HIGHLIGHTS 2021

Winter months at the lake

Once more a year has passed and it's time to summarise all the great moments in nature.

In the first winter months I've spent most of time at the lake near to where I live photographing the local wildlife with a friend.
During January and February we always get a lot of overwintering waterfowl.   

  

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Ruddy Goose

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Eurasian Bittern

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Pochard

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Water Rail

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Coots

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Shoveler

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Tufted Duck

Lake Constance

At long last, I finally managed to visit Lake Constance, which is known for its many water birds.
Accompanied by Roger Bolliger we observed many ducks, a cormorant during sunrise and trusting starlings. 

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Cormorant

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Common Starling

Swiss Alps

My personal highlight of 2021 was definitely from February to May. Even though it had been quite stressful with school, I discovered my first Black Grouse lekking places and was able to photograph these magnificent birds. I spent many weekends in the mountains lying in every weather in the deep snow for hours on end watching and capturing their display. I was particularly happy with the results I got in May, as the conditions finally changed: The snow melted and the whole lekking place was covered in  flowers. 

  

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One of the reasons I found so many lekking places, was due to my maturity thesis, in which I analysed the lekking places and the behavioural changes of the Black Grouse. For that, I spent three weeks in the mountains. Every day I got up at 03:30.

One of the lekking places I found, was also used by chamois and roe deer. 

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Rapperswil

If I wasn't in the mountains looking for black grouse lekking sites for my maturity thesis, I was photographing the birds at home. In March I went to the only place in Switzerland where Eider Ducks breed. Together with three friends we photographed these beautiful birds. Unfortunately, I could't get any decent backlit images as originally planned, but hey! – there's always this year ;-)

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Romania

After May there was a longer break form photographing, due to a lot of school work. I was finishing 5th class which meant pre-maturity
exams. When the summer holidays were finally here, I went on on a trip to Romania for two weeks, organised by our biology teacher.
We spent the first few days in the mountains, where I was able to photograph a female Brown Bear. 

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The second week, we visited the Danube Delta and the Black Sea Cost. 

Already on our way to the hotel did I see some Rose Pelicans, herons and Sea Eagles when rowing down the Danube River. The next day, the guides, my biology teacher and I got up at four o'clock and drove by boat to the Delta. After experiencing a beautiful sunrise, we saw hundreds of Great White Pelicans, two young White-tailed Eagles, Black-necked Grebes and many more water birds. However, the highlight of the day remained the wild cat. Just as one of the guides needed a rest, we spotted the cat sitting mere meters from the shore. It was quite trusting and sat there for some minutes before it disappeared into the bushes. 

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On our last day we stopped by a small lake known for its shorebirds. We counted something like 30 different species, and I only recognised a handful of them. As the rest of the group went swimming in the sea, I decided to stay and photograph the birds. It was very windy and I had to secure the camouflage net with stones so it wouldn't blow away. 

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Common Sandpiper

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Wood Sandpiper

Rapperswil

Once again, there was a longer photography break until Autumn due to school. However, one evening my friend Marc Siegle called me to tell me, that he found a very unwary Ruddy Turnstone – a bird I've never seen before! So I quickly packed my camera gear and drove to Rapperswil. We were able to photography it the whole evening without any other people present. At some stage, the ruddy turnstone came a mere few centimetres close to me and even started nibbling at my feet. What an unforgettable experience!

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Niederhorn

In the autumn holidays my godmother and I went to the Bernese Alps for a weekend to look for Alpine Ibex. We didn't have much luck the first day event though the weather had been beautiful; Never in my life had I ever seen the stars so clearly as that one morning. The evening and second morning had been quite successful however, and we got lots of images of female Alpine Ibex and their young. 

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Sunrise

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Alpine Ibex

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Rock Ptarmigan 

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Alpine Ibex

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Alpine Ibex

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Water Pipit

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Rock Ptarmigan

I know I hadn't been able to go out photographing very often. However, whenever I had the rare chance to be out, I experienced some unforgettable moments out in nature. For example, last year I found Black Grouse for the first time and I was able to spend a good two months with these magnificent birds in close proximity – something I would never have dreamed of! 

This year will be a new exciting chapter in my life:  I'll finish school this summer and  soon after I will be going to South Africa for a few months during my interim year. 

For now however, I can hardly wait to go out photographing again and make new memories!

 

 

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