I posted earlier that I had spotted a Nightingale making a rare appearance out of thick cover (Read more…). Tonight the air was totally still, not even a gentle breeze so I setup my phone camera to record the amazing chorus we have around the Quinta. There was also a Fox calling in the distance, but unfortunately, you can’t really make it out.
We are lucky to have a large number of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in our area here in the Algarve Hills and right now spring has certainly began as they are calling and drumming (and so are the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers too).
Both Lesser and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers drum to attract the opposite sex (females and males do this), the louder the drum, the better the chance of attraction. They have worked out that man-made objects make more noise than trees and therefore you often see them drumming on anything that makes a loud noise.
This morning, I watched a male drumming on a street light and grabbed my mobile to film him, apologies for the footage as I also had to use the digital zoom which has caused quality issues. However, it is worth sharing because as you will see, shortly after I start, a female comes along, you can hear her calling just before she flies in. The male seems to flee, but he lands in a nearby tree and after a quick nibble on the insects on the post, the female joins him. It’s great to have witnessed this pairing up!
The orientation may not be right with the embedded video, so mobile viewers will be better watching directly on YouTube at https://youtu.be/gnaXDgxACYo
It’s been a very wet and cold winter for Algarve standards and the last thing on people’s minds is the hot and dry summer which gives risk to wildfires. If you have never witnessed a wildfire close up, then you may still not appreciate the devastation and huge danger these cause.
We had a close shave last year with the São Marcos da Serra wildfire starting very close to the quinta. Remember, that the March 15th deadline is approaching where rural land requires clearing around the house (Information Here…).
Just as a reminder of the devastation caused by the wildfires below are the two short films I made after 2 of the fires.
The first one is last year’s fire close to the house
A customer placed an order for a photograph I shot a few years ago, however, it wasn’t in the Lightroom catalog I expected it to be, therefore I decided to find a way to easily search through multiple Lightroom catalogs for a photo with one simple command. Windows PowerShell was the simple answer!
As referenced in the video, the PowerShell command you need to copy and paste is
Tonight I spotted both a European Mantis and Banded Centipede in the same location. The Banded Centipede was just a small youngster and the European Mantis a fully grown adult. I grabbed my phone and started to record in case their paths crossed.
Both are serious predators in their own world but due to the Banded Centipede only being a youngster would it be an easy snack for the Mantis? I’ve often wondered who would be king of the predator if the two ever crossed paths.
If you’re looking for a big fight scene then you’re not in luck as both go their own way, however, I was still surprised, take a look for yourself. Of course, there may have been some activity before I got there as the Mantis did look unusually un-mantis-like. Maybe the Centipede had already bitten it beforehand. It’s almost as if they respected each others status of killer predator but I’d still say the Centipede had the upperhand!
As you are probably aware, we had a large wild wire start very close to the Quinta one week ago (Blog Posts : Day 1 & Day 2). One week on and all that remains (apart from the odd smouldering areas) is a totally devastated area.
Although a large fire, this fire is not on the same scale as some previous fires (you may remember my video Consequência from 2018), however, having it so close to your home really enforces the reality of how serious these fires can get.
I have made a short film to bring you the scenes of the devastation these fires cause. Although this area will recover in time, the many Cork Oaks that have been destroyed can not be replaced in for a generation. It is not until you view the size of the area from above that you realise just how quickly an area can be destroyed and when I first saw these scenes it really made it a reality on how lucky we were to have the wind moving this in the opposite direction to the house.
I have also taken the opportunity to raise some awareness for the fantastic voluntary work the “Assoçiação para Alerta de Incêndio Florestal” that Debby Burton and her team (of which I am proud to be a committee member) carry out to support both the local community and the amazing Bombeiros (firefighters). Please visit the Assoçiação para Alerta de Incêndio Florestal Website for more information and of course, donations are always welcome.
There is some information about some of the scenes below the film. Just for your info, the film does start silent until the title screen.
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