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

(Click to view in Lightbox)


Continue reading >>

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.


Continue reading >>

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!

(Click to view in Lightbox)


Continue reading >>

One Of The New Neighbours

I posted last week about a pair of Little Owls that have moved into a dead Cork Oak near the Quinta.

This morning, I managed to grab a nice side-lit shot of one of them. I am still without my “big gun” after it suffering damage (good news is, it is being repaired, more on this soon), so I was armed with what I call my walkabout lens, the fab Nikon 80-400mm VR.

I’m looking forward to getting some great shots of these two and I am working out an angle so that I can hide and shoot, but until my 500mm lens has been repaired it is all in vain.

(Click to view in Lightbox)


Continue reading >>

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.


Continue reading >>