During the year 2014 in Catalonia the push for independence began to manifest strongly, fed by the rigid refusal of the government of Mariano Rajoy in Madrid to any negotiation and nurtured by repeated attacks to the catalan language and autonomy, the "Estelades", the independence flags, appeared everywhere in the country as here in the medieval village of Rupit where even the cats joined the movement for freedom.
The pet market has made many exotic species available to enthusiastic animal lovers with different not-always-positive consequences for the concerned species and for our environment.
In some occasions an excessive hunt of wild species has endangered their survival, in other cases the missing know-how in the maintenance and care of animals which have a high demand in their conditions for wellbeing has led to their death or in many cases to them being exposed in the wild.
A good example for this mismanagement are the American water turtles of the Graphtemys and Pseudemys families among others. They grow much faster as expected and the tiny cute turtle soon becomes a big monster which needs bigger and bigger terraria. They are often freed in a nearby pond, lake or river where they compete with the...
During spring it is quite easy to get acceptable photos of Nightingales at the Aiguamolls del Emporda nature reserve in northeastern Catalonia, very near to the french border. When I made this pic, however I felt that it was transmitting a special feeling or sensation. Of course you will always add keywords like "romantic" to a Nightingale image but in this case it was stronger and I decided to give it the title of Spirit of the Forest which was probably somewhat daring.
This time the photo was sold again and I was specially happy because the buyer used the word "romantic" in it's search so that my ego was satisfied as it always happens when somebody sees things as we do..
Some months ago I visited the hides of Natura Prop in northern Catalonia.
A recently opened hide offered passerine birds in a beginning success story.
Goldfinches were plenty around and the clever idea of sticking several thistle plants (cardus) whose seeds are the favourites of these birds caused not only their prompt appearance but also added a satisfactory environment, more typical impossible "Goldfinch on Thistle plant", nearly kitsch! The good thing is that a nice Dreamstime Editor chose one of the Goldfinch images as Editor's choice (thank you!) but the equally nice buyer who bought the following image didn't agree with the editor and preferred another "Goldfinch on Thistle plant" pic (I managed to get several accepted..) !
Winter 2013 in the Picos de Europa, Castilla y Leon (Spain), we had a nice snowfall at the hides of Wild Watching Spain and the passerine species coming to the feeders were the dream of a wildlife photographer. Bullfinches were also present, beautiful males and females on the snow and when the hide keeper added some red berry bushes to the scene the whole thing got dangerously near to what you would like to call "kitsch", this german word which doesn't seem to have a decent translation so far but which everybody understands.. While working on the keywords I was tempted to add "Christmas" (I confess) but I refrained..
The Bullfinches didn't care, they were hungry, neither did the buyer care, he liked it..
As it happens among birds, in most cases the males look simply much more spectacular than the females which has an easy explanation. Males (not only among birds..) often pass their time, specially before the reproductive season, dedicated to an exhibition of their beauty in feathers and colours and also of a capacity of ridiculous behaviour which exceeds by far other animal groups. Female birds have more important and useful things to do like choosing the less useless male among others, laying eggs and rearing their offspring with or without the help of their feathered primadona-husbands. They don't need to boast or to exhibit themselves, they have a serious job to do.
I can't show any image of a female Zanzibar Red Bishop but believe me, I have seen them and they are just...
Cuba has an enormous amount of very interesting bird species to offer, among them quite a number of endemics. Maybe the highest celebrity among them is the Zapata Wren. For various reasons: it is rare, even nowadays, difficult to see (I can tell you!!) and it is not only endemic to Cuba but to the Zapata Swamp and even there it can only be found in a relatively reduced area! Wow! I passed three days in the swamps with my local guide, waiting, trying to lure the bird out of the thick swamp vegetation without results (he was not in the mood for any interview) and just on the last day, when we had decided it was going to be our last trial, the VIP came out, exhibited himself generously, from right and left, near and far.. it was a bomb! I made as many photos as I wanted. I don't know who was happier,...
Great images Joan! I'm sure your Wren pictures will sell in time when somebody who needs them finds there aren't many images available. It's the old dilemma of shooting popular subjects or more specialised ones. Sales will come in time -especially with good images like these.
