Every morning Hugo listened to the local weather forecast every morning. When rain was finally forecast for South Tyrol in northern Italy, he headed to the countryside on the outskirts of the nearby town of Feldhurns. There he put his hide up near a dead sweet chestnut tree and settled down to wait. In the tree was a brood of hoopoe chicks, and Hugo knew the habits of their parents. ‘The hoopoes would fly in with food and perch on this beautiful fork before going to the nest hole,’ he says. But the background view was distracting, and what Hugo had been waiting for was fog to sail up the valley and obliterate the background. ‘At first, the hoopoes kept perching on the lower bough,’ he says. ‘Just once in the whole seven hours I was there did one of them sit on the top branch. I love its posture as it concentrates on trying to position a pupa in its beak before flying to the nest hole.’
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 300mm f4 lens; 1/250 sec at f6.3; ISO 320; Gitzo tripod.
Feldthurns, South Tyrol, Italy
Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Hugo Wassermann, Italy
Hugo was born and raised in Brixen, Italy, where he now works in the family company as a carpenter. About once a year he escapes his everyday life to visit places such as Scotland, Norway and Iceland. At home he spends hours lying just outside his house, taking pictures of small animals and plant details.