bird, great reed warbler, Horka and Moravou, Czech Republic

GREAT REED WARBLER: If singing, then for real! Body the size of a blackbird and voice the power of a Pavarotti, when this warbler decides to be spotted, he will make sure nobody misses the concert... (Horka nad Moravou, Czech Republic)

bird, green woodpecker, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN GREEN WOODPECKER: The Belgian winters are usually mild so the woodpecker is in no hurry to hide away from the cold and can pose for the camera. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, Eurasian hoopoe, Puligny-Montrachet, France

EURASIAN HOOPOE: Just a morning encounter in a hotel garden, a great feel-good moment despite zero photographic effort... (Puligny-Montrachet, France)

bird, lesser spotted woodpecker, Ruissalo, Finland

LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER: Where the great spotted is often pushing himself in front of the camera and the middle spotted is at least not difficult to find, getting the lesser spotted into the viewfinder amounts almost to winning in lottery... (Ruissalo, Finland) 

bird, common kestrel, Masku, Finland

COMMON KESTREL: Too often seen just fluttering over open fields in the distance. When spotted sitting quietly, better to have the camera ready. (Masku, Finland)

bird, Western Black-eared Wheatear, Spain, Villabuena

WESTERN BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR: Vineyards are not a good environment for bird photography, too many subject sitting on the wires... But when somebody does land on the vine, there is no time to waste. (Villabuena, Spain)

brid, Chinese goose, Briñas, Spain

CHINESE GOOSE: Apparently originating from the swan goose, then bred with the domestic goose, the biology behind this bird seems rather complex. Fortunately, photographically not different to any other quietly floating poultry... (Briñas, Spain)

bird, European serin, Entrena, Spain

EUROPEAN SERIN: A wire is not consider the most photogenic perch. On the other hand, if the bird genuinely likes hanging out in the vineyards, the photographer must respect that... (Entrena, Spain)

EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER: The relationship between the oystercatcher and the photographer can grow rather sour over the years. Huge amounts of patience required on both sides... (Ruissalo, Finland)

bird, common whitethroat, Raisio, Finland

COMMON WHITETHROAT: Singing while sitting on the loo is totally mainstream with whitethroats, not least because they just sign all the time. (Raisio, Finland)

bird, common pheasant, Nivelles, Belgium

COMMON PHEASANT: Positioning oneself between the light and the birds remains necessary with the pheasant like with most other birds. Other than that, photographing the male is a straightforward exercise... (Nivelles, Belgium)

black woodpecker, juvenile, Masku, Finland

BLACK WOODPECKER: This is only a juvenile but already enormous. A truly impressive bird! (Masku, Finland)

EURASIAN BULLFINCH: This bird only needs to show up. Once present, he is not shy at all and his colours make photographing him against a nice contrast of the garden or forrest background very easy. (Ezcaray, Spain)

red-backed shrike, male, Finland, Masku

RED-BACKED SHRIKE: Even if masked like Zorro, this bird is not very adventurous and will not pose for the camera. At least he likes perching on elevated spots with good overview so to spot him does not take much time. (Masku, Finland)

red-backed shrike, male, Finland, Masku

RED-BACKED SHRIKE: The chick keeps testing his wings all the time and represents therefore the easiest model among the family members. (Masku, Finland)

bird, red-backed shrike, female, Masku, Finland

RED-BACKED SHRIKE: The female is the most elusive, a real test of patience, many litres of coffee can get liquidated waiting for her in vain...  (Masku, Finland)

bird, helmeted guineafowl, Pamplona, Spain

  HELMETED GUINEAFOWL: Where would bird photography be without the silly pictures...? (Pamplona, Spain)

bird, griffon vulture, Entrena, Spain

GRIFFON VULTURE: When this bird is present, one does not think about technicalities of photography but rather makes sure that the water bottle is full and a road to safety not too far... (Entrena, Spain) 

bird, common rosefinch, male, Raisio, Finland

COMMON ROSEFINCH: Extremely dependable bird, always in his favourite territory, making the photographer's life very easy... (Raisio, Finland)

common crane, Masku, Finland

COMMON CRANE: The cranes stay in open fields to make sure that nobody comes too close, a long lens therefore necessary. On the other hand, they are very easy to spot, not only visually but mainly because of their incredible long-range voice. (Masku, Finland)

bird, Sardinian warbler, male

SARDINIAN WARBLER: Unlike many other warblers, this bird spends a lot of time sitting atop various bushes, virtually asking to be photographed. Some patience still required but once his routines are established, a decent photo can be taken within few minutes. (Porto Conte, Italy)

bird, Sardinian warbler, juvenile, Porto Conte, Italy

SARDINIAN WARBLER: The future head and body colouring is clearly visible already at an early stage. (Porto Conte, Italy)

bird, Cirl Bunting, Porto Conte, Sardinia

CIRL BUNTING: This bird does not have anything against the presence of a photographer as such but the angle is the main issue as he does like to stay higher up in the trees. (Porto Conte, Italy)

SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER: This bird can easily become the photographer's Nemesis. Totally drab, moving fast, high up in the canopy, against the grey bark background... (Briñas, Spain) 

bird, Eurasian skylark, Masku, Finland

EURASIAN SKYLARK: Avoiding the camera usually but easy to photograph when the urge to survey his territory from an elevated point becomes too strong... (Masku, Finland)

bird, corn bunting, France, Saint Georges sur Loire

CORN BUNTING: One of those inconspicuous little birds where often only the photos back home on the large screen allow proper identification... (France, Saint-Georges-sur-Loire)

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER: Eat your breakfast alone, eat your lunch with your friend, give your dinner to your enemy... (Masku, Finland)

bird, spotted flycatcher, Masku, Finland

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER: The juvenile will just eat it all, breakfast or dinner, as long as the parents keep catering. (Masku, Finland)

bird, spotted flycatcher, Masku, Finland

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER: Before the ex-juvenile will have to feed the next generation, he is still ready to pose for the camera. (Masku, Finland)

EURASIAN TREE SPARROW: Well, what can one say? Everybody likes ladybirds... (Masku, Finland)

Common goldeneye, female, Masku, Finland

COMMON GOLDENEYE: A quiet, cooperative duck. The female manages to pose for the camera... (Masku, Finland)

common goldeneye, juvenile, Masku, Finland

COMMON GOLDENEYE: ...while keeping her bright yellow eye on the chicks playing around. (Masku, Finland)

COMMON GOLDENEYE: The male just floating around in the meantime... (Masku, Finland)

COMMON SANDPIPER: This wader can typically be seen in the shore waters, searching for food. But it always make sense to also look up, spotting the sandpiper in the tree will likely produce a better angle for photography. (Masku, Finland)

European goldfinch, male, Raisio, Finland

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH: Easily spotted thanks to his bright colours and easily photographed since he loves his thistles well beyond caring about some camera being around. (Raisio, Finland)

bird, European goldinch, Porto Conte, Italy

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH: But his inclinations to feed on thorny vegetation makes his sometimes appear positively troubled... (Porto Conte, Italy)

bird, northern wheatear, female, Masku, Finland

NORTHERN WHEATEAR: This unexpected encounter should by all accounts be an immature northern wheatear but advice from an experienced ornithologist would certainly help here... (Masku, Finland)

bird, northern wheatear, female, Masku, Finland

NORTHERN WHEATEAR: ....the adult female is much easier to recognise, even if not necessarily to photograph. (Masku, Finland)

bird, hooded crow, Naantali, Finland

HOODED CROW: Compared to the formidable carrion crow of central Europe, this bird cows in a much more muffled manner and appears smaller and more approachable. But the opposite is the truth, the hooded crow is rather shy in front of the camera, long lens needed for the adults... (Naantali, Finland)

bird, hooded crow, Finland, Raisio

HOODED CROW: The juvenile does not care about being photographed, only about being fed... (Raisio, Finland)

tree pipit, Masku, Finland

TREE PIPIT: All pipits look the same but the tree pipit lives in the trees, the meadow one in the meadows and the rock one on the rocks. At least the wise books say so. Tree pipit it is then... (Masku, Finland)

HORNED GREBE: All grebes carry their chicks on their backs and the whole cabaret is not only easy to photograph but also simply great fun to watch... (Masku, Finland)

EURASIAN JAY: Birds this size wouldn't typically be so shy but the jay likes to keep his distance. Fortunately, there are the juveniles who don't quite understand all the dangers... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, bar-tailed godwit, Crozon, France

BAR-TAILED GODWIT: Even if arguably the ultimate endurance flyer among all birds of this planet, the bar-tailed godwit is very relaxed about being photographed, posing always happily. (Crozon, France)

