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The Mystery Bird From Yesterday’s Nature Walk Identified

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First all, a big thanks to everyone that turned up yesterday for the first Free Nature Walk of 2019.

What an amazing morning out in the hills, the weather was almost hot, but certainly very warm and there were plenty of things to see. The one thing that got us excited was a dark black/blue bird that appeared a little too far away to ID. At first I thought it was a Starling, but then it stood upright like a Thrush. It disappeared before we managed to get a good view or shot of it and continued our walk. A few names were branded about and I mentioned the possibility of a Blue Rock Thrush. I have never seen one let alone locally to the house.

We continued our walk and the route brought us back past the same location on our return. I spotted it again, this time in full view albeit a long way, it was also now a view directly into the sun.

I snapped a photo but couldn’t tell from the image on the camera. This morning, I have cleaned the image up a little and gives a perfect view, I can now confirm it is indeed a Male Blue Rock Thrush. I visited the same location this morning, but couldn’t spot it but as these birds are resident in Portugal, I will keep an eye out for it and maybe stake out. It is possible that it will nest in this barn that it was spotted at.

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Morning Dog Walk: The Barn Swallows Have Returned

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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.

Whilst walking near the river this morning I heard a noise that I’ve not heard since the end of September and instantly recognised it as Barn Swallows. I looked to the sky to see 3 of them flying around catching flies for breakfast.

Whilst you may think this is early, it is right on time for the Barn Swallows to return at the beginning of February.

If you want to learn more about the Swallows, Martins and Swifts we can find in the Algarve, take a look at my Algarve Resident article I wrote in July 2018 titled Swallows, Martins and Swifts.

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Osprey: Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Moment…

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I was near the large lake at Quinta do Lago a few days ago when I decided to re-position myself. I collapsed the tripod, but the lens cover over the end of my 500mm and lifted over my shoulder to walk. I looked to the distance and saw a huge bird approaching. At first, I thought it was a large Gull but it swooped down quickly and I soon realised it was an Osprey coming in for a fish.

I had no time to get the camera ready as I watched it hit the water, just 10 metres away, with a loud thud before lifting away with a large fish. It flew across my path towards the late afternoon sun which had began to set.

I quickly grabbed the camera, set it down and managed to fire off a shot of it silhouetted against the sunset.

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Osprey With Catch Silhouetted At Sunset
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Morning Dog Walk: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

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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 area around the Quinta has a high population of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and they are usually easy to spot, however, taking a photo is a different matter. This morning whilst out with the Dog I heard one tapping away on branch of a Cork Oak tree. I managed to lie down on the track and slide into a position to take this photo before it noticed me.

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Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dryobates minor)
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Algarve Chimney Sunset

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I’ve been craving some good photography light for weeks, this evening, I even got to shoot directly at the sun!

The Algarve is well-known for its decorative chimneys, even more so in the northern hills. It is widely thought that the chimneys were originally designed in the “Moorish” era of Portugal, however, this has recently been proved not to be the case. Anyhow, there are many different designs of chimney and a neighbouring Quinta has an amazing show piece on top of the roof.

Tonight, I was watching the sunset and noticed that it was going to drop behind the chimney. I waited and had to keep readjusting my stance whilst I waited for a House Martin or Swallow to also fly into shot. I was lucky enough to get a House Martin fly through the frame.

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Algarve Chimney Sunset
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