Three Dalmatian Pelicans photographed at water level on Lake Kerkini - an image captured during a NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece Photography Holiday

Omar & his friend came all the way from Kuwait to join our Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece photography holiday. Our trips this year attracted many international clients from USA & Kuwait to Denmark, Belgium & Germany.
A close up headshot of a Dalmatian Pelican an image captured during a Natureslens Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece Photography Holiday
I have to admit to being blown away when I opened Omar’s email & saw his images. Some of them are absolutely sensational.

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A pair of Dalmatian Pelicans with their beaks just touching the water an image captured during a Natureslens Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece Photography Holiday

Jessica was a guest on one of the Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece Photography Workshops that we conducted in January 2018. Having run this tour for the past four years, the itinerary is now, in our opinion, the perfect experience. But it’s not what we think that matters, the opinion of our guests matter more.

Jessica said, “I had the pleasure to go to Greece in January 2018 to photograph the Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece & I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Not only were there plenty of opportunities to capture images of these big & charismatic birds in various conditions, but we also had a lot of fun with the group. Our guide Sean was always attentive & ready to answer our questions & give photography advice. The accommodation was ideal & the trip very well organised. Being able to photograph the pelicans very early in the morning & late in the afternoon added a special touch to the photos. I would certainly recommend going on this photography trip in Greece.”

A close up of a dalmatian pelican red pouch an image captured during a Natureslens Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece Photography Holiday Read more

Tiger cub looking fierce as his mother rests an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

David learnt that there were two female tigers who had recently given birth to cubs in Tadoba National Park. This was probably around late November 2017 & two other females had also given birth a little earlier. It seemed that a visit to see the Tigers of Tadoba was on!

A Tiger Cub checking the scent on a tree an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

David & I, plus my friend Andy, could not miss this great opportunity of hopefully viewing 3 to 4-month-old tiger cubs. So, we caught a plane to Nagpur & then travelled to Tadoba for some excellent tiger viewing & photography.

David is always networking which helps significantly in the meticulous planning NaturesLens always carry out when preparing wildlife photographic trips & workshops. This was no exception.

Tiger cub looking fierce as his mother rests an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

If you want to get the best possible viewing in the core tiger zones, you usually have to book at least three months in advance.  David learnt that two of the Tigers had made their home outside of the core zones of the reserve. We therefore decided to take a gamble & arrange some of our drives in the lesser used reserve areas. We hoped this would increase our chances of seeing as many different cubs as possible. Of course, this could have gone wrong if the Tigers had returned to the main areas but we felt confident they would not.

Our gamble paid off! In reality, this was probably not an enormous gamble due to the planning by David. Most tourists tend to stick to the traditional core areas as they believe they offer the best sightings. I believe we were the only westerners in the areas where these two females were to be found, which made our viewings & images even more special.

Royal Bengal Tiger with two cubs an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

It was sweltering hot & extremely humid. More so than Gujarat, (see my other blog post about the trip that preceded this, to The Little Rann of Kutch). But we chose this time because there would be less water about & animals including tigers would congregate more around the central water holes. It can be a difficult time to see other wildlife, & while we did have excellent views of many other species, we did not see the Sloth Bear or Leopard which Tadoba is also famous for, although others did see them. The Tigers more than made up for this though.

David & I also arranged to do a full day game drive which has to be agreed well in advance. I believe only one safari vehicle a day is allowed to stay in the park. A full day can heighten your chances of more game viewing, but it can also be a long hot day in 30c – 40c temperatures. During our time on our own in the reserve, we had great views of the dominant male tiger, Bagrang.  We were very lucky as he is usually only seen a couple of days a month mainly due to his vast range.

A tigress rests as her cub keeps watch an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

The tigers we saw are as follows:

  • Maya with two cubs about 3-4 months old.
  • Sawmili with three cubs about 7 months old.
  • Mavhuri with four cubs about 3-4 months old
  • Sonam with four cubs about 7 months old.
  • Bagrang the dominant male.

A large male tiger crossing the road an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

I have attached a selection of images & hopefully, this will whet your appetite to book a tiger photography tour with NaturesLens in the future.

Photograph the Bengal Tigers of Tadoba for yourself

Join us in India at the end of March 2019. Our India’s Bengal Tigers of Tadoba is a photography holiday of 7 night/8 day duration, which costs £3299 & takes place in India, between the dates of 23rd – 30th March 2019.

It is ideal for photographing asiatic jackal, bengal fox, black kite, black vulture, brown fish owl, crested serpent eagle, dhole, egyptian vulture, gaur, grey mongoose, indian roller, jungle cat, langur monkey, leopard, little egret, little grebe, red jungle fowl, rhesus macaque, sambar, sloth bear, spotted deer, striped hyena, tiger, wild pig & more.

