Scouting Trip For My New Project

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I’m about to add a new project to the “To Do List” and for those that have followed me for a while will know that I often spend at least one, usually more, session with the subject before planning the shoots. The reason for this is so that I can understand the behaviours and also work out angles of light and position of myself.

The European Roller has been on my wish list for a while but not only are they difficult to get up close to but also attract what I call the “eBird Magnets”. These are the people who watch the eBird website for sightings of birds and then flock in large numbers. I’m really not a fan of this and it’s not good for vulnerable species such as the European Roller.

This morning I was in the lower Alentejo region, shooting a commissioned landscape (I’ve had to wait since January for the perfect conditions for this shoot) so I decided to use the afternoon as a scouting trip to monitor a location I have known European Rollers to nest. Luckily I was alone and spend a few hours watching them perform their spinning displays which is very similar to that of a Lapwing. Even though these trips are not to get photos, I never miss a chance to grab a shot if one comes along. (More information about these birds below)

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The European Roller (Coracias garrulus) is the only Roller that breeds in Europe and as you can see is very colourful. There are 2 sub-species, the Western and Eastern European Roller, as you’d expect Portugal has the Western sub-species. They spend the winter months in southern Africa and are present here in Portugal between April and August. Unfortunately, you will not find them in the Algarve region.

They are loud, very loud with a crow-like sounding call. As I mentioned above, they perform amazing acrobatic flight displays hence the name Roller. Their diet consists of Lizards and large insects.

I hope to be bringing you more amazing shots of these stunning birds in the near future.


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