Posts in Category: fauna

Sparrow, not Jack…

The house sparrow. Not shy… on the contrary, quite bold. First a wild look from the bushes, then a quick hop onto the table and then ingratiating myself to get piece from my cake. Gave some nice pictures, so he got some crumbs too.


The icy grip of winter is still felt and with temperatures below 5 degrees in the evening, clouds and lots of rain, the whole of spring is slightly delayed. This wasp looked anything but fit when I found it. I placed her in the sparse rays of the sun and soon she was gone. Before that, she posed nicely for me.


Lord Shen

A few days off and out to the Edersee, in a small hut, on the beautiful paradise campsite. Turns out that there are not only the usual farm residents, but also two male peacocks and one of them is this wonderful albino. No matter who came by, no matter what squeaked and whistled… he answered and courted. Take a close look at him… if it weren’t for his jewelry, he would actually be pretty ugly. Nature knows how to package things beautifully.


One and a half woodlice

First foray into the macro world. Anyone who follows my posts knows that I’ve wanted a macro lens for a long time, but was always too stingy. With the prospect of grey, cold, wet winter days with little light and mood, I bought this Sigma used. Except for two test photos, it stayed in the closet because the little creepy crawlies don’t really like the bad weather either. Then yesterday, while I was putting the pot back on the balcony, I came across this isopod, which was either sitting next to half of its relative or had just shed its skin. Sometimes I’m glad that I’m a big person and that these creatures don’t meet me at eye level.

Bussard in the rain

Today I put all my obligations and appointments aside and went out into nature. The weather was suboptimal, as they say. It seems like April was a little early this year because it was raining heavily when I stepped outsid. Thanks to great apps, you can look at the cloud bands directly above your location and see when the rain takes a break, but of course that doesn’t save you if you’re in the middle of the forest and it’s pouring.

After the first 500m there was another shower and the idea of limiting the tour to a short lap creeped into my head, but then there was a big boost of motivation: This nice Mr. Buzzard was sitting on the other side of the street, right on the sidewalk. When I discovered him, passers-by came only about two meters past him and I was already cursing inside. They didn’t see him and he noticed that very clearly and stayed. On the other hand, he spotted me straight away, but it was another one of those magical moments where the animal realizes that I meant it no harm and reacted with curiosity rather than fear. I got within 3 meters of him and he posed and eyed me and the thick lens. Thank you, dear Buzzard, for these three minutes. Made my day! This gave me the motivation to continue my trip and I spent four fantastic hours in the forrest.

The Cormorant Machine

Down on the Main is the old loading terminal of the former Höchst/Clariant Chemie. The cormorants have taken over it and are drying their feathers high up above the water, in the sun.

It’s nice when old man-made things are conquered by animals and nature.



While the heron tends to move around with a gentle flap of its wings, it takes out the smallest and fastest animals when hunting: mice, frogs, hamsters… but it’s not called the “Fischreiher” (fish heron) in German for nothing, as it  actually lives on banks and floodplains. The increased rainfall and resulting floods in recent years have created new wetlands – both voluntary and involuntary – and the heron population has increased significantly.

The big guy I was watching here took at least one fish out of the water during the 20 minutes and came away empty-handed twice.

Be water!

It is a fixed rite for all animals that they practice body care. In swimming poultry, it is even fundamentally important that the fat from the gland specifically designed for this purpose is incorporated into the feathers. Because without this treatment they would simply perish. This Canada goose was bathing and kept diving head first into the water and letting it run down her back. Caught just as she lifted her head and the water was still running all over.

Mighty wings

I’m back where I didn’t really want to be: too little time to do things right. How do you notice that? In this specific case, I no longer had enough daylight until I could go out with the camera… but whatever? The birds stay with me and this buzzard also allowed me to take a few nice photos, albeit with too high an ISO, which is why this picture was more of an attempt at art than a pure photo. Too many branches, but otherwise okay.