This photography holiday is led by David Miles for NaturesLens. The photography holiday is offered on a full board, non-shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 3 participants & a maximum of 7, plus David.

All the details of the Bengal Tigers of Tadoba photography holiday.

Two young Langurs playing an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Two tiger cubs playfighting in water as their mother watches an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Tigress lounging in water with her two cubs an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Tigress leading her three cubs down the road an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Tiger resting her head on her paws an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Tiger family cooling off in water an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Tiger cub exploring his environment while staying close to his mother an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Three indian tiger cubs crossing the road an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Portrait of a male Samba Deer an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Mother and cub an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Indian tiger walking on the road with her three tiger cubs an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Female tiger at water hole looking backwards an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

Crested Serpent Eagle posing at the end of a tree branch an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

An Indian Gaur with its one day old calf an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

An Indian Gaur peering through the long grass an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

A young indian tiger cub an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

A young baby langur looks up at its mother an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

 

 

A solitary Indian Gaur in long grass an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

A large male tiger emerging from the jungle an image captured during a Natureslens Bengal Tigers of Tadoba Photography Holiday

A Dalmatian Pelican drifts gently on the waters of Lake Kerkini photographed during a NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday

Karen joined our Pelicans of Lake Kerkini trip in 2018, having missed out in 2017. She may not have gotten the snow, but she got some awesome light, coupled with fantastic opportunities for reflection shots.

With three boat trips and three shoreline feeds, there were plenty of opportunities to get some classic shots “in the bag” before trying some more creative photography.

A Dalmatian Pelican drifts gently on the waters of Lake Kerkini photographed during one of the NaturesLens Photography Holidays for photography of the Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Read more

A trio of in flight Dalmatian Pelicans fly over Lake Kerkini photographed during one of the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holidays

Richard joined our Pelicans of Lake Kerkini tour for the third time in as many years. One of the reasons he joined the trip was to capture a reflection of a Dalmatian Pelican in flight. He didn’t quite manage this in year one or year two, but as the saying goes, “third time lucky!”
A group of perfectly reflected Dalmatian Pelicans with the Belasica mountains behind photographed during one of the NaturesLens Photography Holidays for photography of the Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Read more

A splendid group of Dalmatian Pelicans, with a single juvenile showing off his immature plummage photographed during one of the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holidays

Rosamund was one of our guests on the last of our three trips to photograph Lake Kerkini’s Pelicans in Greece. She wanted to capture some stunning reflection shots, and I think it would be fair to say that she succeeded! Take a look at the colours in the image below – gorgeous.
A Dalmatian Pelican line up at dawnThe close up stare of a Dalmatian Pelican photographed during one of the NaturesLens Photography Holidays for photography of Lake Kerkini's Pelicans Read more

Perched on one of the pack ice icebergs, one of the Steller's Sea Eagles photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

I was excited when I was asked to co-guide the NaturesLens Winter Wildlife of Japan photography holiday. Japan is a country I’ve often thought of visiting, intrigued by the culture &, of course, the wildlife. How big a culture shock would it be? The holiday is primarily based on the Northern-most island, Hokkaido, which is very rural & nothing like the famous image of Japan as a land of teeming masses & neon signs.

There are gently rolling hills, extensive flatlands, & mountains, all snow-covered in February. The people are incredibly friendly & the accommodation clean & welcoming. Of course, there are cultural differences. You need to be a bit adventurous with the food; full of taste & always immaculately presented. A science degree & operator’s manual is required to ‘fully appreciate’ the WC! Not to forget the onsen – hot bath – one of life’s sublime pleasures after a day out in the cold.

One of Hokkaido's red crowned cranes flies overhead photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

The first port of call for two nights was the Tsurui area, with the focus on the Red-Crowned Cranes. An early start was needed to bag a good place on the Otowa Bridge to glimpse the birds at roost in the river & flying off for the day searching for food in the surrounding fields.

The famous red crowned cranes roost photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

The local farmers see the cranes as a considerable asset & manage their land to ensure the cranes’ survival.

A pair of red crowned cranes performing their courtship dance photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Close up detail of one of the red crowned cranes of Hokkaido photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

After a late & hearty breakfast, we visited the Ito Tancho Crane Sanctuary where there were hundreds of the birds. We were able to capture them close up & displaying typical societal behaviour, including the ‘dancing’, an attempt to establish status in the crowd. Moving on from Tsurui, we paid a passing visit to the Akan International Crane Centre, which presented further opportunities to capture the cranes in a different environment, & to visit the interpretative centre.

