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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, ISO1400Continue reading >>

A Spanish Terrapin Just Peed On Me!

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I was down at the river modifying and moving my Kingfisher perch and on the way back Wally spotted something in the long grass.

It was a Spanish Terrapin (often referred to as a Spanish Turtle). It was fairly large with its shell about 25cm long. As it was heading towards the road I decided to relocate it back to the river bank.

I picked it up and it let its bladder go, all over me and I know smell like rotten fish. I released it back at the river bank and it hurried into the water.

(Shot and edited using Lightroom on my Samsung Galaxy S9+)


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My Local Mediterranean Tree Frogs Were Active During Daylight Today

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Normally the local Mediterranean Tree Frogs wait until dusk before they start calling but this afternoon I was in the garden and I could hear two of them calling. So I headed down to take a look.

You may remember last year I got in a local disused Cistern to photograph and film them calling (click the link to watch the video). This year there is very little water in the Cistern but they are gathering at a large flooded area next to it. Of course, this will probably dry up, but they must be used to breeding in dry conditions.

The Mediterranean Tree Frog is very similar to the smaller European Tree Frog apart from the black stripe. As you can tell from the photos the black stripe stops at its front legs whereas the European Tree Frog’s runs the length of its body. This is why the Mediterranean is often called the Stripeless Tree Frog.

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Mediterranean Tree Frog - Rela-meridional - Hyla meridionalis
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Mediterranean Tree Frog On The Front Terrace

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Tonight it is warm enough to have the door leading to our front terrace open and I was enjoying a nice game of Golf Clash on my phone when I was interrupted by the call of a Male Mediterranean Tree Frog (also known as the Stripeless Tree Frog) just a couple of meters away from me.

You may remember me getting this shot and video last year where they breed in a disused water cistern, however, this year there hasn’t been enough rain (yet) for them to breed in there. We’ve never had one this close to the house before (it is not uncommon for them to come inside houses!). There isn’t really water for them to breed here (apart from my Reflection Pool, not ideal) at the Quinta so tomorrow I will make a small pond in hope it will attract them to breed. Hopefully more to come…….

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Mediterranean Tree Frog
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Morning Dog Walk: Viperine Snake Sunbathing

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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 I sat on the river bank letting Wally run around in the water when I spotted a Viperine in one of the river pools (the river is now dry with just pools remaining). I watched it swim to the opposite bank and it eventually climbed out to sunbathe on the rocks.

It was really tough to photograph as there was a lot of contrast between the bright sunlight and the dark rocks.

The Viperine (Natrix maura) is a small snake that spends a lot of time in the water catching fish and although you may think by the name, it is not a Viper. It’s name comes from being similar in appearance to a Viper. It is non-venomous and although when threatened it can act like a Viper and strike, it will not bite. It is Diurnal which meaning it is active during daylight only. In adult-life, they can grow to 85cm long, this particular one was no larger than about 40cm.

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Viperine Snake (Natrix maura)

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Morning Dog Walk: A Local Wanted To Fight Me This Morning!…..

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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.

The river has now dried up (as normal this time of year) but there are a lot of large pools remaining. I have noticed that the Louisiana Crayfish are spending time out of the water. I was walking down the dried river bed and stumbled across this little fella who immediately went into fight mode with his pincers ready! In the water they can swim backwards extremely quickly, however, out of the water they are slow and clumsy so have to defend themselves. You may remember I took some Underwater Photos of the Crayfish a short while back.

I didn’t take a camera this morning, so the mobile had to do;

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Louisiana Crayfish

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