WHIMBREL: As a model, this is the exact opposite of the bar-tailed godwit. The whimbrel will fly away the moment he has the slightest suspicion of human presence. One therefore needs a good hideaway as well as a long lens. (Le Conquet, France)

bird, yellowhammer, male, Masku, Finland

YELLOWHAMMER: This can be a very theatrical bird who virtually insist to be photographed, sitting in full sunlight straight in front of the camera for minutes. (Masku, Finland)

bird, female yellowhammer, Masku, Finland

YELLOWHAMMER: The female, while less brightly coloured than the male, is equally eager to be photographed and poses for the camera without any hesitation... (Masku, Finland)

bird, long-tailed tit, belgium, brussels, bois de la cambre

LONG-TAILED TIT: A rather common bird, living in almost any city park. At the same time, he is small, super agile and he dislikes the camera. Early spring with only limited options to hide in the vegetation is therefore the best time to try to get a photo of him. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, long-tailed tit, Brussels, Belgium

LONG-TAILED TIT: Another chance comes later in the spring when he reappears feeding the chicks and pays less attention to photographers. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, ruddy turnstone, Camaret sur Mer, France

RUDDY TURNSTONE: The most cooperative shorebird, a dream model who can be photographed turning stones, with his beak deep in the beach sand or basking in the morning sun in the harbour... (Camaret-sur-Mer, France)

bird, European stonechat, female, Plougrescant, France

EUROPEAN STONECHAT: No human can pull this off but some creatures in this world can combine posing for photography with defecation and yet remain superbly graceful ... (Plougrescant, France)

bird, little grebe, Brussels, Belgium

LITTLE GREBE: This bird may look rather inconspicuous... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, little grebe, Brussels, Belgium

LITTLE GREBE: ...but it is a fierce hunter with a clear preference for amphibian afternoon snacks. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, mandarin duck, Brussels, Belgium

MANDARIN DUCK: While flying or when fighting with his relatives, this bird actually looks like the most ordinary duck. That's why he is best photographed when quietly floating... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, mandarin duck, Brussels, Belgium

MANDARIN DUCK: ...or posing against a contrasty background. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, mandarin duck, Brussels, Belgium

MANDARIN DUCK: The female is much more discrete in her colours but she certainly does not lack the self-confidence of the males. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, gray wagtail, Brussels, Belgium

GRAY WAGTAIL: With a hungry chick waiting for food, the parents have busy times in late spring. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, gray wagtail, juvenile, Brussels, Belgium

GRAY WAGTAIL: Where the adult, with the usual agility of passerine birds, keeps delivering food and checking for possible dangers, the juvenile is clumsily tottering around, expecting to be taken care of. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, hazel grouse, juvenile, Finland, Masku

HAZEL GROUSE: A forrest walk can sometimes result in a totally random encounter with a bird the presence and even existence of which is a complete mystery to the uninformed photographer. Fortunately there are powerful online tools available to identify the model... (Masku, Finland)

bird, dunlin, France, Keremma

DUNLIN: One of the more cooperative species among the notoriously shy shorebirds but still quick to take off when spotting the photographer... (Keremma, France)

bird, barn swallow, Rhode-Sainte-Agathe, Belgium

BARN SWALLOW: Except for the pigeon, the swallow may be the most important bird in the history of science. Except for the duck, it may also be the most important bird for the history of art. Yet photographically, the swallow remains neglected. Perhaps because it flies too fast and when perching, it looks somewhat confused...? (Rhode-Sainte-Agathe, Belgium)

bird, willow warbler, Masku, Finland

WILLOW WARBLER: This bird and the common chiffchaff look absolutely identical and can only be distinguished by their singing or by genetic analysis. This one was fortunately singing ardently so the photographer can hope naively to have identified him correctly... (Masku, Finland)

COMMON CHIFFCHAFF: The chiffchaff has apparently darker legs and shorter primary feathers than the willow warbler. Hmmm... (Huldenberg, Belgium)

bird, common pochard, Belgium, Brussels

COMMON POCHARD: Happily coexisting with people in towns, the pochard is a lovely and easy photo target, ideally on a Sunday before breakfast... (Brussels, Belgium)

COMMON POCHARD: ...when both the male and the female look just perfect in the morning light. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, whinchat, female, Masku, Finland

