Nature Photgrapher Raymond Loyal

Welcome to my site on nature photography - bird photography - birding, bird watching 

My work as nature photographer



There are always projects to work on. The three main projects are birds, mammals and macro photography.
My main interest is in birds of prey and geese. Though you will find all kind of birds on this site. 

Greylag goose


My spare time is dedicated to bird watching and to looking out for mammals too. Though, bird watching / ornithology takes pride of the place, so to speak. Of course, the animal theme is combined with photography. Animal photography is now a substantial part of my photographic work. 


 This section shows wildlife pics. Wildlife covers animal photography and nature photography (natuurfoto-graafie) alike. 
The captures show animals in their natural habitat; there are no images from pets or animals kept in a zoo. New species will be added constantly. Just stay tuned. 

duck mallard


We are certainly not changing the stream of history by what we do, though, by capturing wildlife and nature in an image and put these pics on display, we can most certainly bring to people to watch and change their way of looking at things at all.


Great Crested Grebe
Grey Heron

Themes - Content

Themes cover a variety of topics and are being extended constantly. Please find an overview below:


Animal photography is a special part of photography.  This is not simply taking a shot. Required are calmness, patience and the ability to wait for the animal you want to capture. Animal photography intends to show the animial in its habitat; of course, we try to get as close to the animal as possible, without disturbance.
Under birds you will find additional information on bird photography. First information please scroll down.

Bird watching 

Ornithology. Birds are those animals most easily to find and to watch, making it a popular pastime. Under birds you will find additional information on birdwatching.

island Helgoland north sea

Nature Reserves / Places to visit
Places for watching birds

Bird watching ...

... animal photography and bird photography. Where and how, that is the question. Here you will receive some answers. We listed some regions for you where watching birds and mammals as well as taking photos is possible. That list is open to additions. You will find areas in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium the United Kingdom, Norway and Iceland. 

waterfowl great crested grebe

Meet the Common Crane

Common Crane
Common Crane
Common Crane

Birdwatching: Common Crane 
(Grus grus)

In Germany is the Common Crane is a rare species, except for the Migration in spring and autumn. The common crane puts a majestic appearance on display. That alone makes it worthwile watching the birds.
Sightings of the common crane are possible during spring and autumn migration in the lang but small migration corridor the birds use. The autumn migration is from August to October while spring migration is between March and May of each year.
As for Europe, cranes breed in boreal and taiga forests and also in mixed forest, treeless moors or bogs or on dwarf heather habitats.
Cranes winter in the south of Europe, mainly in France and Spain but also migrate to Northern Africa, the east part of the Mediterranean even down to Iraq and Iran.
Cranes breed in larger populations in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Belorussia and Russia. In smaller populations they also breed in Greece, Romania, Denmark and Germany. Small breeding populations in Germany can be found in Pommerania and in the rewetted moors of Diepholzer Moorniederung in Lower Saxony.
Observation of cranes during migration is possible at Diepholzer Moorniederung, Groß Morhdorf, Kargow and Zingst in Western Pomerania Bodden. Also sightings of cranes are possible in Brandenburg in the Angermuende / Schwedt area, east of the river Oder. Also, in the Duvenstedter Brook area in the most Northern East of the City of Hamburg cranes do rest during the migration period and the area meanwhile is also used for breeding.

Obervation tower Rehdener Geestmoor
Rehdener Geestmoor
Obersvation Tower Rehdener Geestmoor
Rehdener Geestmoor

The Diepholz Moorniederung offers several observations posts from where crane can be watched:

  • Arkeburger Str. 22, 49424 Goldenstedt – Grosses Moor near Barnstorf loc
  • Moordamm 7-10, 49453 Hemsloh – Rehdener Geestmoor loc
  • Hochmoorweg10, 49419 Wagenfeld – Neustädter Moor loc
  • Salle, 31066 Wamsen (Uchte) loc
  • Darlaten 55, 31600 Wamsen (Uchte) loc
  • Moor 17, 32351 Oppenwehe – Oppenweher Moor loc
  • Deckertau, 27259 Freistatt – Mittlere Wietingsmoor loc

Clicking on maps location (loc) will connect to Google Maps showing the approximate location of the area. You can change the scale as you like it once you are in google maps.

