We know that common cranes are large birds, but usually we see them only from far, so it’s hard to tell their real size. I chose a picture with a duck on it to show how big those magnificent birds really are.
In early spring strong winds will sometimes create huge ice hummocks to shores of lake Peipsi (4th biggest lake in Europe). This is great time for nature photographers, but not so good for local people, as the unstoppable ice hummocks can sometimes even destroy houses. 100 years ago half of one village was completely swept away by moving ice.
This time we had winds blowing from the south so 5-6 meter high ice hummocks evolved to the northern shores of the lake. That is the place with some of the most beautiful sand beaches and dunes covered with pine forests. Some ice reached the sand dunes, but second wave of ice stopped before arriving to the shore.
The morning I went to take photos the wind had already calmed down. During night some fresh ice had formed on spots of free water. So we can see ice in many different stages. New ice that was created a few hours ago and older ice from the beginning of winter. All this ice will share the same destiny. Soon the warm springtime sun will rise and start melting this magnificent icy landscape.
A young kingfisher few minutes after leaving the nest. The plumage and legs of the young kingfisher are duller and the beak shorter than adult’s. In few days it has to learn how to fish, as kingfisher parents only feed their chicks for couple of days after leaving the nest.
Kingfisher week! This week I will publish a new kingfisher photo every workday.
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On one foggy morning I was lucky to photograph how common terns were feeding their almost grown-up chicks. But when downloading this picture to my computer I could not believe that it is a real photo. It feels almost like somebody has painted it with watercolors. A delicate moment captured in very soft light.
Autumn is not far. Common cranes are gathering to their traditional sleeping places. I put my tent to one such a wild place already in spring. It is unbelievable experience when a choir of thousands of cranes is making their trumpet sounds around you. Usually I only get to enjoy their sounds as the cranes arrive in dark and leave before dawn when there is not enough light for photography. This time a was lucky and got to take a few shots in the early morning before cranes left.
This photo was highlighted by the jury in the category “Animals in their environment” at the Estonian Nature Photo Competition 2013.
I’m pleased to announce that this photo was awarded the title “Highlight” in the Asferico 2013 international nature photo competition in animal portrait category. Other awarded photos can be seen on the link below. Overall winner of the competition will be announced on 3rd of May in Italy. http://www.asferico.com/concorso/gallerie/e_galleria2013.htm
Kingfishers decided to make nest to this sandstone wall like they did last year. Fortunate for them as the sandstone wall collapsed during the best breeding season. It remains mystery how the kingfishers knew it coming. Hopefully they will be back next year.
Northern Hawk-Owls (Surnia ulula) are rare in Estonia. There are only 4 known nestings, first one dating back more than 100 years. During winter some birds visit us from northern countries if it gets too cold in their home.
About a month after leaving the nest the young kingfisher is looking almost like adult, but darker chest and legs reveal that it is still a juvenile. Already a master in fishing the young kingfisher focuses on river to find something for the dinner.
Estonia, July 2011