WHINCHAT: Photographing whinchats is not difficult... (Masku, Finland)

bird, whinchat, male, Masku, Finland

WHINCHAT: Distinguishing the male from the femal is... (Masku, Finland)

bird, juvinile whinchat, Masku, Finland

WHINCHAT: ...especially when a hungry chick is waiting in the nearby bush. (Masku, Finland)

bird, redwing, Masku, Finland

REDWING: One of the bravest among thrushes. Instead of hiding in the undergrowth, he gladly lands on an exposed perch straight in front of the camera and goes on preening his plumage, not caring at all about being photographed. (Masku, Finland)

bird, fieldfare, Masku, Finland

FIELDFARE: The differences in coloring between the fieldfare and the redwing are clearly visible... (Masku, Finland)

bird, juvenile fieldfare, Ruissalo, Finland

FIELDFARE: ...even at the early stage when the juvenile is still sporting remainders of his natal down. (Ruissalo, Finland)

bird, northern gannet, France, Perros-Guirec

NORTHERN GANNET: This bird could not care less if any cameras or photographers are nearby. You just don't want to be a fish when he approaches... (Perros-Guirec, France)

bird, juvenile Northern gannet, France, Perros-Guirec

NORTHERN GANNET: Gaining the necessary body mass for the autumn migration entails a lot of resting for which reason photographing the juvenile is even easier than the adult... (Perros-Guirec, France)

bird, common redstart, male, Briñas, Spain

COMMON REDSTART: Even though common and happy also in urban areas, convincing this bird to stay quiet for a moment can be a long-term test in patience. (Briñas, Spain)

bird, common redstart, female, Nivelles, Belgium

COMMON REDSTART: As usual, getting a good photo becomes much easier when there is a nest nearby. (Nivelles, Belgium)

bird, common redstart, juvenile, Turku, Finland

COMMON REDSTART: The parents will bring more food soon, no need to do anything more than just to sit quietly... (Turku, Finland)

bird, meadow pipit, Raisio, Finland

MEADOW PIPIT: Somewhat unpredictable in his movements, this little bird will keep flying around in jerky patterns, catching insects and checking out his territory. But once sitting down on a perch, the camera does not make him nervous and close-up photos are easy to take. (Raisio, Finland)

bird, rock pipit, Le Fret, France

ROCK PIPIT: Even easier to approach and photograph than the meadow cousin but to tell the two pipits apart seems almost impossible. Another of those where intervention of an experienced ornithologist remains painfully needed... (Le Fret, France)

bird, sedge warbler, Raisio, Finland

SEDGE WARBLER: An accomplished singer, a clear candidate for La Scala and hence easy to locate... (Raisio, Finland)

Sedge warbler, Raisio, Finland

SEDGE WARBLER: ...even if photographing him remains the usual complete random lottery like with all warblers.  (Raisio, Finland)

bird, common nightingale, Ruissalo, Finland

COMMON NIGHTINGALE: Known for his great singing skills, life is not just the opera and even the nightingale has to tend to the needs of the hungry chick... (Ruissalo, Finland)

GREAT CRESTED GREBE: Grebes swim faster than ducks and getting relaxed will result in blurred photos. The very young chicks can still make an easy subject but... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, great crested grebe, juvenile, Harchies, Belgium
GREAT CRESTED GREBE: ... the confused look in this juvenile's eyes is already a total deception, the bird is perfectly capable of diving fast. (Harchies, Belgium)

GREAT CRESTED GREBE: The elegant swimming style of the adult leaves no doubt that being photographed is entirely his choice and he can leave the scene very fast, at any time and into any direction. (Harchies, Belgium)

bird, nothern lapwing, Masku, Finland

NORTHERN LAPWING: This bird exhausts himself by flying in circles and shrieking loudly, defending his nest against crows, jackdaws, foxes and other potential intruders... (Masku, Finland)

bird, northern lapwing, Masku, Finland

NORTHERN LAPWING: The stress results mainly from his peculiar nesting strategy where eggs are left on the ground in the open field and must be guarded with extra high vigilance. (Masku, Finland)

reed bunting, male, Raisio, Finland

REED BUNTING: A long lens and and a lot of patience are recommended to photograph this bird who usually stays in safe distance in the reed. (Raisio, Finland)

bird, reed bunting, Raisio, FInland

REED BUNTING: During the breeding season the female has of course no time to pay attention to some photographers staring at her... (Raisio, Finland)

bird, great black-backed gull, Roscoff, France

GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL: Encountering the biggest of all gulls is like meeting a goose, one better stays well aware of the mighty beak... (Roscoff, France)

bird, black-headed gull, Masku, Finland

BLACK-HEADED GULL: This bird ticks all the boxes for a perfect photographic object - he does not mind human presence, he is always superbly elegant and he loves posing for the camera both perching... (Masku, Finland)

bird, black-headed gull, Saint Valery sur Somme, France

BLACK-HEADED GULL: ... and flying. (Saint Valery sur Somme, France)

