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David’s images of the Birds of the Spanish Plains

Earlier this year, David was part of a small group who headed to capture images of the birds of the Spanish plains with Pui Hang & myself, we spent a weekend photograph the various species that are to be found in the area.

Ordinarily, we had expected some of the species to have diminished numbers as they would have started to migrate following their successful breeding earlier in the season, however the season had been wet, many of the earlier clutches had sadly failed & so large numbers of birds remained & were trying for a second clutch – this certainly applied to the hoopoes, the bee-eaters & more.

The female adult hoopoe feeding one of the young from this years clutch - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of the Spanish Plains Photography Holiday Read more

Birds of the Spanish Plains from a recent visit

Although our main photography holiday for the birds of the Spanish plains takes place in late April or early May; for the first time this year, we additionally visited at the end of May, specifically over the bank holiday weekend. Our local guide opined that some of the species would have left & the young of others would have fledged, so there was a possibility of a lesser selection of species to photograph – this would not be a hardship, given only four photography sessions over the weekend & plenty of species remaining, we would still have plenty to photograph.

As it turned out, this was not the case, we had virtually the same species as those who had visited 6 weeks previous; due to rains earlier in the season, the bee-eaters were still courting, nest-building & mating, the black-shouldered kites had not departed for their migration south & many other species were still displaying a full set of behaviours.

Jason was amongst those who accompanied us on this trip to our location, which is about 90 minutes from Madrid, he has kindly sent in a selection of the images that he captured whilst on the Spanish plains, he had sessions with shrike, bee-eater, hoopoe & time in the carrion hide, which sees visits from black & red kites, storks, many vultures, ravens & more.

We have one place remaining available for the 2017 weekend, which will be held between the dates of May 27th – 29th 2017, if you’d like to attend & capture images of the birds of the Spanish plains for yourself, send us a message using our contact form.

Jason has kindly sent us a selection of his images that we are happy to publish below:

A male bee-eater delicately passes a freshly caught insect to a female of the species - photographed on a NaturesLens Photography Holiday to Spain to photograph the birds of the Spanish plains Read more

More participant photos of the Birds of the Spanish Plains

We are pleased to post up another selection of photos of the Birds of the Spanish Plains, taken on the Birds of Calera Photography Holiday, these were taken & contributed by David Jones, who visited Calera with me in 2015, but was so taken with the area & the variety of species on offer that he decided to revisit in 2016, with Dan leading the trip on this occasion.

You can view some of the images captured by Andrew, one of the participants, on another blog post located here & some of those from Dan, who led the trip for us in 2016 & will do so again in 2017 & 2018, here! But for now, here are some great images from David

A Bee-eater captured tossing a bee before swallowing it - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday Read more

Some thoughts on the Birds of the Spanish Plains

The rare & elusive Black Winged Kite - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday in Spain

Spain’s central plains, about 90 minutes from Madrid, retain their rustic charm & beauty with dilapidate terracotta roofed buildings, rusty farm machinery & very few built up areas. Subsistence farming mixed with large areas of cork oak, olive groves & wilderness create a wide range of unspoilt habitats for the birds of the Spanish plains. This all has the wonderful backdrop of the Sierra de Gredos, a stunning mountain range home to Iberian Ibex, Imperial Eagle, Black Vultures & much more! What really struck me though was the abundance of invertebrates & small birds. A clear indication of how productive the area is. Read more

The first client images from the Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

We’ve been sent some great images from clients in the last week, we will start with a few images of the Birds of Spain, from one of the participants that attended the Birds of Calera Photography Holiday at the end of April, Andrew Oldacre, who had this to say about the trip …

“The hides, their location & backgrounds, all worked well & the opportunities to take some stunning images were many & regular … Overall I can heartly recommend this trip!”

More on these particular birds in an upcoming post from Dan, but the lake hide & the black-winged stilt that was in attendance appears to have been a hit with quite a few of the participants.

A Black Winged Stilt photographed from a lake-side hide - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday
A Black Winged Stilt walks along the shoreline photographed from a lake-side hide - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

Read more

Some more great client images from India

As we mentioned earlier this week, we took clients who were participating in a NaturesLens Photography Holiday in India to two locations in India in late March; the first week was spent at Tadoba Tiger Reserve, whilst the second was spent in Nagarhole – Kabini, we also promised to share a series of photos from Jayne, here they are.

Enjoy …

Bee Eaters photographed at a location near Mysore during a NaturesLens Photography Holiday in India

Some of the beautiful Bee Eaters that we took clients to photograph at a location near Mysore Read more

A Leopard peers down from amongst atree within the Nagarhole Forest photographed on a Leopards of Kabini Photography Holiday

Leopards of Kabini – One place remains available

A Leopard peers down from amongst atree within the Nagarhole Forest photographed on a Leopards of Kabini Photography Holiday

We’ve got one place left on our photography holiday to photograph the Leopards of Kabini – it is held between March 12, 2016 – March 20, 2016 & costs £2499, everyone on the trip is getting their own single person accommodation with no supplement, that applies to this last place too – in Kabini, you’ll have your own tented cottage, single hotel rooms in Mysore & Bangalore. Flights are superbly priced at the moment – return was under £600 when we checked and booked earlier this week. Full details here.
A Leopard descends from one of the trees of the Nagarhole Forest photographed on a Leopards of Kabini Photography Holiday

More Leopards of Kabini Photography Holiday Details

After flying in to Bangalore & meeting the group, a transfer from the airport will see you spend six nights in the Nagarhole National Park, with ten safaris into the Kabini jungle, seeking the Leopards of Kabini, these safaris are all included in the price. Upon leaving Kabini, we will overnight near Mysore. Early the next morning, accompanied by our guides, you will photograph the blue-tailed bee eaters; the blue-tailed bee-eaters are rare, colourful birds which feeds on dragon flies & bees, the remainder of the day will be spent at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary; here the painted stork, Asian openbill stork, common spoonbill, woolly-necked stork, black-headed ibis, lesser whistling duck, Indian shag, stork-billed kingfisher, egret, cormorant, Oriental darter, & heron breed regularly. Upon leaving Mysore, the group will travel to Bangalore for an overnight stay, the following day will see the group transfer to the airport for the return flights.

