Wildlife photography around Lanzarote

Wildlife photography around Lanzarote, a few of my findings.

I’m not one of those people that loves to go abroad just to lie in the sun until I frazzle. Don’t get me wrong I love to have a change from the unpredictable UK weather, which tends to air on the side of wet but I need something to occupy my mind other than a sun lounger. Obviously having 2 boys occupies most of my time but when I can, I enjoy nothing more than looking for some of the local wildlife.

Atlantic Lizard near the hotel

So as we did last year, during the June school half term holiday we packed our suitcases and travelled to Lanzarote, one of the Canary Isles. We stayed in Playa Blanca, which is the largest resort on the island and at the same hotel as the previous year. For those that know this area we were right on the western edge of the resort near Papagayo Beach. It was on the headland at Papagayo that I managed to photograph the Atlantic Lizard (above), which you can find in good numbers on Lanzarote. Sometimes known as Purpurarian Lizard or Haria Lizard, if you venture out into the scrub you shouldn’t find them too difficult to locate. There are some really impressive males with azure blue flank patches.

The hotel was great, all-inclusive so you can eat your weight in food whenever you wish…and drink and be merry from dawn ’till dusk. They also have a ‘kids club’, the  2-3 hours in which the kids have a great time and the adults are free to frazzle to their hearts content. Not me though, these are the few hours that I venture out and try and photograph some of the local wildlife.

Southern Grey Shrike

With Lanzarote being a volcanic island it doesn’t have a huge variety of wildlife, but it does have a few speciality birds that I’d love to see. On my daily ventures out I wanted to stay relatively close to base, to allow the longest time at the location to see what I could find. I’m certainly not an expert naturalist, mediocre at best but love nothing more then wandering around in an area that I think might be productive and see what I find.

I love finding wildlife but for me managing to take a photograph is the ultimate challenge. I’d say I have 4 rankings in terms of my bird images;

  1. ‘I did see one…honest’ – basically zoomed/cropped to the maximum but I’m happy that it leaves little doubt of the species in question.
  2. ‘Screen Ready’ – These images are zoomed in less but still a large crop. I’d be reasonably happy to show someone online but they wouldn’t stand up to being printed.
  3. ‘Nearly but no cigar’ – Little or no crop, sharp but usually bird at wrong angle or something obscuring the bird. Maybe a cluttered or annoying background…etc
  4. ‘Happy with that’ – Not often I say it, but when I do I must be ‘happy with that’. Little or no crop, sharp where it needs to be, well composed, nice angle/pose and complimentary background.

In situations like these with no pre-planning and with little experience of an area I usually expect to come home with mainly Rank 1 images. If I can get some Rank 2 for showing online that’s great, any Rank 4 would be amazing. I don’t like Rank 3 because they just annoy me!!

My holiday ‘local patch’.

The main place that I visited was the salt pans at Janubio, this is just over 10 minutes by car from the hotel and I thought offered a good chance of a few species.

Car Park locations at Janubio
Car Park locations at Janubio

Most of the time I parked at the north end as there is a large car park. It was only when I viewed Google Maps that I realised I could park by following the rough track off the LZ-2 and park at the southern side. So what did I see at Janubio? As with most of Lanzarote, on initial inspection it seemed sparse of birdlife but with a bit of perseverance there are things to be found.

Kentish Plover, Black-winged Stilt (20+), Berthelot’s Pipit, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Grey Heron, Kestrel (pair) and my first ever Trumpeter Finch.

My first ever Trumpeter Finch

I found the most productive area to be around the rocky outcrop near the south car park, where on the map you can see the water forms a small outlet from the main lake.

Black-winged Stilt on the Janubio salt pans.

Lanzarote Eco Insider – A great birding day out.

Lanzarote in terms of a birding ‘hit list’ for me would be Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser and Barbary Falcon. These 3 birds I looked for last year (not that hard) but had no luck at all. So this year I thought I would have a look and see if there were any local guides that might be able to point me in the right direction. So literally two days before we were due to travel I booked a morning group trip with Lanzarote Eco Insider. This turned out to be the best decision I made. Carmen collected me from the hotel at 8am and we met met up with the others in the group. They have 2 large Land Rovers and make sure that all guests have a window. Most of the trip was spent in the desert part of the island, in the area near Sóo, leading out to the coast and believe me Land Rovers are a great choice, there is no way they could have taken us to some of the areas without them.

There were 3 of us plus Carmen in our vehicle, a gent from Leicester and a lady from Leeds. Neither were birding experts, they just fancied seeing the island and seeing a few birds. Carmen was so knowledgeable about the island as well as its wildlife. I learnt a great deal and it gave me ideas for days out with the family for later in our stay. We had so many laughs and there was never a dull moment.

As a side note. I had very low expectations in terms of photography on this excursion, it wasn’t advertised as a photographic trip and I was purely there to hopefully see one or two of the species on my hit list. As it happens we got much closer than I had expected and I think if the wind had been a little calmer I would could have got some really good shots.

