We are lucky to have a large number of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in our area here in the Algarve Hills and right now spring has certainly began as they are calling and drumming (and so are the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers too).
Both Lesser and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers drum to attract the opposite sex (females and males do this), the louder the drum, the better the chance of attraction. They have worked out that man-made objects make more noise than trees and therefore you often see them drumming on anything that makes a loud noise.
This morning, I watched a male drumming on a street light and grabbed my mobile to film him, apologies for the footage as I also had to use the digital zoom which has caused quality issues. However, it is worth sharing because as you will see, shortly after I start, a female comes along, you can hear her calling just before she flies in. The male seems to flee, but he lands in a nearby tree and after a quick nibble on the insects on the post, the female joins him. It’s great to have witnessed this pairing up!
The orientation may not be right with the embedded video, so mobile viewers will be better watching directly on YouTube at https://youtu.be/gnaXDgxACYo
Tonight I spotted both a European Mantis and Banded Centipede in the same location. The Banded Centipede was just a small youngster and the European Mantis a fully grown adult. I grabbed my phone and started to record in case their paths crossed.
Both are serious predators in their own world but due to the Banded Centipede only being a youngster would it be an easy snack for the Mantis? I’ve often wondered who would be king of the predator if the two ever crossed paths.
If you’re looking for a big fight scene then you’re not in luck as both go their own way, however, I was still surprised, take a look for yourself. Of course, there may have been some activity before I got there as the Mantis did look unusually un-mantis-like. Maybe the Centipede had already bitten it beforehand. It’s almost as if they respected each others status of killer predator but I’d still say the Centipede had the upperhand!
As you are probably aware, we had a large wild wire start very close to the Quinta one week ago (Blog Posts : Day 1 & Day 2). One week on and all that remains (apart from the odd smouldering areas) is a totally devastated area.
Although a large fire, this fire is not on the same scale as some previous fires (you may remember my video Consequência from 2018), however, having it so close to your home really enforces the reality of how serious these fires can get.
I have made a short film to bring you the scenes of the devastation these fires cause. Although this area will recover in time, the many Cork Oaks that have been destroyed can not be replaced in for a generation. It is not until you view the size of the area from above that you realise just how quickly an area can be destroyed and when I first saw these scenes it really made it a reality on how lucky we were to have the wind moving this in the opposite direction to the house.
I have also taken the opportunity to raise some awareness for the fantastic voluntary work the “Assoçiação para Alerta de Incêndio Florestal” that Debby Burton and her team (of which I am proud to be a committee member) carry out to support both the local community and the amazing Bombeiros (firefighters). Please visit the Assoçiação para Alerta de Incêndio Florestal Website for more information and of course, donations are always welcome.
There is some information about some of the scenes below the film. Just for your info, the film does start silent until the title screen.
As anyone following me for a while will know, part of the passion of photographing wildlife is getting up close with them to capture as much detail in my shots. I’ve been wanting to do this with the local Egyptian Mongoose so I set out a Trail Cam 2 days ago in an area where I had a close encounter with one 2 years ago. There was nothing on the first day but on checking the footage this morning, one came right up to the camera yesterday afternoon.
Not really what I was hoping for as I have the perfect angle and location here with the morning sun, but I will keep monitoring the area for a while to try and work out any patterns they may have and plan to hide and photograph them from a good vantage point.
For now, check the stunning but short footage. The bells you can hear in the background are some cattle and the random human voice is a lady who lives in the bottom of the valley. She is about 800 metres away, this camera really does pick up noise well.
Yesterday morning whilst walking the dogs, I spotted a pair of Kingfishers already playing “Kiss Chase” up and down the river. This is a ritual that a mating pair carry out at the start of the breeding season. It’s not even March yet!
If you live in the Algarve, you will know that the region was starting to get desperate for rain, also you will know just how much rain we’ve had in the last 2 days, particularly here in the northern hills where it has been heavy and persistent. I had a bet with myself yesterday that the river would get a kick-start and be running this morning. However, it was still dry and we even walked the dogs along our usual route along the river bed.
Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I stood outside the Quinta and could hear gushing water. I headed down to the river (its just over 400 metres away) and it is now in full flow, even over the top of the bridge/ford (Video below).
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