I looked for my lost mojo….and found it.

The current state of the world with Covid-19 is still causing so much hardship and pain and has affected many people differently. For me, I can’t complain as my commercial photography (FotoSul) has thrived due to people taking the opportunity of the lack of tourists to update their property portfolios. This however has had a knock-on effect with my passion (but still a job), my nature photography.

For those that have followed me for a while will know that I plan, watch, plan, shoot and probably shoot again with all the projects that I set myself. If I’m honest, the hardship of Covid-19, mainly not being able to see family left me with a real “just can’t be bothered” approach to my nature photography. Not good…..

So I got in touch with bird guru and friend Frank McClintock who owns and runs the fantastic “Paradise in Portugal”. Officially known as Quinta Do Barranco Da Estrada it has amazing lodging on the banks of the Barragem de Santa Clara. If you are looking for that something special to get away in nature, not a lot comes close to this special location which has been carefully ecologically crafted to create a real nature-lovers must visit. As I mentioned, Frank is a guru when it comes to bird watching and offers amazing guiding trips. Take a look at the website at https://www.paradise-in-portugal.com.

I just wanted to get out in nature and find my mojo, Frank suggested not only a session in the Golden Oriole hide but also his riverside hide close to the nearby village of Santa Clara-a-Velha which he is more than happy for people to use, but if you do, take a visit to the lodge, you won’t be disappointed.

The morning worked! Now, I have the enthusiasm to get planning to get close up and personal with the fantastic wildlife we have here. There are some projects that I will be doing over the next couple of months to start attracting wildlife to the quinta, mainly a wildlife pond with a sunken hide which I did actually start quite a while back.

So, here are some of the snaps I got today.

Firstly some of the many Golden Orioles. First up, a shot of a male in flight with his breakfast and an onlooking juvenile who clearly wants to be fed.


Here is a male sitting posing.


A juvenile taking a rest, waiting to be fed.


A female taking a rest in the open.


Later in the morning, we headed to the river hide in the hope of some Kingfishers, they were there and dived a few times, unfortunately for me, a couple of missed guesses and some lily pads getting in the way, I didn’t get the diving shots but a real treat for me was not only a Water Rail showing itself (they are very shy birds) but also it’s youngsters and got a shot of one being fed. This is a real treat for me!


An Iberian Water Frog in a perfect pose on a lily pad in flower.


Lastly, this little bird showed up. It would have been very easy to mis-identify this as an Iberian Chiffchaff, but Frank checked his shot and wasn’t convinced. I took a look and agreed that it didn’t look like a Chiffchaff. I ran it through the Merlin App and it caused some confusion as it was identified as a Subalpine Warbler, but on further investigation, we discovered that it’s a juvenile.


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