Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bad Light is the Best...

My plan to get up at 4:30 was vetoed by my tired body. A 137km bicycle ride over the hills of Southern Sweden on Saturday and there was no overruling the veto. Had to settle for getting up at 5:30. Normally at this time at the end of May the sun is already quite high above the horizon, but since rain was forecast the skies were gray with low clouds. Nothing you usually get excited about, but for some kinds of photography this is not a bad thing. On the contrary the clouds diffuse the light and avoid those difficult highlights and shadows.

After a fruitless search for my insulated stainless steel coffee mug which my wife seems to have on permanent loan, I settled for a thermos full of coffee and making a couple of couple of sandwiches to be enjoyed on the way to the  nearby meadows. Normally there are numerous birdwatchers and photographers here at 6AM but today I had the place to myself, and using my car as a hide I was able to get close to a number of the normal spring species.

The redshanks was on his lookout post on the edge of the meadow and although I am certain that they must have young on the meadow I never saw them. But the watchful redshanks posed nicely against the meadow backdrop as I moved my insanely noisy diesel Passat a little closer...

An couple of unusual visitors on the meadow was this pair of Northern Shovelers, the male's yellow eyes always makes him look like he is completely surprised, while the female looks a bit more relaxed

And as the rain starts to the lapwings three chicks run to mom and take cover under her wings, I try to move forward and back to get a better shot without the grass in the foreground, but it's no use, this is all I got...

An unusual find for me is the female hare cleaning her baby, I try to get a little closer but looked away for a few seconds, in the meantime the hare has moved away from her baby and is grazing on the grass again, and it's impossible to find the baby

As the rains comes down harder I have to cut my trip short. It's mother's day in Sweden, so I need to buy some roses and pastries for my wife and see if I can cut a deal for the safe return of my coffee mug.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just Another Morning on the Meadow

Despite getting up at 5:30 the sun was already high over the horizon by the time I made it out to meadows.  I was obviously late, since there was so much going on everywhere I looked. Lapwings, skylarks and wagtails chasing intruders out of their territories; crows harassing a marsh harrier as it flew over with a newly caught rat or something with a long black tail. I always tell myself I'm going to get up earlier, but at 3:30 when I checked the sunrise seemed so far away...

A yellow wagtail doing her morning stretch

A harrier lifts off with her partially eaten breakfast, maybe a rat, it had a long black tail. Yumm!

A skylark is taking his morning bath in the sand

And a greater spotted woodpecker eats larvae and aphids off the tender new leaves of an oak. Hanging upside-down is no problem at all with this powerful claws.

Next Satruday I'm going to get up earlier...

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Spring is now at it's best, trees and meadows have that lime-green shade that makes a perfect background for any shot.

The local pheasant cock is high on testosterone and fears no one, he has that look in his eye, "This is my turf, and I'm ready to fight anyone to prove it"

Meanwhile out on the meadows the curlews take turns sitting on their eggs and foraging. Their long bill is the perfect tool for finding earthworms...

Nearby the skylark is gathering material for its nest

And in the forest the woodpecker is staking his claim to a territory by drumming on the tree trunk.

The red kites are out in force, I counted ten sitting in one tree; a few at a time they fly low over the nearby meadows looking for their next meal.

It doesn't get much better than this...