Sunset Turned The River Red

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March has been pretty wet, very wet, but yesterday was a typically Portuguese Spring day, warm and sunny. I thought that there was going to be a nice sunset so headed down to a section of the Odelouca River in hope a red sky would reflect on the water.

It paid off, not an amazing fiery sky that we had the day before, but enough to reflect in the water. So I placed a Circular Polariser (or Polarizer) filter on to bring out the colours and help with the water and shot with a slow shutter speed to give the river a silky looking effect.

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Sunset Turns The River Red
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Drone Footage Of The Odelouca River In Flood (Video)

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After more torrential rain overnight thanks to Storm Felix, the River than runs through our land has again flooded. So today I took the drone up to get a birds eye view.

Just 10 days ago the river was still dry from last summer. In just these 10 days it has flooded twice due to the deluge of rain. It’s the River Odelouca which feeds the Odelouca Barragem, the main drinking water supply for the Algarve, so the water is very welcome apart from the flooding which will cause some issues for the wildlife living around the banks.

Keep a look out after 30 seconds, you can just make out the Fox Hole on the side of the track on the left where the water level has reached, hopefully it won’t flood the den.

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[Instagram] WE HAVE A RIVER!

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This post is from my Instagram feed. Some Instagram feeds are not worthy enough of a new Blog Post, therefore, they will simply be shared. They are usually photos taken with my Mobile Phone. All Instagram posts will have “[Instagram]” at the beginning of the title.
Email notifications to subscribers are not sent.As I thought this was news worthy, this post has been included in the subscribers email.

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The Search For An Iberian Midwife Toad

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Back at the end of November, “Herper” Kevin Byrnes from the UK contacted me after seeing my image of an Iberian Midwife Toad I found whilst walking Wally. The term Herper comes from the word Herpetology, the study of Reptiles and Amphibians.

Kevin and his wife Suzanne are on a quest to find and photograph all species of European Reptiles and Amphibians and wanted some advice on locating an Iberian Midwife Toad, suggesting he was planning a trip to the Algarve at the end of January.

Back then I informed him that it was an easy task as throughout the winter the area around São Marcos da Serra is full of the echos of beeps, the calling noise of the Iberian Midwife Toad.

However, over the last few weeks the Toads have been unseasonally quiet due to the dry autumn and winter. A few days ago, Kevin contacted me to say they had arrived in the Algarve and would be planning to meet up at the weekend.

Yesterday was the day and I met up with Kevin and Suzanne just before the end of Civil Dusk at 6pm, still a little early for the Toads to start calling. The day had been very warm and dry with temperatures reaching 24deg C and I was concerned we would be out of luck.

However, as the photo shows, we struck luckly (story continues below the photo).

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(Young) Iberian Midwife Toad/Sapo Partero Ibérico (Alytes cisternasii)
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Finally, A Substantial Deluge Of Rain

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Last night we finally had the rain that was promised and then some more to make sure.

It rained in almost Ark-building proportions. A persistent, heavy downpour for many hours. Although not enough to get the river flowing, it has had a very welcome change to the riverbed.

As you can see, Princessas´s (our resident Kingfisher) territory has been filled. The two water pools that she has been fishing in has turned into one very large pool. You can see the perch in the centre of the photo, the brown-coloured water shows the outline of the existing pool that was drying up. This is just dust that has washed in and will settle very quickly.

Refilled

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Still No Real Rain, Still No River

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Although we’ve had the promise of a few days heavy rain, they have turned out to be a couple of heavy showers. Nothing to make any difference to the land.

The landscape is starting to turn green where grass is growing due to overnight dew, however, nothing like last year.

The river remains dry, very dry. This time last year we the river was running due to adequate rain as the following comparison photos show. Look at the difference of grass on the left riverbank and the colour of the hills behind.

Top: Nov 27 2016 – Bottom: Nov 27 2017

Top: Nov 27 2016 – Bottom: Nov 27 2017

Even the small river pools formed in deeper sections that provide water and food for the local wildlife (including “Princessa” our resident Kingfisher) are starting to empty. This comparison photo shows the effect just 4 weeks of warm dry autumnal weather has had on the pools.

Top: Oct 31 2017 – Bottom: Nov 27 2017

Only speaking from a totally selfish point of view, the pools on section of river running through our land is becoming extremely dry. However, from a locality point of view, there is still plenty of water and (hopefully) a food source for the local wildlife. There are many Barragems (small man-made reservoirs) which remain at good levels and there are further, larger, river pools. There are many other parts of Portugal that are in desperate need of rain but here in the Hills of the Algarve, although we will be welcoming sustained rainy days, it’s not critical yet. That being said, it’s about time the river started!

As I type, the forecast is showing the next 2 days to be persistent rain, we’ll wait and see.