Friday 24 February 2023


Time to get back to Earth, and my balcony where I seem to see more birds than anywhere else. This morning I saw the Great Spotted Woodpecker in a nearby tree, and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker a few days ago, but regretfully when I reached for my camera they both flew away. I do have some success with the little Firecrest as it visits my balcony fairly regularly, but never stays long enough or still enough for me to focus my camera for a good shot, before it also flies away, however today I am sharing a few images, but first some succulent plants.

I was given the large plant as a Jade Plant, but was never sure if it is the correct name, so if anyone knows it's name I would be grateful  if you would let me know, and the one surrounding the Jade Plant, I never knew it's name, although I like the many bright rusty red flowers it produces

I have been reliably informed that it's scientific name is Crassula ovata.

Seen from below

The surrounding succulents

The Firecrest emerging from a planter, perhaps looking for insects.

I got another shot when it flew to the top of an old stalk, but had to move quickly as the Firecrest was extremely active and I also had to lighten the image a little, as it was still a little dark on my balcony.

On another occasion I managed to capture three images.

The Periwinkle is now in flower so I'm sharing it today, even though the photo was taken on a grey day.

When the first flower appeared I took a photo on a sunny day.

Another plant on my balcony

The Blue Daisy   Felicia amelloides

It's got quite leggy, but I'll take some more cuttings and insert round the pot and it will soon fill in. This plant was born of cuttings taken from the mother plant in the garden.

I saved the best until last.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

THE MOON January and February 2023

Looking out of the window on the  morning of January 7th, at 6. 30 I saw the moon shining brightly above the trees. It was still dark outside, but the moon inspired me to take a few pictures, something I have never had the inclination to do before, and I really don't know why, because it is the Earth's closest astronomical body, and so very important to us, as the moon influences life as we know it on earth.seeing as it makes the earth move, as well as the tides, and it's the brightest night object in the sky. The moon has inspired poets and lyricists to write beautiful poems and songs, and over century's it has been admired and worshipped, and now it's my turn to pay it homage with a few images because without it, humanity would struggle to survive.

January's moon is called the Wolf Moon. 

The Wolf Moon, is the name that was given to the January moon by Medieval Europeans and Native Americans  as it is the time of year when wolves howl their loudest. This folklore has inseparably linked wolves with the moon, and to some extent it is true that wolves howl at the moon, but this is because wolves are nocturnal 

and they tend to howl upwards towards the sky to make the sound carry, but there is no scientific evidence that wolves howl more at a full moon, than any other moon. This photo was taken just an hour after my first attempt.

Folklore is a fascinating subject, but there is usually a logical explanation, as in this case. Wolves make more noise in January and February, as this is their breeding season, in both Europe and North America. Many of you will already know this, but this post is for those of you who don't.

TheWaxing Cresent Moon.Photo taken 24th of January.

The concept of moonlight, is nothing  but sunlight reflecting off the moons surface The Moon doesn't produce it's own light. The sun is actually the only source of light in the solar system. The Moon is Earths natural satellite. Moons are called natural Satellites because they orbit planets.

The moon is not only visible during the night, we can see it during the day. I very often see both the sun and the moon in the sky.The only phases that cannot be seen in the day, are the new moon, and the full moon.

February's first  "Snow Moon" of the year lit up the sky with it's brightness.

Photos taken on February 6th, This image was taken half hour after the one above. February's Full Moon is called the Snow Moon because February is associated with more snowfall. It's distance from Earth makes it a "micromoon" and the smallest full moon of 2023. It's an astrological term for the moon (New Moon or Full Moon) when it is the furthest away from Earth.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen without the moon? Think about it, and let me know what you think would happen and in doing so perhaps you will also gain a new respect for what it means to our planet. 

Monday 13 February 2023



"All you need is love la la la la la"

The 14th of February is a special day for lovers, loved ones young and old, and you can't have too much love in the world. I have had these shots for a long time, but couldn't post them until now, enjoy, and carry with you the love you see in these pictures all year round, and especially on Valentine's Day.

I was a little too eager to get a photo here.

That's better! :=)

A little Valentine.

Togetherness! :=)

A caring couple.

Contentment is sharing.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

The EURASIAN JAY Garrulus Gariulus

In Portugal Eurasian Jays are a protected species. This is because of the benefits that they bring to the ecology. In the autumn their main source of food is acorns and they cache thousands of this high protein food. A Jay can store as many as 5,000 acorns during autumn, what's more it remembers 75% of where they are hidden. Some of the remaining acorns germinate, therefore spreading the forest. The selection of Jay images were mostly taken in December 2021, and December of 2022 with just a few taken this year.

Early morning sky

The following images of Jays were taken in all kind of weather. Images in the sun, shade, and rain.

These shy sensitive birds are often heard rather than seen,

but there are many Eurasian Jays where I live, and many Oak trees so as long as I stay hidden as much as possible, and keep perfectly still, I'm able to get the odd photo opportunity which is always thrilling.

I cover my white hair with a scarf with muted colours, and wear a similar colour to my wooden shutters to camouflage myself whilst photographing. 

If I move my camera fractionally, they swiftly fly away,

They regularly do a fly-by on my balcony picking up a peanut on the wing.

Every morning I place peanuts in their shells all along the length of my balcony, and  the Jays are artists at picking them up on the wing,

When the Jays stop, they can pick up 6 -7 peanuts and carry them off in their crop, but unfortunately my balcony is in the shade until 1.30, so any photos I take are always dull in colour.

Ha Ha! I couldn't resist sharing this one, although it doesn't seem fair to this gorgeous creature to make fun of it, rather my inept photography skills and the railings are to blame.


 It's pinkish brown plumage and the bright blue panel on the upper wing, and black mustache and tail, make it a very attractive creature

They have spectacular eyesight and have a wide field of view as they can see in almost every direction so outwitting a Jay is quite a victory.

I shot this one from far away and was quite pleased with the outcome.

This Jay and the next one are one and the same. I think that in the next image the Jay saw me and it quickly took flight, but not before I managed to take these two photos.

A sideways shot shows off the jays beautiful blue feathers, for which they were once persecuted. Thank goodness that shooting
them is now illegal.

I took this shot yesterday.

Another shot of a Jay just before take off.

The Eurasian Jay brightens up a grey day.

Jays far away in the forest,

It's plumage stands out quite nicely amongst the greenery,

    especially on grey days, when the days are overcast.

This and the next images were taken recently.

This image was taken yesterday morning.

It has rained almost every day but we have had some bright colourful sunsets. Closing and sharing two of them with you.

Long after the setting of the sun, the sky is still colourful. All shots taken through my bedroom window.
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