Hennie van Heerden's Wildlife Diary

June 7, 2011

A dream of a day…

Filed under: 2011,June — Hennie van Heerden @ 3:11 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last sunday I got up at 4.30 and went to the Veluwezoom, a National Park here in the Eastern Part of Holland. By many people this park is considered the baby sister of ‘De Hoge Veluwe’, a much larger neighboring National Park. But although de Hoge Veluwe is unequalled in Red Deer rutting season – the sightings there are awesome – in all other seasons I prefer de Veluwezoom. It’s got beautiful landscapes and it harbors a lot of animals and birds.

So this morning I was at the Park at 5 in the morning. The sky was dark and threatening and you could see a thunderstorm building up. My expectations were not very high when I arrived but still, after 5 minutes I saw Wild Boar in the dark forest, foraging for food. Not a bad start at all, but impossible to capture as it was way too dark, certainly this deep in the forest. But.. I tried anyway and raised ISO to an incredible 3200 which gave me just enough shutterspeed to capture the little piggies. And with that, all has been said as even in my display I could see that it wasn’t much.

But.. on I went and after just some 500m I spotted another Wild Boar, but this time underneath the bushes, next to an open field. I just parked the car in the middle of the road (there wasn’t anyone else crazy enough to visit the park in this weather anyway :-)) and waited. And out she came, but she wasn’t alone!! To my great excitement she had little piglets with her!! So never mind the high iso…. Shoot!!!! They ran up on the open field and I just knew it would be next to impossible to capture the movement in this kind of light. But one (just one) came out alright. Besides the shot, I was really thrilled to see the little family.

Only 500m further I stopped to see if there would be birds around as this was an area where I had seen lots of Yellowhammers and Linnets before. Nope, no such luck but something else drew my attention. A huge Wild Boar was standing in the bushes just alongside from where I had stopped. So sure, I tried to photograph her. Until I saw movement just next to her and a baby Boar showed (for a second) its cute little head. What a surprise!! So far it had been incredible despite the gathering clouds above my head. The storm was building and you could feel the electric tension in the air. Maybe that’s why all the animals were out, foraging while they still could..

My spirits rose as did my expectations. Often, when a day starts right, it will remain right! So off I went with good hopes. A little further down the road a little bird welcomed the day with a song and I stopped to capture it. From the corner of my eye I all of a sudded saw the bushes alongside the road move.. I looked, and out came the cutest little baby fox I had ever seen!! Which isn’t difficult as I’ve never seen one before in my entire life! I thought my heart would stop just there and then. Quickly pointed the camera and started shooting as if my life depended on it. But the baby wasn’t going to pose as after just a second it got up and walked straight towards me. Way too close for the lens…. Frustration!!!!! Well anyway, I got it and no matter the noise in the shot, I’m ever soooo happy with it! As with the experience of finally seeing my first baby fox!

After I sent several text messages (YAAAAYYYYYY, I got a baby fox) the beebs waking up hubby and some shooting buddies (sorry guys! just couldn’t resist!) I went on, my heart still pounding.. It was only a mile further down the road when I spotted a Roe Deer foe, up to her knees in heather and kind of nervously looking around. I again stopped the car and waited.  When I saw why she was so nervous my heart did another summersalt…. A Baby Deer was jumping high over the heather to get to her. It was just a second later that I realized that there were in fact 2 fawns!! God, what a day…
The little ones had spotted me and ran to mamma; all legs and no brains. Mom stood perfectly still and waited for the little fawns to reach her before she led them out into the field. But she was nervously trotting around while the fawns panicked and jumped all over the place. I figured they wanted to cross the road to reach the safer forest, so no matter how dearly I wanted the shots, I moved the car to make way. When I looked back I saw the three of them running off into the forest.. Couldn’t help it but I actually had tears in my eyes…

I continued my drive but my head was brimming.. When a trio of Red Deer came in sight, I just couldn’t believe my luck anymore….

For the past 2 days I’ve been up at 4.30 again to see if I could get a shot of all of this young life again, but nothing. Absolutely nothing. A Deer here and there, but nothing exciting. But I’ll keep on trying!!



  1. You know, I’m so grateful to you, Hennie. Not only are you a consummate photographer, but you can get up in what I think of as the middle of the night to catch all these wonderful things that nearly everyone else misses, me included. Long may you continue to thrill us with your endeavours!

    Comment by Mark Pilbeam — June 7, 2011 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  2. Hoi Hennie!

    Vroeg opstaan, donkere wolken en jeetje ik zie alleen maar prachtige foto’s…het genot straalt eraf….alles klopt en ach ik vraag me dan af als je dit in een magazine afdrukt wie ziet dan ISO3200…voor hier op je blog of op je site niets mis mee….wat ik zo bijzonder ook vind is je woorden erbij…..de sensatie…goh de passie straalt eraf…wat leuk en prettig om te lezen…mijn favoriet is ook het vosje….waanzinnig…ongekend en die blik…’wat is dat dan voor een dier met zo’n grote neus??’

    prettige avond nog en voor morgen weer vroeg??

    Comment by nldazuu — June 7, 2011 @ 5:51 pm | Reply

  3. zelfs ik zit nu met bonzend hart je verhaal te lezen, wat een opwinding, wat een geluk, en wát een opname(s) , stuk voor stuk juweeltjes, complimenten Hennie, wát een beloning !!!!!!!!!
    keep up the good work !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    groeten, bob

    Comment by bobje — June 8, 2011 @ 7:22 am | Reply

  4. You may not have such wonderful encounters again, or at least not for a while, but how thrilling that you did that morning and were able to get such precious photographs. Thank you for getting up so early and for sharing your adventures with your always fine images and always beautifully written narratives, Hennie.

    Comment by mimbrava — June 8, 2011 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  5. You have inspired me Hennie to get out of bed earlier!

    Comment by Jacqueline Deely — June 14, 2011 @ 3:18 am | Reply

  6. Hi Hennie,
    Dit zijn die onvergetelijk dagen dat je ineens alle geluk van de wereld lijkt te hebben…..ik wed dat je nog héél lang met een enorme smile hebt rondgelopen.
    Ook zeer herkenbaar dat je er juist tegenop loopt als je er niet echt op berekend bent. En zodra je dan zoekt…..vind je niets! Een vreemde wetmatigheid in de (natuur) fotografie 😉
    Maar je hébt die dag een prachtige verzameling nieuw leven gemaakt, heerlijk om te zien. En ook erg leuk om hier de nog uitgebreidere versie van je geweldige verhalen te lezen!


    Comment by roeselien — June 14, 2011 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  7. Vanavond ook m’n eerste baby vosje gezien. Heerlijk gevoel. Al een aantal keer het afgelopen jaar pa en/of ma gezien en nu dit.
    Bedankt voor al het moois en de heerlijke verhaaltjes erbij.

    Verrast door een jong vosje

    Comment by RW-V — June 20, 2011 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

    • Is het niet geweldig!! Ik dacht dat ik een hartaanval zou krijgen toen ik ‘t kleine vosje zag. Gefeliciteerd met je sighting. Ik weet als geen ander hoe fantastisch die ervaring is!

      Comment by Hennie van Heerden — June 20, 2011 @ 9:11 pm | Reply

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