So what did we see? Within the first 5 minutes we were being asked to look for a very inconspicuous bird motionless  in-between the grass and rocks…Stone Curlew. I’d seen Stone Curlew many years back in the UK at Weeting Heath but at a great distance. These were much closer and through binoculars very clear. Stone Curlews are great in that they think if they keep motionless then they somehow become invisible. So once you have found them you’ve got plenty of time to observe them.

Stone Curlew on Lanzarote
Stone Curlew on Lanzarote

Next we ventured into territory fit only for a good 4×4. Obviously sticking to tracks as opposed to driving across potential nesting grounds we were on the lookout for something even more exciting. Target bird was the Houbara Bustard, which is the size of a small Turkey. Now with this in mind you’d think it would be a fairly easy bird to see…not the case!!! The total population for the whole of Lanzarote is approximately 400 birds, so the best way to increase your chance is to hook up with an expert local guide. I think we managed to spot 4-5 separate birds, which was fantastic.

Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulate in the Sóo desert Lanzarote.

So after being incredibly chuffed to add a new species of bird to my Life List the challenge was on to try and add a second bird…Cream-coloured Courser. Again another Lanzarote speciality, the Canaries being one of the few places to see this great looking bird. Again they are surprisingly hard to spot as they blend in really well to their surroundings.

Cream-coloured Courser

As you can see the tones on the bird match very well with its surroundings. Once we got into the correct habitat we probably saw 15 Cream-coloured Coursers, again new for me.

Hoopoe are a fantastic bird.

Whilst driving through the desert area we spotted a fair few other great birds, Lesser-short Toed Lark (another 1st), Barbary Partridge (1st), Hoopoe, Berthelot’s Pipit and a good number of Southern Grey Shrike. It was this later species that I was lucky enough to get some good close-up encounters with during my visit. I even managed to film a short clip which I was happy to allow Carmen and the team at Eco-Insider to use on their stunning new promotional video. My clip might only be small but see if you can find it 🙂

Whilst we were driving around Carmen was constantly giving us information about not only the wildlife but also the history and other interesting facts regarding Lanzarote. One of the main attractions of Lanzarote are the volcanoes and there are many organised trips to the most famous Timanfaya. Chatting on the trip I told Carmen that my 2 boys would love to see a volcano but I was concerned about the amount of walking involved for Ollie, who was only 4. Carmen recommended a much smaller but easily accessible volcano, the Volcán del Cuervo, that she thought would be better for Ollie, you could even walk into the crater.

Location of the accessible Volcán del Cuervo with parking at the top.

This sounded great and I took note for later in the week, she also told me that there was possibly a pair of Barbary Falcons nesting along the rim of the crater, so now this was definitely a trip we’d do. I’ve left the location image above a little wider so you can locate easier. You turn off the LZ-30 onto the LZ-56 and there is a small car park (top of the picture). It’s then a fairly leisurely 20 minute walk along a defined footpath which leads straight into the crater of the Volcán del Cuervo. There are even a few information boards along the path.  To make things even better it’s all free of charge.

Cattle Egret picking scraps at El Rubicon

So 2 days later we decided to go and explore Volcán del Cuervo. It was a lovely walk and fortunately it wasn’t a scorching hot day, which made the walk even easier. As we were approaching the crater I could hear the call of a Falcon, as I looked up I could see 2 birds flying away from us at a great height. As we finally walked into the crater, again I could hear the birds, their calls echoing in the skies above.

My first ever Barbary Falcon

It became clear that there were at least 2 falcons in the crater, I presume a breading pair. The size of the crater meant the birds were very far away but still great to see. You can see on the image below the rufous crown, clearly different to the dark crown of a Peregrine.

A distant but amazing Barbary Falcon

Visiting the volcano was fantastic, we all enjoyed it. Ollie, my 4 year old even managed to point out ‘a Lizard’, in fact what he had seen was a Lanzarote Gecko or Eastern Canarian Gecko. Unlike the closely related Moorish Gecko, which you often see around the lights on balconies or Villas when holidaying in other parts of Europe. The Lanzarote Gecko is much more conspicuous, hiding under rocks and in crevices. On this instance I was too slow to get a photo as I was looking up at the Falcons as he was looking down at the Gecko…typical!

Berthelots Pipit

We all had a great holiday and for those interested in Wildlife photography, Lanzarote can seem baron, it is a challenge but there are potential great rewards. A couple of other great birds, seen at a distance though, were Canary and African Blue Tit. There are other species that I missed, Eleonoras Falcon and Egyptian Vulture, to name two that I would have loved to have seen. Maybe next time!

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed a few of the photographs.

 

 

 

 

Benefits of using video in Market Research

Using Video in Marketing Research

Using video in marketing research
Using video in marketing research

Video promotion is an important part of any promotional campaign. There are so many benefits to using this promotional tool. These benefits are outlined in our recent video promotion blog titled Benefits and Statistics. Due to the dynamic nature of video, it can be used in many differing applications. Market research is a fundamental aspect of the marketing process. It is an essential element to understanding your customer, market and industry and therefore achieving the appropriate marketing mix for any product or service. This blog wants to examine using video content as part of a research project. Due to the complex and varied nature of market research, this blog will provide more of an overview with suggestions for video applications.