Common kestrel

There are times when photography is easy and beautiful and there are times when the circumstances are anything but good. I have often met my special friend, the krestel, in his hunting grounds on the Fechenheim meadows or on the Bürgel side of the Main. This time I was out quite early and the sun remained in its bed of clouds. With a little software magic, you can still see it easily and yes, it is still winter when the birds prefer to pounce on the flattened menu on the street instead of hunting. 😉


There is something gracefully magical about them, the ravens. Always dressed up in their black feather tailcoats, they are everywhere. The common raven itself lives up to 28 years and we know from fairy tales and legends that they are clever. But even on the street you can see them cracking nuts by placing them on rails or dropping them from a height onto hard ground. Here are four beautiful pictures of the raven.

Kingfisher #3 – colourful ghost

The day started with a headache and body aches and the children weren’t enthusiastic about going outside either – too cold, too grey and too unfit. With little hope of getting something great in front of my lens, I grabbed Spike and the camera and wanted to walk for an hour towards the forest, along the Hainbach. And suddenly he was, flying past me like an colourful arrow and sitting on a branch 30m behind me. I dropped everything, dog leash, gloves, bag and fumbled out the camera as quickly as I could so I could at least take a few pictures before he moved on. The disappointment came at home: ISO 18000. Thanks to a lot of post-processing, it is now “vieawble”. .. at least significantly better than the last attempt. I’m getting closer, yessss!

Gray eminence

Is it wildlife when untamed birds come to the zoo to steal some food? Somehow yes and someway no. Scatter food to attract wildlife is often frowned upon in many places in the scene. On the one hand, it’s almost like the old trappers when you lure the animals with treats. On the other hand, the food that comes from humans is sometimes contaminated, treated with additives and, in short, of poor and dangerous quality. Well, since this gray heron came to the Frankfurt Zoo when the seals were being fed, I assume that this is a gray area 😉 : Yes, he is wild and no, he is half tame if he knows where he can steal his fish every day. He has also largely lost his fear of people. … and the frontal shot shows what I said a few posts ago: herons are graceful animals, as long as they don’t look at you head-on.


Since I started wandering through the forest more consciously, I see them often. It used to be something special to see a woodpecker. Is this due to my training, or are there simply more woodpeckers in the forest? He diligently and diligently worked on the branch and got a few delicacies from the bark.

Robins singing

High and shrill with some modulo early in the evening. I like the little robins. They are curious and not exactly shy and if you approach it with a little calm and caution, they will come to you on their own and turn the tables. They then watch you and slowly sneak closer and closer. Here I was the one who sneaked up and even unnoticed.

Buzzard for lunch

It looks like I have a connection with buzzards. Even though it’s really cold today, I took my camera to work and went out into the field during my lunch break. After 15 minutes I was almost frozen and decided to call it a day and was about to tuck away my gear, but decided to do in the warmth of the office – I was lucky, because this buzzard was sitting at the bridge over the Nidda, right a the entrance of work. He was just tearing apart its prey, so it was lunchtime for him as well. I wouldn’t have noticed his sight if a large dog approaching, who was just taking his master for a walk, hadn’t stared at him as if spellbound. Suddenly he flew close to me and crouched in the tree above me. Well… pictures turned out to be quite nice portraits, but the gray weather, dull colors and the trees in the background dampen the experience. I need to practice more here.

Breath of the gooses

This is what it looks like when the goose cry… not quite Prince like. 😉 Sun! For what felt like an eternity everything was just grey, wet and cold. It was cold today too, but the sun was there. After breakfast, I quickly went to the Friedrichsweiher, sneaked around the corner and looked at how the animals defy the weather. Your Egyptian geese do what they usually do: make noise! Thanks to the low sun and low temperatures, her breath was visible.

Gray heron and the mouse

It is the most common heron species, according to NABU, and yes, there are some in Karben. On my lunchtime walk I pass a field where two herons have been hunting for a week. I missed the big spectacle because I didn’t have a camera with me, but the 10 minutes yesterday were worth it. First he strutted across the mown field with his head held high and caught a mouse for lunch, then he preferred to move on.

