Graeme’s thoughts on our Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

, ,
A bloody squabble, breaks out over fish, between several of the Steller's & White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

In less than 6 months, I will be returning to Japan, for the 5th time. It is a country that never ceases to amaze me during the Winter time. Next year we are taking a smaller group to photograph the Japanese Winter Wildlife, but that should make it all the more fun. I will be stepping aside from the trip that is scheduled for 2019, but Pui Hang will be taking over the reins along with a co-guide.

A bloody squabble, breaks out over fish, between several of the Steller's & White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

But, back to the matter at hand. In February 2017, I had the great pleasure of meeting Graeme & Georgia as part of the group attending our Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayGraeme was entranced by all the wildlife that we encountered, & fully embraced the food, custom & habitat of Hokkaido. He sent in the following images & some words relating to the trip. I cannot wait to meet up with them again in 2018, but for some different species on that occasion!

We prepared well & thought we knew what to expect in Japan. But nothing could prepare us for the reality of dozens of Steller’s & White-tailed Eagles grabbing fish right beside the boat out of Rausu, Hokkaido.

A White Tailed Sea Eagle lines itself up to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A White Tailed Sea Eagle makes a final adjustment to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle twists in the air to dive towards the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle makes a final adjustment to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle makes a speedy exit having plucked a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the Steller's Sea Eagles takes flight over the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Or the number of  Macaque Monkeys in the snow & thermal spring pool.

One of the young snow monkeys peers over the edge of the thermal pool photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Nor the elegant red crowned cranes in flight, & their beautiful courtship dance.

One of the red crowned cranes takes flight over the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday The courtship dance of the red crowned cranes the national bird of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Or pure white Whooper Swans against a back drop of snow & mountains.

A whooper swan races across the ice to take to the skies photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayThe thermal pool, in which the swans find respite from the harsh winter conditions photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The list goes on.

And that doesn’t even mention the amazing accommodation & Japanese food included in the itinerary .. or the photography lessons … or the information about Hokkaido & Japan in general.

I hope my pictures do the plethora of Japanese Winter Wildlife justice!

An airbourne squabble, over a frozen lake, between a Steller's Sea Eagle & a White Tailed Sea Eagle photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE JAPANESE WINTER WILDLIFE FOR YOURSELF?

With the 2018 trip full, we have opened up bookings for the 2019 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5749, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 16th November 2018 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 9 – 22, 2019.

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book two places for £5175 each instead of £5749 per person! Quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – you can book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only! Please note, both bookings, for the travelling companions or couple, must be made at the same time & the dates for this trip are February 9 – 22, 2019.

 

Owls from one of our Welsh Nature Photography Workshops

, ,
The Little Owl poses on a rusted milk churn in the farm yard photographed during the Natureslens Spring 2017 Birds of Prey Photography Workshop

It’s almost time for the Autumn Birds of Prey Workshopmore details of this particular nature photography workshop are available here – but here are some images from Ian, captured during our Spring Birds of Prey Workshop, which is held at the same venue in Mid-Wales.

The Little Owl poses on a mossy stump in the woodland photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

The Long Eared Owl poses in woodland photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

Ian is a veteran of our wildlife photography holidays & this was his first time attending a captive bird photography workshop with us. He loved the slower pace which allowed him to take his time in composing some stunning shots.

The Long Eared Owl poses on a mossy stump in the woodland photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Little Owl poses on a rusted milk churn in the farm yard photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl poses on a dilapidated barn door photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl poses on a rusted milk churn photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

Our birds are so full of character & Ian did a fantastic job of capturing their personalities. As you can see, he also perfected the peeking owl shot!

The Little Owl poses amongst some vintage storm lanterns photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl peers out from a stone barn window photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl peeks out whilst posed on a dilapidated barn door photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Tawny Owl perfectly hidden within a hole in one of the old trees photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE YOUR OWN IMAGES ON ONE OF OUR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS?

We have second Bird of Prey Workshop scheduled for Autumn 2017, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of our Welsh Birds of Prey for yourself; the photography workshop costs £220, the dates for the Autumn Birds of Prey Photography Workshop are October 21 – October 22, 2017. The format of the nature photography workshop weekend will be a special late afternoon / early evening session with an owl on Saturday, followed by a full day of birds of prey photography on Sunday. Shorter days move in during autumn, giving you the chance to use the soft light in our unique late afternoon / early evening session to achieve creative imagery.

