29. If it Walks like a Goose and it Talks like a Goose

I’vgosling duckling baby duck goosee always loved the saying: ‘If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.’
Because nothing can argue with that, can it?

Elaborating on this idea, one could argue, that if it walks like a goose and it talks like a goose…it probably is a goose, right?
Wrong.
The Egyptian Goose walks like a goose, talks like a goose and she’s even called goose….
But guess what?
Instead, it’s a duck in disguise.

Originally, this so called goose broods along the Nile, swimming with hippos.
Since 1971, she also breeds in Britain and quite successfully.
(It was officially declared a pest in the U.K. in 2009.)

Egyptian Geese have their very own way of integration, just as simple as effective:
Every non Egyptian goose must go.
The same applies for everything that IS an Egyptian goose. (with an eventual exception for close family)
With a huge display of power, ponds and ditches are made coot-, duck-, grebe-, and gooseless, until the once so cheerful little water, is stripped of anything with a beak.
(This all takes place with such excessive force, that one wonders how these hippos survived)
In case there are still some ducklings left, the Egyptian is never afraid to help them to the bottom.

More or less the same rule applies to the nests of their feathered fellows .
This goose unceremoniously topples crows, storks, buzzards or hawks from their nest, to use it themselves.

Of course that’s no way to make friends!
Say ‘Egyptian goose’ to a birder and you know what I mean.
Many would love to see them take a one-way ticket to the Nile.

But ….the Egyptian geese found a way to reverse this hostile tide.
They created a highly effective and ruthlessly efficient weapon, called :
The Gosling
An irresistible charm offensive, consisting of a ball of the softest material, cute beady eyes and two mini feet: a touchingly awkward gait guaranteed.

As soon as this Army of Cuteness arrives, the most fanatical birder goes “awwwwwwww”.
Bold loitering spontaneously share their sandwiches, a homeless worriedly counts whether they are as many as yesterday. (not making this up!)
Tough businessmen hit the brakes in order to perpetuate them with their Android and even a police officer gets off his bike for them cuteness.
Resistance is futile against this Cute Overload.

And so it happened that the number of nests has increased enormously.
System works!

Maybe we should take a good example to the Ancient Egyptians under the guise of “if you can’t beat them, join them!”
They worshiped the Egyptian goose and portrayed her regularly in their art.
I’m in! ;)

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Egyptian Gosling: a charme offensive on legs

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Daddy Goose, a duck in disguise

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Egyptian Gosling and a mini palm tree, probably fantasising about hippos at the Nile

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Dual Powerrrrrr

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Baby gosling enjoying her soon to be private pond

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

The baby animal and the daisy: the epitome of innocence, but appearance deceives …

Baby Gosling

Hatchoom Sneeze

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Made for the spot lights

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Romantic gosling ;)

 

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

Zen Gosling

 

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

How many goslings fit in one mother goose?

gosling,duckling,goose,duck,mallard,cute,egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca

“In a family portrait, we look pretty happy…”

 

28. Autumn Reflections

autumn light mood atmoshere bokehSome time ago someone asked me: “How on earth do you write complete stories about…NOTHING?!”

Well…erhm…lots of fantasy I guess…
That’s to say: usually.
But not today.
Today I intended to write about autumn.
But what can I write…?!

You shouldn’t talk about autumn.
Autumn should be done.

Autumn should be smelt.
The drizzly sweet smell of soggy moss.
The dirty-but-yet-delicious smell of wet, rotting leaves.
The almost tasty odor of leaking, drooly mushrooms

Autumn should be seen.
Magnificent gradients, simply created by leaves, perfectly overflowing from fresh spring green to almost winter brown.
That beautiful soft light, which makes these leaves shine through the trees like early Christmas lights.
Countless mushrooms in shapes that you wouldn’t even imagine.
Some of them looking like candy, as if the candyman discharged its stock in the forest.
And of course, all these creatures, even the ugliest birds look like top models in an autumn decor!

Autumn should be heard
The restless fluttering of leaves and imminent crunching of branches during a storm.
Only to be interrupted by the thud of a pine cone, or a broken branch.
Relieved birdsong, when the autumn storms have dried.
And especially this very silent silence, just before an autumn storm blows away this years fall.

Autumn should be felt

I love all seasons, but autumn has this je ne sais quoi,
That magic…
Autumn has atmosphere …..
Autumn has…
…autumn is….
Nuff said!

Autumn light in the forest

bokeh Autumn fall mushroom fungus

Forest light

bokeh Autumn fall mushroom fungus

Autumn reflections

Mushroom in an autumn forest

autumn_mood

porcelain fungus Oudemansiella mucida autumn fall mushroom fungus

26. Fox Yawns

Red fox vulpes vulpes yawning Foxes yawn.
So do we.
So what?

And yet, yawning is quite luxury thing.

Being scared, cold or thirsty isn’t a good starting point for a decent yawn.
Yawning basically requires a really safe environment and a full stomach, to begin with.

