How To Tell The Difference Between Male & Female European Bee-Eaters

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As it’s the time of year that we all go crazy because of the return of the European Bee-Eaters, some maybe wondering how you tell the difference between male and females.

Well, out in the field it’s tricky, both look similar and are of a similar size but there is an easy way to tell the difference;

Using a photo I took from last year below, the female is on the left and male is on the right. Can you spot the difference? Answer is below the photo.

European Bee Eaters - Abelharucos - Merops apiaster
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Practice Practice Practice…..

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For those that have attended one of my Workshops will know how much I stress that you have to practice photography. This isn’t the case just for beginners learning, but also experienced photographers.

You will often see me using Wally as my model whilst out walking him in the mornings. He loves the “Stay….Stay….Stay….Fetch!” game and this morning we had a lot of fun. Not only is this practice good for technique and the technical aspects of the camera, but also helps with framing and artistic approach.

Here’s a few shots of Wally from this morning.

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Wally On His Morning Walk
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Close Encounter Of The Otter Kind

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Let me set a story……

I have lived here in the Algarve Hills on the river bank of the Odelouca for almost 2.5 years. We are so lucky to live here and have the river run through our land. There are Otters present, but I have never managed to spot one during daylight hours. This also goes for a long stretch of the river in the area.

Now, lets cue-up Roy! Roy has recently moved to São Marcos da Serra, in fact has been here for little over a week. Yesterday morning I get a message from Roy stating he spotted an Otter in the River near the village…….WHAT? TWO AND A HALF YEARS ROY!

So, this morning at sunrise, I camouflaged myself against the river bank in the area Roy mentioned and waited……for 30 seconds! Yep, almost immediately after setting myself up 3 Otters turned up.

Unfortunately, they arrived before the sun had risen enough to light the river, so conditions where far from perfect as I struggled to photograph them swimming around with such a low shutter speed and high ISO. Whenever I am hiding with the camera I am always reluctant to press the shutter button, even with the camera set to “Quiet” mode, it still makes a noise (this is where Mirrorless will one day become a winner!) but I pressed it and hoped for the best!

Immediately, all 3 stopped and looked straight at me and I thought they would retreat to the bamboo on the opposite bank. However, one of them decided to investigate and headed straight for me where I managed to get these close up shots.

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Close Encounter Of The Otter Kind

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