John & Rosamund’s Shetland Puffins

, , ,

John & Rosamund were just 2 of our guests on this year’s trip to Fair Isle to photograph the iconic Atlantic Puffin. They were blessed with nearly perfect weather for the entirety of their trip which enabled them to get some fabulous images of the comical clowns of the sea.

A beautifully lit portrait, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday A large group also known as a circus of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday A mouthful of sand eels, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

Rosamund said “It was a fantastic opportunity for photographing puffins: the colony is healthy & the birds flying in with lots of sand eels. We learnt so much about the behaviour of these charming little birds.”

Courting behavior seen between a pair of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday
Emerging from the burrow, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday Just landed with a mouthful of sand eels, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday One of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday Picking the thrift, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

Rosamund added “Initially we thought 5 nights was too long, but given the good weather, it was easy to fill the time between morning & evening shoots. When the light was so bright in the middle of the day we much enjoyed ourselves walking the wonderful & accessible coastline & visiting the lighthouses & the museum.”

Ready for take off, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

I absolutely love this puffin preening shot. Simply stunning & my favourite image from all the ones that they kindly sent in for us to share.

Time for a quick preen, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday Time for a wing stretch, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

WHY NOT PHOTOGRAPH THE SHETLAND PUFFINS FOR YOURSELF?

If you would like to photograph the brilliant & comical Puffins of Fair Isle, which Kevin will be again leading in 2018, then you can book the 2018 Puffins Of Fair Isle for £1199. This is a great trip & will fill up fast so don’t miss out.

The trip is scheduled to run between the dates of June 14 – 19, 2018.

We include all accommodation on Fair Isle which is a full board basis, flight from Sumburgh to Fair Isle & ferry back from the island to Sumburgh. The itinerary is flexible between puffin sessions to allow us to photograph other species of birds, including Arctic & Great Skuas, Fulmar & other seabirds or if you wish you can head off on your own & explore the island.

Dan’s second report from our Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

, ,
One of the hoopoes returns the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

I mentioned in my previous blog that during this year’s trip to Calera, for the NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday, that Spring was far more advanced than the year before. Previously the rollers hadn’t even turned up yet whereas this year they were already establishing nesting locations & ferociously chasing anything that came near, including a kestrel at one stage! They weren’t feeding young yet so the visits weren’t so frequent but there aren’t many birds in Europe as stunning as these & it was a pleasure to photograph them.

A European Roller showing it's rear plummage photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the European Rollers found on the Spanish Plains photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

A firm favourite amongst everyone is always the carrion hide. The action is constant with varied species & even the odd guest appearance from a fox or if you’re really lucky an imperial eagle! The regulars are just as fun though & watching lots of griffon & black vultures feasting is quite a sight! This hide really fills up the memory cards!

A griffon vulture comes into land at the carrion hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A pair of black vultures amongst the heather that lines the area around the carrion hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Speaking of favourites, my favourite hide in Calera is that of the lesser kestrels. They are charming small falcons & a joy to watch at the colony as they bring back all sorts of tasty morsels. With the odd hen harrier flying by in the fields behind & the bubbling from bee-eaters overhead it’s a great hide to spend an afternoon or two in!

One of the lesser kestrels photographed from the roof level hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the lesser kestrels returns to the roof top nesting site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A different angle for this lesser kestrel on the roof photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A pair of the lesser kestrels mating at their nesting site photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

During this year’s trip I took a drive with our local guide to look for red-legged partridge. An introduced species in the UK but don’t be put off – the birds in Iberia have quite striking markings & make a nice subject. We stalked them in the car in the surrounding countryside & the array of photos you can take make a nice addition to the hide work here.

A red legged partridge walks through a ploughed field photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A red legged partridge walks amongst the dried grass of the Spanish Plains photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

I’ll finish with another common european bird but also another wonderful one; the hoopoe! I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like seeing or photographing one of these. When they raise their crest there are few European birds that look more tropical!

One of the hoopoes lands upon returning the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the hoopoes returns the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

If you’re looking for a great trip with a really wide variety of European classics as well as the Iberian specials such as black-winged kite & the bustards then the Spanish Bird Photography Holiday will not disappoint!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO UNDERTAKE THE SPANISH BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAY IN 2018?

For 2018, NaturesLens have already planned a duo of Spanish Bird Photography Holidays that can be joined together to form one seamless opportunity to add a plethora of photos of the birds of Spain to your portfolio – or you can attend the separate events individually – the two events are the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday followed the next week by Spanish Bird Photography Holiday.

Starting with the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday during mid-April – specifically starting on April 13 & ending on April 20, 2018 – to be led by Sean Weekly for NaturesLens, then the amazing Spanish Bird Photography Holiday starts on April 21 & ends on April 29, 2018, this trip is being led by … Sean Weekly … so you’ll have his company, photographic tuition & guidance for the whole fortnight.

