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Southwestern Water Vole

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I was in the Kingfisher hide this morning but they just didn’t come to the perch, everywhere else but the perch. However, in the distance I saw some movement. Looking through the viewfinder I spotted either a Brown Rat or a Southern Water Vole. I magnified on the live view and could see it was indeed a Southwestern Water Vole.

Also known as a Southern Water Vole, it is a slightly different species to the European Water Vole found in other regions of Europe. This large semi-aquatic rodent can reach sizes of between 16 and 23cm long, not including the tail which is a further 3/4 of the length of the body. They are often seen in the daytime, mainly during the later morning and early evening. This is the 2nd time I have seen it at this time of day so will be looking to get closer!

Allegedly, it was originally one of the main ingredients of the Spanish Paella! It’s great to see one as they are in decline and are classified as “Vulnerable” on the ICN Red List.

I quickly popped on the 1.4x teleconverter, but even at 700mm, it was still a long way away for a decent shot. However, here it is eating fresh bamboo growth for its breakfast. More info and identification guide after the photo.

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Southwestern Water Vole - Rato-de-água - Arvicola sapidus
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 with Nikon TC14E III 1.4x Teleconverter (giving 700mm) @ 1/800sec, f/5.6, ISO1400

Due to the size of a Water Vole, it is easy to assume that its a Brown Rat, however, there are many differences. To help, here is a quick guide to the differences!


Fox Visiting The Iberian Magpie Feeding Area Overnight (Video)

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The Iberian Magpie Feeding Area has been having some visitors overnight, identified by droppings left. I believe that a Badger is coming and possibly a Genet. Therefore, I now leave a trail cam running to see what comes along for a free small snack.

Last night a Fox, a healthy looking one, came along. The video is just some quick snippets as it was there for a long time, the camera picked up its arrival at 3:01am and it left at 3:47am!

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}


A Very Relaxed Brown Rat

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I wandered down to the river this afternoon to collect some Bamboo for our garden and I spotted a Brown Rat just minding its own business on the side of the track. I walked right up to it and it wasn’t at all bothered. I could have actually picked it up, but of course, Rat bites are not pleasant!

On my way back with Bamboo, I noticed it was still in the same place. Was it injured, or ill? Didn’t seem to be as it sat there nibbling on a grass seed. Once back at the house I grabbed the camera and returned and it was still wandering around eating the grass seed so I got these 2 shots of it. After a while it wandered off into the thick bushes. Everyday, the local wildlife continue to surprise me! Now a few of you may mention that do I want this near the house? It’s near the river and of course river banks have Rats, it is also about 500m away from the house, so no real concern, also I think our Cats may have the final say on that one!

Whether you like the thought of Rats or not, you cannot argue that this isn’t cute!

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Brown Rat - Ratazana-castanha - Rattus norvegicus
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An Afternoon At The River Looking For Opportunities

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I was a new location on the river that we discovered a few days ago and was looking for options for some closeup Kingfisher shots, the Kingfishers are getting really brave now.

Although I wasn’t there to take photos, I did take the camera down. Here is just a quick shot of a male Kingfisher sitting in the tree watching me, then just as I was leaving, Iberian Magpies where coming down for a late afternoon bath.


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A Great Experience At A Practical Workshop At Salgados

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I don’t currently advertise it as a service, however if asked, I will organise follow-up practical sessions for past attendees on my Digital Photography Fundamentals Workshop. I will be launching this as a full service shortly though!

This morning I met Joy at Salgados at 8am for a morning session on Bird Photography and we had a great time.

I always find it strange to feel in awe of spotting a European Magpie, in the UK every other bird seems to be one, but in the Algarve they one seem to appear only in certain localities, Salgados is one of those. Almost immediately, one came down to land nearby.


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Wally Was In Such A Playful Mood This Morning…….

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……so I shot him! With a camera of course!

It’s always great practice using Wally, not just for my Dogs-In-Nature Photo Shoots but for other wildlife too.

First we were at the river and he was splashing around like a maniac so I was on hand to capture his craziness, throwing the odd stone to attract his attention.

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Wally Splashing In The River
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Photography Workshops For All Abilities...!
Are you looking to move away from your camera's Auto setting and be more creative with your photography?
Why not attend one of my Digital Photography Fundamentals Workshop. Full day easy-to-understand Workshop with both theory and practical sessions for only €45!
If you don't currently own a suitable camera and want to learn the fundamentals first? There is a limited availablility of Nikon Bridge Cameras available at no extra cost!
Private sessions including 1-to-1 and 1-to-2 also available! Read more...

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