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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 >>

Happy 50th Anniversary Of The First Moon Landing!

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Yes, I know this post is actually now the day after, but I did take the shot just before 11:57pm so it counts!

I wasn’t born at the time, but I can only imagine the excitement of watching it live on TV 50 years ago. The moon fascinates me due to the fact that I can see it, but I know I’ll never get to go there.

It seemed only right that I took a shot on this important day.

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Happy 50th Anniversary Of The First Moon Landing NASA!
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A Morning With A Young Female……….

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…….Common Kingfisher!

Finally, I wake at sunrise and the skies are clear! It’s been a strange summer so far with very cloudy mornings. I grab a coffee and head down to the river. As soon as I step inside the hide, it clouds over………. AGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I wait it out and it improved slightly but not enough to have a fast enough shutter speed with a low enough ISO for flight shots, so I settled for some portraits of the beautiful juvenile female.

A female Common Kingfisher has a red lower beak which gradually turns red (the male stays black), this girl is half way there. Her feet are still a little dark, they also start black and turn red, as do the male.

You’ll notice that she doesn’t appear to “glow” in this picture. The blue/green feathers on a Common Kingfisher contain no pigment and are not actually green or blue. They are transparent and the colour you see is the light rays passing through the transparent feathers. Therefore, when the light isn’t too great, nor are the colours.

I have many more shots from this session which will come over the next couple of days, and of course, I’ll be back for some flight shots too. Incidentally, the clouds cleared too soon after! It’s amazing to have so many Kingfishers so close to the house and it was great to sit and watch this girl diving from various spots along the river bank. Sometimes, failed, sometimes successful. I even saw her catch a fish and then drop it back in the water when she tried to eat it.

This photo along with my other recent photos will be available to purchase in print soon.

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Common Kingfisher (Juvenile Female) - Guarda-rios (juvenil femea) - Alcedo atthis
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/500sec, f/8, ISO900Continue reading >>

Young Kingfishers Are Now Out Of The Nests

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It’s taken a long-time this year to get these particular shots of the Kingfishers which started many months ago, originally with the adults.

I have been trying to get very dark backgrounds to create an almost studio-like image. I appreciate that these style of photographs are not to everyone’s taste, but the idea was to create a contrast to bring out the detail in the feathers.

The problem I have had this year is that every time I set the scene, the river has dried out before I manage to capture any shots. However, I found an area where the river has pooled and it seems to be a popular dive spot. This scene has been set for 3 days, however, every morning since has been cloudy. I was awake at 6am this morning and again, the skies were unseasonably cloudy. Slightly later, there seemed be a large gap in the cloud cover so I headed down to the river and got lucky before the cloud re-appeared.

There was a pair of juveniles at the spot, unfortunately, the female didn’t come out into the light, but the male was very happy on the perch. The light still wasn’t great, but good enough even though I was shooting with a slightly slower shutter speed to what I was hoping for. Luckily, he stayed still enough for long enough!

The big giveaway that this is a young male is the legs, you’ll notice that they are not bright coloured, adult Kingfishers have very bright coloured legs.

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Common Kingfisher (Juvenile Male) - Guarda-rios (juvenil macho) - Alcedo atthis
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/640sec, f/8, ISO500Continue reading >>

Morning Dog Walk: Lupi Is Settling In

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It’s been just over a week now and Lupi is starting to settle in. He just about realises that he isn’t going back to the Kennels and that this is his new home. We are having a few trust issues still and he’s found that he likes to chase Cats, but this is something we continue to work on.

Just in case you are wondering, in this photo he is on the lead, but I removed it in Photoshop. He’s not ready to be off the lead yet because we have no way of recall. So he walks on the lead until we are completely satisfied with his trust in us and of course, his hearing issues make it even more difficult.

Please also remember, I offer Dogs-In-Nature Photo Shoots for you and your greatest companions. Dogs-In-Nature Gift Vouchers are also available should you wish to give something different as a present!

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Lupi On His Morning Walk
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Hiding In The Shadows

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As I continue to shoot more “artmospheric” shots I noticed a huge family of Eurasian Jays in a thick area of Eucalyptus this morning. It included many youngsters shouting to be fed by the parents.

They were mainly in the shade, but the morning sun was breaking through gaps in the branch. Here is one of the Eurasian Jays I just had to shoot with just it’s head in the light.

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Hiding In The Shadows : Eurasian Jay - Gaio-comum - Garrulus glandarius
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