European Bison, one of the main Białowieża species

A European Bison strides through the snow typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Elsewhere, we have covered the wide variety of bird species that you might encounter on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour, including Goshawks, Buzzards White-Tailed Sea Eagles & Woodpeckers, in addition to the days spent in hides, two days are spent traversing the Białowieża Forest, locating & photographing the European Bison, that call Białowieża home.

Żubry w Puszczy Białowieskiej, 2011

One of the European Bison within the snowy environs of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A European Bison strides through the snow typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the European Bison of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The other mammal that is commonly seen & can be photographed within Białowieża, is the Red Fox, it can often be found near to the feeding sites, as these beautiful creatures want to scavenge food that is available.

A red fox at one of the hide feeding sites located near the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the red foxes of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the beautiful red foxes of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THE POLISH WILDLIFE FOR YOURSELF?

We have a photography tour that is to be run at the end of January 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the wildlife of the Białowieża Forest, including the European Bison, for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1499 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Warsaw itself – all ground transportation from Warsaw & back, & to & from shoot locations, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the NaturesLens Polish Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday are January 21 – 28, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

White-Tailed Sea Eagles on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour

, , ,
One of the White-Tailed Sea Eagles comes in to land against the backdrop of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Elsewhere, we have covered the Goshawk, Buzzard & Woodpeckers that you might encounter on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour, amongst the other species, & one that many people hope to be able to photograph are the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, there are two days spent in dedicated hides, hopeful that these enormous avian predators come into visit the feeding sites.

One of the White-Tailed Sea Eagles comes in to land against the backdrop of the BiaÅ‚owieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA mature White Tailed Sea Eagle circles against the backdrop of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA juvenile White-Tailed Sea Eagle circles against the backdrop of the BiaÅ‚owieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Obviously, the eagles visiting the feeding sites is dependent upon a number of factors, not least of which is that it is cold enough that their only food source is that which is placed out for them.

A trio of squabbling White-Tailed Sea Eagles photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA mature White-Tailed Sea Eagle strides through the snowy environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The other bird of prey that is commonly seen & that often interacts with the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, mainly as it also wants to scavenge food that is available, is the Common Buzzard.

A pair of Common Buzzards squabbling over food photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A pair of squabbling Common Buzzards photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A perched Common Buzzard photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THE POLISH WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLES FOR YOURSELF?

We have a photography tour that is to be run at the end of January 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the wildlife of the Białowieża Forest, including the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1499 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Warsaw itself – all ground transportation from Warsaw & back, & to & from shoot locations, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the NaturesLens Polish Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday are January 21 – 28, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

David, one of our clients, captured these images of the Birds of Spain in April

,
Golden Eagle photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

Back in April, David, one of our clients, not one of our leaders, visited our latest location for bird photography in Sierra Morena, Spain. The site offered the opportunity to capture images of different bird species from those on our Birds of Calera tour such as Crossbills & the majestic Golden Eagle.

Common Crossbill Drinking photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain Golden Eagle photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the trip was when the lucky occupants of one of the hides witnessed a Golden Eagle fighting with a fox! This is just one image from that memorable encounter.

Golden Eagle and Red Fox Fighting photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain A Hoopoe emerging from it's nest photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

David told us “Once again the trip was very well arranged. The permanent hides were the best I have ever used. They were all brick built & had toilets while the temporary ones were very large dome hides with artificial turf floors. Thanks once again for another enjoyable trip.”

A female House Sparrow drinking photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain One of the Little Owls found in the area & photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain A Little Ringed Plover with food photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

The unexpected visits by the red fox certainly made this trip rather special & one to remember.

One of the Red Foxes that scavenge food from the Eagle hides photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain A Woodchat Shrike photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH THE BIRDS OF SPAIN FOR YOURSELF IN 2018?

For 2018, NaturesLens have already planned a duo of Spanish Bird Photography Holidays that can be joined together to form one seamless opportunity to add a plethora of photos of the birds of Spain to your portfolio – or you can attend the separate events individually – the two events are the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday followed the next week by Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday.

Starting with the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday during mid-April – specifically starting on April 13 & ending on April 20, 2018 – to be led by Sean Weekly for NaturesLens, then the amazing Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday starts on April 21 & ends on April 29, 2018, this trip is being led by … Sean Weekly … so you’ll have his company, photographic tuition & guidance for the whole fortnight.