A short drive further brought us to our next stop & another cultural assault on the senses. What an excellent hotel; the rooms are a cross between Western & Japanese traditional style, with all mod-cons but the beds lower to the ground. The food was a masterful display of Japanese catering at its best. The hotel lobby has fire pits for warmth & a full height/width window looking out on the adjacent river valley where wildlife abounds. A Blakiston’s Fish Owl visits each evening & other wildlife observed included fox, stoat, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Blackcap, & Brown-eared Bulbul, all in about half an hour. Our photographic destination was Lake Kussharo to seek out the Whooper Swans.  They proved a little elusive but we did successfully track them down. We also paid a visit to the scenic Lake Mashu, a caldera lake high in the mountains.

Hokkado's whooper swans of Lake Kussharo, a caldera lake in a snowy landscape photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

Moving on, we headed for Rausu on the Northwest peninsular of Hokkaido, for what, for many, was the avian highlight of the trip. The sea eagles, both Stellers & White-Tailed.

Stretching for the pick up, one of the Steller's Sea Eagles over the waters of the Sea of Okhotsk photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

Our base was another Daiichi with a pleasing choice of indoor & outdoor onsen.

Silhouetted at sunrise, one of the Steller's Sea Eagles grabs a fish from the ciy waters of the Sea of Okhotsk photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

Early starts were again the order of the day to meet up with our wildlife cruise boat. This was preceded by a rapid trip to the convenience store for breakfast essentials, including (you’d better believe it) cans of hot coffee. Weird but very welcome, given the temperature of -11°C with a windchill down to -23°C! The boat, though, has a warm cabin to retreat to for respite.

Wings out stretched, one of the Steller's Sea Eagles soars over the icy waters of the Sea of Okhotsk photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

For the next three days, we were out in local waters for about 5 hours each morning. We were treated to fishing displays by the Steller’s Sea Eagle & White-tailed Sea Eagle at sea, at sunrise, on pancake ice in the harbour, & on drift ice further out to sea. The birds were so close to the boat that a medium length lens was sufficient. The portrait image of the Steller on the sea ice is uncropped!

Making off with a fish, one of the Steller's Sea Eagles flies above the pack ice of the Sea of Okhotsk photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday One of the Steller's Sea Eagles stood on the pack ice of the Sea of Okhotsk photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday One of the White tailed Sea Eagles grabs a fish from the icy waters of the Sea of Okhotsk photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Perched on one of the pack ice icebergs, one of the Steller's Sea Eagles photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

An unexpected bonus was a small pod of orca transiting south in search of food. The boat crew go to great lengths to get their passengers close to the action.

An orca swimming off the coast of Rausu in the Sea of Okhotsk photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

Heading a little further south, we took in an area on the south-east of the island for a day to catch both types of eagle & Black-eared Kites as they scrabbled for the daily feed of frozen fish. The eagles command the frozen surface & jealously guard the fish. However, the kites are good scavengers & successfully get their share. The eagles stomp around the ice looking for food, providing an opportunity for unusual images. We also got lucky with visits from 4 foxes.

One of the Steller's Sea Eagles creeps in a comedic fashion over the surface of a frozen lake photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography HolidayA black eared kite soars above the eagle feeding site photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Having stolen some of the eagle's fish, one of Hokkaido's red foxes beats a hasty retreat photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

Leaving Hokkaido, we flew to Tokyo for a night before the drive north-west to the Nagano area to photograph the Snow Monkeys at Yudanaka. The hotel is right at the start of the trail up to the monkeys, & is traditional. This meant tatami mats on the room floor & sleeping on a futon – an unusual concept, but I slept well. The host was attentive & provided still more sumptuous food at each meal. Visiting the monkeys in their thermal spa involves a half hour walk uphill. Not steep but ice spikes needed to maintain a sound footing,

Resting in a pool surrounded by snow, one of Japan's famous snow monkeys bathes in the thermal waters photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Searching for food in the snow, one of Japan's famous snow monkeys photographed during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

It’s possible to get very close to the monkeys, correctly known as the Japanese Macaque. But like many primates, they will take any opportunity to explore bags, especially if they can sense food! Portraits are the order of the day, with other opportunities to capture family behaviour & experiment with high key imagery.

That was it. Almost two weeks of excellent wildlife images, a new culture, excellent food & good company.

Did I enjoy it? Well, let’s say that I am really looking forward to going back in 2019.

Why not join us & experience for yourself the beauty of Japan’s culture & wildlife?

Photograph the Winter Wildlife of Japan for yourself

To photograph the charismatic winter wildlife of Japan for yourself, join David Miles & Ian Roberts, members of the NaturesLens guiding team, in Japan during February 2019 for a trip lasting 13 nights; this photography holiday will offer you the opportunity to capture images of the red-crowned crane, snow monkey, steller’s sea eagle, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan, plus more; the NaturesLens Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday is offered on a half board, non-shared room basis, & costs typically £5249 per participant, but there are several early-bird places available priced at £4999.

All the details of the  Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday are available on the dedicated event page.