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mvecht`s Big Year


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My Christmas present this time was a Tamron 150-600mm G2 which I will be using with my Canon EOS 70D.

This may be a slight challenge as the aperture of the Tamron at 600mm is f6.3 and the Canon autofocus is only rated to f5.6

Outdoor lighting at this time of Denmark is quite poor as most days are cloudy and the sun is at a very low angle, so I will need some time to find the best way to obtain good results with my new lense. I therefor decided that doing a Big Year would be the best way to hone my skills with the new lense.

Most of the birding will take place in Denmark. A trip to Sicily will follow and maybe a trip to a more tropical destination will follow as well. .

Yesterday was rainy and overcast but I headed of to a National Park which is relatively nearby. Please bear in mind that many of the pictures are taking with quite high ISO.


Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

This is not a typical bird for Denmark It has only been recorded app 20 times in Denmark sofar.

1121277084_cattleandegret.JPG.b09487c2746ae5de93d43f95b761fac8.JPGThe bird got a little closer in flight

190342387_CattleEgret.JPG.04d116274612f540ccf744d6b3ec2ad6.JPG#2 Common Crane (grus grus)

Cranes are becoming more common in Denmark with a few hundred breeding pairs. Some of them stay for the winter.


#3 Whooper Swan (cygnus cygnus) and #4 Tundra Swan (cygnus columbianus)

Due to increasingly warmer winters in Denmark more and more of these swans winter in Denmark rather than continuing to the UK or Netherlands.

I like this particular picture as you can see the main difference between the two species. The Tundra Swan (front) is much smaller and the yellow on the beek covers a much smaller area.

1510553835_WhoopingandTundraSwan.jpg.c4890de9f9a02e2c72230959eb626741.jpg#5 Barnacle Goose  (Branta leucopsis)

I went to another birding area and came across what must have been at least 10.000 Barnacle Goose.

1668399212_flockofBarnacleGoose.JPG.d78d5703fd15ea970fb95584d21356c6.JPG#6 Rough-legged Buzzard (buteo lagopus)

Two birds were fighting over a kill.


#7 Peregrine Falcon (falco peregrinus)

A Peregrine Falcon was watching the fight as well. Maybe it was the one that made the kill?


A few birds closer to home

#8 Common Buzzard (buteo buteo).

This is a common bird in Denmark year round but it is highly visible in the wintertime sitting on the ground, poles or in trees next to the road.


#9 Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Not the best lighting. I will probably get more attempts during the year.

Robin.JPG.c8fe92b5f50caf0c47318ad315bce862.JPG#10 Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

Very common but also very shy.


Barnacle Goose.JPG

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@mvecht well done on starting this years' big year. Can you include the dates in your next posts?

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Peter Connan

Great result on the Cattle Egret, to get such good shotd of a bird that has only been seen 20 times in your country!

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Nice start, @mvecht. Is there a reason that you have not counted the Rook, and the Barnacle Goose?

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@xelas   Rook is listed as #10 and Barnacle Goose as #5 on my screen.

The close up of Barnacle Goose slipped down to the bottom of  the post by mistake.

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Great start @mvecht

I like the picture showing the differences between the Whooper and Tundra swans.

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Welcome aboard @mvecht, and off to a great start. Both Swans and even the Barnacle Geese would be super-rarities here in Austria.

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@Tdgraves  sure, I will add dates in future.

@Peter Connan and @Zim Girl  thank you for the kind words

@michael-ibk  Hi Michael. Yes, some of the birds we see will be different from the ones you get in Austria. This is the nice thing about doing the Big Year that we get to see each others specials. Two years ago I did a day trip from Budapest and saw close to 20 species that would be considered rare or uncommon in Denmark!

Will you be doing a Big Year in 2019? I really enjoyed many of your previous pictures.

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Dave Williams

A great start @mvecht, welcome on the ride. You are about to become addicted. It's always best to invest in glass before a camera body but it must be frustrating not being able to AF at f6.3. I feel you'll be making an upgrade soon! Lots of excellent buys for used 7D2's around now:)

Why not, if you haven't got one already, open a Flickr account. It's free if you have less than 1000 photos on it, you can decide if you want to go pro and pay for more in a year or two depending on how things develop. By using Flickr it automatically displays the camera gear, the settings and the date for anyone who really want's to know. You just click on the displayed image and it takes you in to the Flickr site, a quick back arrow click and you are back on Safaritalk.

I really can't be bothered to type in all the detail which is why Matt states the rules are indeed loose.The game is intended to be fun, not a chore.

Look forward to watching how your year develops!


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@Dave Williams  Hi Dave, thanks for the advice. The 70D does allow autofocus at f6.3 with the Tamron but I am not quite sure yet how well it works.

I need better lighting situations to see if my issues relate to the camera or me?

I will however be looking for an upgrade. I travel quite frequently to Japan and there are often very good bargains for the "not latest" models.

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a great start! 10,000 barnacle geese must have been a tremendous sight which you captured well in your photo! I too like that contrast between the whooper and tundra swans. 

Look forward to more. 

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Welcome to this wonderful thread @mvecht and what a good start! Rough-legged Buzzards, Cranes, Whooper and Bewick Sans all great birds. I still have some hopes for the Rough-legged Buzzard here in Holland this month, but it is pretty rare. Looking forward to more!

