Black Hawk DownI am fortunate to have a friend who has turned his 20 acre farmland at the edge of the forest into a private nature reserve. It features a bat cellar, small grainfields (not harvested), wildflowers, howthorns, stone walls, old trees and more. All in all it really is a bird paradise, where many species feel at home and breed, including several species that are on the red list.

Best thing is I am free to put up hides and put out bait to capture all the feathered friends on camera. The landowner helps out by making sure there’s always food at the photographic arena.

Our latest project was to lure the resident Common Buzzard onto a mouldered fallen tree. For about a week, we provided fresh bait and given the amount of feathers around the spot, things looked good. However, there also was very strong foxsmell, so we were not sure what had eaten the bait. On Friday, I decided to give it a try and went into the hide before sunrise. After about an hour, the buzzard silently arrived and only left after having finished a complete pigeon in exactly 43 minutes.

Common Buzzard on Wood Pigeon; Canon 1D Mark III w. 500/4 IS; 1/100s at F5 and ISO 800; Gitzo tripod from hide

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