BLACK-HEADED GULL: In addition, he sports a very different plumage outside of the breeding season... (Audresselles, France)

BLACK-HEADED GULL: ...with a characteristic black spot on an otherwise white head. (Prague, Czech Republic)

bird, herring gull, juvenile, Escalles, France

HERRING GULL: Photographing this very common bird is easy, identifying the age of the juvenile is not. The one on this photo may be in his second winter but only an expert could really say... (Escalles, France)

HERRING GULL: The problem of identification disappears when observing the adults. The non-breeding plumage features the typical brawn marking on the head and neck. (Perros-Guirec, France)

bird, great cormorant, Escalles, France

GREAT CORMORANT: The relations between cormorants and humans are currently not at their best but even those who hate cormorants must admire their hunting skills and elegant appearance. (Escalles, France)

COMMON REDSHANK: When not wading through water, this bird likes very much sitting on elevated points overlooking the wetlands which makes photographing him very easy... (Mietoinen, Finland)

bird, common eider, female, Ruissalo, Finland

COMMON EIDER: Meeting the legendary eider duck is such a pleasure. Even if the female lacks the crazy colors of the male, seeing the triangular head and overall elegance fully justifies the journey to the inclement climate in the north... (Ruissalo, Finaland)

bird, common eider, juvenile, Ruissalo, Finland

COMMON EIDER: The unmistakable triangular head characterizes this duck from his very early days... (Ruissalo, Finaland)

bird, carrion crow, Brussels, Belgium

CARRION CROW: More common than a magpie and more difficult to photograph too. The light just needs to be perfect to give some dimension to the black feathers... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, carrion crow, juvenile, Nivelles, Belgium

CARRION CROW: Easier to photograph than the adult but still a formidably strong bird, just keep your distance also from the juvenile... (Nivelles, Belgium)

bird, European goldfinch, female, Masku, Finland

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH: The female is much more discretely coloured than the male, yet still easy to spot as goldfinches typically move around in smaller groups comprising also some males.  (Masku, Finland)

bird, hybrid duck, bibbed duck, Lago di Garda, Cassone di Malcesine, Italy

HYBRID "BIBBED" DUCK: In addition to all other complexities, such as male or female, adult or juvenile, winter plumage or breeding plumage, the innocent photographer will sometimes face this type of situation. Apparently a hybrid between a mallard and a domestic duck... (Cassone di Malcesine, Italy)

bird, blackbird, Masku, Finland

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD: The blackbird does not mind humans, great for the photographer. But even if happy to visit man-made structures and to sing to get attraction, the juvenile's will put most of his attention to inspecting his own excrements. (Masku, Finland)

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD: The blackbird also happens to be one of the few species where taking a photo of the female seems easier than of the male... (Perros-Guirec, France)

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD: ...which really requires the right light not to appear just plain black. (Porto Conte, Italy)

SONG THRUSH: Typically rather difficult, because hiding in the undergrowth, perfectly masked, not willing to be seen. Yet he has his moment of craving the camera, especially on warm mornings in the spring... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, song thrush, Brussels, Belgium

SONG THRUSH: The juvenile, sitting quietly on the branches and waiting for food delivery, makes, as is so often the case, a much easier photographic target... (Brussels, Belgium)

ARCTIC TERN: Crazily enough, this bird spends his summers in the Arctic and the winters in the Antarctica. No wonder it is a superbly elegant flyer, always willing to demonstrate his skills for the camera. (Kustavi, Finland)

bird, juvenile arctic tern, Kustavi, Finland

ARCTIC TERN: The juvenile may already be an accomplished flyer but still has serious problems processing a fish delivered straight to his beak by the caring parent. (Kustavi, Finland)

bird, gull-billed tern, Sables-d'Or-les-Pins, France

GULL-BILLED TERN: Like other terns, this bird protects his territory very aggressively and keeping sufficient distance is an absolute must... (Sables-d'Or-les-Pins, France)

bird, European reed warbler, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN REED WARBLER: This is an extremely difficult bird who is best photographed in spring... (Brussels, Belgium) 

bird, European reed warbler, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN REED WARBLER: ...since later towards the summer, the vegetation is becoming too dense, making the photo session to a total lottery. (Brussels, Belgium) 

bird, common starling, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON STARLING: When chicks need to be fed, both parents work very hard to collect the required amount of insects and they don't care much about the presence of the camera. Any city park will provide a good venue... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, common starling, female, Mietoinen, Finland

