Portugal Wildlife

A look through the Seasons (2018) on a Wildlife Reserve in Baixo Alentejo

Gallery of some seasonal highlights on the wildlife reserve. All the photographs are taken on the reserve.

January

Rainfall as at 6th January 2018

After being completely dry since September, Windmill Pond at last shows signs of filling up after some rainfall in November to 6th January 2018.

The newly part-filled pond attracted the first new bird species of the year. A Common Sandpiper - a Winter Migrant.

And this Green Sandpiper, another Winter Visitor.

 

Meadow Pipits also feed at Windmill Pond in January. They are also Winter and Passage Migrants.

Other migrants that feed around Windmill Pond include small groups of Common Chiffchaffs.

Yellow Lupin plants are sprouting in the Olive Grove where they have been sown as a green manure. They are a species native to Portugal.

Resident Eurasian Hoopoe feeding among the first flush of new plant growth following the late Autumn/early Winter rains.

February

Passage migrant stops for a few days to refuel - a Common Snipe.

A couple of Northern Lapwings seen flying over Windmill Pond were the first record for this species on the reserve.

In Winter large flocks of Common Woodpigeons gather on the reserve's open woodland (Montado) to feed on the abundant Iberian Holm Oak acorns.

One of the few flowers out in February is the Dusky Dogfennel.

 

Little Egret at Windmill Pond already has its breeding plumage on show.

This aquatic plant, Stream Water-Crowfoot, starts flowering in February.

Woodlark collecting nesting material.

Hoop Petticoat Narcissus, another early flowering plant.

March

First Iberian Pond Turtle (sometimes called Spanish Terrapin) of the year - 4th March.

Stunning display of Annual Toadflax.

After 73mm rain in five days all the Stream Water-Crowfoot flowers are now under water until they can grow back to the surface again.

One of the firsts Barn Swallows of the year flying over Windmill Pond.

 

Yellowlegged Gull, an occasional visitor, seen flying over Windmill Pond during a short break in a thunderstorm.

Windmill Pond is full again ! March 8th. The pond is now at its maximum depth and is overflowing into the downstream river.

Now Windmill Pond is full some Mallards have returned. Here a male.

 

Little Grebes are also back in residence.

 

Redlegged Partridge making territorial call.

Early Purple Orchid.

Female Common Linnet collecting nesting material.

 

An early butterfly on the wing: A Green Hairstreak.

 

Female Spanish Festoon.

Bats are about. This Greater Horsehose Bat was recorded with an Echo Meter Touch 2 Bat Detector attached to an iPad as it hunted for insects over the Windmill Pond.

Tadpoles in shallow puddle in earth road. Probably Iberian Water Frog.

Scarce Swallowtail.

April

Star of Bethlehem.

Viperine Snake.

Crown Daisy.

Moth.

 

 

Hover Fly on Corn Marigold.

Red Admiral.

Common Winter Damsels are active throughout the year.

Iberian Bluetails mating. The upper damselfy is the male (blue) and the female is below.

 

European Bee-eaters arrived back on 6th April.

Female Woodchat Shrike.

Little Grebe sitting on floating nest at edge of Windmill Pond.

Tamarisk in flower.

May

Singing Barn Swallow.

Woodchat Shrike coughing up pellet on undigested food items, presumably mostly insect carapaces.

Female or teneral male Blacktailed Skimmer.

Spanish Marbled White

 

Sweet Scabious

Redveined Darters mating while in flight over Windmill Pond.

Common Blue Damselfly ovipositing.

Hare's-Foot Clover

 

Bee collecting pollen from Smooth Sow-Thistle.

Adult Little Grebe with its three chicks.

Photographed on the same day as the adult with chicks. A new Little Grebe nest with four eggs.

Male Blue Emperor.

June

Cardoon.

Clouded Yellow.

False Ilex Hairstreak.

Lampwick.

 

Field Bindweed with Red Velvet Mite.

Female Ruddy Darter perched on branch of an Iberian Holm Oak.

Fledgling Little Owl stood at entrance to nest hole in an Iberian Holm Oak, hissing quietly.

Reversed Clover. So named because the flowers are held 'upside down' compared to other clovers.

 

Small Skipper.

Cinnabar Moth caterpillars feeding on Common Ragwort. The plant is poisonous and gives protection to the caterpillars when they eat it so that predators avoid them. The bright yellow and black stripes are warning colours to ward off potential predators.

Flax-leaved St John's-Wort.

Adult Redlegged Partridge with 12 Chicks.

 

Redlegged Partridge Chick.

Female Blacktailed Skimmer.

Griffon Vulture. One of seven that flew over the reserve one morning.

Male Blacktailed Skimmer.

 

Three Little Owlets on Iberian Holm Oak. The owlet on the left is next to their nesting hole.

Clouded Yellow.

Small White feeding on Sweet Scabious.

Male Epaulet Skimmer.

 

29th June: Little Grebe, probably a female,with (at least) 2 day or two day-old Chicks on her back.

Three well-grown Iberian Fox cubs.

June: Well-grown Mallard Fledglings.

26th June 2018: Saw Female Wild Boar with Sounder of at least Five Mid-size Piglets. Approx 8.30 am.

July

Well-grown Iberian Fox Cub.

Female Gadwall with Nine Ducklings !

Nine Gadwall Ducklings.

