The Serins Are Singing, A Sign Of The Algarve Spring

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Yes, it may only be mid-January, however, this is the time everything starts coming to life in the Algarve, particularly here in the hills.

The first sign of spring is the European Serins singing and a large flock (at least 50) have arrived here at the Quinta.

I took a wander around the garden this afternoon to grab some reference shots of both the female and male. They are very similar except the male has much more yellow on his breast and head.

As you may have noticed, there has been a lack of wildlife shots and posts recently as I have been busy with other projects, however, I will be making some time to get out an about in the next week. Firstly, I will be working out a way to get up close and personal with these tiny birds, but for now, here’s two shots showing the difference between the sexes.

Here is the female….

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(African) Death’s-Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

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A great find this morning in the garden, although, it was the dogs that found it, not me!

This is a Death’s-Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar, the name comes from the pattern of a skull on the back of the moth. I have never seen the actual moth, but have put a library photo at the end. There are 3 species of this moth, this one is the African Death’s-Head Hawkmoth with the scientific name of Acherontia atropos, the other 2 species (Acherontia lachesisare and Acherontia styx) are found in Asia.

This Caterpillar is one of the largest I’ve seen, even bigger than the Elephant Hawkmoth. It was around 12-14cm in length and over 2cm wide. In fact it was so long that I struggled to get it all in focus, even with a small aperture.

When approached they click their mandibles as a defense tactic, although it’s not very loud. I relocated it away from the dogs to go about its business.


📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 1/640sec, f/14, ISO200
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The Dampness At Night Has Started The Beeps

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Now that autumn is starting, although the days are still warm, even hot, the evenings are starting to cool down and dew is settling. This has started the almost electronic sounding beeps of the autumn mating calls of the Iberian Midwife Toads.

We have one in our vegetable patch tonight, clever toad as its very damp in there and plenty of bugs to eat. It was calling this evening so I found it and took this photo with my smartphone. These toads are small, this one smaller than 4cm in length.

I will try and get some video of it calling over the next few nights, but of course if I approach, it stops.


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Yet Another Tarantula Wolf Spider Burrow, In The Garden!

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Myself and Emma took the Dog for his walk this morning and just about to walk down our long drive and Emma said “What’s this hole?”. To our surprise it was yet another Tarantula Wolf Spider Burrow. That is now 3 different burrows that I’m aware of.

This afternoon, I waited for her to pop her head out. She has no babies and is a little smaller than my normal one down near the river.

Here is a quick photo I got. I will be getting more soon. Find more information about the Tarantula Wolf Spider HERE

{Click image for a higher resolution}
Female Tarantula Wolf Spider

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