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exploring the world

Three pied avocet babies on their way to explore the big wide world.

Two pied avocet babies leaving mom’s protective wings while two other chicks are still underneath her belly.

The world is a cruel place. An adult punishes a baby pied avocet by biting it in its head, because it has entered a territory which was not its parents.

common terns

For me there is nothing common about the common tern. I think it’s a very elegant and streamlined bird with a fascinating way of courting.
The first photo shows a male flying by, on his way to hunt for fish for his female partner.

Female forming a nesting pit in the shell island. Or maybe this is all a part of the courtship and bonding between male and female, who knows?

Male shouting to other species in the air to prevent them from landing in its territory.

spring at last

Male common redstart perched on a blossom twig.
After a long and sometimes very cold winter we may rejoice now in a beautiful warm and sunny spring. Many bird species returned to our small country to feed and breed.

Sedge warbler doing credit to its name.

Mating oystercatchers

Common redshank shouting

Black-tailed godwit landing

Barn swallow singing

Common coot with newborn baby

winter is leaving

With spring already knocking on the door The Netherlands were suddenly hit by a harsh strike of winter in the beginning of March. For a week or so temperatures dropped far below zero and people were actually skating again, which has become a very rare thing. But just as sudden and quick as winter had arrived, it disappeared, and temperature rose to a springy 15 degrees. This coot was finding its way on the melting ice.

experimenting

Gulls resting on a pond covered with ice and snow, high key photo.

Being an outstanding bird photographer is a difficult business nowadays. One is supposed to be creative at all times and ‘mainstream’ bird photos are not en vogue. Juries of contests are always looking for different kind of photos and winning awards has become almost impossible for me. It keeps me on my toes however and in the past couple of months I have been experimenting with alternative ways of approaching my favorite subjects: birds. Here’s an excerpt of the results.

City cormorant and reflections (in my direct neighborhood).

City coot grazing ashore at the end of the winter (in my direct neighborhood).

Goldfinch resting on a teasel. Perhaps not as alternative as juries would like to see, but at least this is not a straight forward, frame filling photo of the bird 😉

national geographic magazine

Publications are always nice, but to have one of my photos published in the famous National Geographic Magazine (the international edition of January 2018) filled me with joy and pride.
The photo shows a cuckoo chick being fed by a much smaller reed warbler, to illustrate an article about the brood paratism behavior of cuckoos.

murmuration (2)

Seeing hundreds or thousands of starlings flying together in a whirling, ever-changing pattern is a phenomenon of nature that amazes and delights those lucky enough to witness it. In the fall of 2017 I was very fortunate to be able to see a murmuration in my own neighborhood. Every night just before sunset the starlings gathered to perform their mysterious dance, right above the buildings on our island. It kept me mesmerized for weeks.

murmuration (1)

Seeing hundreds or thousands of starlings flying together in a whirling, ever-changing pattern is a phenomenon of nature that amazes and delights those lucky enough to witness it. In the fall of 2017 I was very fortunate to be able to see a murmuration in my own neighborhood. Every night just before sunset the starlings gathered to perform their mysterious dance. It kept me mesmerized for a few weeks.