Jay does his thing.

On an abandoned ice rink, which is currently just a meadow and only has a loudspeaker mast and a small one, a not shy fellow was looking for food stretchers. He cleared leaves, moss and other things around again. Until he finally found the food that gave him his name. But it seemed to me that wasn’t enough, because he continued to collect diligently.

The jay again

Hard to miss and the most magnificent among the corvids, as it belongs to this genus. This makes him one of the smarter fellows in the forest and he likes to steal the biggest chunks from the feeder – but with his up to 35cm tall appearance he can do that too. This one waited obediently until I pointed my camera at him before he flew away from this big, black eye.


Keas are considered one of the smartest bird species in the world. They use tools and recognize their own reflection, they are playful, bright and take everything apart… including sheep. Yes, exactly. Keas have been observed attacking sheep in packs, scratching the fur and skin with their sharp claws to get at the body fat. This resulted in an estimated 150,000 kea being killed by the early 1970s.

In the Frankfurt Zoo they live somewhat hidden, behind the large playground and are definitely worth a visit.

Humboldt penguins

The Humboldt penguins at Frankfurt Zoo are a funny bunch. One of the things I particularly like about them is that you can read their expressions and see what they’re up to. They are far from being cunning and if something doesn’t go right, they complain loudly and even throw some slaps. The one on the big picture was dozing in the late october sun.

30 minutes with the grey heron

Gray herons are not an uncommon guest on my blog, which is because they have been reappearing in our cities in recent years – you just see them more often. I can’t say exactly what it is, but there’s something about these animals: while they look very graceful and beautiful profile, they look a bit dumb and weird from the front. This fellow here wasn’t shy, but kept his distance when I got too close to him.

Roe deer

After my heart attack in January, I had to slow down and load up less. Instead of being stuck in front of the screen, I went out with the camera and was outside for several hours almost every day and that’s what my body needed. The animals seemed to sense that I was no longer so hectic, so charged, and they remained so. Some of the most beautiful pictures were taken because the subject I was photographing found me just as interesting as I did. Impatience and lack of time are the death of good photos, as I have now learned after 17 years, and it is therefore clear why the results are better now than all the years before. On the one hand, I was traveling alone and didn’t have to take anyone into account. No children making noise and running ahead, no partner impatiently waiting for me to take the picture… just me, the animals and the camera. It’s a shame, because my two children are very fond of animals, but they are too impatient to wait long for something.

This deer was no exception. It was preening itself in the evening sunshine and initially didn’t notice me as I approached slowly, but after work I’m usually busy too and so it noticed me quite quickly. A wonderful indicator that I need to spend more time outside to find peace. On the other hand I would love to go on a trip with a likeminded photographer. Always nicer to share adventures. 



I really dig those little critters and I am happy that they become common guest in our gardens and parks. Don’t know if it was me, neglecting my surrounding when I was younger… but no!… they seem to invade the city en masse, lately.

Spent 20 minutes with this one that was very busy jumping around, collecting nuts at Schlosspark/Bürgel. Sadly the light is vanishing quite early already and so there is not much time after work. These fotos were shot on highes ISO and they turned out to be soooooo noisy that I would have kicked them in the virtual dustbin, but once more Topaz Laps turned them into something to show… at least when you don’t zoom in.



Browsing through my photos of this year and sorting out massive amounts, as space is scarce I found these two pictures of probably the boss of the lowland gorillas. Impressivly strong animals. Would have loved to spent much more time with them, but family dragged on. A truth about photography: it takes time to do it right. As much as I love to have the kids with me on a photo-trip, I don’t think it going to happen anytime soon. And so the clock often runs in favour of the family which is absolutely correct decision, but the images suffer. Probably I love being surrounded by animals, even kids. 😉

Comoroant in the wind

As common on islands you get a fair bit of wind and storms. The last three days have been up to “Orkanböen” (hurricane), hence wind up to 10-12 Beaufort at times. Sun and rain kept coming and going in the usual 5 minute turns and I had a hard time to keep my lens out of wind direction, as it blew up a lot of sand which acted as flying sandpaper.