Like most animals, foxes prefer being lazy and don’t tend to waste energy.
Once their stomach is filled and the enemies are defeated, the magic word is chill.

They just lay down, close their eyes, enjoy the sun light, stretch a little and yaaaawn.
Mindfulness avant la lettre.

Now look at us: what do we do when we’re not working?
We are busy, doing things.
And if we’re not doing things, we are planning to do so.
With our calendars filled to the brim with appointments and to-do-lists.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to do like foxes do?
At least for one time a day.
Just relax and do nothing, but yawn ;)

I’m pretty sure that during the time I spent typing this text, I could have produced five serious yawns.
At least .
What a waste ;)

More stories about foxes and fox kits can be found in my Fox Stories.

A nicely civilized, but somewhat modest yawn

A nicely civilized, but somewhat modest yawn

A Red fox yawning towards the photographer

A perfect symmetrical yawn

Red fox yawning unabashedly

A quite unabashed yawn

Red Fox yawning with tongue out of its mouth

Just a Perfect Yawn

Red fox yawning against a black background

The Evil Yawn

Red fox  yawning on a rainy day

The nonchalant yawn

Red fox showing its teeth

Yawning like there’s no tomorrow

Red fox yawning and stretching

A sandy yawn

Red fox with a mouh full of teeth

Mother of all Yawns

27. Interview @ 121clicks.com

Some time ago I was interviewed by the famous 121clicks.com, if interested you can read the interview below:

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

“Outstanding Nature Photography by Roeselien Raimond”

“Outstanding and out of the world captures of beautiful nature, this is Roeselien Raimond for all of us, simple and elegant compositions playing a wonderful art touch to these photographs. Let us listen to her answers while taking a look at her wonderful works.”

=> Few Words about Roeselien?
As a former art therapist and webdesigner, I’ve always been interested in both art and living beings. Nowadays I’m trying to combine my love for nature and art, using a camera to express what I’m experiencing.
Besides making photographs, I paint and I write about nature as well.

=> How did Photography change your world?
Although some kind of anticipation can be helpful in nature photography, it’s quite difficult to foresee natural behavior. Nature and animals are far more unpredictable then people tend to think and nature photography demands lot of patience and flexibility. It learned me to take things as they come, just go with the flow, which can lead to unexpected, but beautiful situations. Not worrying about tomorrow, but just ‘being in the moment’ is something that can quite be useful in daily life as well.

=> When did you get fascinated by nature photography?
A few years ago, I was living a very hectic life and I felt like a Chinese juggler, trying to keep all the plates up. I needed a counterbalance for the stress and deadlines and found some peace of mind in the sounds of whistling birds and the smell of fresh green nature. My camera was a pretty good excuse to roll in the grass and at least temporarily forget about demanding clients, targets and deadlines.

=> Your Passion behind this constant travel and exploration is phenomenal. Few words on it?
Nature is an endless source of surprises and secrets, like some kind of infinite grab bag. This mysterious world keeps challenging me constantly to explore and learn more.

=> One place you all always want to visit for Nature Photography?
If I can find nature in my own over-industrialized country, I can find it everywhere, so when it comes to photography I have no special wishes. I once travelled through Indonesia though and I was completely overwhelmed by this beautiful country.
I’d love to go back there one day to try to capture the Indonesian nature and more than that: the Indonesian ‘soul’. Other countries I’d love to visit are Costa Rica and Madagascar.

=> Your favorite photography quote?
“Free your mind and your *ss will follow.”
Photography and life don’t differ that much: you try, you sometimes fail and (hopefully) learn from it. If you can let go of your rational restrictions and just follow your heart, your creativity can flow , which will most probably lead to more personal and therefore more interesting photographs.
Best compliment you received so far?
“Your photos made me cry”. I think it was meant positively, haha.
Your favorite photographers?
Photographers that truly work from the heart.

=> Your Gear?

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Canon EF 300mm f/4 USM L IS
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

=> Any final thoughts / advice for our readers?
Learn and get inspired by looking at others, but finally choose your own path.

—————————————————————————————————————————————-
The photos below are just a random selection of some things I did a bit more recently.
The original interview, with the photos chosen by 121Clicks can be found here: http://121clicks.com/showcases/outstanding-nature-photography-by-roeselien-raimond

A Mallard in the grass

Yellow autumn leafs in late evening sun

Field of poppies on s sunny summer morning

Damselfly climbing in the sundew flower

Young fox relaxing in the grass

Geese floating on a lake on a foggy autumn morning

A Blue Heron in a yellow  autumn forest

Gull on a foggy summer morning

Mushroom in an autumn forest

25. The Great Green Yawn

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,I bet most fellow nature photographers assumed – just like I did- tree frogs to be hugely enterprising, energetic and cheerful creatures.

Skilfully hopping from blackberry to blackberry, climbing in trees like professional circus artists, swinging on stalks, as if they were climbing frames and sliding along thick blades like skilled pole dancers.

