The “Well” Swallows Are Back!

Facebooktwittermail

This morning as I walked the dogs I recognised a familiar bird call followed by a silhouette against the white canvas of the morning hill mist. A pair of Barn Swallows, these are always the first pair to arrive in this area (even though in the Algarve, Barn Swallows can be seen in December) and they are the “Well” Swallows, named because they have their nest down inside a water well.

I was able to hide inside the Well’s pump house to get some great close up shots. I say this everytime, but please don’t approach live bird nests when the young are there, I’m lucky that I can hide away in the pump house completely hidden.

These are the shots I got last year, but I was struggling with light deep down in the well with overhanging trees.


Continue reading >>

Common Linnets Feeding In The Garden (including Competition Winner!)

Facebooktwittermail

A few days ago I was photographing the Serins that have flocked around the Quinta and a surprising couple turned up. I say surprising as I’ve never seen them this close to the house before. There are certainly not a rare bird and often see them along the river banks.

The female arrived first and it wasn’t until the male followed soon after that it was obviously a pair of Common Linnets. The male has a pinkish-red breast that really makes him stand out. This will further become saturated as the breeding season starts. They are ground feeders which is why they are currently mixed in with the Serins, this is common behaviour to see mixed Finches in flocks during the winter.

With the scientific name of Linaria cannabina, the Linnet has 6 sub-species, the one found locally in the Iberia, Mediterranean and North West Africa is the Linaria cannabina mediterranea. Like most finches, they are a small bird at around 14cm in length and their diet consists of mainly seeds and buds.

Here is the impressive male….


Continue reading >>

How I Use The Merlin Bird ID App In The Field (Video)

Facebooktwittermail

I have been wanting to create this video for a while. I get often get asked to recommend an ID book for bird life of Portugal and I always ask, “Do you have a smartphone?”. Of course, often the answer is yes and my reply is to download the amazing Merlin Bird ID app by The Cornell Lab.

This app is totally free and very powerful, its Photo ID feature really sets it apart from other Bird ID apps. There are other apps I use, particularly the locally developed FollowBirds App which I will hopefully be reviewing soon.

This video is a bit long but worth the watch if you are interested in identifying bird species using its fantastic Photo ID Feature.

The app is available for both Android and IOS and can be downloaded from the links below;

Android

Apple

In case you are wondering, no, I am not being paid by The Cornell Lab or anyone else for this video, I just wanted to share how great it is.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}


Continue reading >>

Sunset Riders – A Double Lucky Shot

Facebooktwittermail

I was at Salgados this afternoon taking some shots for my next Algarve Resident Article and got talking to two young lads (great to meet you Bruno and Fabio, keep shooting!) and soon enough the sun was approaching the horizon.

As I was only armed with my 500mm prime lens, I look around for some ideas of a sunset shot.

I got lucky, a group of horse riders climbed on the top of the dunes of Praia Grande de Pêra giving me the perfect silhouette shot against the orange sky. I muttered to myself “…shame there are no clouds, there will be a lot of empty sky…”, then out of nowhere a couple of Glossy Ibis (there are a lot at Salgados right now) not only flew into the frame but also at a reasonable distance to be sharp enough as another silhouette.

A lot of photographers can be lucky and get great shots, but to be double lucky in the same shot it was fantastic! This image is already available to purchase in print in the web shop

{Click image to view in the shop}

Sunset RidersContinue reading >>

Kingfishers of 2019 (The End Of This Years Project) – Framed Prints Now Available!

Facebooktwittermail

It started off quite a difficult task this year with the Kingfishers. The river level was a little lower than usual in late spring which didn’t provide the correct angles I was looking for with my perched portraits. It wasn’t until the juveniles left the nests that I was able to shoot at the correct angles. It really was a waiting game, which paid off.

The local Kingfishers bred very successfully this year and I had some amazing sessions with them. All my favourite photos follow below. Most of these photos and others are available to purchase in print in the Webshop.

Clicking each photo will open up the product in the shop. I am slowly updating the shop to include these prints framed. All Kingfisher photos are now available framed! To celebrate my the Kingfisher success, all Kingfisher prints (including framed) have been discounted until the end of September!

Please note, currently all framed prints are available for local pickup only and can be viewed (by appointment only) in my viewing gallery here at the Quinta. I can also meet and greet in the central Algarve area!

Common Kingfisher (Juvenile Female) - Guarda-rios (juvenil femea) - Alcedo atthis
The Perfect Pose : 📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/1000sec, f/10, ISO800
Continue reading >>

An Old Owl Friend Or a New One?

Facebooktwittermail

The local Little Owl I photographed earlier this year has been missing from it’s favourite perch on a dead tree stump for months. I have heard Little Owls in that area and simply put it down to the breeding season.

Last night we passed the tree stump on our way into the village and there was a Little Owl back on top.

This evening I decided to go and have a session with it, I arrived at the stump and the Owl was already sitting there, so turned to plan b. I drove away and prepared the car as a hide and then parked up close to the tree. I find that Little Owls can be approached in this way as long as they don’t see you. I had a camouflage net over the passenger window, a Photography Bean Bag over the top of the open window aperture with the camera resting on top. I managed to get some shots before it flew to various other trees as it was clearly hunting for it’s dinner. (the story continues below the photos)

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

Little Owl - Mocho-galego - Athene noctua
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/160sec, f/8, ISO100
Continue reading >>

0