In search of the European Bison, Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland
Whenever I visit the Dutch dunes I always end up in the same area. This area lets me photograph nice landscapes, but also a variety of wildlife, ranging from small birds to elk, deer and foxes. However this time around I wanted to go to the more northern part of the Dunes area, which is Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland.
This National Park is situated Between the North Sea shore and Haarlem, from Zandvoort to IJmuiden, which extends over 3800 hectares. It’s really an oasis of tranquillity between the bustling city and the wide beach. The continuously changing dune landscapes and forests form the habitat of numerous extraordinary plants and animals. The park hosts 40% of all plants and animals in the Netherlands.
For me though the challenge was to find and photograph the European bison there. These animals are actually called Wisenten and are the biggest land mammals living on the European continent. Quite recently they were almost extinct, but since 2007 there is a herd living on the Kraansvlak area in the park. Most of this part is closed for people to access, but if you are lucky you can spot them in the areas that are open.
This specific morning it was a very nice cold and sunny morning and so the search started! The hiking trails took me to the specific area but I was unlucky and did not encounter the Wisenten. So continuing my hike I stumbled across this gentle beast. A Scottish highland cow just grazing in the tall grass and enjoying the sun as I was. Great fun to get this magnificent animal photographed. I still would have liked to get a Wisent photographed, but next time I guess.
When walking back to the car and leaving the park I was treated to a big raptor. A buzzard watching over the grasslands in search of food. Sitting there gracefully I was able to get some shots. Getting closer and closer the buzzard flew away towards an area where I could not. All in all a nice morning!
Enjoy the photos below. All taken with the Fujifilm X-T2. The first photo was shot on the Fujinon 10-24mm lens and the rest with the Fujinon 100-400 lens. This long telephoto lens is really something special, light, sharp and fast to focus. A real wildlife lens treat!