Milicz Ponds 2017

This weekend I went to Milicz Ponds both on Saturday and Sunday. My main goal was to test Sigma 150-600 lenses I bought and also to check a different spot near ponds which I haven't visited yet. Operating those lenses from hand was quite a challenge - they are big and heavy. Next time I'm bringing tripod and 2x teleconverter (assuming I'll find it...). I saw a lot of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and many smaller birds. A bonus was a few Cranes and Herons although they weren't very friendly. Here are a few shots from those two days.

Saturday was really cloudy and a bit rainy (also cold!), so not pics from this day. Above you have female Great Spotted Woodpecker, below Common Crane. This are far from perfect, but I am happy to capture those at all.

Sunday was much warmer and sunny, a lot more birds were busy eating and singing. And there's always a Tit somewhere.. :)

In this specific location near Ruda Sułowska, I don't usually see Herons, this time there were a few of them, but very far away. And as soon as they saw me they went even further..

I was lucky to see more Eurasian Nuthachers and also something brand new to me - Treecreeper. It's one of two species that look very much alike and can occupy the same territory - either Eurasian Treecreeper or Short-Toed Treecreeper. The easiest way to distinguish them is by their song and I didn't hear any..

Female Mallard

Female Mallard

Puszcza Białowieska - day 3

On the 3rd (and last) day we were sitting in another hideout. The main idea was to see, and possibly shoot birds of prey. Fortunately I was able to see White-Tailed Eagle (4 of them to be exact), but I wasn't able to make any decent photo of them, so for you to see is only Northern Goshawk and Common Buzzard. Even though I am not fully satisfied with how photos turned out, I was really happy to have the opportunity to see them up close.

We had to go to the hideout before sunrise. Still before the sun came up a few deers came out of the forest to pose. :)

It was really fun to watch Eurasian Jays fighting over food and constantly chasing themselves. Unfortunately that was a bit too fast for me and my camera, so I didn't capture anything spectacular.

Also a Red Fox have visited the site. Took a big bite of meat and went his own way.

Here's Northern Goshawk and Common Buzzard

Puszcza Białowieska - day 2

On my second day of nature photo shooting we went to "hunt" for European Bisons. Puszcza Białowieska (Białowieża Forest) is the most common place in Poland (aside from ZOOs) to go to if you want to watch them. The history of the species is the one with a happy ending. They were almost hunt to extinction, leaving no wild living animals in the early XX century. The last wild bison (of Bison bonasus) is said to be shot in 1921 in Białowieża Forest. From the small captive population in ZOOs (something around 50 animals) they were then slowly reintroduced to the wild in different countries in Europe (from 1951). According to numbers, Poland has the largest wild living population of animals - 1,212 are in free-range herds.

In the early morning we went to see 3 bulls, that were feeding just outside Białowieża village. They were very calm and I was able to get as close as dozen or so meters. I didn't try to get any closer. Later we spent a lot of time searching for bigger herds, in the end shooting two different herds of cows and calves. The weather was extreme, temperature at -22*C. And despite the sun shining it was really hard to stand and operate camera. With a light wind the perceptible temperature was around -30*C. Hands and feet were freezing instantly. Also my camera was having a tough time, sometimes refusing to work at all. It was the first time I tried to use it in such low temperature. Also my tripod mount broke the day before I arrived there so I had to make it work without it. To sum up, it was fun, despite the cold, but the photos didn't came out as good as I wanted them to. Most are blurry/soapy and I didn't set up camera correctly - I got too low aperture and with camera having problems with proper focus - it all gave up rather poor images. So here are few that look good enough to put them on the internet. :)