Goshawks in Germany
Well its been a while since i spent some time writing a blog for my website but better late than never. Over the winter i have mostly been concentrating on red deer and winter landscapes both of which i have some images elsewhere on this site. The last few months have seen me finalising my plans for a trip to Germany to try and view and photograph Goshawks in the wild. Most of the planning and leading was from my friend Chas Moonie from www.wildfeathers.co.uk . Chas had been the previous year, making some good contacts to help him locate these elusive birds of prey.
The Goshawk has been at the top of my photography list for many many years so to get a chance of seeing these birds in the wild was a dream come true. We started off on an Easyjet flight which was pretty painless and got us to Germany in well under 2hrs. A quick hop onto a train then a short taxi journey we were at our hotel base for the week. The hotel was basic but clean and provided a good hearty breakfast which was perfect to help us whilst standing out in often freezing temperatures for 6 or 7hrs at a time.
Shortly after arriving at our hotel we were out and about in search of the Goshawks. We only had a few hours of daylight left so decided to concentrate our efforts on a site close to our hotel. Boy were we glad we did as we quickly spotted both male and female Goshawks in the area. We found that during our stay that of all the sites we visited the female Goshawk was very wary and could only be seen at distance. The male bird however offered some decent views. In these few hours we managed to get some of our best shots of the bird with decent blue skies and uninterrupted views void of twigs and branches.
The following day we decided to try another site a few miles away, we stood in an area where we saw the male bird in the morning but later we moved location as we weren't having any success getting close enough. We were so glad we did as the male was located just above our heads in a branch (this was with us scanning just about every other tree in the area without any luck). This site over the next few days proved to be very popular with photographers as we met a few during our time there however getting clear shots wasn't as easy as the birds seemed to be tucked right up in the higher branches. We took the decision to return to the first site for a few days. Again some good views but the weather wasn't playing ball with us, cold, grey skies were the order of the day - its amazing how the cold can grind you down after 6-7hrs.
The same theme followed with grey skies on Thursday so we decided to try for Red Squirrels in an area close by. Squirrels really found us and ended with Chas hand feeding peanuts to one however they weren't interested in his offerings and were soon on their way. We spent the next few hours in the company of the Goshawks in poor weather but even this couldn't dampen our spirits. On one occasion the male landed very close and we would say it was the closest it had been all week, just at that point a small opening in the clouds came and a slither of blue sky for around 2mins. Perfect timing as the male Goshawk was sitting out in the open on a branch with some blue sky in the background - we quickly forgot about the images we had taken the rest of the week as these were looking good on the camera. The grey skies returned and we had had enough. We were leaving the following morning and the weather again wasn't great so we decided to call it a day and pack our stuff up for the journey home.
A taxi ride to the train station and a train to the airport all went smoothly as the German transport system is very good. A long wait in the airport and an even longer wait at security saw me getting stopped and taken into a room to have my camera backpack and big lenses looked at (or were they just drooling over them), a quick swab for drugs on my lens and i was a free man again - i'm starting to get used to this by now as my backpack often gets checked over by over enthusiastic security at airports. 2hrs later we were home. An epic trip which ran smoothly (with the help from Chas).
I will be adding images to the "Raptor" section for those interested in seeing this stunning and elusive woodland hunter. Till the next time. Bye.
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