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My year 2018 in Germany's wild nature


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Once again, 2018 flew by. Before I dedicate myself to the new challenges in 2019, I would like to look back on the year 2018, which was so eventful for me personally, with a highlight video.

Eventful, because I spent more time in nature than ever before in my life. I started my own business as a nature filmmaker and took my first steps into this small and difficult industry. Even if it is not easy to represent 365 days in just 6 minutes, the film gives you a good insight into what I was able to experience in 2018.

Making nature part of everyday life

My goal in 2018 was to be outside as much as possible and to always make new experiences. In dealing with the camera and above all in the interaction with nature.

Also for my Wildlife Highlights from 2017 I have already invested a lot of time in my passion for nature film, but the year 2018 became much more intense. You see, not only did I start my own business, but I also reduced my full-time office job to three days a week. This was key for me to be able to spend more time in nature than ever before in my life.

I have been able to experience nature from a perspective that is usually denied in the usual everyday madness. Because we often no longer have the patience to sit down somewhere for several hours and wait for something to happen. Especially when that something is so unpredictable and we don't even know if it will happen at all.

This question about the proportionality between this uncertainty and the effort that one makes, was less for me since last year. And so I could take the time for moments in which I could also use it very well.

My most emotional experience

A very emotional moment at the birth of the crane chicks.

The most memorable of such moments was certainly the birth of two crane chicks, which I was able to witness up close in the spring. In my camouflage tent I waited over two days for the hatching of the second chick. It was a long time coming, while the first chick saw the light of day two days earlier.
The day after Ascension Day was the day. The night before I will not forget so quickly 😀 . I spent the night in my camouflage tent 15 meters next to the cranes and there was such a violent thunderstorm over me that this night became extremely uncomfortable.

After a few hours of sleep, the next morning I saw the completely soaked mother crane as she continued to brood in her nest and at no time allowed her offspring to get even a single drop of rain. When the storm cleared and daddy crane returned from his search for food, I was able to film the moment when the second crane chick saw the light of day for the first time.
These insights into the lives of such hidden animals were priceless for me. No textbook in the world can convey the experiences that you take away from such situations. An emotional experience that does not occur in this form in our native nature with any other animal species. I hope that I could make this special moment in my short film for you as good as possible to experience.

Sea eagle invasion and black sun

I had another highlight in 2018 in the Peene Valley in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. At times, more than 230 sea eagles gathered there to fish together. A simply incredible spectacle, considering that sea eagles are actually solitary animals.
Fortunately, word of this special event had also spread to Berlin and I took the approximately two and a half hour trip without hesitation. I stayed overnight in my VW Caddy and was able to film the many white-tailed eagles as well as countless cranes, herons, limousines and many other bird species in the fantastic backlight the next morning.
If someone had told me before this year 2018 that I would get about 15 white-tailed eagles on one picture this summer, I would hardly have thought it possible. In the end, however, it actually became reality. The incredible diversity of species and the great morning light rounded off the impressive overall picture of this beautiful place.

White-tailed eagle in the Peene Valley - Wildlife Highlights 2018
14 at one stroke - white-tailed eagles chase away a gray heron's prey.

I will certainly think back to this experience my whole life and I hope that it will be repeated sometime. Even if the background was of course not necessarily positive, because the many sea eagles gathered mainly due to the extreme drought. For the white-tailed eagles a laid table, but other animal species this hot summer was certainly not particularly accommodating.
Another highlight was a small tour to the Danish border to the flocks of starlings that spend the night there in autumn in the extensive reed beds and search for food in the fields during the day. I was particularly lucky, because the starlings came flying into the reeds at the exact spot where I had positioned myself shortly before.
So I could take close-up pictures of them, which I would not have dreamed of before. I had hoped for more formation flights and the one or other attack of a bird of prey, but maybe that will work better next year. In any case, it was a breathtaking experience when the black curtain closed and hundreds of thousands of starlings suddenly took off. I'm definitely planning another tour to see the starlings next year, too.

Moments without camera

This year I learned that moments on camera are not everything. Even some moments, from which I have no or only unusable shots, certainly remain with me in the future in good memory.
For example, a barred owl that watched me about an hour after sunset in a pitch-black forest as I searched disorientedly for the way back to my car. ?

When he then flew over me at a height of about 5 meters and sat down on a branch next to the path, I also had the last necessary proof that nature can sweeten even the worst day imaginable for me in the end.

Such surprising moments are what make nature a real experience. However, I probably had my most memorable experience without a camera in the Lower Oder Valley National Park. There I observed from a distance three different animal species forming a kind of "hunting alliance" that I did not know in that form.

Several dozen cormorants, gray herons and black-headed gulls were hunting for fish together. While the cormorants chased the fish in the deeper water towards the shore, the gray herons waited there for their chance to catch a fish from the shallow part of the water. When the gray herons struck, the fish swam back to the deeper water. But there again the cormorants waited for their second chance and made correspondingly big prey. The black-headed gulls were the third beneficiary, as they were able to pick up the fish from the water surface.
I have never seen such a fascinating cooperation of several different animal species. I tried to find out the same day if such behavior has been observed more often in these species, but found nothing about it.
The small spectacle unfortunately dissolved shortly thereafter and all went their own ways again. So unfortunately I have no recording, but at least wonderful memories that I will not forget so quickly. And who knows: Maybe I will succeed in the new year to document exactly such a scene.

Either way, I have a lot planned for 2019. I'm already looking forward to the upcoming tasks and will gladly continue to keep you in the CareElite Wildlife Blog up to date. Until then, I hope you enjoy my highlight video from 2018 🙂 .

Many greetings,

Stephan from CareElite

PS.: Here you come to my personal Nature film websitewhere you can learn more about me and my work.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!


Stephan Schulz

Hey, I'm Stephan and I have a great passion for our local nature. As a wildlife filmmaker, I travel to the last natural places in Germany and try to show people with my recordings how worth protecting our nature is. In the Wildlife Blog of CareElite I want to contribute to a better understanding of nature.

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