Morning Dog Walk: A Small Flock Of Waxbills

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

The Common Waxbill (Portuguese: Bico-de-lacre, Latin: Estrilda astrild) thrives in the Algarve region and actually originates from being “introduced” in the late 1960s, I have read references citing escaped caged birds but also scientific studies carried out, so unsure if “introduced” relates to accidental or release. These are usually very shy of humans (in my experience) but this morning a small flock of around 5 (I have seen them 50 strong!) were happy to continue rummaging through the long wild flowers. These ground nesting birds are usually spotted around a water source. I think they look like a vibrant Zorro! This year I have not seen the numbers I usually witness, hopefully that’s just bad luck on my account.

As you can see below, the look amazing in amongst the vibrant wild flowers.

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Common Waxbill - Bico-de-lacre - Estrilda astrild
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Morning Dog Walk: Busy Great Tit Parents

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

This time of year, if you stop and watch for a few minutes you soon realise how busy life is around you. This morning, I stopped because I could hear 4 or 5 Golden Orioles singing and calling unfortunately they were at a section of the river that I can’t get to when I’m with Wally. The Bee-Eaters were busy building their nest holes and I watched a pair of Great Tits busy feeding their young inside a rotten tree trunk. Incredibly this Pear (I think) Tree is still alive and has some blossom.

The rain clouds are taking a while to clear today, it is forecast to start clearing up now! It was terrible light so although I had to shoot at very high ISOs and the shots are not great, I couldn’t resist such an easy target. I will be revisiting in a few days to take some shots in better light.

As you can see in the photos, not only were the parents bringing food, but they were also removing the Fecal (or Faecal) sacks. These are a membrane sack that most baby birds excrete almost immediately after being fed which ensures the parent will then take it away.


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Morning Dog Walk: Update On Bluey & Roxy

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I haven’t seen the female Blue Rock Thrush (Roxy) for a few days so I assumed she was sitting on eggs, however, this morning both the male (Bluey) and female were out feeding on the many insects. I’m unsure how the egg sitting duties work for this species so maybe she was taking a short break or maybe I just haven’t spotted her. The grass is long since the recent rains and maybe she was just on the ground when I have passed.

I watched for a while until a rain shower had me running for cover and I noticed that they don’t seem to be chasing the Sparrows away anymore. I guess the Sparrows have given up fighting for the nest space.

Here are some snaps I took before I ran from the rain.

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Male Blue Rock Thrush - Melro-azul (macho) - Monticola solitarius
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Morning Dog Walk: Today All About Wally!

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Wally has been a little unwell for a few days, he has been suffering from terrible sickness and diarrhoea and as he’s a big baby when it comes to things like this, he has been feeling really sorry for himself.

Today he seems back to normal, his appetite is back and was running around like the crazy fool he is, so this morning’s walk, I ignored the Bee-Eaters flying around, ignored Bluey and snapped a few photos of him. Oh and I haven’t seen Roxy for a while so I’m guessing she is possibly now sitting on eggs. In case you are new and wondering what I’m talking about, Bluey and Roxy are a local pair of Blue Rock Thrushes.

Don’t forget, if you fancy some photos of your Dog(s) why not book one of my Dogs-In-Nature Photo Shoots!

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Wally In The Long Grass
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Morning Dog Walk: Swallow Nest, Bee Eaters & My Tarantula Is Possibly Dead!

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

The area was covered in thick mist this morning but I still decided to take the camera along and I took a stop at an old Well to check if the Barn Swallows had started to use the nest.

IMPORTANT! – It’s never a good idea to approach a nesting bird but in this instance I used the camera’s Live-View with the screen tilted so that I didn’t actually look over the edge of the well!

I pointed the camera like a periscope over the edge of the well and captured this shot of a Swallow already sitting on the nest. It’s both genius and dangerous for them to build this nest here. Of course, no predator can get to the nest, but if the nest falls off it will drop into the water or if a baby falls, it’s going to drown. Of course, when the young fledge, it will be a difficult flight too. This is the 2nd year, they have nested here, so maybe they know what they are doing.


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Morning Dog Walk: The Bee Eaters Are Back!

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

They arrived 2 days earlier than normal which makes up for their late return last year due to the rains. I’m in no rush to try to get up close as it could cause them to panic so I sat an watched them for a while this morning.

I actually think that there are 2 colonies that have arrived, as I could see and hear 2 groups from my high vantage point (which happens to be part of my garden!) but it could just be one large colony split. Here is a photo I got from my vantage point, there are 7 in this shot, but many more where flying low down in the valley I overlook.

I will monitor this tree for the next few days and if it becomes a meeting point then I will plan on getting closer. Of course, these could just passing through too!

If you are planning on getting shots of them, just be careful during the next week or so as they will be looking for nesting spots and human presence can cause them to change location.

If it was April 1st then I would have written this blog differently, suggesting that Bee Eaters don’t migrate, they grow on trees!


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