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Morning Dog Walk: Males Singing and Drumming For Females…..And, Of Course, Bluey!

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

This morning’s walk was full of a few surprises, first, I narrowly missed an opportunity to photograph an Egyptian Mongoose as it scurried away for cover. This is the 2nd time I’ve seen them in the same location in the morning, so I will have to do a stake-out soon.

The Woodpeckers are drumming like crazy today, it is like a building site with all the knocking. I noticed a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker tapping a metal strip on an electricity pole, it was a fair distance away, but took a snap anyway. Notice his red cap, this is how you tell the males and females apart as the females don’t have one. Of course, the females will not be drumming either as the males perform this to attract a mate.

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A Little Closer To The Blue Rock Thrushes

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Yesterday afternoon I dressed up in my Army clothing, took my camo-bag and tried to sneak close to the ruin that the pair of Blue Rock Thrushes are nesting in. It didn’t go well, the male was sitting at the location I was trying to get to and even though he moved away I think he was watching me and seemed uncomfortable so I abandoned the idea. Back at the house it got me thinking, earlier in the day he was less worried when I walked through with the dog in normal clothing. So this morning, I tried something different, I put a 1.4x teleconverter on my 500mm lens (which gives me a 700mm with minimal quality loss on such a great lens) and took it out using a Monopod rather than a Tripod for ease of carrying.

I walked my usual route and the female was sitting on a nearby telephone pole and I could see the male on the roof of the ruin. I positioned myself near to the ruin in full visibility of the birds. They seemed far more relaxed with my presence, the male even more so as he came to the roof top. Although not the perfection I’m looking for I did come away with some nice photos.

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Male Blue Rock Thrush - Melro-azul - Monticola solitarius
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Morning Dog Walk:…..And Now The Female Blue Rock Thrush!

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

Yesterday morning, after searching for weeks I finally spotted the Male Blue Rock Thrush. This morning we walked through the same location and I spotted a Female.

As you can see, the female has no blue colouring, she is dark brown with a spotted chest. She wasn’t so relaxed around me as the male and moved perch constantly. However, she flew in almost exactly the same pattern as the Male, circling the ruined building. I think it’s pretty certain that they are nesting in this building. I won’t go investigating as I am not interested in disturbing the nest (and what seems like hundreds of House Sparrows) but I will be monitoring this site to hopefully capture some great shots.


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House Sparrows Are Busy Building Their New Breeding Nests

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It’s that time of year again where many birds are preparing to lay eggs. We have a large population of House Sparrows at the Quinta and they are busy building new nests to lay. Both the male and female are working hard collecting material.

A few pairs build nests inside the porch of our front door and this morning there was a mating pair busy early. They were backlit by the rising sun so I grabbed a shot of both the male and female with material.

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Male House Sparrow
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Morning Dog Walk: I Finally Found The (Or Another) Blue Rock Thrush!

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

On the last Nature Walk we spotted a Blue Rock Thrush (Read more) and I have been looking for it almost every morning since without luck.

Well today, I spotted it, or maybe of course another one. In a straight line it was about 400 meters from where we spotted it, so likely the same one. Only the male is blue, the female is brown and is similar to a female Blackbird, but with a longer beak. I actually thought I spotted a female this morning nearby too, so hopefully a breeding pair.

This male wasn’t too bothered by my (and Wally’s) presence and would allow me to get quite close before moving perch. I noticed that it would fly to various perches before coming to ground to feed. The whole time it would circle around a ruined house. They are known to nest in ruins, so I will be keeping an eye on this location and will head back with my long lens and camouflage in the hope of some closeup shots.

For now, here are some I snapped as I watched it this morning.

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Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
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Morning Dog Walk: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Drumming (Video)

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

You may remember a post (excuse the pun) a while back about the damage Woodpeckers have do to our Telephone pole. Yesterday’s walk (there wasn’t one this morning as I was recovering from Wales winning the Grand Slam and 6 Nations Rugby!) I spotted a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the very same pole.

Sorry for the not so steady video, but videoing hand held at 400mm isn’t easy. The jangling you can hear is Wally’s collar and the chirping is from a large family of House Sparrows.

Woodpeckers drum at this time of year to attract females and you can often hear them drumming on metal and concrete poles as they are much louder than wood. He who drums the loudest will attract the females. As you’d expect, the drumming is a lot quieter than the Great Spotted Woodpecker but still carries a long distance.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}

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