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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A Morning Session With The Bee Eaters (and few others)

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Yesterday whilst on a Community Walk as part of the local Village’s Celebration Day I noticed a colony of Bee Eaters all sitting on a dead tree on the river bank at the other side of the village to the Quinta. The weather forecast promised a clear sunrise so I packed the camera, tripod, chair and pop-up hide last night and set my alarm for 6:15am.

The idea was to get to the river bank and erect my pop-up hide before the Bee Eaters awoke. I was awake before the alarm and after a quick Coffee I headed down to the river bank by just after 6:30am. It was already light, but the sun was still below the horizon, the only birds I could hear were the Nightingales. I set up the hide and waited patiently.

First up a small flock of Common Waxbills arrived with 2 of them sitting on the dead tree, unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get a clean background and this would take a fair bit of Photoshop work to remove.

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Common Waxbill - Bico-de-lacre-comum - Estrilda astrild
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First Session In the Oasis Hide

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I settled myself in the new Oasis Hide this morning just before the sun came over the ridge and waited for it to shine down on The Oasis.

I didn’t take long before the Zitting Cisticolas came for breakfast. They look for the bugs inside the Oasis to eat. These tiny birds (around 11cm) seem to sit on the grasses and then jump down to the ground, they do eat Grass Hoppers and Crickets of which are in abundance right now.

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Zitting Cisticola

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