Poland, Biebrzanksi Park 2018 extra

Just returned from another two-week holiday in the Biebrza area, north-east Poland. Where else I would say.
The trip was again very successful, especially since the rest of the family also had a great time. Daughter Merel is meanwhile at an age when she is doing her own thing and that means that I, together with my wife, regularly go out on the look for caterpillars.
This time again dozens of hours are spent on this subject and that is paid off in many new varieties, beautiful photo moments and ………. as a big surprise, a new species for Poland. The caterpillar at least, because the butterfly has now been observed about four hundred times in the country. This is the Shining marbled, Pseudostrotia candidula. A species from the group of owls, Noctuidae. A small nuance is that despite the fact that many people are now immersed in these groups, there will probably be a degree of unfamiliarity. And especially the extent to which an inventory is made. Does not take away that a scoop is always fun.
The Papillio machaon is still one of the favorites, despite all the rarities. The location and vegetation this time, provided a great opportunity to play extensively with composition and lighting.
Of the other dozens of images, there is still a lot to be determined, so the complete series will take some time.

Poland, Biebrzanski Park Narodowy 2018

After a long ” silence ” there is finally a new series of images and accompanying stories available on this site. It bumps a bit from holiday report to holiday report. Especially after I moved some time ago and all attention went to our new home.
Nevertheless, during this period I have been able to enjoy a short May holiday to my beloved holiday destination in Poland. In the same period a year earlier (early May), again I’ve brought my new toy, an inflatable shelter. That was a good succes and therefore it is logical that I have taken this again. It is a ” different ” perspective so low above the water and gives possibilities that you otherwise can not easily achieve.
This year too, it seemed that the large numbers of birds had visited the area at an earlier stage. At the time of my arrival the area was uncomfortably empty and the water level was also lower than hoped. The weather conditions had been quite favorable in the period before. The certainty I had in the past with regard to large numbers of birds is not there. It would be ideal to plan a longer stay so that I can see with my own eyes whether a shift has taken place. Or perhaps the numbers of birds are really lower than before. However, missing species such as Swift and Spotted Crake suspects that spring started later.
During the times that I went into the water with the floating cabin, it produced two new bird species that I have never been able to photograph properly. A pair of Little Grebe made short use of one of the floating platforms, made by displaying Whiskered Terns. And two days later, I was surprised by the presence of a trio of Black-necked Grebe. A not so general kind here. At first the birds swam away as soon as I approached them, but fortunately it appeared that they were looking for a suitable place to spend the night. By applying enough patience, I finally managed to get close enough for making a portrait. Of course, the attention was also focused on fine group recordings, but this turned out to be a difficult task.
A big mistake this holiday was a Black stork of wich I have great views of. However, the camera had remained at home due to circumstances, and it was proven once again that this is always punished. Speaking of good intentions !!!!

Poland, Biebrzanski Park Narodowy 2017

The second gallery this year of the Biebrza National Park in north east Poland. What more can I write about it? The more regular visitors of this site meanwhile know the ins and outs of this marsh area and surroundings.
And like every year, it was again the choice of our daughter to spend the summer vacation in this area. She starts getting older now and so gets a little more choice to go along with nature, or ………to stay in the guesthouse. Usually it’s the last and that gives us (my wife and I) some more time to look for photo subjects together.
Much of the time has been spent on searching for caterpillars. Certainly, now that I have received some help from one of the Dutch specialists , this remains an attractive subject. Meanwhile, our friend Jan Choinski, a local farmer, has also been “infected” with this interest and we have taken him on our trips regularly. We keep each other informed by sending SMS messages, in a simple jargon that has developed over the years. All of this has resulted in about twelve new species, including even one copy of which I have not found yet registered for Poland. Although this is a little restrained because, no hundred percent of all caterpillars one can put a lable on. Often, in this kind of cases, one tries to catch both sexes of a butterflie, and hopefully a pairing will follow and the whole cycle of egg and caterpillar can be monitored closely. Obviously all this is photographically recorded.
It was good to see that the enormous drought of the past two years was over. Although the two well-known peat moor areas were not yet at the desired level, it all was a lot better than previous years. However, we did not find any specimens of the specific species of butterflies and dragons living in this biotope. But it is also possible that we were not present at the optimum time in the season, even though these populations will had a great blow because of the long-term drought.

Polen, Biebrzanski Park Naradowy 2017

It was a long time ago that I visited my favorite area, the Biebrza marshes in north east Poland, in early spring. Over the last two years, this area had been faced with a decent drought. Because there had been quite some snow in Eastern Europe during the last winter, I was curious how the situation was now. By Facebook, I had already seen several images that were showing large area’s had been flooded. A prerequisite for large numbers of birds that are bound to water. One where the Biebrza marshes among others got its reputation.
Ones arrived, the water level appeared to be extremely favorable. Unfortunatly, this spring temperatures were lower then normal. Due to a cold wind from northern and eastern directions, many birds had a brake on their migration. From many species we did not record a single specimen. Of many kinds of songbirds we have only heard one or at most a few singles. But it was good to see that there were reasonable numbers of Ruff present. This species previously visited the area with numbers in the tens of thousands, but due to a sudden change in their migrating route, numbers had drastically declined. With the Great White Egret, things are going excellent, although I have spent little time on this species. Finally, time is limited and one has to choose from the many subjects.
About my bird photography, I gained a new experience during this trip. Years ago, I had planned to buy a floating hide, …… my own U-boat !! In order to work as well as possible, I also bought a so-called “dry suit”. A big investment, but when you accidentally enter a ditch, it means that the inside stays dry. And with a good layer of insulation, one can last for quite some time. Despite the fact that the weather conditions did not co-operate, I’m happy with the possibilities that it offers. It just adds a new dimension.
Eventually this stay in the area was again very successful. The sociability this time came from two of my sisters who accompanied me. And despite the fact that they needed some patience because I forgot the time now and then, they also seemed to liked it. The plans for next time have been devised already.

