Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

Still No Real Rain, Still No River

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Although we’ve had the promise of a few days heavy rain, they have turned out to be a couple of heavy showers. Nothing to make any difference to the land.

The landscape is starting to turn green where grass is growing due to overnight dew, however, nothing like last year.

The river remains dry, very dry. This time last year we the river was running due to adequate rain as the following comparison photos show. Look at the difference of grass on the left riverbank and the colour of the hills behind.

Top: Nov 27 2016 – Bottom: Nov 27 2017

Top: Nov 27 2016 – Bottom: Nov 27 2017

Even the small river pools formed in deeper sections that provide water and food for the local wildlife (including “Princessa” our resident Kingfisher) are starting to empty. This comparison photo shows the effect just 4 weeks of warm dry autumnal weather has had on the pools.

Top: Oct 31 2017 – Bottom: Nov 27 2017

Only speaking from a totally selfish point of view, the pools on section of river running through our land is becoming extremely dry. However, from a locality point of view, there is still plenty of water and (hopefully) a food source for the local wildlife. There are many Barragems (small man-made reservoirs) which remain at good levels and there are further, larger, river pools. There are many other parts of Portugal that are in desperate need of rain but here in the Hills of the Algarve, although we will be welcoming sustained rainy days, it’s not critical yet. That being said, it’s about time the river started!

As I type, the forecast is showing the next 2 days to be persistent rain, we’ll wait and see.

Meet Eric(a), A Problem For Our Kingfisher

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

This morning I was back in the Kingfisher Hide, hoping for more pictures of “Princesa”, yes, she now has a name. Portuguese for Princess which I think suits a young bird with royalty in her name.

Princesa beat me there again, she was already on the perch. I had to wait until she left before I could approach the hide. Once in, I sat for an hour waiting patiently and uncomfortably to see her again. This time it was a high-speed fly by as she whizzed past. I can only assume she was going to the large River Pool where I spotted the Otter a few weeks ago (link here). I waited another 20 minutes when she finally came to the perch.

When I’m concealed like this, I have a rule that I never start firing the camera the second something comes into shot. The reason for this is that I want the animal to get comfortable with its surroundings before making a noise. She dived into the pool, came out empty beaked and then decided to move onto the next river pool where I could see her dive again. She didn’t return again today.

Whilst I was in the hide, Eric(a) came to visit. He/She (very difficult to sex) is a Little Egret that is always present near the pools. This is causing a bit of an issue for Princesa as they need to share the fish. Of course, a Little Egret will eat a lot more than a Kingfisher.

I think there is a problem starting. A couple of weeks ago, these pools were full of small fish. Today, I looked in all 3 pools and struggled to even see one fish. It seems that the pools are starting to empty. This is going to cause a problem for the wildlife that rely on these stocks for food. We are now in desperate need for some heavy rain to start the river flowing. I think it’s Eric(a) that maybe clearing out the pools and of course, the Otter maybe taking a large portion too.

{Click image(s) to view on Flickr - opens in new tab}

Little Egret - Garça-branca-pequena

Continue reading >>

Is There More Than One Kingfisher At The River Pool?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

I just happened to look at the image I captured on the Bushnell NatureView tonight and noticed something…….

Take a look at these 2 images, what do you see differently?

{Click image for a higher resolution}
Same Bird?

Apart from the quality differences, there seems to be something very obvious, I don’t think they are the same Kingfisher.

The shot on the left from the Bushnell NatureView seems to clearly show a red lower beak whereas the shot on the right only has a slight colouring as I established this is a young female who’s beak is yet to turn red.

Kingfishers are very territorial so I suspect these photos are of mother and daughter. Only time will tell as I spend more time in the hide.

I’ll keep you updated.

Photos Of The Kingfisher At The River Pool

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

This morning, I was up at sunrise, drank a coffee, took the dog for a walk, had breakfast and then headed down to the Kingfisher Hide I built yesterday. Portuguese for Kingfisher is Guarda-rios, but translates to River Ranger/Guard.

I approached slowly and quietly and the perch was not empty, the Kingfisher was already there. I stopped, it stopped, we stared at each other for what felt like an hour but was probably more like 5 seconds before it flew away. I made sure that it had cleared the area totally before approaching the hide. I didn’t want to scare it away for good.

I squeezed into the hide and set myself up for a long wait. The long wait wasn’t needed, within about 5 minutes the Kingfisher was back but it looked a little confused, it knew something had changed and it flew to the next river pool about 25 metres away. I sat and watched it dive into the water catching small fish and eating them. At this moment, I really couldn’t care if it didn’t come to the perch, I was happy enough just sitting there watching it. However, soon enough it came back to the perch and didn’t seem bothered of my presence, although I was well hidden. It was a very still morning, not even a breeze so my next concern was the noise of the shutter, would it scare it. The D810 was in “quiet” mode which tries to limit the noise of the shutter, I fired off a shot, it didn’t disturb the bird at all.

I spent the next hour sat there watching it dive, sometimes successful, sometimes not. It did have a good feed. I waited until breakfast was over and it flew away before leaving. I was using my 300mm f/2.8 lens fitted with a 1.7 teleconverter as I still await the return of my 500mm f/4 from repair. I’m pretty happy with the quality of the shots considering, but looking forward to the return of my 500mm f/4. The only problem I see is getting into the hide with the size of the 500mm f/4. My next goal is to capture a usable shot of the Kingfisher with a fish in its mouth, I did get some, but not good enough.

At first, I thought this was a Male Kingfisher due to the lack of orange lower beak. However, on closer look, I think this is a juvenile Female as there is a little colour appearing underneath.

{Click image(s) to view on Flickr - opens in new tab}

Kingfisher - Guarda-rios

Continue reading >>


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...

0