Part of the Pyrenees of Lleida in Catalonia and attached to the french border we find the Vall d'Aran, the Aran Valley. This autonomous region inside Catalonia has unique characteristics as for example the Aranese which is the standardized form of the Gascon variety of the Occitan language. The landscape of the valley is typical mountainous and has atlantic climate, holding the only catalan rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
It's capital Vielha is a bustling touristic city which together with the rest of Aran profits from it's natural beauty and skiing resorts.
The beautiful landscapes of the Valle de Aran, the river Arriu forms a little lake near the famous waterfalls of Sauth deth Pish.
The Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) is one of our most well-known warblers and it belongs to the Leaf warbler group. According to the Wikipedia distribution map, in the Iberian Peninsula it only occurs during wintertime but I can't confirm this point as I have made photos of them during the whole year, having said this it is also true that we have the Iberian Chiffchaff which can easily be confused with the Common one, only the song is clearly different. Together with the following pic of a bathing Chiffchaff which was sold a few days ago, I present some other of my Chiffchaff images.
The Greylag Goose (Anser anser) is the european wild form of our domestic goose. This is an extremely intelligent, social bird which has played an important role in the relation of man and domestic animals. Everybody will remember the wonderful story (hundred per cent true or not) of the sacred geese of the roman temple which warned the sleeping roman soldiers of the approaching barbarian troops. I have kept domestic geese myself and I have to confirm that they are vigilant, alert animals which make a lot of noise when strangers approach, I have always admired their suicide braveness when defending their offspring from dogs or any other enemy no matter how big and dangerous, they fight to death!
The following image of a flock of wild Greylag Geese in flight was sold recently and I add some other...
Yesterday's sale was this amazing White-chinned Jacamar (Galbula tombacea) of the deep Peruvian rainforest where I have been lucky to shoot in two occasions during the last years. Conditions are tough as even during the "dry" season rain showers may be expected at any time during the day and night. The picture of the Jacamar was taken just after a heavy rainfall. I have added some other photographies of several birds from this beautiful natural environment which I hope will prevail for future generations to be admired.
On my last five trips to Kenya and visiting mainly the Tsavo West and East NP as well as Maasai Mara (one time) I always tried to stay away from the masses of tourists in their mini-busses. Actually most tourists want to see the so-called "big five" . Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion and Leopard. So, to have more intimacy and experience the beauty of the amazing landscapes you have to stay away from this animals, specially lions. It is normal to find one or more lions surrounded by dozens of mini-busses and shouting, hand-waving, jumping tourists trying to make the lions stand up and "do something", it is a disgusting experience. It is one of the reasons why I have hardly any lions pictures but I have always been quite lucky to meet unexpectedly and often with hardly any people around us with leopards...
Andorra is a tiny country in the middle of the Pyrenees mountains, it has borders with France and Spain and it's landscape is a typical mountainous change of deep valleys and high peaks. This microstate ( having an area of 468 km2 (181 sq mi) and a population of approximately 85,000) has made important changes in recent years, passing from an ancient way of ruling to a modern state in a few decades. It's economy is clearly based on tourism in different forms: Skiing is an important income due to the numerous ski- stations available and the corresponding hotels and apartments. On the other side, Andorra la Vella, the capital offers an extensive shopping district were specially perfumes, pharmaceutical products, electronics and food are the most outstanding products which attract plenty of visitors...
Back in my smuggling days, I used to cross over from Girona to Perpignan. I got to see some beautiful early morning vistas. The border guards were all asleep at that time. I bought my first good camera with the proceeds!
As it happens when we are confronted with the face of a primate, we sometimes get a shocking impression of looking at somebody who is familiar to us. That happens because many apes share with us our most common feelings like fear, anger, happiness and joy among many others and, what is more important they are able to express this emotions on their face the same way we do. The recent sale of a portrait of a Tufted Capuchin Monkey from Peru gave me the idea of presenting some other close-ups of other monkeys which were all made in Peru, Kenya and Zanzibar.
Among all bird-groups, Raptors or Birds of Prey are the ones who attract the attention of many bird-lovers as well as the songbirds of course which are well-known to most people from our gardens.
Raptors are specialised in hunting other birds, mammals, reptiles and even fishes. Evolution has prepared them for this task with sharp claws which close around the body of their victims with an impressive power as well as with hooked beaks which are used to kill and cut the prey. While some species as falcons mainly use their beak to kill, other as Royal Eagles, Buzzards and others rely on their strong claws to catch and also wipe out their victims.
Also the hunting tactics vary from family to family: Some species soar high in the sky and execute a sharp vertical attack as soon as they detect a suitable...
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