KINA 2017
KINA 2017

Holland varia 2016

A season where many people are looking forward to is spring. And despite the low temperatures at the time of this writing, it is still undeniable that spring has arrived. Trees are getting green again, the first butterflies fly around for some time now and more and more species of birds return from their wintering grounds. The fact that you can walk outside without your winter jacket give our winter-haters hope. And that while in the Netherlands, we have a mild winter compared to many other countries in the world. I’ll wonder how this group would deal with winter as it would take four full months and with severe cold and a lot of snow?
But admittedly, spring releases us from an often less appreciated season. As if the world comes back to life. In fact it only is getting more visible again.
The selection of images mirrored below gives us feeling of a returning ”better time”; courting birds, lambs in the pasture and orchids showing their attractive flowers. The ‘scary, dirty’ caterpillars have yet to transform into the more beloved butterflies, but that also is a harbinger.
Personally, I hope that temperatures stay ”normal”. In late April I’am going for a short trip back to Poland and I hope to experience the awakening of ” life ” there in full glory. The weather obviously plays a big role, but also determines the extent to which the area is flooded with water. And that’s something I’ve not seen for a long time. It is precisely these circumstances that cause the Biebrza area are often crowded with birds. Should it not be so, there are many other subjects who I want to pay attention to. As always, I will have a great lack of time because new opportunities will show up all the time.

Polen, Biebrzanski Park Naradowy 2016

Every year we let our now eight-year-old daughter, choose where we spend the summer holidays with the family. As a photographer, I can only adapt myself into this, but it should be clear that I have no problem if her choice falls on Poland. Despite the many times we have now visited the area, in terms of nature and ​​photography there is plentiful to keep myself busy.
Because of my stay there last spring, I knew that for the third consecutive year the park was experiencing a serious drought. Pity, because from one of the authors of the Crossbill guide on North Eastern Poland, I received information about a still unknown bog area for me. And despite that was dried up also, it was a wonderful place. An area which I will visit more often, especially considering that it is surrounded by beautiful Birch Forest. Scenically a small gem. However, the characteristic flora and fauna has been suffering from the lack of rain water. The big question is of course how much time is needed by the various butterflies and dragonflies to populate this area again.
The surprise this time was the large number of caterpillars which were to be found everywhere and in particular, the diversity. Often I find the same species, but this time I managed to add seventeen new species to my database. The weather conditions of the present period, it is expected to have a major influence. Incidentally, I owe some of the findings to the rest of the family. The reading glasses has become an indispensable tool for this activity. Various types are so well camouflaged that without this tool changes are very small to find them. A necessary evil so to speak. The local people sometimes do not know what to think of it, three people pointing their nose to the ground, wich at first glance, seemes like a otherwise meaningless field of weeds!
And then the temperature ….. which was in one word blissful. Last year it seemed more like a pressure cooker last, but now temperatures dis not rise above twenty degrees Celsius. Ideal weather to undertake some activities. A climb around a bunker complex from World War I was one of them. And the search for edible mushrooms is always a success. The latter, of course, under the expert guidance of our friend Jan. A rare visit to Warsaw made our holiday complete.
We are already looking forward to the surprises of the next Biebrza trip.

Poland, Biebrzanksi Park Narodowy 2016

It was quite some time since I had posted a news item. However, the holiday season is there again and the hard followers of this site are likely to explain the link of the title. The Biebrza National Park is finally a place which I visit almost every year. This year, even two visits. When we askes our daughter Merel where she wanted to go with the summerholiday, she was very firm with her answer, “Poland”.
This first visit, around mid-May, I made along with a colleague. His interest was piqued by my enthusiasm when I talked regularly about the area. I understand that he’d wants to go back again to the area.
Like in my own country, the Netherlands, Poland also faced a cold spring. The impact was particularly seen in the low numbers of butterflies, as well as the flora had yet to begin. Another striking phenomenon was that as usual, the area was completely flooded with water by the end of april, but in a few weeks time al that was gone. In particular, the numbers of waterfowl and marshbirds therefore were also very low. Again, I had not experienced this before in all these years. But when we arrived, it was over with the cold. And although I often complain about summer temperatures, for nature and photography in generality this obviously was welcome. We saw the area getting to life so to speak. The low water level reduced the numbers of amphibians and certain species of dragonflies clearly. The year 2015 also was particularly dry, but that is likely to again create opportunities for other species and areas.
Worryingly, however, is that Poland are also significant ” has gone loose ” with things like verge management. Unfortunately, this one hits on by and it does not stop a strip which, for example makes mile markers are more visible. Fortunately, there is already a national action group that denounces these practices, but if one can expected much of the current Conservative government is the question. The ” creation ”, ….. from my point of view still managed very nice, seems to be primarily a failure by many others and needs to be minimized. All things considered, a still strange position, and which would indicate the creator himself that this is the intention. Interpretation is a big word.
Fortunately, the Polish countryside is so sparsely populated that there are everywhere forgotten spots and therefore plenty of opportunities for all the beauty. And often I see coaches in the Biebrza National Park with schooling children who get a piece of information on the Polish natural pearls. There must be a good balance possible between prosperity, well-being and nature? Na Zdrowie, on everyone’s sanity !!!