Friday, 20 June 2014

Visitor update !

The last couple of weeks I didn't spend much time at the hide. The weather wasn't great, no longer dry periods, and the Finland trip took a lot of spare time.
It was mainly the trailcam that did all of the work. As far as I (and the trailcam) could see, no new species are visiting the hide. The only disadvantage of the trailcam is that it's not always noticing the smaller birds. In general spring has been rather disappointing regarding visitors and different species. I expected more and better. Mayby I should consider a hide at another place for next spring/summer.
What happened at the hide ? Tawny owl (Bosuil) is still a regular nightly visitor with once even 2 birds at the same time. Also for the Red fox (Vos), the trailcam saw 2 foxes at the same time at the hide/pool. Red squirrel keeps visiting, same as the more general birds with juveniles: Eurasian jay, Great spotted woodpecker (adult and 2 juveniles), Great tit (5), Blue tit (3), Blackbirds and Song thrush.
On my walk to the hide I spotted a Small heath (Hooibeestje). Having my camera with me I took some shots of this butterfly while the sun was setting.
Hopefully the next few weeks will bring a long dry period and new species... .

Small heath

Small heath with spider

Tawny owls

Red squirrel

Eurasian jay and juvenile Great spotted woodpecker

2 Red foxes

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Brown bear in Finland !

Instead of spending some time in my own hide, I went to Finland last week, photographing from a hide at Wild Brown Bear lodge in Vartius, Finland near the border with Russia. I was hoping to see the European brown bear and if very lucky Wolverine and Wolf.
Both nights we went to the hide at 04.30 pm, spending the night there until 07.00 in the morning. Because we were almost near the polar circle we had only two hours of twilight between midnight and 02.00 am. Although it wasn't totally dark the light conditions were not easy to make photos.
The first nights we saw a female bear being chased by a male and two 1,5 year old cubs. Unfortunately they only came between 11.30 pm and 01.30 am so in poor light conditions.
The second night was much better. The female decided to come over at 09.15 pm, the male 1 hour later. The cubs came over the same time as the day before, when almost dark.
After all it was a great experience, seing these amazing creatures up close. Sometimes they were only a few metres away from the hide. Especially the male, who can weigh up to 315kg, was very impressive.
Other observations from the hide: Common greenshank (Groenpootruiter), Wood sandpiper (Bosruiter), Goldeneye duck (Brilduiker), Eurasian teal (Wintertaling), a very shy Red fox (Vos), Hooded crow (Bonte kraai)  and Eurasian curlew (Wulp). We missed the Wolverine by a day.... .
Around the lodge we also had nice obervations of Eurasian elk (Eland), Red squirrel from a hide (Rode eekhoorn), Red throated diver from a hide (Roodkeelduiker) and 2 times female Capercaillie (Auerhoen).
All together: 3 days Finland, 20 hours of travelling, about 32 hours in a photography hide, hundreds of mosquitos, dozens of mosquito bites, about 7 hours of sleep and 4 different bears ! A great trip !!!
More photos on my website Jelle Van de Veire - Natuurfotografie .

 View from the hide (smartphone photo)

 Hide in the morning (smartphone photo)

View from the hide during twilight


 1,5 year old cubs


Red squirrel in winter coat

Goldeneye mother with family
Record shot Red fox

 Record shot Elk/Moose

Record shot of female Capercaillie