You may think that I’ve gone a bit quiet on the local Bee-Eater colony, but I am still keeping an eye on them, however, I’m leaving them in peace to finish off their nesting tunnels before I spend more time amongst them.
This afternoon I was working on something new at “A Rocha”, an area on top of a large rocky lump that I leave to the wildlife. I have spotted some Rock Buntings and I’m planning some shots so was setting a nice scene around a small water pond I built some time ago. The Bee-Eaters were all around hunting and I wondered why they didn’t seem too bothered about my presence. I moved a little closer to a spot where I can over look a tree they usually rest on and they didn’t seem bothered at all that I was there. I was standing in direct view and they happily carried on with their activities. This is a great afternoon spot for watching and photographing them, so will plan a session here in the near future. I think they have almost finished their tunnels now and will soon be moving in and I’m looking forward to getting close up to them.
Although I was close, I was only armed with my 80-400mm so was a little short on reach, but at least I got these shots to show how great an angle it is!
The Eurasian Golden Oriole (often refered to as just Golden Oriole) is a difficult bird to photograph. Even though the male is incredibly bright yellow with contrasting black wings and a bright red beak, they are very shy and seem to be able to camouflage themselves easily with the tree canopy.
Last year, I struggled to get the shot I was looking for and so am determined this year. So this morning I was out early in a wooded area next to the Quinta and waited. Soon enough they arrived and started to make their flute-like whistle song. As usual, I just couldn’t get a clear shot of them and at times although I could clearly see where the song was coming from, I couldn’t even spot them.
Normally with my first sessions, particularly ones locally, I use the time to study any patterns of behaviour and favorite places to perch and I have established a pattern that will help me on my next session with them.
The highlight of the morning wasn’t actually the birds. I was sat camouflaged out of sight when I heard a rustle in a nearby bush. Out came an Egyptian Mongoose, it didn’t see me and came within about 1 meter. It was impossible to turn the camera so I tried to silently grab my phone for a quick snap, but it spotted me and fled. Funnily enough, these are joint top of the list for this year! So I will be looking to use the track it used to photograph these too!
I did manage to get one shot of a male Golden Oriole which is not great, but a shot nonetheless.
My parents are over visiting and I always take my Mum out on the Quad Bike for a nature ride. This afternoon we went off exploring the hills and were enjoying the scenery when I spotted a bird fly from its perch on an electricity cable to hide on top of a pole. I stopped abruptly, forgetting for a moment that Mum was on the back and ran down the track to verify what I thought, a Female Rock Thrush. Pictures are terrible due to the distance but thought I’d take some just as a record shot for you.
I was sitting enjoying the end of the hot sunny day when a large group of European Bee-Eaters came to hunt in an area next to the Quinta. I grabbed the camera and hid behind a bush, I wasn’t as close as I needed to be, but with a bright purple T-shirt on, it wouldn’t have been a good idea. I did manage to get a male coming into land next to his female partner. The early evening setting sun lit up his wings beautifully.
Tonight there was a call from the kitchen; “Craig, there’s a big Mantis on the window”. I went to look and it was a Conehead Mantis outside catching all the small flies being attracted to the kitchen light.
I grabbed my camera and it flew to the table on the terrace where I was able to grab a shot of it. There are a lot of different tiny young Mantis around the garden at this time of year as they hatch from their egg sacks (remember this post of a baby last year?), but this one was a fully grown adult at around 8cm long. This is a male as the female lacks the feathery antennae.
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