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Welcome to the friendliest site on the interweb thingy. I am sure you will enjoy the trip.

Some of your starters are making my eyes water. Common Cranes, Peregrines and Tundra/Bewick's Swans indeed.

Good to see you were able to show the differences in the swans so clearly.

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Welcome to the game! Cracking start 

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A quick trip to the local lake, Skanderborg lake gave some locally common species

#11  Eurasian Coot  (Fulica atra) 7th January


#12 Blackheaded Gull  (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 7th January

1118608505_Black-headedGull.JPG.1c433c6416ce19b7af4c06e1c5c2d511.JPG#13 Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 7th January

126255559_CommonMerganser.JPG.8b249b0945f9ef3b0a5e1ef5600a6f18.JPG#14 Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 7th January


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Todays lunch walk along the lake did not provide much

#15 Hooded crow aka Danish Crow (corvus genus)

They are typically quite shy but this one was relaxed

298422154_HoodedCrow.JPG.56601384a04cce0e4c5abe217d8243c1.JPG#16 White tailed Eagle (Haliaetus Albicilla)

This is a pretty bad EBC but I am quite confident to get better opportunities later in the year as we normally have a nesting pair on the local lake and if so we can see them from the terrace of our house.

I had hoped to get closer to this bird but it got scared by an approaching Helicopter.


Some shots from the sofa.

#17 Blue Tit (Cyanistes Caeruleus)

1669838107_Bluetit.JPG.163e8cddc60b3c92f4dc756e8ea9813c.JPGand a Robin just outside the window


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We are entering a different league here. Shots from the sofa indeed!!:D Plus a great EBC of a White-tailed Eagle that nests within sight of the lounge.

Well done. A worthy member indeed.

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Todays lunch walk only produced some EBC`s that I know I will get much better shots of later so back to the sofa :D

#18 Great Tit (Parus major)

1823105935_GreatTit.JPG.4842c93f15f6ff7f3de29488c7c58476.JPG#19 Female Blackbird (Turdus merula)


#20 Greater Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)



#21 Crested Tit (Lophophanes  cristatus)


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Dave Williams

Wow, you are taking this seriously...you are in the lead!!!!

And that's not a pretty bad EBC, it's a brilliantly good one...or a brilliantly bad one.... but whichever way you want it to be it's a winner of an EBC! 

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@Dave Williams  I will need an early lead:D  as I will not be able to keep it for long just birding in Denmark.

Unfortunately no major trips planned for this year except a week in Sicily.

Maybe my business trips will add some, but I will probably not be as lucky as in December last year, where I saw a Kingfisher diving, while my train in Japan was crossing a small river.

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Good to see more additions. I've never managed to take a shot of a Crested Tit and your Great Spotted Woodpecker is a really good one! That is promising for your sofa shots!

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Who needs to travel with a sofa like that?  Where can I get one?

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Today I went to a lake just north of Aarhus. The lake, Egaa Engsoe, is relatively new, very shallow and excellent for waterfowl.

Today was very windy so a bit more challenging than usual.

#22 Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Very common in Denmark


#23 Teal (Ana crecca)


#24  Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

1866777446_TuftedDuck.JPG.9334da24c43b128cb58b0fcccc585fcc.JPG#25 Wigeon (Mareca penelope)

Wigeon.JPG.8e808665ea51272b7ffad941e8b39d3f.JPG#26 Mallard (Anas Platyrhynchos)

Mallard.JPG.82219e787d86df74ba2bb485e295487f.JPG#27 Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)

1590269656_CommonPochard.JPG.8e71cb6dba2df8c0300f170b367270b8.JPG#28 Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Normally seen in large groups but there was only one very shy bird.

1884119771_EuropeanGoldfinch.JPG.a924593dedda8c0e2bd21f16ea05c919.JPG#29  Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)



Yellowhammer_1.JPG.710c3120d96356e7afd8a9261b60b2f4.JPG#30 Kestrel  (Falco yinninculus)

Kestrel_1.JPG.4db739e4c2ca18a58f299600ac48e66e.JPG#31 Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

984415125_GreylagGoose.JPG.b8c2548e9a122d950f9de96d7aaf9380.JPG#32 Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Most Starlings migrate south for the winter but there are still a few around. This one would only show its backside.



Time for some EBC`s

#33 female Smew (Mergellus albellus)


#34 Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Cormorant_EBC.JPG.28c93f5f569bb0d19c26980588c2e3ac.JPG#35 Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

Fieldfare_EBC.JPG.63c4cdef561d4fd51dead4b7846c06d3.JPGI had two birds I could not identify as I did not get an opportunity to watch them through my binoculars and the pictures are not great.

Maybe somebody can help?


Smew in winter plumage???


Also I do not have much experience with waders in winter plumage.

Any opinions?

Wader_sp.JPG.24045d441397f77263ebf68babd18161.JPGTwo Whitetailed Eagles were resting on a small Island but too far away and backlit so the photo is not great.



Edited by mvecht
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You are certainly steaming ahead! I love your Mallard shot with the waves. I think your Little Grebe is a female Smew, just like the one later on. The wader might be a Dunlin, I'm not sure.

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