Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I planned to visit Lac du Der on the way back, but the Cranes came to me on saturday. Driving across the border between Belgium and Luxemburg I saw a huge flock of big birds in a typical V-formation. This area is not really know for Geese or Cormorants, so could it be!? Luckily there was a parking and I could soon confirm they were indeed Cranes, and they were on the move!

Departure conditions must have been very good that morning in Lac du Der; in the next hour several huge flocks slowly passed by, often thermalling at great height. In total there were many 1000's.

The Gemmipass was a different story. Weather-forecast looked promising but on the top there was not enough sun for the big ones to fly. Luckily I already met the target-species along the way up to Leukerbad!

Golden Eagle in golden landscape

the same bird, an adult
Bearded Vulture
Gypaete barbu
Several hours on top of a cloudy Gemmipass (2270m) did not produce any of these, in fact there were only 4 birds present; 2 Alpine Choughs and 2 Snowfinches..
local Snowfinch
I was rather surprised that the AF could keep track of the bird as it took off! (D3, 300mm + TC14III)

On the way back I had a look at the impressive Rheinfall. This is an amazing waterfall on the border between Germany and Switserland, and a real challenge for Salmon!

I can recommend the new Nikon 300mm. The only disadvantage I have found is the slow hunting/refocus of the AF when the focus is lost on flying birds, also without the TC14 extender. Just stay focussed:-)

Monday, February 23, 2015


Just returned from a short visit to Switserland, more pictures, of bigger birds soon
Snowfinch in flight, Gemmipass.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dark-eyed Junco!

The city of Groningen holds an impressive list of rarities, with twitchable records of Alpine Accentor, Black-Throated Thrush, Iberian Chiffchaff, several Thrush Nightingales, Two-barred Crossbill, 2 Pine Grosbeaks and Laughing Gull. This week a Dark-eyed Junco was added, and attracted 500+ birders!
distant record shot in poor light

the crowd on the 6th day
A Red-necked Grebe was catching fish in the harbour of Lauwersoog. It will start to moult into spectaculair plumage soon.

Carefully checking the usual flock of Brent Geese on the dike yielded a Black Brant. This beautifull goose did not have a stable position in the group and was chased away frequently by the Black-bellieds.
note the whitish flanks, very dark back and belly, and extensive white neck-collar
incoming pair of Red-breasted Goose in very very dull light

Several 1st-winter Rosy Starlings are wintering in the Netherlands, which is exeptional. We visited the Kollum-bird which is frequenting a garden-feeder.
the usual suspects

Meanwhile the meadows in Fryslan are destroyed by an explosion of the mice-population. Speculations about the cause include the mild winter, drainage and the persecution of their predators (Fox and Common Buzzard).
the fields around Irnsum are almost black, this used to be grassland..

The new Nikon perfoms decent, autofocus is fast and it can track flying birds even with the TC, but when it looses focus it takes long time to regain. Sharpness is OK, but more on that later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Go Nikon!

Forget previous posts

Nikon has finally improved the 300/4.0
It has VR-stabilisation, an improved version which actually freezes the image, gain up to 4 stops!
It is tiny because the use of a phase fresnel lens, like Canon DO, weight=750 grams!
Close focus up to 1.4 meters

And the best, it fits Nikon camera's! Back to JPEG and natural colours!

The first results look very promising, it is sharp even with the TC14III. Not razor sharp, but it is sharp. And the bokeh is OK. Field test soon.