So I started my little tree frog study.
I visited them in the morning and afternoon, on rainy and sunny days.
On windy, hot and cold days.
The result of my Big Tree Frog Research was just as surprising as shocking: During the largest part of the day,tree frogs do  ….. absolutely NOTHING!

They sit…and sit and just sit a bit more.
Being cold blooded creatures, they save their energy and use the warmth of the sun to warm up.
When it’s too hot, they keep it cool to avoid overheating.

During all my visits, there was just one spontaneous moment.
After a few boring hours I noticed a little movement.
A slight vibration of the eye indicated there was something exciting about to happen!
Yes….finally my patience was being rewarded!
The frog…yawned!
Out of pure enthusiasm, I yawned with him.

Now I would certainly not argue here, that tree frogs never jump on blackberries.
They might do a little pole dancing from time to time, but most of the action will probably take place at night.
So if you are a treefrog-rookie, looking forward to wild frogparties, you might get a little disappointed.

PS. The yawn of amphibians is not actual yawning, but is said to have something to do with shedding…

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Close up of a relaxing tree frog

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Relaxing tree frog ‘en face’

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Relaxing tree frog offset frontal

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Relaxing tree frog ‘en profil’

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Relaxing tree frog behing a leaf

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Juvenile tree frog

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Tree frog on blossom, slightly disturbed by an overly enthusiastic photographer

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

Even at wind-force six, tree frogs just…relax…

A Resting tree frog on a rusty leaf

A relaxing tree frog on a rusty leaf

tree frog,European tree frog,Hyla arborea,Rana arborea,

A relaxing baby tree frog

Yawning Tree frog

Le moment supreme: the Yawn of the Tree Frog!

24. Fox Reflections: What does the Fox See?

 fox vulpes vulpes red fox water reflections mirror wetFoxes don’t seem to swim an awful lot, but suspiciously often I see them standing along the waterfront.
So the question is….what are they doing there?

Of course they might just be thirsty and by lack of a tap,they use channels, lakes or ditches to satisfy their needs.
And on hot days they might just want to cool their their hot paws

But too often, I find them just standing there, gazing over the water surface or peering into the depths
Which makes me wonder: what does the fox say….eh see?

Could it be a a moment of Zen-like mindfulness, a bit of self-reflection, or is it just purely superficial vanity?

Everyone knows that foxes are very attractive, proud animals, with their gorgeous fur and the most beatiful bushy tail of the entire animal kingdom.
That gracious body, their long slim legs and pretty pointed snout.
Not to mention these hypnotising eyes…

Who could resist this overwhelming beauty..?

So maybe…when no one watches, foxes just take a moment to silently enjoy their own reflections…secretly admiring the fox in the mirror.
Who knows…;)

Drinking fox reflected in the water

They might just be thirsty and by lack of tap they use channels, lakes or ditches…

Drinking red fox along the waterfront

Drinking fox.
Or would it just be a distraction maneuver?

A red fox and its reflection

A red fox and its reflection

Fox gazing over the water surface

Fox gazing over the water surface…what does the fox see?

What does the Fox see?!

A moment of Zen-like mindfulness, a bit of
self-reflection, or is it just purely superficial vanity?

23. Don’t Bite The Plant that Eats you…

Damselfly & SundewNature works in mysterious ways.

Not so long ago, I assumed there were just two options:
1. Eaten
or
2. Being eaten

Predator or prey…that’s the question.

Recently I found out that it can be mutual as well.
You eat, while being eaten: fair cross.
All right, I might exaggerate a bit, but this roughly describes the relationship between insect and sundew.

This is how it works:

Sundew grows on poor soil and for nutrition she’s depended on other sources, being…insects.
Therefore she uses two different kind of glands.
One gland secretes a deliciously smelling mucilage, to lure them poor insects.
As soon as the insect has landed, the sundew shows her less charming side and gland two starts fulfilling her task.
This gland doesn’t seduce, but comes straight to the point and she slowly but surely absorbs the creature.
And this is the true nature of sundew: a vicious little plant, with nasty sticky tentacles, disguised as lovely glittering dew drops in the early morning sun.

One would expect the insect to fight against this awful ending.
Scream and fight to -at least- die a honourable death.
In stead, she accepts her fate rather meekly.
In fact, she even eats her enemy while she’s being eaten…

If you ask me, this kind of behaviour just screams for a Darwin Award, but – being a sentimental fool- I just can’t ignore these two enormous brown (or blue or even red) eyes….
So if the point of no return hasn’t been reached yet, I quickly liberate the unfortunate buggers.

It’s a pity for the photos…and of course for all the angry photo-friends that never want to come with me again ;)

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Common Sundew: an innocent looking little plant….

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

As a matter of fact: all sundew species have these property.

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly

Drosera rotundifolia,common sundew,round-leaved sundew,vleesetende plant,carnivorous plant,insect,damselfly