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How I Use The Merlin Bird ID App In The Field (Video)

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I have been wanting to create this video for a while. I get often get asked to recommend an ID book for bird life of Portugal and I always ask, “Do you have a smartphone?”. Of course, often the answer is yes and my reply is to download the amazing Merlin Bird ID app by The Cornell Lab.

This app is totally free and very powerful, its Photo ID feature really sets it apart from other Bird ID apps. There are other apps I use, particularly the locally developed FollowBirds App which I will hopefully be reviewing soon.

This video is a bit long but worth the watch if you are interested in identifying bird species using its fantastic Photo ID Feature.

The app is available for both Android and IOS and can be downloaded from the links below;

Android

Apple

In case you are wondering, no, I am not being paid by The Cornell Lab or anyone else for this video, I just wanted to share how great it is.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}


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Sunset Riders – A Double Lucky Shot

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I was at Salgados this afternoon taking some shots for my next Algarve Resident Article and got talking to two young lads (great to meet you Bruno and Fabio, keep shooting!) and soon enough the sun was approaching the horizon.

As I was only armed with my 500mm prime lens, I look around for some ideas of a sunset shot.

I got lucky, a group of horse riders climbed on the top of the dunes of Praia Grande de Pêra giving me the perfect silhouette shot against the orange sky. I muttered to myself “…shame there are no clouds, there will be a lot of empty sky…”, then out of nowhere a couple of Glossy Ibis (there are a lot at Salgados right now) not only flew into the frame but also at a reasonable distance to be sharp enough as another silhouette.

A lot of photographers can be lucky and get great shots, but to be double lucky in the same shot it was fantastic! This image is already available to purchase in print in the web shop

{Click image to view in the shop}

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Kingfishers of 2019 (The End Of This Years Project) – Framed Prints Now Available!

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It started off quite a difficult task this year with the Kingfishers. The river level was a little lower than usual in late spring which didn’t provide the correct angles I was looking for with my perched portraits. It wasn’t until the juveniles left the nests that I was able to shoot at the correct angles. It really was a waiting game, which paid off.

The local Kingfishers bred very successfully this year and I had some amazing sessions with them. All my favourite photos follow below. Most of these photos and others are available to purchase in print in the Webshop.

Clicking each photo will open up the product in the shop. I am slowly updating the shop to include these prints framed. All Kingfisher photos are now available framed! To celebrate my the Kingfisher success, all Kingfisher prints (including framed) have been discounted until the end of September!

Please note, currently all framed prints are available for local pickup only and can be viewed (by appointment only) in my viewing gallery here at the Quinta. I can also meet and greet in the central Algarve area!

Common Kingfisher (Juvenile Female) - Guarda-rios (juvenil femea) - Alcedo atthis
The Perfect Pose : 📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/1000sec, f/10, ISO800
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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)

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

Little Owl - Mocho-galego - Athene noctua
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/160sec, f/8, ISO100
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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.

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

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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