Little Grebe with Four chicks, one riding on Adult's back.

 

Viperine Snake swimming in Windmill Pond.

Juvenile Woodchat Shrike.

Juvenile Common Moorhen.

Common Heliotrope.

 

Two Iberian Pond Turtles interacting.

Booted Eagle - a Summer visitor.

Juvenile Corn Buntings drinking at Windmill Pond.

Female Long Skimmer.

 

Booted Eagle, a Summer Visitor, with Redlegged Partridge prey in talons.

Viperine Snake swimming in Windmill Pond.

Windmill Pond 2018 08 28.

Juvenile House Martin.

August

Juvenile Little Grebe with Dragonfly larva prey.

Clouded Yellow feeding on a garden Sunflower.

Small Spreadwings mating.

Green Sandpiper.

 

 

Male Common Blue feeding on nectar from Common Heliotrope flowers, one of the few plants that flowers in August.

Clouded Yellow also feeding on Common Heliotrope.

Male Southern Brown Argus also feeding on Common Heliotrope.

Small Copper also feeding on Common Heliotrope.

Southern Gatekeeper also feeding on Common Heliotrope.

 

Common Quail drinking at Windmill Pond. These birds are so difficult to see in an undisturbed state. A wonderftul sighting indeed.

Blackshouldered Kite at top of Iberian Holm Oak, being mobbed by Iberian Azurewinged Magpies.

Iberian Hare visits the Spring to have a drink in the early morning.

A Woodlark stops at Windmill Pond for a drink.

 

Wild Boar at damp edge of Windmill Pond.

 

 

 

September

A Juvenile Egyptian Vulture - our first Endangered Species !

Goodbye for another year ! Part of a gathering of around 40 European Bee-eaters getting ready to migrate to Africa for the Winter. This was our last sightiing for 2018 - presumably of a pre-migration flock.

Eurasian Otter.

Wild Boar.

 

Female Common Kingfisher.

Iberian Fox at Windmill Pond.

A Northern Wheatear, an Autumn migrant, arrives at the reserve.

Another Autumn migrant, a Willow Warbler at the edge of Windmill Pond.

 

Another Autumn migrant, a Little Ringed Plover at the edge of Windmill Pond. Note the diagnostic yellow eye-ring.

Eurasian Hoopoes are common residents on the reserve.

Male Broad Scarlet.

Iberian Water Frog.

 

Mating pair of Lesser Emperors.

Female or Immature Pied Flycatcher perched in shady Iberian Holm Oak. An Autumn/Winter visitor to the reserve.

Female Blue Emperor caught in web of Banded Garden Spider.

Mating pair of Redveined Darters.

 

Windmill Pond as seen on 2018 09 29. In 2017, on the same date, the pond was completely dried up.

Green Sandpipers are still visiting Windmill Pond which still has water in it, unlike the same time last year.

Adult Grey Heron in Sweet Oak overlooking Windmill Pond.

October

Very rare sight in inland Portugal, a Squacco Heron.

Spotless Starling stood in Windmill Pond to drink.

Crested Llark drinking at Windmill Pond.

Male Common Darter.

 

Remains of a Pigeon killed and eaten by a Peregrine Falcon at Windmill Pond.

Common Greenshank

Part of group of 200 Griffon Vultures (20th October 2018).

Young Iberian Pond Turtle showing bright colouration on neck and legs.

 

Juvenile Ladder Snake.

Autumn Squill. An autumn-flowering species.

Autumn Snowflake. Another autumn-flowering species.

Berries of Greater Asparagus.

 

Three Eurasian Otters. Adult Female with two young ones. October 2018.

Iberian Fox running along edge of Windmill Pond.

Painted Lady.

European Robin, a Winter Visitor.

November

Several species of Dragonfly are still active this Autumn which is much wetter than last year due to rains in October and November. Such as this male Common Darter.

Iberian Pond Turtles basking in the Autumn sunshine. Windmill Pond still has water in it. Last year it was fully dried out by the end of September.

Rainbow over Windmill Pond.

The good Autumn rains have produced a lot of Fungal fruiting bodies such as this Parasol Fungus.

 

Taken with a new Trail Camera that takes Colour photographs at night (using a white light flash instead of the usual infra-red flash): An Eurasian Otter !

Iberian Fox taking an interest in a Grey Heron in Windmill Pond one early morning.

A Shaggy Inkcap starts to disperse its spores by autolysing (self-dissolving) the fruiting body's cap. This produces black ink-like droplets of spores.

A Puffball species.

December

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

Another unidentified fungus.

Eurasian Hoopoes are found all year round on the reserve.

Four Common Snipe foraging in Windmill Pond which still has sufficient water in it to attract various birds as well as our resident turtles.

 

Iberian Fox in misty weather at night.

After setting a Trail Camera at a set of Rabbit Burrows a whole bunch of Predators were photographed.

First up, a Common Buzzard.

A ghostly glimpse of an elusive Genet !

 

Two Iberian Mongooses - one inside one of the Rabbit Burrows.

A stunning Mediterranean Polecat. So difficult to see.

An Iberian Badger investigating one of the Rabbit Burrows.

And Rabbit Predator number 6, an Iberian Fox !

 

A new species: Beech Marten. Seen at the Hide Pond in December.

Male Common Kestrel, an all year resident.

 

 

 

Seasons 2018

 

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