COMMON STARLING: ...whether it is for the still glossy male of for the totally exhausted female. (Mietoinen, Belgium)

bird, common starling, juvenile, Ruissalo, Finland

COMMON STARLING: The chick in turn, at this early stage profoundly confused, does not mind at all being photographed... (Ruissalo, Finland)

bird, common moorhen, adult, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON MOORHEN: You can go twenty times to the moorhen's nesting site without catching a glimpse of him. But patience pays off here, the bird may be common but remains spectacular in the low sunlight. (Brussels, Belgium) 

bird, common moorhen, juvenile, chick, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON MOORHEN: The chick is even more elusive. With his typical blue and red head colouring, he looks totally defenceless but is actually a good swimmer who knows very well how to disappear quickly. (Brussels, Belgium) 

bird, monk parakeet, Brussels, Belgium

MONK PARAKEET: Ornithologists can engage in their high level discussions on the dangers of introduced species to the local avifauna... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, monk parakeet, Brussels, Belgium

MONK PARAKEET: ...a photographer simply appreciates the encounter with a member of the small parakeet population living in the city. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, common chaffinch, female, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON CHAFFINCH: Of all the birds of Europe, this is the most common one. But ubiquity does not equal to easy spotting and effortless photographing. Especially the rather discretely coloured females can be quite difficult clients. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, common chaffinch, Belgium, Huldenberg

COMMON CHAFFINCH: The males, on the other hand, usually poses for the camera happily, displaying the lovely coloration of his head and chest. (Huldenberg, Belgium)

HOUSE SPARROW: This may well be the best known of European birds and he represents such an integral part of areas inhabited by humans that it feels natural to photograph him just from the balcony at home... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, house sparrow, female, Turku, Finland

HOUSE SPARROW:  Just like with any other birds, the mother sparrow is always ready to defend the chicks... (Turku, Finland)

HOUSE SPARROW:  ...which by their look will still need that protection for a while. (Turku, Finland)

bird, sanderling, Plougrescant, France

SANDERLING: Very common on the shores of northern Europe and therefore not difficult to photograph. But he will typically be wading below the level which the photographer can easily reach. For this reason, the best opportunity usually arises when he takes to the air. (Plougrescant, France)

bird, juvenile mute swan, Saint Valery sur Somme, France

MUTE SWAN: The juvenile swan still has some time left growing into the biggest local bird but he is already enjoying the attention of the camera. (Saint Valery sur Somme, France)

bird, common coot, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON COOT: Ornithologically, this bird is best known for his harsh treatment of excess chics. Photographically, he poses the usual problem of dark coloured species. Even if tame, the black feathers make good light indispensable and one must therefore be on location by sunrise. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, juvenile coot, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON COOT: Who of those chicks will eventually make it depend entirely on the parents' assessment of weather forecast and food availability. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, juvenile common coot, France, Saint Valery sur Somme

COMMON COOT: Those chicks which survive the first few weeks of parental treatment will quickly start displaying all the physical characteristics of the adults. (Saint Valery sur Somme, France)

bird, blackcap, eurasian blackcap, male, singing, sylvia aricapilla

EURASIAN BLACKCAP: This is a nervous little bird, permanently moving since permanently fighting for space with other blackcaps. Fortunately, when he decides to stop for a singing performance, he actually stays put for quite a while, giving the photographer a decent success chance. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, Eurasian blackcap, female, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN BLACKCAP: The difference to the male is that the female never decides to stop for singing. When both are on display, she needs to be given priority for photography because the male will reappear after a while, she probably not. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, Eurasian blackcap, juvenile, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN BLACKCAP: Getting the chance to take a photo of the chicks is the bonus of early mornings in late spring. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, mallard, female, St Valery sur Somme, France

MALLARD: This bird is of course so common that for many people he would be the wild duck an sich. Hence safer to wait a bit with taking the photo until some action happens. (Saint Valery sur Somme, France)

bird, juvenile mallard, Saint Valery sur Somme, France

MALLARD: It is almost impossible to think about duckling in other terms than the level of cuteness. Then again, is that ornithologically a bad thing? (Saint Valery sur Somme, France)

MALLARD: A great companion to humans since well before ancient Egypt, nobody else can claim the right to be so well aware of his own importance... (Parainen, Finland)

bird, common gadwall, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON GADWALL: Like all ducks, the gadwall does not mind at all being photographed, one only needs to locate his feeding grounds... (Brussels, Belgium) 

bird, common gadwall, female, Brussels, Belgium

COMMON GADWALL: ...where both male and female will wait for a family photo. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, tufted duck, Brussels, Belgium

