Tag Archives: eagle

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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Magnificent Winter Eagle Photography in Lithuania

A Solitary White Tailed Sea Eagle On The Snow Of A Frozen Pasture On The Nemunas Delta   Photographed At The Locations Used For The NaturesLens White Tailed Sea Eagles Of Lithuania Photography Holiday

During late-January 2019, you are invited to join Alan & Boris on the Nemunas Delta for this 5-night Winter Eagle photography trip to Lithuania.

Spend four days in the dedicated photography hides located in the heart of the Nemunas Delta, taking photo opportunities with red fox & white-tailed sea eagle & many other species that visit the photography site.
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Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter by David

A Close Up Of One Of The Golden Eagles Feeding In The Snow   Image Captured During The NaturesLens Golden Eagles Of The Swedish Winter Photography Holiday

During early March 2018, David attended our Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter photography holiday. We chose this time of year to visit Sweden because the Eagles are most active in cold weather. Also, Northern Sweden in winter is spectacular with the pristine snow providing a magical quality to the images.

As you can see from David’s photographs, he was blessed with amazing light & some stunning eagle activity. Just look at the catchlight in the eagle’s eyes & the gorgeous golden tones in the feathers.
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A recent visit to the Little Rann of Kutch in India

A mirror reflection of a wading bird at sunset in one of the lakes in the Kutch area an image captured during a Natureslens Little Rann of Kutch Photography Holiday

Many followers of NaturesLens will probably know that David & I have been friends for many years. Well before he & Pui Hang set up NaturesLens & have enjoyed many photographic adventures together.

Just before Christmas 2017, David asked me if I had been to the Little Rann of Kutch. I said I had never even heard of it. Kutch is a little-known wildlife destination in the state of Gujarat near the Pakistan border.  So off we went in March this year to carry out a recce for NaturesLens.

Sunset over one of the lakes in the Kutch area an image captured during a Natureslens Little Rann of Kutch Photography Holiday

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Winter Wildlife of Japan – the Guide’s perspective

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.

Part 2 of Peter’s graphical review of our Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

A White Tailed Sea Eagle flies over the frozen seas outside Rausu this image was captured on the Island of Hokkaido during the NaturesLens Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

Peter sent us so many fabulous images from the boat trips taken during our Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday that we had to dedicate an entire blog post to them.

A Steller's Sea Eagle flies away having successfully grabbed a fish from the Rausu seas - this image was captured on the Island of Hokkaido during the NaturesLens Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Continue reading

An’s graphical review of our Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

An exceptionally beautiful Stellers sea eagle poses on a outcrop of frozen pack ice located on the coast of Rausu captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

An & her husband Peter joined us on our Winter Wildlife of Japan photography holiday last year. Below are some of the images that she kindly sent to us to share…

One of the reasons for visiting Hokkaido is to witness the dance of the Red-Crowned Cranes. An was lucky enough to be able to isolate this pair of cranes as they performed their ritual dance. I love this image as it reminds me of a couple of prima ballerinas.

A pair of beautiful red crowned cranes performing their dance in the snow captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Continue reading

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles

A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles – more aspects of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The fourth & last instalment of Nicola’s images is dedicated to the magnificent Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles. Our winter wildlife in Japan tour includes six boat trips to photograph these fantastic raptors. Each day, the group faced different weather conditions which presented them with different photographic opportunities. Sometimes, the Eagles came so close that the group were almost over-lensed with intermediate zoom lenses!

A visit to one of several frozen lakes in the area is always included in our tour, & this year yielded some great images of the Eagles ‘striding’ across the ice.

A Stellers Sea Eagle sweeps it's wings forward on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's Steller Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday Continue reading