Events

Mating Bee Eaters photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Calera Photography Holiday

Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

Join NaturesLens on an exciting photography excursion suited to wildlife enthusiasts, photographing the diverse bird species that inhabit the plains of Calera. With a wide selection of comfortable hides throughout the area at our disposal, we will provide you with the best bird photography opportunities possible, capturing them in flight, within their habitats & interacting with one another. Working from dawn ’til dusk witnessing this wonderful range of species in action, this is an experience like no other – you can’t afford to miss out!

One of the Black winged Stilts that frequented the lake hide photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

The range of bird species which thrive in Calera are a sight to behold. From the Little Owl to Black & Griffon Vultures, their characteristics & common behaviours are diverse, but they all live side by side making up a large proportion of the delicate local ecosystem which exists in this region. Birds can provide some of the most exciting wildlife photography opportunities, as their quick, unpredictable behaviour keeps us on our toes & enables captivating movement & in-flight imagery to be captured.

A pair of Bee eaters gently pass food between them photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday
Our 9-day excursion to Calera offers individuals opportunities to photograph a huge range of native species, including the Bee Eater, Little Owl, Great & Little Bustard, Black & Griffon Vultures, Lesser & Common Kestrel, Hoopoe, & the Black Winged Kite, as well as many others. We offer an all-inclusive accommodation & meal package to ensure that all you need to worry about is taking unique & mesmerising photographs.

A hoopoe comes in to land showing off the crest which is the trademark feature of these birds photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

Sunrise & sunset are often considered the prime times of day for creative photography, so unlike other holidays & tours, we ensure that our photography sessions make the most of these times of day. This provides unrivalled exposure to the variety of species & the environment which inhabit this region.

NaturesLens provides 7 days packed with hide sessions, & on most days you will have the opportunity to use different hides in the morning & afternoon to photograph different species. This trip works on a rotation basis, so that each member of the group gets the opportunity to take photographs from a variety of hides. The region is home to a wide range of Iberian Southern European specialities, & we will do our best to tailor your schedule to one that is personalised to you, if you make us aware of your target species.

A Little Owl with prey photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

An adult hoopoe gently feeding a caught insect to one of the young from this years clutch photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

One of Spains Black Kites captured in flight against a snowy mountain range photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

The freedom we provide with the times of day for photography is important, as many of these bird species are very wary & cautious around humans, & it may therefore be necessary to arrive under the cover of darkness. It will also be advisable to approach slowly, & keep noise at a minimum whilst in the hides so as not to startle the birds, as well as to optimise your chances of photographing the birds whilst they are unaware of your presence.

The weather can vary between different times of day in this region at this time of year, so we advise that you bring layers & prepare from somewhat unpredictable weather conditions. Join NaturesLens for a wildlife photography experience you will never forget. Places are limited, so book today!

A bee eater captured tossing a bee before swallowing it photographed on the Natureslens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

A Hoopoe delicately feeds its young photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

Birds of Calera Photography Holiday Availability

SPACES AVAILABLE

Recommended Equipment

Clothing

We recommend that you dress up warmly for early morning starts – it can get quite cold sitting in the hide in the early hours. Wearing layers is advisable so that they may be shed at a later stage where necessary.

For our boat trips, non-slip waterproof boots or wellington boots are recommended. As with most boats water can slosh through the scuppers if the boat rolls so sandals or light pumps can get wet and spoil your enjoyment.

  • Waterproof (and windproof) coat.
  • Warm trousers, preferably waterproof.
  •  Thermal clothing.
  •  Thermal socks.
  •  Non slip waterproof boots or wellington boots (no cleats or studs please).
  • Waterproof cap or hat.
  •  Gloves.
  •  Sunglasses.
  •  Warm fleece for early morning starts and once the sun has set.
  •  Clothing for hide work should be camouflage or neutral browns & greens.
  •  Water bottle or flask for tea & coffee.
  •  Sunscreen.
  •  Travel sickness pills.
Camera Equipment

  • Digital camera body.
  • Lenses in the range 70mm – 500mm.
  • Lenses with f2.8 will give the best light capture and speed of focussing.
  • An alternative to long telephoto lenses is a tele-converter (e.g. 1.4x or 2x).
  •  Monopod or tripod.
  • Remote shutter release.
  • Spare memory cards.
  • Spare battery.
  • Battery charger.
  • Lens cleaning cloth.
  •  Camera and lens waterproof cover.
  • Laptop or another type of storage device – we will be shooting lots of images.

Additional Notes

The residential workshop itinerary is subject to change & is to be considered provisional.

NaturesLens residential workshops require a minimum number of participants, if sufficient residential workshop places are not sold the residential workshop may not be run, this residential workshop has a minimum participant level of 4 plus NaturesLens guide(s).

Not all mentioned wildlife can be observed & photographed at all times of the year, thus some activities may be considered seasonal & not available.

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