TUFTED DUCK: This duck is still an easy object to photograph but he will maintain his distance and taking a picture in the morning, when the water remains nicely quiet for the reflexions, can be a bit tricky due to the dark head... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, northern shoveler, male, Mons, Belgium

NORTHERN SHOVELER: The shoveler, on the other hand, will always pose happily for the camera, such as this male in his non-breeding plumage. (Harchies, Belgium) 

bird, northern shoveler, female, Mons, Belgium

NORTHERN SHOVELER: The female's colors may be less conspicuous but also she insists on having her characteristically shaped beak photographed. (Harchies, Belgium) 

CANADA GOOSE: This bird is so big when adult that a photographer may easily find himself attacked. However, even if a formidable animal when grown up... (Seneffe, Belgium)

bird, Canada goose, juvenile, Brussels, Belgium

CANADA GOOSE: ...everybody has to start as a gosling. (Seneffe, Belgium) 

bird, barnacle goose, Ruissalo, Finland

BARNACLE GOOSE: Smaller than the Canada goose and therefore less scary in close contact. But equally patient and ready to be photographed... (Ruissalo, Finland) 

bird, barnacle goose, Ruissalo, Finland

BARNACLE GOOSE: ...especially when the goslings take their time to finish the lunch. (Ruissalo, Finland) 

bird, greylag goose, Hulpe, Belgium

GREYLAG GOOSE: Easy to find all over Europe, a calm and unpretentious bird, pleasure to photograph... (La Hulpe, Belgium)

bird, hybrid goose, Seneffe, Belgium

HYBRID GOOSE: Without expert advice, difficult to say what exactly happened? Surely one parent was a Canada goose but the other one? Domestic goose...? (Seneffe, Belgium)

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER: Since the European forests are full of these woodpeckers, one can, with a bit of patience, appreciate the subtle but clearly visible differences between individuals, such as an adult female,... (Seneffe, Belgium)

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER: adult male with his characteristic crimson-red nape,... (Masku, Finland)

bird, great spotted woodpecker, juvenile, Masku, Finland

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER: ...their chicks still having the red crown... (Masku, Finland)

bird, great spotted woodpecker, juvenile, Seneffe, Belgium

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER: ...and still being hungry... (Seneffe, Belgium)

MEDIUM SPOTTED WOODPECKER: ...and between the adults of their middle spotted cousins.  (Brussels, Belgium)

dunnock, Brussels, Belgium

DUNNOCK: A more difficult photo-client among the common birds. His entire appearance is designed for hiding and even when spotted, he can be mistaken for a sparrow. On the other hand, he lives almost everywhere and he likes perches with a good view... (Brussels, Belgium)

dunnock, juvenile, Brussels, Belgium

DUNNOCK: The juvenile is missing the characteristic blueish colouring of the parents but displays a very similar behaviour and territoriality. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, Eurasian magpie, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN MAGPIE: Taking a photo of a magpie is not that straightforward, as she likes to stay at the photographically difficult levels - on the ground or high in the canopy. But one can compensate by choosing an elevated platform, such as a balcony for this photo, given that she likes city life so much... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, egyptian goose, belgium, brussels

EGYPTIAN GOOSE: An African bird which seems to be doing alright in Europe, even though the area where he lives is limited to only some few countries, in particular the Netherlands and Belgium. Photographically obviously super easy, it's a goose after all... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, juvenile Egyptian goose, Brussels, Belgium

EGYPTIAN GOOSE: Also the chicks are used to human presence from day one and do not mind being photographed... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, grey heron, Brussels, Belgium

GREY HERON: Fishermen don't kill them anymore and grey herons can be therefore do their own fishing in peace and quiet... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, grey heron, nesting, feeding, grey heron chicks, Brussels, Belgium

GREY HERON: ...but finding a nest still takes a bit of searching. (Brussels, Belgium)

EURASIAN NUTHATCH: Typically seen in some acrobatic positions climbing down the tree trunks but even the nuthatch needs to relax now and then. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, common buzzard, perching

COMMON BUZZARD: A patient bird which has nothing against the camera and can be easily found in open fields, as well as in city parks. This is the basics of birds-of-prey photography. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, eurasian wren, perching, brussels, belgium

