In the morning the wind is so cold that I have the impression it cuts my face like a knife, yet the locals tell me it’s a mild winter this year… (maybe I should drink one more grappa at breakfast).
Anyway, my guide will today bring me to the marsh to try to get some pictures of the birds on the water. We start quite early in the morning, take the boat well hidden in the reeds and push it onto the frozen water. We need to crash the ice layer in front of the boat to be able to proceed. After 10 minutes of paddling we get to the water hide. To me it’s more a villa than a simple hide: 2.5 metres long, 1.5 metres wide with a perfectly horizontal wooden platform a few centimetres above the water level. This will be my house for the next 12 hours. The platform is very well camouflaged with reeds. I dive into my sleeping bag, as the wind today is really nasty.
After several hours of waiting, the first flocks of geese are coming back from the fields to drink in the lake. I can hear them coming from very far away (1-2 kilometres). Especially the White-Fronted Geese perform a breathtaking landing maneuver: first they approach the lake as perfectly organized and clean flying lines, then – suddenly - they break the flock by extremely fast body twisting in order to quickly loose height and approach the water surface. Some of them fly just 3 metres from my hide producing a very loud aerodynamic sound.
Their ability in the air is a great challenge from a photographic perspective as each bird’s movement is highly unpredictable and at the same time super-fast.
Even if the light today is dull again, some postures of these acrobatic white fronted geese make me smile in my hide, sometimes I also laugh while trying to follow the crazy landing geese through the viewfinder.
The funniest birds are those with the neck twisted 180 degrees. Later in the afternoon I’m lucky with the colours! Some warmer light comes through and exactly when a pygmy cormorant decides to dry up his wings in front of my villa on the lake!
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.