Before starting my field report, I would like to thank Michael Klisch,
Florian Möllers, Dr. Martin Stock, Reiner Schulz and Kirsten Thiemann.
They supported my work so selflessly, that the photos I could take in
the National Park wouldn’t have been possible to realize without their
help. A good friend of mine, Lajos Németh, also supported my work in many ways.
21-23 April in Hallig Hooge
Until now my closest experience with the Wadden sea (Wattenmeer) was my wife’s report from two years ago. She said it was continuously raining - ‘you will not really be happy with it’. But she did not tell me anything about the wind blowing continuously.
So now I am starting to understand the reason of the shocking landscape of wind power stations all over around the seaside.
The only way to get to Hallig Hooge which is my first stop, is by ferry. It is a one-hour trip from the mainland that will let me have a short experience from this unique landscape.
Around the small sandbanks, the muddy ground is so flat that during low tide the ferry had to struggle.
Hooge is an inhabited Hallig with around 120 people in the summer and 90 in winter, and last but not least with 18000 Brent geese in spring. They are roosting here on their long way to the far north of Scandinavia and even Siberia.
The strongest impression from the island is that everywhere the birds were eating in the fields. These fields owned by local farmers are kept for their sheep and cows so the fences are really not suggested to go over. The second day while I was lying next to the road in front of a fence, cows arrived and stopped behind me. Their owner angrily shouted at them. Then he came up to me quite angrily. He bawled in Frieze language with me and showed me to get onto his land. Being quite frightened I did but not know why I should enter onto his land. But I found a little pond where geese were drinking and forgot the story. Later I thought the cows were just accustomed to walking people on the road but not the ones lying next to them…
During my stay in Hooge I had the chance to walk through the sea to the next sandbank, called Japsand. It is an absolutely untouched area of the National Park that is a roosting place for Harbour Seals and thousands of waders. Here I could see a huge flock of Limicolas that contained 25000 birds or so. Marvellous sight!
24-26 April, Westerhever
The most iconic place of the seaside around Wadden Sea is the 41.5 metre high lighthouse. It was built in 1907 and now it is one of the nature protection stations in the Wadden Sea National Park.
The first afternoon I was so lucky both with the weather and the geese that I could shoot a big flock of Barnacle Geese with the sunset in the background.
Everywhere there seem to be geese flying and walking. A wonderful spectacle for a nature lover, and also for a photographer. At this time of year there are about 2000 Brent and 8000 Barnacle geese roosting in this area. Their daily schedule is that every morning they arrive from the sea. First they drink a bit and then start to eat in the very nice green fields.
The last day there was a new moon and at night the sky was brilliant. Everything was perfect to realize my imagination of the lighthouse with the star tracks on the sky.
28-30 April, Sylt
Sylt is very famous for its sand dunes in the Wadden Sea. There are two big ones that are still wandering but most of them are covered with plants. The dunes are a really nice sight here in the north. The first early morning I wanted to catch this sight in the sunrise so I got up early.
Then went back into the bed because of the rainy and windy weather.
The same happened on the second and the third day too unfortunately. Later on the third day I tried to shoot some landscape images, but I got very wet. In these unpredictable weather conditions I went out again hoping for some nice shots. But fog soon showed up and covered the seaside. The birds were hardly to be seen anywhere but the dim light painted them in a very unique way.
Several flocks of waders were roosting around the coast. Although it is not the first occasion for me to see them, it still fascinates me every time, especially in this particular light.
Also on the last day I had a wonderful flight with a little Cessna airplane above the Hallig. The light was almost the best, so I was able to take photos of the sandbanks that in some cases looked really like little wonders.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.