Sunday, March 29, 2015

My hotspots: Hotspot #1

  Read today a column written by Bill Oddie. In his column,which you can read in the March 2015 issue of BBC Wildlife magazine, he wrote about hotspots. This got me thinking of my hotspots, where do I go for wildlife. It's interesting that not all the places where I usually go, look like they would be places where you can marvel wildlife. So I thought it would be a nice thing to share a couple of images from "my" wildlife hotspots and tell a little about them.

  You don't have to go always faraway for critters. One of my favorite places is only five minutes walk away from the door. At first glance it's just a big abandoned parking place for cars, surrounded by factories and a tiny small forest. Sadly other people have noticed the same place too, but not because of the fauna. Some people use it as a place for dumping their garbage, some use it as a big loo, and some come there to fornicate. All this means human excrement's, used condoms, toilet paper and wet wipes here and there. Yes, people can be quite disgusting! But after you get over with the ugly stuff and watch out where you step you can find some pretty cool animals at this spot. So far I've encountered Herman's tortoise, four species of snake, green lizard, frogs, mice, shrews, lots of different kind of invertebrates and birds. Plus the flora is pretty abundant too. Some images I've posted previously here at my blog has been made at this nice parking place. Here's a few more images from this week, one showing a marsh frog and two images with a green lizard, and as a final image how the place looks like. In couple of future posts I hope to share with you some other places where I love to do photography and watch wildlife.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Unexpected toad

  Because the rainy weather today, I decided to leave my camera at home. What I didn't assume was that we ended up to this tiny pictoresque lake with a few common toads in it. No problemo... use your phone. At least one image of a juicy female toad, waiting for her prince to arrive, not that it wouldn't have been nice to spend a little more time with these interesting amphibians.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Flower power

  When it starts to get enough warm and sunny, it means that the first flowers will pop up. suddenly here and there you can see colorful plants shining in different colors and shades. This is a good time to pick up your camera and shoot some flowers. The good thing with flowers and other plants is that they won't run away or try to bite you. Here's a couple of flower images I made yesterday. It's not always too easy to make an image of flowers, especially if you are accompanied by a dog. When I laid my self down on the ground for the picture, our dog Sussu got curious and decided to take a closer look what I'm doing. She didn't care too much about my subject and stepped right on it. The poor flower was all smashed. The good thing was that there were other flowers, so I managed to make a photo.

                                 Muscari armeniacum

                                 Cherry plum, Prunus cerasifera


                                 Yellow anemone, Anemone ranunculoides

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Finish archipelago, what a Place!

 The past couple of weeks haven't been very good when it comes to photography, but I still managed to make a couple of images. Some were shown in the three previous posts, and here will follow a couple more images.

  One of the most beautiful places on this planet, the archipelago of Finland. Lots of things to see and experience.

   One evening we were sitting and stalking elk. Not really the best possible weather, it was pretty cold and dark. Finally one showed up just to eyeball us for a while and then disappearing to the woods.

A few days later I was walking in the woods. I sat on a stump just to relax for awhile when I suddenly heard something moving towards me. Two seconds later three elks where standing there, just about 30 meters from me. Sadly two of them were standing so that it wasn't worth a shutter click.

Roe deer, a pretty common species. Lots of''em  here and there and of course a great subject for photography. One evening we saw a flock with 13 individuals.

Shot even a couple of images of birds. Nothing too fancy, but here's an image of a crested tit.

A sure sign that the spring has arrived. A male and a female frog in amplexus.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Aurora borealis in the south

      For the people living far up in north Aurora borealis is probably something pretty common. For those in the south it isn't something that they see everyday. However, I'm pretty sure that everybody who'll look up in the sky, when this phenomenon is displayed, is pretty amazed. Today we had a pretty good show even here in the southern Finland, so here's a couple of images...

Monday, March 16, 2015

On thin ice

  Driving around and keeping your eyes open means that you can find interesting stuff. Today when searching one house in the countryside we ended on this tiny small piece of road leading to the seashore. Water is still covered with thin ice due to low temperature during the night. There on the ice about 50 swans and a couple of other seabirds were enjoying the sunny spring day. Carefully I jumped out of the car and grabbed my camera. My choice for camera for the day was a D5100 and sad to say a 10-20 mm wide angle lens, not really the best choice for faraway wildlife. There I went with my not very suitable gear for the task and tried to get as close as I could. One of the swans were sleeping quite close to the shore so I headed towards it. So close, but still so faraway... the ice was enough thick for the bird, but for me it would've meant a cool dip in the ocean. So the decision was pretty easy, I decided to stand on the dry land and make a couple of frames from a bit further away than I actually wanted.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Flip it!

  "Flipping" is a term used by field herpers. The word means turning stones and other stuff, even garbage, to see what lies beneath, and the idea is to find snakes, lizards and amphibians. So often you find nothing. Then there are those ant colonies invading places. Sometimes scorpions and other invertebrates, such as beetles are trying to find shelter beneath rocks and sheets of metal. In one of my favorite place there has been this sheet metal piece laying on the ground forever. From time to time I lift it up even if I know that usually there's only ants swarming around under it. During this past week I've lifted this piece of metal up quite a few times and instead of ants I've found black beetles or tiny brown centipedes. After a small walk in the forest today, I came across this same piece of junk again and of course I had to lift it. And what did I find? Two black beetles trying to escape the hard light intruding their home. I placed the cover carefully back, but something drew my attention. First I thought it's a lizard, but instead it was a tiny small newt, probably a smooth newt hiding there. A bit early, but probably this critter had already come to look if the spring has arrived. I placed it on a small rock, made a couple of frames and released it back under the metal lid. So if there is a stone or a piece of junk, flip it! You never know what you might find. Just remember to place the cover carefully back just as it was.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Last signs of winter, first signs of spring

  The last ice is still lingering on the surfaces of ponds and lakes. Even if so, there's already so many signs of the approaching spring. Owls calling in the night, swans and other birds returning from the south. Soon there will be even more action in the wild. When the ice covering of this small pond is gone, newts, toads and frogs will occupy it, ready for the spring and the breeding season.