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Space Is Getting Tight In The Well Nest

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Originally, I thought there were just 3 Barn Swallow Hatchlings in the Well Nest (See Blog Post), and then I counted 5.

This morning, I took a look to see how things are going and there’s 6 of them in there! As you can imagine, light is a bit rubbish down inside the Well which makes it difficult to photograph the parents feeding them. However, the construction of the Well and the pump house makes a perfect hide. I am able to sit lower down in the pump house and use a small window to look directly at the nest without being seen or disturb them. The Well is owned by my neighbour and I will be asking him for the key to the pump house to try to bring you some shots of them being fed!

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Big Catchup Post With Lots of Pictures!

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It’s been a busy week and I’ve not shared much with you, so a bit of a monster blog post with lots of content.

First, I’d like to thank friends Jacquie and Neal for our quick safari drive around the Castro Verde area in the Alentejo Steppe after I was at the LPN centre to discuss some future opportunities. There wasn’t really much chance of close up work, but we did see some great sights.

First up, a large group of Montagu’s Harriers displaying.


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The Barn Swallows Already Have Babies!

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You may remember a post a few days ago showing a Barn Swallow sitting on it’s nest inside a disused Well. Just to reiterate, I am able to view this nest without disturbing them or the adults. Please don’t approach any nest that is in danger of being disturbed!

This morning I took a look and there are 3 hungry babies in there. The adults are busy feeding them and also occasionally sitting on them to keep them warm.

Here is a shot I grabbed this morning, in case you are wondering the middle one is perfectly fine and alive!

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Baby Barn Swallows
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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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Morning Dog Walk: Update On Bluey & Roxy

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I haven’t seen the female Blue Rock Thrush (Roxy) for a few days so I assumed she was sitting on eggs, however, this morning both the male (Bluey) and female were out feeding on the many insects. I’m unsure how the egg sitting duties work for this species so maybe she was taking a short break or maybe I just haven’t spotted her. The grass is long since the recent rains and maybe she was just on the ground when I have passed.

I watched for a while until a rain shower had me running for cover and I noticed that they don’t seem to be chasing the Sparrows away anymore. I guess the Sparrows have given up fighting for the nest space.

Here are some snaps I took before I ran from the rain.

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Male Blue Rock Thrush - Melro-azul (macho) - Monticola solitarius
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A Local Little Owl

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Portugal has a large population of Little Owls and can often be heard calling and seen at anytime of day. However, locally to myself they are not found in large numbers. 2 years ago I spotted one near the Quinta on a few occasions but then never seen again. Until yesterday, I was heading into the village late afternoon and I spotted one sitting on the electricity cable in the same place I spotted one before.

This afternoon I decided to take a look and there it was sitting on an old tree stump. I almost missed it as it blended in so well. Armed with just my 80-400 lens I snapped these shots. It was incredibly tolerant of me being there too letting me get very close. As they are quite small, I need to go back with my 500mm lens (maybe even with the 1.4x converter) to grab some great detail shots. Hopefully more pictures soon, but for now, here you go.

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Little Owl - Mocho-galego - Athene noctua
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