Archive complete

Finally, all bird species of the Western Palearctis, photographed until December 2016, are online in the Archive. I just finished uploading with photos of one of my favourite groups – the Grouses. All birds of this group are elusive and difficult to watch – so every encounter is an adventure.

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix ssp. tetrix) adult female well hiding behind a trunk. Ural Mountains, Russia, 16.06.2016

I spent hours and hours, trying to find them, watch them, get close to them without disturbing and finally photograph them.

Some of them live in dense thicket like the Hazel Grouse and it is easily reproducible that you hardly see them.

Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia ssp. volgensis), motionless hiding in a tree. Bialowieza, Poland, adult male

But others are just in the open like the Rock Ptarmigan. Nevertheless it took me a lot of time to discover them during winter time.

Rock Ptarmigan 8Lagopus muta ssp. helvetica), Germany, adult male, winter plumage

They sometimes dig themselve into the snow for resting and all you see later are their tracks.

Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta ssp. helvetica), track coming from the left. It dug into the snow for resting and later walked further to the back

But as soon as you are rewarded with a real encounter, you know it was worth the effort.

Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta ssp. helvetica) jumping adult male, 28.12.2013, Germany
Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus ssp. crassirostris), Germany, adult male, displaying
Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix ssp. tetrix), Germany, adult male
Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica), Great Britain, winter group
Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus ssp. koreni), Russia (Ural), adult male hiding behind a bush
Hazel Grouse(Bonasa bonasia ssp. volgensis), adult male. An extremely lucky moment, in which the Hazel Grouse perched on this truck. Bialowieza, Poland, 24.04.2014
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Research trip through Great Britain & Ireland – From Ireland and Northern Ireland to Scotland

I stopped to show some photos at the westcoast of Irleand. So here a last from that site:

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Bridges of Ross, Ireland

I drove further, visiting some forests to record Crossbills, heading to Northern Ireland

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Coast of Northern Ireland

I stopped at the “Giants Causeway”, a well known tourist attraction. People from all over the world walked along the coast to see the black edged pillars of basalt:

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Pillars of basalt
'Giants Causeway'
‘Giants Causeway’ during sunset

Not far from this site, there is a beautiful coastline, many isles lying next to each other, some are just a small rock, some bigger

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Coast of Northern Ireland

As there are still just few forests in Ireland and Northern Ireland, it was time to leave, heading to Scotland where much work was waiting for me. But before I went on the ferry boat, I stopped a last time for a very special bird: the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii).

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A Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) on the right next to a Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) on the left

This Tern got very rare in Europe. There are just few sites left, where it is possible to watch it. Luckily I could watch twelf birds, adults and juveniles, quite close.

You finally think, I was just there to take photos and didn’t work? No! Actually I had only time for photography when it was too windy or the activity of the birds was low. Means, I had especially spare time long before sunrise, after sunset and when weather conditions were bad…

When I arrived in Scotland, weather conditions had been perfect to work, so I had no possibility to take a single photo in the following weeks. About two weeks later, i finally realized a photo to show what I actually done there.

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Me recording in the scottish forests

This looks like relaxed work? Actually it was most time some kind of survival training, following the birds, running through thickets, jumping over ditches.

While following crossbills into a forest, I discovered a site with beautiful dead pines. I envisioned a photo of the trees during night. Some days later, I had the possibility to realize it and here is the result:

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Dead Scot’s Pines (Pinus sylvestris) in the Scottish highlands

Well, I showed enough for today! Here a last view over the Cairngorms during sunrise. In the lower areas are the forests with crossbills.

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View over the Cairngorms

 

 

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BWE: Landscape photos of the stormy Isle of Skye

In the beginning of December, I spent some time in Scotland. It is not the most popular time of the year to visit this country, but this was the ambition for me to go there. For four days, I visited the Isle of Skye.

There was a very strong blizzard the whole time. Wind speed with far beyond 100 km/h together with hail made it not that comfortable to walk around. And freezing temperatures made it interesting to sleep in the car. Nevertheless, it was an impressive landscape and Í will never forget these days.

BWE: Landscape photos of the stormy Isle of Skye

Beautiful Wild Europe (BWE) – The project

Thailand, USA, Australia, New Zealand… some typical holiday destinations for many people. It is hip to go there, to be able to talk with the others who have been there. Reasons to visit these countries are often the amazing landscape and nature. At the same time, few people are aware of the beautiful wilderness in Europe, of the breathtaking landscapes, of the very special animals and the beautiful flowers.

For this reason, I thought about a project for a long time: I want to show this beauty, to make people aware, that it is not really necessary to travel always that far. To show that the beautiful places are right in front of our door or not far away. And to show, what we lost already and what we will loose, if we proceed in our way of life.

Within the scope of this project, I will present different areas in Europe, special animals or plants or just special places. I already started with some posts – and I will proceed.

Maybe, you get inspired by these places and next time, it is not Vietnam but the Balkan you travel to!

 

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Beautiful Wild Europe (BWE) – The project