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An Old Owl Friend Or a New One?

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The local Little Owl I photographed earlier this year has been missing from it’s favourite perch on a dead tree stump for months. I have heard Little Owls in that area and simply put it down to the breeding season.

Last night we passed the tree stump on our way into the village and there was a Little Owl back on top.

This evening I decided to go and have a session with it, I arrived at the stump and the Owl was already sitting there, so turned to plan b. I drove away and prepared the car as a hide and then parked up close to the tree. I find that Little Owls can be approached in this way as long as they don’t see you. I had a camouflage net over the passenger window, a Photography Bean Bag over the top of the open window aperture with the camera resting on top. I managed to get some shots before it flew to various other trees as it was clearly hunting for it’s dinner. (the story continues below the photos)

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Little Owl - Mocho-galego - Athene noctua
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/160sec, f/8, ISO100
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Morning Dog Walk: Lupi’s First Action Shots

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For those that are quite new to my blog posts, most mornings I take a camera along on my dog walk with the infamous Wally and our (not so) newcomer Lupi. We took Lupi from the council kennels in Lagos just 10 weeks ago, he is (as good as) deaf and he was very scared and shy (see Blog Post).

In the first few weeks we honestly thought that we would never be able to let Lupi off the lead on the walks, something Wally has the freedom of, however, slowly but surely things have become different and in just this short time we have enough trust in each other that Lupi can enjoy what he is naturally engineered for, running!

Here are a few shots from his first real freedom run around this morning!

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Lupi Enjoying His Freedom!
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New Location At The River

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Yesterday I installed yet another perch for the Kingfishers to use. The river pools are getting smaller by what seems like every minute and although it results in the Kingfishers being more concentrated on certain areas, it means I have less good angles to shoot with.

This mornings task was to photograph a Kingfisher just coming into land on the perch with outstretched wings. Everything was going to plan until I broke my number one rule of “Focus on what you are trying to get and don’t be distracted!”.

The camera was setup, pointed at the perch, I had pre-focused, AF settings and fast shutter speed all dialled in. All I had to do was wait for a Kingfisher to fly to the perch. Although there were many visits to the perch all of them approached from in front rather than behind, then one of the young females landed high in a branch of a tree behind the perch. She dived into the water and retreated to another branch directly behind the perch. I wanted to look to see if she had caught a fish and moved the camera and focused on her, she flew right at the perch and I didn’t get the camera moved back in time. Yes, I am kicking myself! This was the last time I saw her this morning as she had already caught two large Louisiana Crayfish.

I did get some portrait shots of her on the perch earlier.

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Common Kingfisher (Juvenile Female) - Guarda-rios (juvenil femea) - Alcedo atthis
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/800sec, f/11, ISO640
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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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Morning Dog Walk: Usually Abundant But This Year A Rare Sight

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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.

It was great to spot a Woodchat Shrike this morning perched on an electricity cable. Normally, the area is abundant with them, but this year its the first I’ve spotted since the beginning of Spring when they returned. It could just be that I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time and I guess they are happily all around me, but certainly great to spot one.


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They Grow Up So Quick!

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This is the 2nd Tarantula Wolf Spider burrow that I discovered a while back (more info) and she was considerably smaller than the first one I found which of course is no longer with us.

However, this morning, I took a look to see how she was doing and noticed that she’s enlarged the burrow and weaved a huge new opening. It didn’t take long for her to come and poke herself out to see what I was doing.

Just for scale, the opening is now around 8cm! Also, the new resident down at the river burrow has closed the entrance, so I suspect she is already having babies!

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Tarantula Wolf Spider - Lycosa tarantula
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