Animals are used to be outside the whole time and can deal with harsh conditions better then we humans do, although the cormorants don’t seem to be happy about the flying sand either. They kept shaking off the sand and rather stayed ashore. Only could get a few shots from behind, as they were sitting in a restricted breading area where passer were asked not to step in.

Arctic tern

The name derives from their breeding area, high up around the north pole. During the harsh winters, it travels all the way down to the south pole which makes it the the migratory bird with the longest travel. I watched them hunt, over at Ellenbogen/Sylt until the rain came. Would have loved to stay longer, but I wasn’t alone and had to catch the ride back. Great flyers and wonderful to observe. This pictures do hardly justice to their skills…


… so the oystercatcher is called here in Denmark, which literarily translate to beach magpie. Indeed it’s black an white feathers provoke similar names in other countries. In Germany it fun name is “Halligstroch”. Once again the similarities to an ostrich are bound to its black and white appearance and its storming around in the mud.
I had to find a spot where I could approach them better and faster than in the muddy wadden sea. Luckily Rømø is connected to the mainland via a huge dam that even has a bicycle path. I rode out there and along the dam birds were sitting in lager flocks… and off course they took off whenever I got closer than fifty meters. Anyway, light was good and they seem to know that they didn’t have to go far to be out of my reach.

Actually, I got out there in hope to find some bald eagles hunting. Yes, their population is growing and they found out about the wadden sea and its festive table of food. Somewhere I read that they often can be observed from the dam Off course no eagles too be found but that kind of endeavor takes more than one spontaneous cycle ride to be successful. Enjoy their oystercatcher in flight. I did and the challenge I posed to myself in the last post… well, check!

Bar-tailed godwit

Wikipedia states that they are an endangered species, although noting that they tend to show up in large flocks of ten thousand birds a more in the wadden sea. Here on Rømø they do appear along the shallow shores of the madden sea quite frequently. Took me few hours and dirty cloth to get near enough to get some decent pictures. There is nothing to hide when water is gone and the flat, muddy ground with its inhabitants that are used to spent half a day under water and the next in the wet mud. When I was farest from the shore the rain set in and it was about than that they partly started ignoring me and seem to care more about digging for foot than running away from me. Before I wasn’t able to get closer than 30 meters, as one of them hissed its waring call and all flew off. This was the first session and there is more to come. The oystercatchers are far more sensitive and shy away earlier….. challenge accepted. 😉


water strider

Fossil findings show they were here about a 100 Mil. years ago and they are still around. They are fast – up to 1,5m/s and they can jump as far as 35cm and that all on the surface of water. You have to be somehow impressed, right?



talking to a buzzard

Not much time left for the fine things in live when you gotta job to do. Yesterday I rushed home, grabbed my camera, hopped on my bike and got to the Carl Ulrich Brücke where I got a flat tire. Walking from here, only left me with  one hour for getting to the renatured grounds on the Fechenheim side – not much, but it turned out to be worthwhile.

I already could hear this buzzard scream, while I was climbing down the steep steps at the bridge. A few meters away there was a tiny path leading to another billabong that I never noticed. Bushes flanked both sides, so I had kind of a natural cover. Of course it noticed me first and flew off, screaming all the time. I started to whistle an answer, trying to imitate its call and suddenly it flew right above the small trees, right over my head. This game continued for a couple more rounds and ended, while lady with a huge dog appeared and shied it away.