The Obvious Example

Video content has been used for a long time within research projects. The obvious example is where a pre-prepared video is shown to respondents to elicit a response based on the video’s content. This can allow the respondent to digest the information and give an immediate response. Further views allows for more time to be taken for digestion of the information. This can lead to further more in-depth insights. Using modern video tools, video in this context does not have to be restricted to test centres. With video hosting sites, all this can be done remotely reducing the cost of the research. To provide a level of human interaction, video calls can be made. This can replicate the testing scenario as if the interviewer and interviewee are in the same room. Using video content does not have to stop here.

Types of Research Videos

There a variety of different video applications for the marketing research industry. These are a few examples:

  • In the moment
    • In-store
    • Vox-pop
  • Voice of the consumer
    • at home
    • on location
  • Geo-location – data collected by either the respondent or mobile technology
  • Diary studies
    • at home
    • on location.

 

Mobile

Mobile phones and market research

Two-thirds of all people in the UK own a smart phone. Mobile devices have the ability to capture both images, video and audio. You can also post the AV directly to the research company. These capabilities are having a dramatic effect on the nature of market research agencies and their projects. It means there is an army of potential research interviewees that have access to a device that can record video/stills of their experience. Their experience can then sent to a collection point for further analysis. Bear in mind that the interviewee will more likely have their smart phone or tablet to hand most of the day. This quick and easy access to their mobile allows for quicker, more accurate and honest evaluations on the research objectives. Vivid have worked on research commissions which have collected respondents videos etc and then this can be collated into the overarching report.

Playback/Analysis

Using video as part of the research process gives insightful insights into a research project. What video allows in the analysis stage is the ability to review a visual tools over and over. This means the researcher can spend more time reviewing the footage and therefore  will provide a more in-depth analysis for their client.

sharing video for market research
Sharing video for market research

Easy to Share

The video/s can be easily shared from the research subject to the research agency. They can be easily shared within the research team. They can be easily shared between the agency to the client. This can take the form of the actual rushes or part of an edited presentation with graphical elements to emphasise key points, all backed up with real world videos. The client can then themselves delve further into the content.

For Client Feedback

When a researcher relays their final report back to their client, having a video clip to show provides an informative visual and audio response for the client. Rather than the researcher telling their client about the research findings, they can actually show them using video as part of the presentation or report.

Presentations

Research Presentations
Research Presentation

When providing the final report to the client, using video provides a direct feedback and clarification tool to the client and brings the overall commission to life. A presentation can be provided to the client which using a variety of research sources can qualify the the research brief. A video presentation can be used to show the key findings of the research commission or can be expanded to provide more in-depth analysis. Video presentations can utilise numerous techniques to clearly demonstrate pertinent information quickly and effectively. The video can be shown to key client personal and also easily shared to both internal and external audiences.

Cost of Video Research
Cost of Video Research

Cost

Like any form of video production it can be helpful to utilise a video production company, but it does not have to be this way. As mentioned before, everyone has a smart phone and all that is required is a portal where the videos can be uploaded. Using a small camcorder like a Go Pro, the interviewer can capture the interviewee’s thought directly. This video clip can be used as part of the analysis stage or shown directly to the client. A small cost like this opens up a new and exciting avenue for research.

The Push Back

There are of course some negatives with using video as part of marketing research commissions. The obvious one is that some people feel that video can be intrusive. Some people do not like having their voice recorded let alone their face shown. There has to be willingness for the participants to engage in this technology and there can be resistance to this. We imagine agencies find that younger respondents are more willing to engage in video capture and this can be a problem attracting an older audience. This skew can lead to problems comparing data over different age groups when using video footage. This can be somewhat remedied by clearly stating the intended use of the video to the respondent. Most video for research is strictly confidential.

Do the people using the video feedback option mean they have different non comparable information to someone who does not use video feedback? This can be even if the video will only shown internally. This is coupled by understanding the capture portal and security concerns about the safety of their videos. 6% of people do not have access to the technology to provide the video feedback.

Not all respondents have been trained by Steven Spielberg. This can lead to poor quality video, lighting and more importantly audio which could obscure/omit key research findings.

All the video captured has to be backed up with a robust consent procedure. This procedure issue can be easily overcome using efficient interviewers and a clear online consent form. Fundamentally, there are several questions that have to be answered.

  • Where is the video going to be captured to?
  • Where is it going to be stored?
  • How is it going to be analysed?
  • How is it going to be reported and displayed to the client?

Vivid’s Experience

Vivid have provided numerous video research commissions for leading research agencies. As members of the team have a research background, we believe our combined research and video production skills really assist our research agency clients. Vivid provide comprehensive research video content to be used for analytical analysis for our clients. Obviously we are not in a position to show any of these confidential commissions but during our time we have provided the following services for some of the country’s leading research companies:

  • Time-lapse vidoes
  • Video interviews
  • Vox Pops
  • Client presentations (animated+video).

There are so many benefits of using video within a market research commissions, it can provide a more comprehensive, immediate and intimate approach to the research process. It also works as an important part of the whole research mix.

If you would like to find out more about our video production service, please visit our what we do page. If you would like to discuss any projects, please call a member of the Vivid team on 0161 477 2404.