Grumpy Toad In The Hole

We have a small Spiny Toad living in a small hole in one of our dry stone walls in the garden, it was waiting for a snack to walk past.

The Spiny Toad is a subspecies of Common Toad and can grow to a huge size, this one was very small, so he’ll probably out grow his current house. It was also a lot greener that the much browner ones we normally see locally.

Just for the record, I did not use a flash for this photo, I used a low power LED and high ISO. It was also great to get the 70-200mm f/2.8 out to play too!

📷 Nikon D850 & Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, f/4.5, 1/250sec, ISO4000

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A Female Blue Rock Thrush Finally Appears

I occasionally spot a male Blue Rock Thrush around the quinta but I’ve not seen a female since “Bluey & Roxy” disappeared back in 2019.

It was an amazing early morning today and just after 7:30am I was wandering around the garden watching the many Blue Tits we have this year when I spotted a silhouette perched on an electricity pole in the neighbouring field. I was sure it was the male Blue Rock Thrush but no, when I got there, it was a female. I’ve not seen the male for a few weeks, but I’m sure he’s close by.

This month I was hoping to write my Algarve Resident article on Hedgehogs but our resident hog has been a little camera shy, this sighting gave me the inspiration to write about Blue Rock Thrushes, availabe on March 25th and online a few days later.


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Our Resident Prickly Hog

We’ve had a Hedgehog resident around the quinta for sometime and I noticed it tonight foraging around the some catcus. It saw me and hid in the undergrowth, but I knew there was only one way out.

So I grabbed an LED light and placed it high in a tree pointing downwards, I don’t like the idea of using flash at night on animals so the idea was to have a fairly dim light and shoot with a high ISO.

I set the camera (Nikon D850 with 80-400mm) on a Bean Bag (available in the shop) and lay on the ground silently waiting……..and waiting……it took an hour before it came out the way I was hoping and I grabbed this shot below. Considering the high ISO and quite shallow depth of field, it’s a stunner!

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A Pair Of Blackcaps Foraging In The Rain

I don’t normally pick a camera up when it’s raining (unless its a photo of the weather of course!) but we are currently in the process of revamping the gardens around the Quinta. This is bringing in bird life to forage through the mess and I noticed a Black Redstart this morning so grabbed the camera (D850 armed with 80-400mm), however, my attentions were soon diverted to a pair of Eurasian Blackcaps who really didn’t seem bothered by my presence as they happily sifted through the gravel and dead leaves coming within a few metres of where I was sat. The female was constantly checking where her male was, so these will soon be nest building nearby.

Although the light levels with the persistent drizzle was terrible I couldn’t help myself but to share a picture of each.

First is the male and you can instantly recognise why it’s called a Blackcap. Often people are confused with the similar Sardinian Warbler, but that has a white breast and also a red ring around the eye.


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A First For Me – A Garden Warbler Passing Through

The Garden Warbler is does not breed in the southern half of Portugal but can be seen in trees and bushes as a passing migrant. This morning I was trying to photograph some very eluding Robins that have arrived in the garden for the winter (for this month’s Algarve Resident article) and I spotted a bird foraging through the branches of an Oak Tree. Eventually, it popped out on to an exposed branch and I grabbed a quick shot before it disappeared.

The Garden Warbler is well known for being a bit plain-looking with no features and I wasn’t sure but thanks to friend and bird guru Frank McKlintock (Birding In Portugal) for the confirmation.

It’s always a good feeling when I get a first spot along with a photo. I’ve also spotted a pair of Black Caps in the garden too. I’ve seen many of these, but again, never in the garden. This year, I have thinned a lot of bushes and shrubs which have seemed to have attracted more birds.

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Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Firstly, a HUUUUUUUUUUGE SORRY for the lack of content lately. I have been very busy with my commercial side of photography that I’ve had little to no time at all for any wildlife and nature photography. Very sad, but of course, I’ve had to follow the work that puts food on the table and with the current state of the planet it makes it even more important.

However, with my monthly article for the Algarve Resident now due, I decided to take some snaps of the many Hummingbird Hawk-moths that visit the garden.

These super fast moths are incredibly difficult to capture pin sharp due to the high speed they move. It’s easy to just put the shutter speed on maximum and hope for the best, but to make it even more challenging, I like to have the body sharp but allow for movement in the wings as I feel this tells the story about their incredible speed they flap them at.

Of course, then there is the angle and I’ve learnt over the years to try and predict movement of wildlife and moths are no exception, just much harder. As you can see from the shot below, I certainly nailed both the shutter speed and the prediction of where it was to feed. I have many shots that I’ll share at a different time, but for now here is just one I captured this afternoon.

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📷 Nikon D850, Nikon 80-400mm @ 400mm, f/5.6, ISO400, 1/2000sec