Guess, I never got that close to a buzzard and it was a really touching experience. While looking through the net, I found a recent article from NABU, saying that buzzards are known to protect their nests against jogger, even attacking them. It was screaming before I got near and so I want to believe that it was calling for its offspring and not shouting at me to get lost.


red admiral – 15 minutes with the butterfly

I must have been around 4 or five years old. It was summer and I was sitting with my granny in the garden watching the butterlies. I always wanted to catch one and this very day I managed it. It was sitting on a flower, wings closed above is head an I just walked up to it and crabbed it with two fingers. So happy that I ran up to my granny showing it to her. The next thing I noticed was a strange power on my fingertips. It had the the same colours as the the wings of the butterfly. My Grandpa walked by and explained to me that the butterfly now has to die, because of my touch. I was devastated and since then I only observe them. This red admiral is probably on his big trip and seemed to be as curious as me. He only flew off when I got to close, circling me and landing again in short distance, observing me.

beauty goose

Beauty shot of a Canadian goose – not quite a duck face, 🙂 I like them much better than the Egyptian goose that flood our seas and rivers over the last years. Wonder if this is due to the fact that they are loud an pushy, tend to embark on the other water birds and are loud, where as its Canadian counterpart is gentle and seldom aggressive, though losing its habitat to the “stronger” fellows. This is a problem I am still struggling with my own kids: Shall I raise them to be reserved, generous and helpful in any way and probably get run over and pushed aside by the rude other ones that just don’t care about others or should I tell them to go bully and grab what they want? Guess the truth is that even if I opt for the latter I couldn’t pull it off as I was raised the polite way. At the moment it seems a little outdated but I hope for the long term effect….

black-crested gibbon

This gibbon is part of a family living Zürich zoo. Love to watch them swing through their territory – soooo fast and with such ease – just elegant. They are monogam and defend their territory against threats, which renders them one of the big loser species that really suffer under the vanishing rain forest.


It is so much life around the rivers and meadows. Seems to be a good year for dragonflies – they are everywhere and overall. Here are some pictures of banded demoiselles, minding their business.


I find those to be very sociable, funny birds. Always in groups and never alone, they march over fields and meadows in order to find insects. In Bieber the field was mowed and between the cutoff excess the starlings were jumping around, hunting the insects that were not fast enough to find shelter. Happy yummy yum.

mighty ducks

One thing I like about being out and capturing the animals around me is the fact that you look more closely to animals that are very common, e.g. ducks. They can be seen on any bit of water around here, no matter if in the center of the city or in a remote river hidden in the woods. Especially the male ones are very nice to look at with quite some color palette on their feather dress. Here are a some shots showing how this drake prepares itself and later starts to orchestrate….

muscovy duck

There are creatures that radiate a certain authority and seem to be dangerous by nature. Ugly or interesting? Can’t make up my mind on this muscovy duck. It’s face and look are rather of nightmares, isn’t it?

golden lion tamarin

The name is actually not that strange as it seems. Take a close look at its face. It’s got the expression and shape that resembles a lions face although not the eyes – the mane does the rest. Like those little critters! Shot through thick glass at the Zürich Zoo so images are not particular sharp.

As all the sorts of lion tamarins their population is constantly decreasing due to Barzil clearing off their rainforest.


wagtail on the hunt

Wagtails are very common around here. Wherever there is water and some bushes you will most likely find one of them, patrolling the shoreline, jumping into the air, flapping and catching insects. Overcast and a little windy, plus the tendency to wiggle and wobble through the air made these shots a challenge. Focus was slow, so was my reaction and I would have needed more focal length to get closer.

trouble ahead

Goose as a race seem to be very vehement when it comes to guarding there territory. As soon as other goose appear far at the sky, they start shouting and threatening the new arrivals. Especially the Egyptian goose seems to have this habit. As there is only so much space on smaller lakes the confrontation is unavoidable and only a question of time. Here are two pairs colliding at the ruin of Mühle Renigishausen. Beavers seem to have build a dam and flooded the forrest behind. A really nice spot, but mostly in the shadows.



If there’s water, there will be life! In the last couple of years a lot of renaturing efforts have been made around Offenbach. The Hainbach has been “renaturiert”, hence they broke up the sleek and straight riverbed and generated sidearms that will overflow when enough water is present. This generates new sanctuaries for flora and fauna and animals like beavers are coming back. Same was done in a larger scale at river Main. New sidearms have been created.

