Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Insect, Birds, and Freshwater Turtles in the Wetlands

I have always been fascinated by insects, and when we discovered this large one in the wetlands of Alvor, we were amazed at it's size and appearance. It must have been at least 15cm in length, and had striped eyes, and was fully aware that it was being scrutinized, but stayed perfectly still as I took macro after macro. It was only during the editing that I spotted something that may be fanciful, but it really moved me. What do you think! After some research I discovered that it is the Egyptian  Grasshopper.


THE EGYPTIAN GRASSHOPPER   ANAERIDIUM AEGYPTIUM
 

HE SEEMS TO BE LOOKING RIGHT AT ME, AND PLEADING "PLEASE DON'T HURT ME" !!
 

WE SAW IT HERE, WHERE WE OFTEN WALK MEL. 
 

A VERY PEACEFUL SPOT, BUT.......
 

WE ONLY CAME HERE IN THE LATE AFTERNOON, JUST BEFORE DINNER; TO AVOID THE HEAT.
 

SPOONBILLS
 

TERN
 

HERRING GULL
 

NOT SURE OF ID OF THIS LITTLE BROWN BIRD.
 

BABY BLACKBIRD
 


 

MALLARD.
 

ANOTHER VIEW OF THIS FLAT AREA OF WETLAND:
 

 AS WE PASSED BY ONE OF THE STRETCHES OF WATER, I SAW SOME FRESHWATER TURTLES.
 

I DIDN'T PHOTOGRAPH THE ONE WITH IT'S HEAD STUCK IN A WATER BOTTLE. I WISH PEOPLE WOULD BE MORE CAREFUL. I COULD DO NOTHING TO HELP.:(
 


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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Algarve and Storks in Alvor

The heat is sweltering, way up in the 34 degrees + region, and the only way to stay less hot, I can't say cool, is to stay indoors. Even my friend from the UK found sitting in the shade too uncomfortably hot, but as we are both early risers, we enjoyed the cooler temperature of the morning hours. 

I had a lovely birthday celebration, and now that my friend has left, am ready to share some photos of the White Stork,  taken in the Algarve, in a place called Alvor.


The White Stork   Ciconia ciconia
 

In Portugal, the stork is a protected species, and almost revered by farmers who appreciate and protect them.....

 

as the birds thrive on small mammals, lizards, snakes, and large insects, ...
 

which save the farmers having to buy expensive  pesticides on their crops.
 

The storks often build their nests close to the marshlands or wetlands, where they can feast on frogs, and fish too.
 

This field had at least twelve nests, and after having a word with the farmer, we were allowed to photograph them.
 

They build their nests up high on tall chimneys, telegraph poles, electricity pylons, church steeples, as well as trees.
 

Their nests are a great engineering feat.
 

The adult stork reaches a standing height of 80 to 115 cm, and has a wing span of 195 to 215 cm.
 

It is in flight that they take on a grace and beauty which belies it's size, as it glides high in the sky with outspread wings.
 

I must have stayed in the field a few hours in awe of their size, as I watched them leave, and return to their nests.
 

The day was hazy, ...not the best of conditions to take photos, and....
 

We couldn't approach too near because of the chicks, so regretfully I have none to share.
 

Their were many storks foraging in the fields.
 

They are elegant creatures, even whilst foraging as they walk along at a gentle pace.
 

In the past twenty years, storks have begun to stay here all winter, and can be seen all over the south of Portugal.
 
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Monday, 5 June 2017

My birthday is approaching, and a UK friend of mine, who always comes in June to celebrate it with me and my family, arrives this week, ..... so  I will be absent from blogging for two weeks. I know the time will fly, as we catch up with our news, and I'm really looking forward to this yearly fun packed reunion. Leaving you with this little sparrow. Happy blogging everyone!:)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Algarve Bee Eaters, Berries, Butterflies, Pathways and Poppies.

This week has raced by, and it's time for anther Wild Bird Wednesday. I can hardly believe it's already mid week, as we have been busy on the farm with the orange and fig harvest. Thankfully I still have loads of shares from our hols on the Algarve, so I hastily put together a few pictures of some things I noticed on our walks in the country during our time there. I hope you enjoy.



The fields and hedgerows were ablaze with red poppies,...
 

but there were many wild flowers in the mix.
 

Poppies on one side of the path, and....
 

on the sandy banks of the other side, a Bee-eater's nesting site .
 

Here is one just outside the tunnel leading to his nest.
 

These brightly coloured berries grew everywhere in the hedgerows ,. It is the Mediterranean smilax, ( s. áspera) in fruit.
It's berries are unpalatable for human consumption, but they are a great source of nourishment for birds.

Many had what seemed like spider's webs tightly wound around some of the clusters.
 

The European Bee-eater can often be seen perched on fences and cable wires.
 

This one caught a bee in mid air. The Bee-eater can eat around 250 bees a day, it's main source of food, but they also eat dragonflies, and other insects.
 

Their bright colours are not evident in these flight shots, but they were very far away.
 

Back in the hedgerow, there was plenty to see.
 

The underwings of the Marbled White.
 

The Marsh Fritillary.
 

The Small White.
 

Some more berries without the webs.
 

You can clearly see the two elongated central tail feathers in this shot. Sexes are alike, but the female tends to have more green rather than gold on shoulders.
 
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Algarve and the male Linnet.

When we saw a little bird with a very red breast, on our way home, one late afternoon, we had no idea what it was, but it was so cute that I had to get as many shots as possible. I have since identified it as a male Linnet, even though the photos I looked at on Google didn't show any with such a brightly coloured breast. I do hope I'm right about the ID! The photos I'm about to share are all very similar, but I'm sure you'll agree, he's a cute little ball of fluff. 




















Then, it flew away, never to be seen by us again.
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