EURASIAN WREN: Very common but rather difficult photographic objects, given their small size and tendency to spend most time in the undergrowth. But the adults do take regular singing breaks on twigs located at the perfect height... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, Eurasian wren, juvenile, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN WREN: ...and the juveniles just ask to be fed, no matter when and where. (Brussels, Belgium)

COMMON WOOD-PIGEON: Pigeons and doves make a very interesting family of birds with a lot of subtleties too often ignored by clueless photographers. But with a bit of patience, one can virtually anywhere spot a number of species, such as the wood pigeon... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, wood pigeon, juvenile, Stockholm, Sweden

COMMON WOOD-PIGEON: ...including a juvenile... (Stockholm, Sweden)

COLLARED DOVE: ...or the collared dove. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, European robin, Brussels, Belgium

EUROPEAN ROBIN: Taking straightforward photos of robins in one's own backyard is a great reminder that the common city birds are as lovely as the exotic beauties from the tropes... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, European robin, Raisio, Finland

EUROPEAN ROBIN: With plumage colours of the juveniles so dissimilar to those of the parents, observing robins in spring is such a delight. (Raisio, Finland)

bird, European robin, Brussels, Belgium

EUROPEAN ROBIN: Not all is of course idyllic in the avian world, old age, diseases, parasites, injuries etc. exist among birds like among humans. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, belgium, brussels, boitsfort, blue tit

EURASIAN BLUE TIT: While the adults are easy to spot almost all year round... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, blue tit, Brussels, Belgium

EURASIAN BLUE TIT: ...and may be readily posing for the camera... (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, Eurasian blue tit, juvenile, Masku, Finland

EURASIAN BLUE TIT: fun is to photograph the juveniles, the original models for Angry Birds. (Masku, Finland)

bird, great tit, perching, Brussels, Belgium

GREAT TIT: The great tit, on the other hand, can get so tame in some venues that it will basically eat from your hand. One of the few birds where a telephoto lens is not necessary. Yet, it is still a small bird with its jerky movements and low appetite for posing... (Brussels, Belgium)

GREAT TIT: ...except when fully focused on the juicy worm. (Brussels, Belgium)

bird, great tit, juvenile, Masku, Finland

GREAT TIT: Strangely enough, the great tit is one of the few birds where getting a photo of an adult requires less effort than photographing a juvenile. The chicks just seem too erratic in their movements rather than slow as so many other juveniles. (Masku, Finlad)

European Greenfinch, male, Seneffe, Belgium

EUROPEAN GREENFINCH: This bird fortunately likes perching on branches which give him good overview of his surroundings which in turn results in relatively easy job for the photographer. (Seneffe, Belgium)

bird, european greenfinch, Kaarina, Finland

EUROPEAN GREENFINCH: The preference for perches higher in the trees is clear... (Kaarina, Finland)

bird, European greenfinch, Sardinia, Italy

EUROPEAN GREENFINCH: ...but feeding on the ground also offers good photo angles, especially when the preferred perch happens to be the one ten meters high, on the very top of tree. (Porto Conte, Italy)

WHITE WAGTAIL: In the summer, photographing wagtails becomes rather a lesson in entomology than in ornithology... ​​​​​​​(Masku, Finland)
bird, white wagtail, female, Masku, Finland

WHITE WAGTAIL: ...both for the male and the female... (Masku, Finland)

WHITE WAGTAIL: ...because the juvenile's appetite is just incredible. A nice side effect, nobody cares about a photographer hiding in the nearby bushes. (Masku, Finland)

bird, European pied flycatcher, Masku, Finland
EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER: At the height of the season, both parents have to feed virtually without any break. After delivering the food, the male stops for a short moment on a nearby branch... (Masku, Finland)
European pied flycatcher, female, Finland, Masku

EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER: ...making sure there is no danger lurking while the female delivers the next load. (Masku, Finland)

bird, juvnile, European pied flycatcher, Masku, Finland

EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER: The juvenile is characteristically clumsy during his first moments out of nest, giving the photographer plenty of opportunities to take some few shots(Masku, Finland)

bird, juvenile, common gull, Masku, Finland

COMMON GULL: Raising the chicks on a supermarket carpark may sound risky but perhaps not such a bad idea in southern Finland, with the traffic very limited and the bird family quickly acquiring a celebrity status among the supermarket's customers... (Masku, Finland)

bird, common gull, Masku, Finland

COMMON GULL: ...especially with the more standard feeding grounds just behnid the car park. (Masku, Finland)


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