After spending some days at Tysslingen photographing the swans, we move to Lake Hornborga: the “kingdom” of the cranes. Every year, between the end of March and the middle of April, up to 14.000 cranes are passing to Hornborga during the springtime migration. But this year, all past records have been surpassed: the 30th of March, over 18.500 cranes have been counted; and this was also my first day in the hide here at Hornborga! A nice and promising start…
Well, to spend the whole day in the hide is quite an exhausting experience! I enter into the hide at 5 a.m. and I leave it at 8.30 p.m., more than 15 hours in a box measuring 2 metres long by 1 metre wide.
There are 6 public hides near the lake, but for this mission I used two “special” hides (thank you to Peder Hedberg Fält, from Nature Conservation Department at Hornborga, and to filmmaker Mark Percival!). The hide allowed me to stay in the best spot for photography just in the middle of the cranes: a perfect opportunity to work with wide-angle but also to get some nice close-up portraits. During my days in the hide I had all the possible weather conditions: sunny (maybe too sunny, for my photographic taste!), cloudy and foggy. In this post, some images are from my first days of shooting.
I also spent some exciting moments photographing outside the hide (with Italian colleague and friend Vitantonio Dell’Orto).
The crane is usually a shy bird, but at Hornborga it is not unusual to have several hundreds of birds just a few metres from the public road and the visitor center; so, the migration of the crane is a wildlife spectacle accessible not only to a “brave” (and a bit crazy) hide photographer: every year, over 150.000 tourists are visiting Hornborga to watch and enjoy the cranes. At dawn and dusk, the show of hundreds and hundreds of birds in flight is simply magic.
Hornborga is a perfect example of a possible successful alliance between conservation and an eco-tourism development opportunity.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.