First published: 30-Jan-2013
Two weeks ago I spent some time in The Netherlands, in the city I was born, Den Haag (The Hague). It had been more than a year since my last visit. Usually it’s a race against the clock to catch up with all my friends and family within a week, but this time I decided to take more time to do more things for myself, such as photography (and shopping). I couldn’t have timed it any better, because a day after my arrival the snow arrived and the world was white.
A short walking distance from my brother’s place, where I was staying, there is a field where the resident group of storks is often foraging. Quite a few years ago they started feeding the storks in winter and since then they are no longer migrating to warm Africa. There wasn’t much to eat for them with the water frozen and six inches of snow, so the group was mostly just standing together to keep warm and waiting for people to feed them. The same applied to the grey herons. At some point I counted about 30 herons in this field. Usually a heron will chase off other heron that comes near, but in these extreme weather conditions even they were huddled together to keep warm.
So I felt sorry for the birds, but it made for some great photography. The storks and the herons in a completely white world. Herons are such beautiful birds when you see them close by, especially when they are displaying and the long feathers on their heads go up. My favourite photo was the below of a heron in flight against a completely white background, with only a grey shadow underneath the bird.
The snow stayed all week and I left Schiphol Airport just in time, before it was closed due to more snow storms. A 13 hour journey to get home to Inverness, but at least I made it without getting stuck anywhere.