The best options for watching are available at Rehdener Geestmoor. During daytime cranes can be observed on harvested fields and meadows, where they feed.
The car is also your camouflage hide. Don't get out of the car but watch the birds from inside your car. That advice should also be adhered by bird photographers. As the birds are extremly shy the observations distance is about 300 m on average.
For taking shots the use of bridge cameras is an option if the camera has a focal length of 1200 mm max. It is better to use DSLR or DSLM together with light intensive fixed focal length of at least 500 mm. Bridge camera or not use maual mode and no flash! Any flash will frighten the birds.
At all observation towers there are fact sheets available to take away.
The German environmental group BUND operates a mobile lookout in the region, which is always located at the most interesting spots. The current location can be found at the BUND press release on the net. The information is in German but speaks for themselves.

Rehden Geestmoor in the Diepholz Moorniederung area

Rehdener Geestmoor
Common Crane
Common Crane
Common Crane

Some rules for observing cranes

You should arrive at least one hour before sunset. Please allow for sufficient time for your footwalk from the car park to the observation post.

  1. Use the observation posts in the region in order to watch crane flying in at their resting and sleeping areas.
  2. Keep calm and be silent
  3. You should use light intense binoculars magnifying 8x56 or 10x42 maybe even 15x42. A spotting scope at 30x80 is also much to be adviced, please consider using a tripod for more stability. 
  4. Bird photography only with light intense fixed focal length, but only as long as available lights allows for taking shots at all. No flash photography. Over ISO 1600 the shots are rendered useless. At that point it is better to just watch and enjoy the wonderful cranes.
  5. Always keep your distance. The flight distance is rather high, on average between 200 to 300 m.
  6. All cranes with heads up in the air means the birds feel quite significantly be disturbed. Expect the entire group to fly away immediately.
  7. During daylight observe the cranes from you your car when the birds are on the fields feeding. 

Observation rules pdf download

Crane Observation Post at Oppenweher Moor

Common Crane
Crane observation post
Common Crane

Oppenweher Moor

Oppenweher Moor
Crane Observation post Oppenweher Moor
Kranich Grus grus

Places for birdwatching and bird photography

marsh land lakes


Nature reserves and national parks in Germany. Using the links connects to external sites where you can find more detailed information

lake water

The Netherlands

Nature reserves and national parks in The Netherlands. Below links connect to external sites for additional Information. 

  • Amsterdamse Waaterleidingsduinen
  • National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
  • Beach and South Pier Ijmuiden
  • Beach van Oostvoorne
  • De Groene Jonker
  • Pier van Holwerd  (Ameland Ferry Terminal)
  • East Side of Ameland (Island)
  • Lauwersmeer
  • National Park de Hooge Veluwe
  • Wildlife Park Het Aardhuis
  • Nature Reserve Lelystad
  • De Groote Peel
  • Texel
  • Terschelling Polder



Using the links connects to Google Maps. On the map you can change the scale as you like it.

waterfowl great crested grebe


  • Island of Runde
  • Polar Park


  • Dunnet Head
  • Shetlands
  • Loch of Strathbeg


  • Bempton Cliffs


  • Skomer Island

Some Web Links

The following links refer you to external websites for further information.

Map National Park Wattenmeer in Schleswig-Holstein
Map National Park Wattenmeer in Hamburg
Map National Park Wattenmeer in Niedersachsen / Lower Saxony
Website National Park Wattenmeer
Wattenmeer Aerial Panorama

Bird Sigthings Germany:
Ornitho (lang: FR, DE, EN)
Bird Sightings UK:
Birdguides (EN)
Bird Sigthings NL:
Birdguides NL (EN)


Have a look at my gallery to see some of my work. The gallery is a general overview

If you are a birdwatcher, you might be interested in bird photgraphy. Admittedly, birds are more or less easy to watch, which is why there is so much literature About birds and birdwatching. I am a birdwatcher myself. Only later I found interest in Photography. Nowadays, bird Photography is a vital leg of my photographic work.