While it still looks a little bald around the new formed ponds, life seems to get there quickly. Felled trees with clear signs of beaver teeth are present, as well as lots of birds and amphibians as these marsh frogs. The little pond is littered with tadpoles and you can hear the frogs quarks from a far. Shy as they are, they note when you get close. Took me over an hour to figure how to  sneak up to them and get some shots, which almost involved me taking off my shoes and shorts and getting into the lake. In the end I managed it through patients, slow tai chi moving and waiting.



Did you know that a wren is called “Zaunkönig” in German? That means king of the fence. According how loud these very tiny birds sing, it is an appropriate name for its species. Mighty words by the tiny mighty king.


woody woodpecker

…once more. The more time I spent in the woods, the more of these funny birds I find – or at least their laughing sound can be heard everywhere. This was not so shy at all although he spottet me first and flew off a few meters. Sneaking up and moving very slowly he did not mind me anymore for a couple of seconds.


magpie vs blackbird

Rainy day and not much light. Usually not a day for good pictures, so I went out to the Gradierbau and sat in one of the beach chairs reading a book. Blackbird started yelling his alarm signal as two magpies came close to their nest. It even went after it and started attacking one magpie. I was in no good position to get a good shot, but the action is captured with distracting backdrop, high ISO grain and too high position…. next time I get myself out in the rain and down on the ground.

greylag goose

Just like the changeable weather, which overwhelms you with new moods every minute, it is just as wild and unsteady with the geese. There’s a bang every few minutes. They scold and threaten each other, flap their wings and chase each other across the lake. The graylag geese are naturally outnumbered and so they flew away to have their peace. Don’t know about you, but those grey geese along with its cousins, the domestic goose are the most beautiful and I alway look closely if I can spot Nils and carrot his hamster… 😉


buzzards nest

Two weeks ago I took a rest and got a seat in one of the beach chairs around a Gradierbau. Reading on my phone and enjoying the sun that finally made up its mind and came through the clouds, I heard buzzards call a fews times. Suddenly I noticed a huge bird landing in one of the nearby pine trees. I jumped to my camera and turned it on blindly not taking my eyes of the place where the bird landed, approaching it slowly. There it was: a big buzzard, right above a bridge that leads over river Usa and into the south park. A lot of people were minding their business below passing by and this huge, shy bird just sat there, till I came closer and once I got in a good position and plain sight, it noticed me as well. The camera lens, like a big eye pointing at it made him feel uncomfortable and so it flew off quickly.
A couple of days later I noticed that two bustards constantly hitting this tree again and again. Turns out they are building their nest, right at the top of this pine. Wisely they put it where it is hard to spot and no way to take pictures. Privacy rules, even in the land of birds. 



My rehab sessions are distributed over the whole day leaving me with scattered breaks of a few minutes to a hours each day. Today there was not enough time to go out during noon, so I watched some wildlife photography tutorials on YouTube. Suddenly I had a feeling that someone was watching me and noticed a movement at the edge of my perception. Yes! A sparrowhawk was having a break as well on the nearby clinic roof. I stumbled to the closet and got my cam out, throwing all my neatly hanging cloth off the windowframe that I put there in order to dry after washing and started shooting. Bird did not move much and I had only ten minutes till my next course startred. Sadly it did not fly off during that time (probably would have missed the shot anyway without a tripod), but I got some nice pictures nonetheless. Look how sternly he’s looking at me once my cloth were gone. I won the staring competition!

Always nice, when the “prey” turns the table and “hunts” you. 



This tiny bird can be found nearly everywhere in our hemisphere although spotting one isn’t easy. With its prefect camouflage it repeats the pattern of moss and bark and is almost invisible when not moving. A true master of climbing, it moves quickly up trees an branches hunting for insects. This particular one got a spider with its web out of an old apple tree . There are different subspecies with subtle differences that are hard to tell.