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

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

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

Sunday, 23 June 2019

RED NECKED PHALAROPE [Female] (Phalaropus lobatus) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) is a small sandpiper type shorebird of the family Scolopacidae and is one of the three species of phalarope in the genus Phalaropus. It is a long distance migrant, breeding in the Arctic tundra regions of North America and Eurasia and wintering at sea on tropical oceans. The small British population, which has recently increase to c60 pairs, is mainly confined to the Shetland Isles and the Outer Hebrides as well as occasionally breeding on the Scottish Mainland. Formally up to to 50 pairs bred in Ireland then this population declined with no proof of breeding since the early 1970s, although breeding has been suspected on a number of occasions. Thanks to a program of habitat improve by BirdWatch Ireland, a handful of birds have recommenced breeding at one protected site in County Mayo.
There are three previous Co.Dublin records: 30-09-1954 (West Pier, Dun Laoghaire), 19-12-1956 (North Bull Island) and  08 to 10-09-1957 (Bootherstown Marsh)

Saturday, 13 April 2019

EUROPEAN HERRING GULL (Larus argentatus ssp. L. a. argenteus) Port Oriel Harbour, Clogherhead, Co. Louth, Ireland


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COMMON DOG-VIOLET (Viola riviniana) Clogher Head Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Clogherhead, Co. Louth, Ireland


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The Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) is a low growing bulbous species of wild flower in the genus Viola. It is native to Eurasia and parts of northern Africa. Other common names include wood violet and dog violet. It is a perennial herb of woodland edges, grassland and shady hedge banks. It is found in all soils except acid or very wet. Separate with care from the closely related Early Dog-violet (Viola reichenbachiana) and Heath Dog-violet (Viola canina) as well other European Viola.

 Reference source:  


Sunday, 7 April 2019

GREY HERON (Ardea cinerea) Port Oriel Harbour, Clogherhead, Co. Louth, Ireland

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The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), is a long-legged predatory wading bird of the heron family, Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in much of its range, but some populations from the more northern parts migrate southwards in autumn. A bird of wetland areas, it can be seen around lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes and on the sea coast. It feeds mostly on aquatic creatures which it catches after standing stationary beside or in the water or stalking its prey through the shallows. 

Reference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_heron

Sunday, 16 December 2018

REDWING (Turdus iliacus) Loop Head Peninsula, Kilbaha South, Co. Clare, Ireland


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The Redwing (Turdus iliacus) is a species of thrush in the family Turdidae which is in the genus Turdus. It breeds in the northern parts of Eurasia extending eastwards from Iceland to eastern Russia. The first breeding record for Scotland was in 1932 where there is now an established population of up to 100 pairs. Small numbers have also recently been found breeding in Greenland. In the autumn, this highly migratory species leaves the colder parts of its breeding range to winter further south in Europe as well as parts of North Africa and the Middle East extending to northern Iran. 

Text: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Saturday, 2 June 2018

GREEN VEINED WHITE BUTTERFLY (Pieris napi) nectering on HAWKWEED (Hieracium sp.) Giles Quay, Cooley Peninsula, Co. Louth, Ireland


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The Green-veined White (Pieris napi) is a butterfly of the family Pieridae which is in the genus Pieris. It commonly occurs in Asia, Europe and North America. It is found in meadows, gardens and parks. Male and female can be told apart by the number of blackish spots on the forewing, one on the male whereas the female has two. The flight season varies with location, elevation and season. In northern Europe there are two or three generations from April to early September. In warmer areas and in some good years there is a fourth generation. In southern Europe there are three or more partially overlapping generations from March to October.

Text reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green-veined_white

Sunday, 25 March 2018

EUROPEAN [EURASIAN] GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The European Goldfinch is a member of the finch family Fringillidae which is in the genus Carduelis. It breeds in most of Europe and Western Asia but is absent from the colder northern parts of that range. It has a scattered distribution in North Africa and occurs as an introduced species in south eastern Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay. It can be commonly found in gardens, particularly in winter, where it readily comes to bird feeders. 
Text: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds