When temperatures drop, some animals like this robin find shelter in unoccupied houses. Thiérache, France.
Winter flew by this year. I suppose that is because we didn’t have one. After a prolonged autumn we’re now already having our first days of spring. At any rate, it’s been a busy couple of months.
Mist rises in the Oise River Valley one winter morning after days of heavy rain. Thiérache, France.
In November and December I was glad I could make a couple of trips to the Thiérache and spend time on my local conservation project. I did the usual wildlife and landscape work. I also joined local hunters, and photographed the slaughter of two pigs at a small farm, which I will share more about later. Between trips I wrapped up an educational short for Naturalis’ Character Evolution Focus Group. The video explains how insects conquered land thanks to an organ called the Serosa:
After the New Year my schedule really picked up. I spent a few days in Washington, D.C., for the iLCP Fellows meeting. It was a lot of fun getting to know some of the other photographers and staff that make up iLCP. It was especially great to finally meet Clay in person, and see some familiar faces from the NANPA Summit in McAllen, where so much of this began for me. (To think how much has happened in the past three years!)
I came back with barely enough time to pack my bags for an expedition to Senegal. I met up with scientists of Werkgroep Grauwe Kiekendief to work on a new story about their research on Montagu’s harrier migration and the conservation issues in the Sahel. I’m thankful that I could again count on the support of Redged and Canon Netherlands. The first part of this story will be published later this year and the second part is on my agenda to photograph this summer.
A Montagu’s harrier flies over the savannah of Khelcom, Senegal.
At work in Senegal. Photo by Ben Koks.
I came back looking dirty and unshaven from three weeks of camping in the Sahel dust. Two days later I found myself wearing a suit to present my Kinabalu–Crocker Range Expedition story at the 7th NVN International Nature Photo Festival. It was quite the transformation, I can assure you. Luckily I was first in the lineup, so that after my talk I could sit back and enjoy the work of the other presenters. And they were wonderful: Vincent Munier, David Tipling, Jonathan and Angela Scott, Sandra Bartocha, Jonathan Lhoir, André Kuipers (who made stunning photos during his time in the International Space Station), and many local friends and colleagues.
Speaking at the 7th International Nature Photo Festival in Burgers’ Zoo this month. Photo by Gerard Burgers.
Speakers of the 7th NVN International Nature Photo Festival. Photo by Gerard Burgers.
All right, enough blabber about me. I have a couple more announcements to share with you. After that it’ll be back to the regular stories about nature and science.