Last Thursday I went for my first Belgian photo hide experience in Kalmthout at the Belgian-Dutch border. As I had some friends over the day before I was actually quite happy with the reasonable starting hour of 8am. I had asked the operator if I didn't need to be inside the hut before sunrise but that was not necessary he reassured me. This hide ws mainly designed for forest birds so there would be no possibility to have sunrise pictures.
One of the most frequent visitors: the Eurasian Jay:
Common Chiffchaf here below
An Eurasian Jay stealing the food.
And Robin (Hood)
A flying tit
A Common blackbird
The hut itself was actually fairly close to the normal road but you wouldn't have thought it when you sat inside. In contrast with earlier experiences abroad it was a very comfortable hut with two chairs (with sawed off legs) and even a heating device (which I did not use because temperatures were fairly ok). Wiser from earlier experiences I had brought enough warm clothing, even some gloves and next warmer but the latter two turned out to be overkill. I did get cold feet sitting still though.
You could see the birds knew food could be found in this spot though. No sooner had the operator left or the birds came flying in. I even missed a buzzard and a gold crest because I wasn't ready yet. I did get an abundance of birds though: mostly Eurasian Jays, tits (black and blue), blackbirds, pigeons (wood and stock) and magpies.
Woodpecker on the ground
It wasn't all birds though. Whenever there was a bit of a lull, I started aiming at the frogs in the little pool in front of the hide. As you can see the hide was next to an apple tree so the frogs tried some acrobatics on the floating apples. interesting sidetone: a falling apple can make quite a splash :-) I had to clean the window at a certain moment because the splash from an apple blurred the window :-) At 4 o clock I got the main course: a insanely cute squirrel paid a visit. He only stayed for about ten minutes but I snapped about 70 pictures in that time. you can see him nibbling on some nut and that is something I take with me for my next visits: bring food! :-) Sitting from 8am till 5,30 pm without food can be a bit tricky!