Bird photography is, like birdwatching, all about patience maybe a of determination and, of course, your camera equipment. Which Kind of camera suits you best?

Your mobile phone camera is out of the question because we are not taking shots in the zoo. It is possible to use so-called bridge cameras, where a zoom is incorporated operating from about 24 to 1200 mm max.

The other option is to use so-called DSLR cameras, which requires a series of different lenses.

So-called DSLR aka digital single lens reflex camera is most probably still the option of choice, one should go for. However this requires special lenses and some other equipment absolutely necessary if you want to do a good job out there.

Under the header Birds, you will find some more Information on bird photography.

Go to Birds for more information.


Get to know birds in your own region. Do some bird watching. As with other things, either you like bird watching or you don't. 

Speaking for myself, I did bird watching before I even started photography. Bird watching is an interesting pastime and you learn a lot about birds, habitats, biology, ecology and behavioral research over time. It is great and it gives you a lot. Under the section birds there are species listed with some information on the species:

There, you will also find some information on birdwatching in general which might be helpful for the beginner. 

The very basics you need to start birdwatching are:

  • Loads of interest in the subject
  • some sparetime
  • binoculare
  • a field guide on birds
  • maybe a pair of wellies
  • a small notebook to make notes on your observations

And off you go.

Click for more pics and information on birds.

List of interesting places to watch birds: Pdf (coming up soon)

Topography of a Bird - Body and Head

 A - Body of a Bird

  1. Upper mandible
  2. Lower mandible
  3. Eye-ring
  4. Chin
  5. Throat
  6. Moustachial-stripe
  7. Breast
  8. Side
  9. Belly
  10. Flanks
  11. Tarsus
  12. Secondaries
  13. Under tail-coverts
  14. Primaries
  15. Outer tail-feathers
  16. Tail
  17. Upper tail-coverts
  18. Rump
  19. Wing bars
  20. Scapulars
  21. Back
  22. Nape
  23. Crown Stripe
  24. Crown
  25. Forehead
Corn bunting

B - Head of a Bird

  1. Beak
  2. Upper mandible
  3. Lower mandible
  4. Crown Stripe
  5. Eye Stripe
  6. Head Stripe

Wing Topography of a Bird

Wing underparts

  1. Axillaries
  2. Bend of wing
  3. Foredge of wing
  4. Wing Linings
  5. Secondaries
  6. Primaries

Wing upperparts

  1. Speculum (ducks)
  2. Scapulars
  3. Primaries
  4. Secondaries
  5. Wing Trailing Edge
Mute swan Cygnus olor


Mammals in the wild are very shy and it is mostly very hard to find them and to watch. Contrary to birdwatching, watching mammals is quite an act. If possible it is a rewarding moment.

Click for more information on mammals.

Säugetier Damhirsch fallow deer mammal

Nature Photography

Nature photography shows nature as it is. The landscape, the different forms of nature, habitats such as forest, marsh land, lakes, rivers. Also it could cover areas where nature and industrialised landscape merge. We humans leaf a trace wherever we go. Let's say our footprint is to be shown in many places, especially in Europe, where human settlements, industry and nature are side-by-side. Even it is only a lighthouse at the shore.
Click here for more on nature photography.

Küste See shore sea Bretagne

Macro Photography

Small things at a scale of at least 1 : 1 or even larger; or close-ups of creatures or filigree structures. That can cover anything from small insects to flowers to patterns in stones.
Find out more at the macro section.

macro image

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Texts and images © Raymond Loyal - No use in publications without permission in writing.