Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK [Male] (Accipiter nisus) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), alternative names include, Northern Sparrowhawk or simply Sparrowhawk, is a small bird of prey of the family Accipitridae which is in the genus Accipiter. It has a widespread distribution across the temperate and subtropical parts of the Old World. It is a partial migrant and in the more northern and colder parts of its range, it disperses south for the winter. The preferred habitats include open type wood land, hedge rows, parks and gardens where a wide variety of small to medium sized perching birds are preyed upon. Males are up to 25% smaller than females and tend to prey upon sparrow sized passerines but can include starlings and thrushes. Females, on the other hand, can tackle larger prey including doves, pigeons and magpies.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Six subspecies are generally recognised:

  •  Accipiter nisus nisus - breeds from Europe and west Asia to western Siberia and Iran; northern populations winter south to the Mediterranean, north-east Africa, Arabia and Pakistan.
  •  Accipiter nisus nisosimilis - central and eastern Siberia east to Kamchatka and Japan, and south to northern China. This subspecies is wholly migratory, wintering from Pakistan and India eastwards through South-East Asia and southern China to Korea and Japan; some even reach Africa.
  •  Accipiter nisus melaschistos - Afghanistan through the Himalayas and southern Tibet to western China, and winters in the plains of South Asia.
  •   Accpiter nisus wolterstorffi - Sardinia and Corsica
  •  Accipiter nisus granti - Madeira and the Canary Islands.
  •  Accipiter nisus punicus - north-west Africa, north of the Sahara.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_sparrowhawk


Thursday, 14 September 2017

BLACK TAILED GODWIT [Juvenile] (Limosa limosa subspecie. L .l. islandica) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) is a large, long-legged and long-billed shorebird in the family Scolopacidae which is the genus Limosa. There are three subspecies recognised, Icelandic, European and Asian Black-tailed Godwit. The breeding range stretches from Iceland through Europe and central Asia. They winter in the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, western Europe and west Africa. The species breeds in fens, lake edges, damp meadows, moorlands and bogs and uses estuaries, swamps and flooded fields in winter. The world population is estimated to be 634,000 to 805,000 birds and is classified as Near Threatened.

Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-tailed_godwit

Sunday, 10 September 2017

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) is a small Old World passerine in the family Muscicapidae which is in the genus Muscicapa. Although in decline, it is the commonest and the most widespread flycatcher found in Europe and western Asia. It is one of six species of migratory flycatcher which are summer breeding residents in Europe. There are several subspecies recognised. In late spring, it returns from its wintering areas in southern Africa and southwestern Asia. Its preferred habit is open deciduous woodland. Main prey items include small flying invertebrates and caterpillars. By September with its food supply in decline, the return migration south begins. In 2016, the International Ornithologists' Union split the two subspecies M. t. balearica  (which occurs on the Balearic Islands) and M. t. tyrrhenica  (Corsica as well as Sardinia) from Spotted Flycatcher to form a new species Mediterranean Flycatcher (Muscicapa tyrrhenica).
Above text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
Spotted Flycatchers are estimated to have declined by 59% across Europe during 1980–2005 (PECBMS 2007). A predator 'control' experiment has indicated that the abundance of nest predators may be determining the breeding success of Spotted Flycatchers, especially in woodland, where nest success was lower overall than in gardens (Stoate & Szczur 2006). Another study using nest cameras has identified avian predators, especially Jays, as responsible for most nest losses (Stevens et al. 2008). Decreasing survival rates may have been caused by deterioration in woodland quality, particularly leading to declines in the large flying insects that are food to the flycatcher, or by conditions either on the wintering grounds or along migration routes (Fuller et al. 2005).
 Source:  https://www.bto.org/birdtrends2008/wcrspofl.shtml

Sunday, 3 September 2017

RED VEINED DARTER DRAGONFLY [Female] (Sympetrum fonscolombii) Togher Pond, Simonstown, Togher, Co. Louth, Ireland


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The Red-veined Darter Dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a member of the family Libellulidae which is in the genus Sympetrum. It has a wide spread distribution and is commonly found in Africa, Western, Central and Southern Asia as well as most of Europe. This species is nomadic by nature and since the 1990’s has greatly expanded its European range as far north as southern Scandinavia.  

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe /Raw Birds

Friday, 18 August 2017

LANG'S SHORT TAILED BLUE BUTTERFLY (Leptotes pirithous) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), also known as Common Zebra Blue, is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae which is genus Leptotes. This migratory species occurs in southern Europe, most of Africa including Madagascar and southern Asia.