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The Well Barn Swallows 2nd Brood

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You remember my posts a few weeks back regarding the Barn Swallows nesting down inside an old disused well (see HERE). As normal with Barn Swallows (sometimes they go for a 3rd!), they are now raising a 2nd brood, this time 5 chicks are in the nest.

This morning was amazing clear skies, so I headed to the old pump house and managed to eventually get the tripod and 500mm lens into position, it was a bit tight!


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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!

{Click image for a higher resolution}


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Star Trails Above a Forgotten Time

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After a very warm and clear spring day I decided to head to a location I spotted a few weeks back for a Star Trail photograph.

It was a very dark location and I setup using my (very bright) Mountain Bike lights. Set the camera’s built-in Intervalometer and then sat and waited for an hour (listening to the sounds of Wild Boar and Tawny Owls) whilst the camera took multiple exposures. One of the exposures I briefly shone the lights on the Well.

The shots have then been merged together. This was originally just a test shoot but the final result is worth sharing with you. Looking closely at the trails, there are small gaps which suggests the Intervalomter was missing a shot which is strange as I’ve not had this issue before and a count of the final number of images doesn’t match the number I expected for an hour-long shoot. Anyway, here is the final image and I look forward to returning for another session.

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

Star Trails Above A Forgotten Time
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New Location For A Star Trail Shot Found

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This morning I (and Wally!) stumbled across an old and abandoned Well with many of the workings still intact. A quick look on the PhotoPills App confirmed my thoughts that the angle below is exactly north facing.

This means that Polaris (AKA The North Star) is directly above the well. I love to try to include local features in my shots and therefore, I will return for a Star Trail Shot the next time we have a perfectly clear night sky. The only concern is the area also has a lot of evidence of Javali foraging!


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Today We Rescued a Ladder Snake (Video)

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Today myself and partner Emma were walking through our Neighbour’s farmland and we stopped to look in an old well. To my surprise, there was an adult Ladder Snake swimming around trying to find a way out.

The well is at least 20 feet (6 meters), if not a lot more, so there was no way the Snake was going to get out. Emma ran off to pull up a long Bamboo to rescue it.

The Bamboo was just long enough to drop down into the water and the Snake happily climbed on. After a careful raise the snake was free.

I captured some video on my mobile, it’s not great as I was a bit nervous of dropping my phone down the well.

Ladder Snakes are very common here in the hills of the Algarve as it’s the perfect habitat for them. They are non-venomous so completely harmless although if threatened can appear to be aggressive. The juveniles have a ladder pattern on their back, but this disappears with age. They can grow up to around 160cm long.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}


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