Tag Archives: eagle

Dan’s images from the Winter Birds of El Taray

A lone Marsh Harrier stares intently at the photography hides within the estate of El Taray in Spain photographed during the NaturesLens Winter Birds of Toledo photography holiday

This was my second visit to the estate of El Taray, but the first time I have visited during winter. The contrast was fantastic with temperatures exceeding 35C in summer, but now, in winter we were looking at sub-zero misty mornings. The summer migrants have gone, but the raptors have swelled in numbers & the bearded tits are making use of the food on offer – if anything, winter makes the setting even more impressive!

While the Winter Birds of Toledo photography holiday offers a vast range of raptors, I loved photographing the bearded tits. They are incredibly tame & continuously active in front of the hide giving great opportunities for a range of photos including what became known as ‘The Money Shot’ amongst the guests – an adult male strangled between two reeds. Not an easy shot because of their speed but there are lots of chances to nail it & with a few goes in the same hide most people were able to hone their focus & get the shot!
The hide is in a vast reedbed, so there are excellent opportunities for something smaller in the frame as well as natural feeding behaviour on the reed heads surrounding the hide. Other species visit too, including Spanish sparrow. bluethroat & cetti’s warbler.
The constant stream of visitors makes this an energetic hide, knowing which way to point your camera is the biggest challenge, & that’s no bad problem to have! There are so many opportunities, especially once the sun casts warm light over the scene in front.
Of course, we were all here for the eagles, myself & the guests had an incredible visit from a Bonelli’s Eagle, the bird fed in front of the hide for well over an hour. It sent everything else scattering when it arrived! Once the eagle had fed & moved on the marsh harriers returned & put on a brilliant display in gorgeous light. The flight path of the harriers became relatively predictable, so flight shots were not too tricky. We also had lovely opportunities with buzzards & a hen harrier as well as small passerines such as this water pipit, a species usually tough to find & photograph in the UK.
The setting in front of the hide is lovely and natural, representing the Spanish plains with the odd low tree stumps and picturesque branches. When the Bonelli’s eagle started moving around all the beautiful perches, we couldn’t believe our luck.
Such an impressive and powerful bird and being eye level while it fed on the ground gave a great perspective. The area is an essential place for juvenile dispersal, so there were at least six individuals visiting the estate at the time of our visit.
As the sun sets behind the marsh harrier hide, with the eagle long gone, we were blessed with a moody sky and warm light. This allowed for some striking portraits as well as evenly lit flight shots.
It was a perfect way to end the session there and fill up the few spaces left on our cards after the eagle! This final close up flight shot from the afternoon shows how close they come while swooping in to land either on the ground or one of the perches.
The estate of El Taray is wonderful at any time of year, but with the comfortable temperatures & shorter days, this trip was brilliant. Add in lovely home-cooked food, friendly staff & spacious rooms & there’s no negative. Every evening an impressive starling murmuration would form with the odd flock of cranes also moving over ready to roost. Magic!

PHOTOGRAPH THE WINTER BIRDS OF EL TARAY YOURSELF

To photograph the Winter Birds of El Taray yourself, join Dan, in Spain during January 2021, over 4 ½ days of photography, you will have the use of a collection of brilliant hides to capture images of a range of birds, including the raptors, that call the estate of El Taray their home during the winter months.
Our Winter Birds of El Taray photography holiday is offered on a full board, non-shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 5 participants & a maximum of 7, plus Dan. Until the end of March 2020, there is a special offer reducing the price to £1599.
All the details of the Winter Birds of Toledo photography holiday are available on the dedicated event page.

12 images of the fabulous Brown Bears & Cubs of Finland

One of the larger adult brown bears investigates a boat on the edge of one of the lakes image captured during the NaturesLens Majestic Brown Bears Cubs of Finland Photography Holiday

Jean & Kevin were guests on our Majestic Brown Bears & Cubs of Finland trip back in July. In this blog post, we showcase Jean’s images. I love seeing the photos that our guests send us at the end of a trip, but I was especially excited to see what Jean & Kevin would send in. They are both accomplished photographers & I couldn’t wait to “look through their eyes”.

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10 images of the awesome Brown Bears & Cubs of Finland

One of the brown bears peers across at the photographer whilst at the lake edge image captured during the NaturesLens Majestic Brown Bears Cubs of Finland Photography Holiday 1

Kevin & Jean were guests on our Majestic Brown Bears & Cubs of Finland trip back in July. They shared a hide throughout the trip, so I was intrigued to see how different their shooting style would be. Here, we showcase some of Kevin’s beautiful images from the trip.

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12 fabulous images of the Majestic Brown Bears & Cubs of Finland

A solitary male bear reflected beautifully in the lake image captured during the NaturesLens Majestic Brown Bears Cubs of Finland Photography Holiday 1

Dan was one of our guests on the recent NaturesLens Majestic Brown Bears & Cubs of Finland photography holiday. For 2019, we changed the format & also moved from the location that we have used in previous years, to two new locations. Our guests spent time photographing large predators such as adult bears, wolverine & wolf at one location, before moving onto our next location for super cute bear cubs.  I think the change of location worked out very well. Just look at the stunning reflected bear photograph above, that Dan sent us.

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12 awesome images of the Brown Bears of Finland

One of the large male bears reflected beautifully in the lake image captured during the NaturesLens Majestic Brown Bears Cubs of Finland Photography Holiday 1

This is the second set of images captured by Dan of the wild Brown Bears of Finland. You can view the first set here. Most of these images were taken in Suomussalmi, our location for photographing bear cubs.

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Beautiful safari images from Alan’s Zimanga Photo Tour

A goose stepping Vulture photographed during the NaturesLens Zimanga photo tour

The NaturesLens Zimanga Photo Tour is a combination of traditional game drives & hide sessions. In part three of this series of Zimanga blog posts, we showcase Alan’s beautiful images taken during game drives & from the Scavenger Hide.

When you are on a game drive in Zimanga, you are in one of only three vehicles on the game reserve. This means you are not competing with other cars to get the shot & you can stay with your subject for as long as you want.
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10 images of the magnificent Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter

One of the stunning Golden Eagles photographed during a snow storm this image was captured on the NaturesLens Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter Photography Holiday 1

The excitement & anticipation of our trip to photograph the Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter was unbearable for all us including our guests! The expectations of photographing the wildlife & especially getting up close & personal with wild Golden Eagles in this beautiful snow-capped Swedish pine forest was going to be epic!

It all started with a trip around the M25 towards Heathrow where I met our first guest as we started our journey’s final destination to Skellefteå Airport in Sweden. I met our other guests for this trip at the Swedish airport as they were flying in from Hong Kong!
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More of the Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter

Coming In For A Landing On The Snow, One Of The Golden Eagles Photographed During The Golden Eagles Of The Swedish Winter Photography Holiday

The Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter was Murray’s first trip with NaturesLens & he enjoyed himself so much that he went on to book another snow-related tour; which he has just completed, he visited the Ice Grizzlies of the Yukon with both of us.

I have to say that the images which came out of the first Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter photography tour were just stunning! Majestic eagles, little birds & even a fox!
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