Cyprus Warbler 400x267 Blogpreview

Photographing Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax) and Cyprus trip report 03|2014

After a spring trip to the western Mediterranean, namely Mallorca, in 2013, I visited Cyprus early this spring to see and photograph eastern Mediterranean species. Since I’m partial to Sylvia warblers, my main target was the endemic Cyprus Warbler, (Sylvia melanothorax). Studying various species accounts and reports prior to my trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as some listed the species as uncommon while others found it abundant. The consensus, however, was that the population has been declining for the past years. Before I continue, let me say that I luckily found Cyprus Warbler to be very common and easy to spot throughout many parts of the island. 

Balearicwarbler Blogpreview

Photographing Balearic Warbler (Sylvia balearica)

My first trip to Mallorca in the spring of 2013 was primarily aimed towards photographing Balearic Warbler (Sylvia balearica). Balearic Warbler is an endemic species to several Balearic Islands and was formerly regarded as a subspecies of Marmora’s Warbler (Sylvia sarda balearica). I have had a growing interest in Mediterranean Sylvia-warblers for some time and hope to photograph other species on future photo trips to the region. 
Having read various trip reports and natural history reports on Balearic Warbler prior to my trip, allowed me to narrow down the list of areas I would focus my search on. My main sites thus lay on the north coast: Boquer Valley, Son Real, Betlem and any promising looking site in between. Many reports had me believing that these small warblers are rather difficult to find, which luckily was not the case. Belearic Warbler’s song is rather distinctive and once I keyed in on it, having previously only listened to recordings, the birds were easy to find in most locations I visited.

Snowfinch - Montifringilla nivalis - Swiss Alps

Photographing White-winged Snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis)

White-winged Snowfinch is a common species in Switzerland, though not particularly easy to photograph unless you know where to look. Snowfinches are distributed widely throughout the higher regions of the Alps during the summer and can be encountered on almost any hike above 2000m. They are quite tame and unafraid of human activity, but are nonetheless difficult to approach as they are very lively and restless. It is therefore easier to observe and photograph Snowfinches in the winter, when they are very local and gregarious, congregating in flocks at feeding stations in various ski resorts (though by no means just any resort) throughout Switzerland.

Iceland0513 Blogpreview

Bird Photography - Iceland, 05|2013

Central Europe experienced a rather cold and rainy spring this year and unfortunately things didn’t look any better in Iceland. Frozen lakes and a snowy landscape more reminiscent of February than late May forced me to change my photography plans. Initially hoping to photograph numerous ducks and shorebirds, I instead focused on Rock Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting and several other species that were more easily accessible under these conditions. Birds that I spotted but unfortunately didn’t manage to photograph include Northern Gannet, Short-eared Owl, a pair of Gyrfalcon chasing each other across the sky, many migrating Red Knot and Puffins, which were floating around in huge numbers off the coast, but only rarely visited their colonies. Iceland is certainly a dream-destination for nature photographers. The wide and uninhabited landscape rich in birdlife provides ample opportunities to find and photograph birds. While there are certainly many nature photography tourists visiting Iceland during the summer, it is easy to avoid any 'crowds' (and in fact people alltogether) if you so choose. Iceland allows you to focus 100% on your photography and spending time with your subjects in isolation, guaranteeing unique images.

Audouin's Gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii)

Bird Photography - Mallorca/Spain, 04|2013

This spring I planned a short bird photography excursion to Mallorca, Spain, to photograph Mediterranean species such as Balearic Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Audouin’s Gull and Thekla Lark and Tawny Pipit among many others. The first few days proved unexpectedly challenging with strong, cold winds that had many birds skulking, but eventually the weather and thus my odds of getting good images improved dramatically. While Blue Rock Thrush, Woodchat Shrike, Hoopoe were quite common, I didn’t yet manage to get good images of these species. Luckily, however, my main targets Balearic and Sardinian Warbler were common and easily photographed at various locations around the island. Even when the photography was slow, birding never was. Scanning the horizon always resulted in interesting finds...such as the Booted Eagles, which turned out to be very common similar to Buzzards in Switzerland. A Peregrine Falcon, Red Kite, and Kestrels flying by kept me occupied while waiting for photo opportunities. Cetti's Warbler and Nightingale were locally abundant. At dusk the calls of Stone-Curlew and Scops Owl were omnipresent. 
Below you will find a selection of images from this trip. There are many species I didn't succeed with, but this will certainly not have been my last trip to the Mediterranean.

Iceland0213 Blogpreview

Bird Photography - Iceland, 02|2013

This quick trip to Iceland in February turned out more fruitful than expected. Even though I didn't have much time to plan my first visit to Iceland, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull and Fulmar provided lots of photo opportunities. Redwing and Raven were abundant in and around Reykjavik. Other species of note were Rock Ptarmigan, Short-eared Owl, many Merlin and Harlequin Duck. The weather, unfortunately, was mostly cloudy with freezing rain and the short day length allowed for only a small photography window each day. None the less, I'm happy with the results and will certainly be back in Iceland for more bird photo fun! Below are some of my favorite shots from this quick break.

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