although I'm not a fan of flocking around a bird with lots of other bird-spotters I could not let this opportunity go. So, I packed my gear and head out and what a joy I had.
At the end of spring and at during the start of summer you have the biggest change to see European pine martens (Martes martes). This because both the juveniles and mothers are active during day time, the juveniles to play in the tree tops and the mothers to hunt. This week I was lucky to see a couple of youngsters playing in their tree. A wonderful experience!
The Black tern (Chlidonias niger) is in my opinion one of the most graceful birds I have seen. In the Millingerwaard Black terns gather every year to breed. They used to breed on floating water plants and especially Water soldier (Stratiotes aloides). Due to water and water soil pollution Water soldiers went scares and the Black terns now often breed on little rafts as they do in the Millingerwaard.
The colony is full of activity the morning I visited them. Food is brought to the breeding partners on the rafts constantly. As soon as a potential tread is spotted all the Black terns fly up to protect their nests. Altogether a beautiful thing to observe.
This weekend I visited Leusveld to test my new telephoto toy and I also managed to get a photo for my project European nature in Gelderland.
The world of big telephoto lenses
Last week I was able to buy a second-hand telephoto lens. As it has been a while since I used such a big lens I needed some practice again, what a punishment ;). Besides these lenses are heavy you also need to take in account that due to the large amount of 'zoom' every small movement at the camera becomes huge in your viewfinder. With a big telephoto lens a sturdy tripod is in my opinion a must-have.
Although I am already used to use a tripod for my landscape photography big lens photography asks for some different skills. On my tripod I use a ball head. I think this system is ideal for landscape and macro photography. For the use of a big and heavy telephoto lens it comes a bit short. It will keep the lens in place but as soon as I want to have some more mobility to follow a subject it tends to tumble too much on the ball joint. So, this takes some practice and made me order a gimbal that should make it easier to control the lens. I will keep you posted.
Despite I still need some practice I am quite satisfied with the first results. Hopefully you can enjoy them as well.
While I was trying to get familiar with my new lens I also took some time to photograph some of the spring forest. At this moment the May lily (Maianthemum bifolium) are still in bloom. In the centre of Leusveld Natuurmonumenten (conservation organisation) maintains a patch of hayfield and here the Heath spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) start blooming. Due to these flowers, I am reminded again why I love spring so much.