Guest Post : TUSK PHOTO - Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

Great article from TUSK PHOTO who offer amazing wildlife photography tours and safaris mainly in Africa but also in North & South America on gearing up for wildlife photography.. one of the most important of which is, in my own humble opinion, in the last section mentioned in their great infographic below... "hire a LOCAL guide"..!

This one tip can in itself make or break an expensive trip..

Firstly... local guides with local knowledge can save you time hunting around for the wildlife you are there to photograph... they know the animals and their behaviours, they know the area and can take you to places you are most likely to see things, basically.. they can put you in the right place at the right time..!

Secondly and very importantly they can keep you safe..! It is not only from the animals that you could potentially be in danger from.. the weather and the terrain can be dangerous too and local guides will know when it is safe to venture out and where it is safe to venture out..!

Have fun planning.. gearing up and getting out there..! Enjoy and be safe..!

Lake Kerkini - Baby Birds 2016

To begin with.. an apology.. for the lack of recent posts and I can only plead guilty to trying to do too many things and too many projects to have the time to keep this blog going too..! Hopefully things will change a little over the coming winter months with more news and articles...

So.. our Baby Birds trip in June this year at Lake Kerkini was really fun.. fab weather (not unusual for this time of year in Greece..!) and some fab sightings.. including a family of Coypu.. 2 adults and their 2 little ones.. who posed quite oblivious to our presence on an algae covered pond ( well done all for your silent stalking skills..!)

Highlights of the trip were our canoe trips into the lake, up the Strymonas River and into the heart of the submerged forest.. we had only planned on doing this the once, but such was the enthusiasm after the first trip that we arranged a second trip to concentrate more on one area of the forest where the Spoonbills had their nursery... we also managed to photograph Grey Herons, Glossy Ibis, Night Herons, White Pelicans, Dalmatian Pelicans and many others....

A lot of fun was had photographing Little Bitterns down the many canals surrounding Lake Kerkini.. these acrobatic little birds are beautiful and difficult to spot in amongst the thick reed beds but fun to observe them as they would stalk through looking for unwary frogs and fish..

We were also lucky to spot and photograaph.. though he only gave us the briefest of views.. a stunning Purple Heron flying over the lily fields of Lake Kerkini...

Coming back from one of the 2 boat trips we made we were able to witness flocks of cormorants heading to a feeding frenzy.. and as they passed us with the sun behind we were able to get beautiful shots of them in lines as they flew low over the lake...

Best was saved till last.. with a visit to wonderful location which held nesting Kestrels.. nesting Rollers and nesting Little Owls.. unfortunately we could only position our hide for one of the species and we chose the very charming Little Owls.. though we did get a couple of nice shots of a Roller who was getting a little concerned at the ever more adventurous Little Owls who had almost fully fledged and were practicing their flying skills near his nest...

And that was on the last day of our trip... my thanks to my guests who I know had a fab time and came away with some great images and hopefully some happy memories.. hope to see you again soon..!

best wishes - and check out our trips to Lake Kerkini over the winter.. especially fab are the Purely Pelicans trips in Jan/Feb 2017 to photograph the resident Dalmatian Pelicans in their glorious full breeding plummage... have a look at some of the images from last year... link below.

all the best

George

Lake Kerkini Dec 2014 Trip Report

It was with great anticipation and excitement that we headed back up to Lake Kerkini on 12th December and despite some very challenging conditions we were able to come away with some nice images and quite a few spots...

The weather over the previous month had been exceptionally wet resulting in higher than usual water levels on the lake.. not very conducive to the waders and other shoreline birds. This meant that many birds had either left (eg.. the Lesser-white Fronted Geese appeared to have gone.. to where nobody knows..!?) or haven't arrived - yet..! (e.g... Cranes, Mergansers) 

The exceptional water levels and rains of the previous weeks also meant that the delta and submerged forest were also sodden and access was only possible by foot and even that was difficult as it involved trudging through, at times, almost knee high water and mud.

Conditions during our 7 days were a very mixed bag of glorious winter sunshine, to low cloud, fog, a little drizzle and one day, which though beautifully sunny, was so windy that I think every bird in the area was hunkered down trying to avoid getting blown away.

That being said we were able to photograph many birds and even one very curious Otter quite successfully... a few of which I have uploaded below.. and a complete list of which you can see at the end of this post...

There's still a couple of places available for our 3 day Purely Pelicans trip to Lake Kerkini on 28th January... so if you fancy joining us please get in touch.

g

List:

  • Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) - 100+
  • Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - 24
  • Bewick's Swan (Cygnus columbianus) - 8
  • White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) - 230
  • Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) - many
  • Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) - 3
  • Mallard (Anas platyrynchos) - many
  • Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) - 2
  • Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) - many
  • Pochard (Aythya ferina) - many
  • Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) - 1
  • Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) - many
  • Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) - many
  • Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - many
  • Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) - many
  • Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) - 3
  • Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) - many
  • Great White Egret (Ardea alba) - many
  • Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) - many
  • Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) - 3
  • Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) - 22
  • Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) - 100s
  • Greater Spotted Eagle - (Aquila clanga) - 3
  • Common Buzzard  (Buteo buteo) - many
  • Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) - 2
  • Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) - 1
  • Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) - 2
  • Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) - many
  • Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) - 13
  • Northern Lapwing (Vanillas vanillas) - 100+
  • Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) - 4
  • Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) - many
  • Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) - 1
  • Kingfisher (Alcedo athis) - 18
  • Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) - 2
  • European Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) - 2
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) - 4
  • Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus) - 1
  • White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) - 1
  • Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) - 1
  • Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) - 30
  • Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) - 1
  • Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) - 2
  • White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) - 1
  • Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) - 6
  • Great Tit ( Parus major) - many
  • Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) - many
  • Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - 8
  • Willow Tit (Poecile montanus) - 6
  • Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta Europaea) - 6
  • Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) - 2
  • Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - 1000+
  • Common Chaffinch - (Fringilla coelebs) - many
  • European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) - many
  • Siskin (Carduelis spinus) - 6
  • Eurasian Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) - 2
  • Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) - 6
  • Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) - 10

Mammals:

  • Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) - 2
  • Coypu (Myocastor coypus) - 1
  • Wildcat (felis silvestris) - 2

Birds of Greece - Birding Journal

Birds of Greece Journal is now ready..! 200 page 20x13cm limited edition birding journal containing selection of my own photos & a complete reference section in the back listing 446 species of birds of Greece by their Scientific, English and Greek appellations. Paper is 70gsm uncoated white.. perfect for your notes, scribbles and sketches in either pencil, pen or biro.. you can order a copy using the link below... and just in time for Xmas too..!

Lake Kerkini Video

Hi all... just a quick video I put together from various clips shot over the last year that we have been visiting Lake Kerkini on our Wildlife and Landscapes photography workshops and tours.. hopefully give you a brief idea as to why I love it so much up there and might even persuade you to join me on a trip to possibly the best wetland in Europe for getting up close to nature.

Our next available trip is in April.. though with only 4 places per trip they do fill up fast so please get in touch or sign up to receive our newsletter with all the latest news and upcoming courses.. hope to see you soon..

george