Cross-country birding in dense fog

Within the framework of a major European project I was involved in a bird survey to monitor the effects of the works. This required to visit remote areas where excavations will be started.

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Foggy willow trees in southeast Hungary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The weather was tough. It was really cold and in the early hours fog was quite dense. We had several sections all accross the country with different length where we had to count birds. As expected the result was very poor. No birds were detected at many spots. On our way we found some nice flock of seed-eating birds. The largest flock contained 1,000+ birds in the Kinskunság National Park. The majority of the flock was Bramblings and Eurasian Greenfinches. European Goldfinches and Linnets was also numerous. We had no time for browsing the flock for Twite or Common Redpolls.

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Huge flocks of birds made the trip exciting. © Gyorgy Szimuly

We also found a Little Owl while roosting on a top of a chimney of a bowery. I picked my Nikon CoolPix P6000 advanced compact camera and tried the Swarovski binocular snap shot adapter. I had no time to fix the EL 42 SwaroVision but tried my best. I had to zoom the camera to avoid vignetting but I was happy by the result.

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Image of roosting Little Owl taken by the snap shot adapter. © Gyorgy Szimuly

During the two day several species have been added (Merlin, Little Owl, European Skylark, Twite, Common Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting) to the year list which is now at 94.

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New images: Green Bee-eater from India

After a long period of no shooting at all I had a chance to make some images during my India trip last November. Although the trip was not primarily for bird photography I ended up with some keepers. These Green Bee-eaters were captured in the Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India. I am not a big fan of sky as a background but at least this bird was cooperative allowing me to get close enough.

Image was taken by a Canon 40D + EF f4 500mm L IS USM lens from an open 4WD car. Thanks to Janos Oláh (SakerTour) and Peter Csonka for the gear.

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Green Bee-eater. © Gyorgy Szimuly

First Barnacle Goose in 2011

A large area of the water surface has been frozen again due to the quite cold night. While last week it was +12C last night we had -9C. Huge fluctuations confuses the birds as well. Number of geese has dropped from 20,000+ to 4000 within just a few days.

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Mute Swan at the Old Lake. © Gyorgy Szimuly

We had a nice chance to go through the flock birds by birds, although in the first hour, half of the geese were sleeping on the ice making identification quite difficult. Later, probably by an eagle, the whole flock of geese and ducks blasted off but a large group of birds landed in front of us allowing for a more perfect view on them. The lights were simply stunning after sunrise.

We could easily read a neck ringed Tundra Bean Goose which was banded in The Netherlands almost exactly a year ago.

Birds seen:

Mute Swan 7
Tundra Bean Goose 3,500
Greater White-fronted Goose 360
Greylag Goose 185
Barnacle Goose 1
Great Cormorant 95
Pygmy Cormorant 13
Mallard 750
Eurasian Teal 100
Eurasian Wigeon 1
Northern Pintail 2
Gadwall 2
Common Pochard 275
Tufted Duck 3
Common Goldeneye 100
Western Great Egret 5
Common Buzzard 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Eurasian Coot 23
Black-headed Gull 25
Mew Gull 70
Caspian Gull 50
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 1
European Green Woodpecker 2
Middle Spotted Woodpecker 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Black Woodpecker 2
Rook 820
Western Jackdaw 30
Northern Raven 8 

By finding a Barnacle Goose and an Eurasian Wigeon the year list increased to 88.

In the afternoon two Tawny Owls was seen at their regular roosting site.

My loved shorebird mugs

I have to say that Hungarian wildlife artists are great and talented. I’ve been working with Szalocs Kókay for a while on shorebirds but I always admire another great artist, Gyula Nagy’s work. He has a different style what I love. His website is half-ready but arts have already been uploaded. English version is coming soon.

Years ago I ordered a few mugs from him showing his art of my favoured shorebird species (Cream-colored Courser, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Diademed Plover and Spoon-billed Sandpiper). I am thinking to order a few more sets for charity purposes (of course for waders).

I wanted to share you these images to learn more about your opinion. Tell me inside this blog (not in social media where I share this post) what do you think about these mugs. Note, your comment will appear after moderation!

Newly Processed Old Images: #5

Purple Sandpiper is primarily a coastal bird. When I got the bird alert SMS of the presence of this species at the Lake Balaton in western Hungary I could not believe my eyes. The weather was very unpleasant and foggy but I could make some memorable images of this mega rarity.

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Newly processed old images: #4

It was really hard to photograph these Black-legged Kittiwakes on the windy top of Helgoland cliffs in Germany. The Canon’s EOS-1D Mark IIN was not focusing properly in any settings leaving us with a few keepers only. This image is not my best but acceptable. I liked the huge contrast between the bird and the rich coloured background, coming from the cliff.

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Black-legged Kittiwake, Helgoland, Germany. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Newly processed old images: #3

This Common Eider was swimming in a very shallow water remained after low tide. When it reached the edge it started to walk towards the deep water. I was lying flat on the sand for better angle and started to shoot this bird in this funny pose.

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Common Eider, Helgoland, Germany. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Newly processed old images: #1

There are days when nothing to post, when looking through the window of my home produces nothing. This time it is better to share some acceptable images from the collection of my bird photography. Time by time I share some. Here is another one.

This Northern Gannet couple was photographed on a lovely bird island, named, Helgoland, Germany. I know it is one of the most favorite topic in bird photography but I could not stand to process it and share it here. The raised wing of the bird on the right made this special to me.

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Northern Gannet, Helgoland, Germany. © Gyorgy Szimuly