Every Monday I am posting five shots from the prior week that I like a lot – the fabulous five. Last week (as well as this week) I am in Bratislava for work and therefore did not have time to do a lot of photography. On Saturday morning, I went with a friend to the Dunaj river to check for birds and on Sunday walked the beautiful Janko Kral Park. I hope you like my fab five pics.
The first picture shows a female black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius). My friend Ivan drove me to an area at the Dunaj river, where a watchtower has been installed to oversee the river. The weather was quite foggy and birds where pretty far away from the tower. A very nice place (not so good for photography) with lots of gret grey herons, little egrets and all sorts of ducks. It was pretty windy and chili so we headed back to the car (we had my friends little girls with us that started getting cold). Just about when we arrived at the car, my buddy saw something moving up the trees and at first believed that it was a squirrel. Luckily I quickly checked myself and didn’t see any squirrel but a black woodpecker. What a wonderful surprise. Where I live, one doesn’t see black woodpeckers often at all and so I love to photograph these guys whenever I have a chance to do so.
The second picture shows an eurasien nuthatch (Sitta europea). They remind me of mini woodpeckers and in fact they often can be found picking at tree trunks (similar to woodpeckers but way more gentle). The funny thing about them is that they seem to be so pretentious when they raise their head and look at you (as in the picture below).
Picture number three shows middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocoptes medius). At least I think its one. Usually they have a more yellow reddish belly but this guy seem to be very pale. However, its not a great spotted woodpecker as its face pattern dont match and its not a lesser spotted woodpecker either. For me, this is a very nice find as I only have been photographing them once. Where I live, we have a lot of great spotted, some green as well as some (very few) black woodpeckers but very rarely I see middle spotted woodpeckers. Unfortunately the light was very bad and I didn’t want to push ISO too much due to the fog so I ended up with 1/800 which is always at the edge of shooting the 500mm handheld.
Kung Fu style
The 4th and 5th picture show a red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris). As I haven’t seen these guys for a very long time I decided to spend some time with them. I have been walking the beautiful Janko Kral Park. As per their website, this park is the oldest public park in Europe and indeed, the trees in the park are just amazing. At the beginning I was looking for birds but there was very little activity. Some of the usual suspects – Woodpeckers, great tits, nuthatches and thrushes. The park was however very busy and therefore the birds were a quite spooky. I saw a couple of green woodpeckers, that i followed for a while, but they never let me get close enough, so I let them go (of better fly). Lots of people walked dogs and one dog was chasing a squirrel. Interestingly, I didn’t see any squirrels for the first few hours and then all of a sudden, they seem to have been everywhere. I knew, that I wanted to take a few shots of them, but nothing „boring“ like just sitting on a branch or so. I had a picture for a long time of flying squirrels in mind and this is what I wanted to do. Unfortunately the squirrels had their own schedule – for like 2 to 3h no jumps no nothing. Tolstoi helped me here again, when he „reminded“ me that the strongest warriors of all are these two: time and patience. So I waited and it paid off. It looks however much easier then it really is. These little guys are very agile and are often covered by branches and leafs and very unpredictable. The leafs make it difficult to focus or even see and in the next second they are already jumping from one tree to another. It took me a while to figure out on how to catch these little creatures. The problem was, that they only jumped every half an hour so you can imagine that this didn’t help much in getting better shots. One two shots missed and another 30 minutes waiting but always be prepared for action. I definitely would like to shoot more of these scenes as I have some ideas in mind. For now, this is what I ended up with.
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