Happy New Year!
By my observation, the Azure-winged Magpie is one of the most common winter birds in the Alentejo of Southern Portugal. They were everywhere, in flocks of a dozen or so, but I found them very hard to photograph. They simply would not sit still, and when they did perch, they buried themselves in foliage, generally the bushy foliage of the the pine-nut plantations that cover so many hills in the Alentejo. The exception was right next to our hotel in Mértola. The hotel was perched on the steep slope of the hill Mértola occupies, just above the river…we were the last building on the river side…and there was a little park like patch that ran down a gully to the river’s edge…bushes and small trees, even a picnic table. The area was often full of the common lawn and park birds of Portugal, including the Azure-winged Magpie. Of course I was never there when the light was at its best, but on my last morning I went out before breakfast and found the Magpies active in the early light. The still would not allow close approach, but at least the proximity to humans had made them tame enough to sit out in the open. This is a composite image with the larger bird layered in. Handsome birds! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Background: 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 500. Inset: 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 1000. Processed in Photoshop Express and assembled in Pixomatic.