Portugal Wildlife

Breeding Season 2019:

 

 

 

 

 

Tadpole soon to be transformed into a Froglet. Probably an Iberian Water Frog.

 

Iberian Water Frog - this tiny froglet has just emerged from the tadpole stage in Bulrush Pond.

Froglet that still has its tail. The tail will soon be 'absorbed' so it will become a proper froglet.

 

Garden Dormouse next to Dormouse Nestbox in Iberian Holm Oak.

Dragonfly newly emerged from Larval case. Species unknown as colours only develop once it has expanded to full size and has dried out.

Juvenile Large Psammodromus.

Tadpoles (at night) - most likely of Iberian Water Frog.

Larval exoskeleton of Redveined Darter left on vegetation in Bulrush Pond.

Redveined Darter a day or two after emergence from larval form. Around 50 or 60 Darters emerged from Bulrush Pond aboiut six or seven weeks after it was built.

Redlegged Partridge and Eleven chicks at Hide Pond.

Adult and Juvenile Spotless Starling.

Juvenile Iberian Azurewinged Magpie.

Our three rescued Barn Owl chicks came back to our Reserve where they were released on June 20th.

Rescued Barn Owl off to explore its home.

Eurasian Nuthatch at nest hole in Iberian Holm Oak which it has partly blocked with mud.

Juvenile Eurasian Stonechat.

Juvenile Common Blackbird.

Juvenile Blue Tit.

April 24th: Mallards with small ducklings.

May 16th: Courtship behaviour: The Iberian Badger on the left (sleek, narrow head) is a female. And the badger in front is a male with its fur fluffed up and tail raised to signify that it is sexually excited.

 

May 19th: Little Owl chick stood next to nest hole in Iberian Holm Oak (on left).

 

Little Owlet.

April 23rd Update: Sadly it appears that both adult Barn Owls have disappeared. First the male stopped showing, presumed dead, and then the female also stopped appearing in the nest. It is assumed that she has also died.

May 1st Update: On a much happier note we can confirm that we were able to rescue three Barn Owl chicks from the nest box. We have now taken these to RIAS, the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Research Centre of Ria Formosa, located in Olhão at Quinta de Marim in the Algarve.

Juvenile Eurasian Stonechat.

A Dormouse Den Box sited on an Iberian Holm Oak tree in the hope of attracting a pair of Garden Dormice to nest inside. The entrance hole is against the trunk so that birds do not take over the nest/den box.

Pair of Woodchat Shrikes. The Male is on the left. These birds are Summer breeding visitors.

The Common Kestrel seems to be a young male. This season he does not appear to have succeeded in persuading a female to nest in the kestrel nestbox. Perhaps next year.

Male Common Kestrel sitting inside the kestrel nestbox during a rainstorm.

Iberian Water Frog calling.

Eurasian Nuthatch putting mud at entrance to nest box to make the entrance hole smaller to keep out House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings.

Spotless Starling trying, but failing, to get into the nest box. The mud put at the entrance by the Nuthatch makes the hole too small for a Starling to fit through.

White Stork stood on top of the Windmill ruin. The stork had been making Bill Clapping noises - part of the stork's breeding display. The Windmill has a stork nest platform on it. So maybe at some time a pair of White Storks will nest there. Possibly even this breeding season.

Male Common Linnet (on left) courtship feeding his mate.

March: Natterjack or Spiny Toad Tadpoles. The first batch of toad spawn laid in a puddle dried up when no further rain fell. So we saved the second batch by irrigating the puddle to keep it wet enough for the spawn to hatch into tadpoles.

Probably a young male White Stork displaying next to a man-made stork nest platform on the Windmill ruin, hoping to attract a mate. It is likely he has not bred before. If he can find a mate they could nest year after year at the same nest site.

24th February: Yaay ! A pair of Common Barn Owls have chosen to nest in our Barn Owl Nest Box that was erected on the side of our Windmill Ruin.

Updates on: Barn Owl Nest Cam

Already the Barn Owls have laid three eggs. Clutches can vary from between 2 and 16 eggs.

Corn Buntings are already singing in January.

February: Spiny Toads in amplexus (mating). Note that the male, on top, is much smaller than the female. Photographed in daytime at Windmill Pond.

February: Spiny Toad spawn. These toad eggs were laid in a number of strings in a temporary rain puddle.

A male Common Linnet singing atop an Iberian Holm Oak.

December 2018: Male Common Kestrel hunting for Mediterranean Pine Voles from the Kestrel nest box. First sighting of a Kestrel at the nest box !

January 2019: Male Common Kestrel sitting at the front of the nest box. As photographed by the wifi camera fixed to the nest box. This is the first time the kestrel has been seen sitting in the nest box as opposed to on top of it.

Here the Male Common Kestrel (see picture on left) has been photographed from my office window. The nest box wifi camera can be seen at the top right of the nest box.

Female Common Kestrel hunting from perch on electricity cable. It is hoped this female will pair with the male seen at the kestrel nest box this Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Status February 2019:

A new Nest Box, more properly called a Den Box as it is aimed at a mammal species, has been put up in the reserve. The target species is the Beech Marten (or maybe even a Common Genet).

Beech Marten Den Box with some straw in the Denning chamber.

The Beech Marten Den Box being attached to an Iberian Holm Oak.

The Den Box has two entrance holes at the back of the box, against the tree trunk. This helps to keep birds from nesting in the box.

A Trail Camera has been set up at the Den Box so that it can be checked without disturbing any residents just by looking at the trail cam photos.

 

Status January 2019:

A new Nest Box has been put up in the reserve. The target species is the Common Barn Owl.

Common Barn Owl: This nest box has a live video camera feed via wifi (with an aerial extending the wifi signal) direct to a computer in the office.

Photos of Installation of the Barn Owl Nest Box system:

Windmill, built in 1839, chosen as site to mount Barn Owl Nest Box with WiFi camera system linked to Office.

WiFi Aerial mounted onto office wall - facing Windmill 800m away.

WiFi Aerial Extender being mounted below Nest Box. This has the capacity to extebd the WiFi signal to 1.2km.

Solar Panel sited on top of Windmill.

Solar-Powered Battery hidden in alcove on inside of Windmill.

The Office can be seen in the distance, some 800m away.

 

Previously installed Nest Boxes and Nesting Sandbank:

Nest Sandbank: With holes leading to embedded Sand Martin nestboxes and plastic pipes for birds such as Bee-eaters. The rest of the sand bank can be tunneled into by any tunnel-nesting

birds such as Common Kingfishers.

Pre-fabricated Sand Martin Nest Boxes being incorporated into the Nest Bank ; And Nesting tubes for species such as European Bee-eaters (with floor cut out for drainage)

Pole-mounted Kestrel Nestbox with wifi live Video Camera feed to office:

Wall-mounted Blue Tit/House Sparrow Nestbox with wifi live Video Camera feed to office:

White Stork Platforms:

On Office Roof:

A second White Stork nest platformhas been mounted ontop of the reserve's ruined windmill.

Various other Wooden Nest Boxes mounted on Office wall. Originally intended for a variety of species, including Common Kestrel, Common Barn Owl and Common Swift, most of the nestboxes have been occupied by House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings.

 

Barn Owl Nest Cam 2019:

Barn Owl Nest Cam 2019 i

 

Previous Years:

Breeding Season 2018

Breeding Season 2017

Breeding Season 2016

Nest Cam 2016

Breeding Season 2015

 

Links to detailed webpages:

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Seasons 2019

Breeding Season 2019

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Catalonia Wildlife

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Tswalu Kalahari

 

 

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Barn Owls 2019

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