Category: Wildlife

Swan Lake

Close up of a mute swan cygnet (Cygnus olor) cleaning its feathers. 
A mute swan cygnet (Cygnus olor) cleaning its feathers. You can purchase this image in my online shop.

You’d think that photographing swans (or any other waterfowl) would be easy when you live on an island with plenty of birds around. And it is, most of the time. Not when you set out to photograph them, though. 

Close up of a mute swan cygnet (Cygnus olor) cleaning its feathers. 

During my usual walks along the coast, I could see many swans paddling quietly around the island, foraging, or cleaning their feathers, always close to the shore. So I’d think, “I’ll come back and take some photos.” Then I’d come back with my camera, and one of these two things would happen:

1) They wouldn’t be there. At all. Gone. Hasta la vista, baby!

2) They would be far away at sea, out of the reach of my telelens.

 

Mute swan cygnet (Cygnus olor)
Mute swan cygnet (Cygnus olor)

But time, patience, and perseverance paid off, so I could take the photos—eventually 😉. These are some of the photos I was able to take after several frustrating attempts.

Have you tried taking photos of birds or animals? 


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Damselflies and Dragonflies

Macro photo of mating emerald damselflies (Lestes sponsa)
Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)

This is one of my favorite photos, mating emerald damselflies (Lestes sponsa). The top one is the male; females lack the bright blue color of the males.

Damselflies are most common in July and August, so I spent the last couple of weeks by the small lake near our house photographing them. Emerald damselflies are found mainly near stagnant water (lakes and ponds, canals, etc.), rarely along flowing water. Aren’t they beautiful?

Macro photo of a common winter damselfly (Sympecma fusca)

A well-camouflaged winter damselfly (Sympecma fusca). They like to perch among reeds, where their muted colors allow them to blend in.

They’re related to the emerald damselflies (Lestes sponsa) and, like them, can be found near stagnant water; but they don’t have their bright red or blue colors.

MAcro photo of a Western Willow Spreadwing (Chalcolestes viridis)

Western Willow Spreadwing (Chalcolestes viridis)

Macro photo of a moustached darter (Sympetrum vulgatum)

Moustached Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum)

Macro photo of a moustached darter (Sympetrum vulgatum)

Another photo of that moustached darter.

Which photo do you like most? My favorite is the top one, the mating emerald damselflies, even though it was hard to choose, I love them all!


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The Bath Habits of Eurasian Jays

Close-up of an Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

A beautiful Eurasian jay with bright plumage, maybe due to ant bathing? Jays engage in a curious behavior called ant bathing: they climb an ant hill and let ants climb all over their body while moving around to excite the ants. The theory is that the formic acid secreted by the ants to protect themselves helps keep the bird’s plumage healthy and glossy. Then they’d take a bath to get rid of the poor ants!.


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Did You Know This About Woodpeckers?

Close up of a great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Great spotted woodpecker

The great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) has exceptionally keen hearing and can hear the larva moving under the bark of the trees. This is why you can often see woodpeckers standing still in a tree and turning its head towards the trunk, clearly listening.


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Talking About Red Squirrels

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

This red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) had such beautiful fur! Darker reddish brown on the back and the tail and lighter on the side, almost orange when the sun hit it.

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)_Ekorre

Isn’t Nature gorgeous? There are so many shades in their fur, from dark orange and red to dark brown, and all nuances in between. Red squirrels change their body fur twice yearly, but their tail hair only once.

A young red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
A young red squirrel

The winter coat of red squirrels is much thicker than the summer coat, and their ear tufts are also longer. This young squirrel hasn’t started growing its the ear tufts yet. And look at that gorgeous orange fur!

Close-up of a red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Close-up of a red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

You can see how much bushier and longer the ear tufts are in winter in these last two photos.


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