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

Saturday 16 May 2015

GREENISH BLACK TIP BUTTERFLY (Euchloe charlonia) La Oliva, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

Click here for detailed species information

The Greenish Black-tip butterfly (Euchloe charlonia) is found in North Africa, the Middle East and on the Canary Islands. A closely related species, the Spanish Black-tip (Euchloe bazae), first described in 1982, is scarce/vulnerable and is only present in two regions on mainland Spain. On the Eastern Canary Islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and the Chinijo Archipelago) less than twenty species of butterfly occur. Because of the bare arid nature terrain  and frequently windy conditions on Fuerteventura Island, butterflies are usually encountered in sheltered valleys and lush gardens. Greenish Black-tip on the other hand tends to favour more open type habitat where photographing it is made all the more difficult by the ever present wind. It is on the wing from December to June. Text ©

Wednesday 13 May 2015

SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE (Lanius meridionalis subspecies L. m. koenigi) La Oliva, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

See below for detailed species information

Great Grey Shrike comprises nine subspecies. Nominate excubitor occurs in northern and central Europe whilst homeyeri (sometimes known as ‘Steppe Shrike’) breeds from south-east Europe through the Ural mountains into western Siberia. Further east, sibiricus (‘North Siberian Shrike’) breeds in central and eastern Siberia, with leucopterus, mollis, bianchii and funereus occupying restricted areas in Central and East Asia. Two subspecies – borealis and invictus (known collectively as ‘Northern Shrike’) – occur in North America. A further eleven grey shrike forms are currently treated as ‘Southern Grey Shrike’ Lanius meridionalis (Cramp et al. 1993).The taxonomy of the ‘Great Grey Shrikes’ is in a state of considerable flux. DNA evidence fails to support the current two species split, and at least six potential species have been identified though not formally proposed (Olsson 2010). In particular, a deep genetic divide is identified between a clade containing (amongst others) excubitor, homeyeri and leucopterus and one containing (amongst others) sibiricus, mollis, bianchii, funereus,borealis and invictus. This suggests a split between a new more tightly-defined ‘Great Grey Shrike’ encompassing the former three subspecies and ‘Northern Grey Shrike’ Lanius borealis encompassing the latter five. See full text reference at

Monday 4 May 2015

COMMON LINNET [Male] (Linaria cannabina subspecies L. c. harterti) La Oliva, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

Click external link here for detailed species information
Click external link here to see distribution map and to hear calls

The Linnet (Linaria cannabina) or Common Linnet is of the family Fringillidae which is in the genus Linaria.
 It derives its name from its fondness for the seeds of the flax plant which is used to make linen. This small finch occurs in Europe as well as Western Asia but is absent from northern latitudes and has a limited distribution in North West Africa and the Middle East. 

There are seven subspecies :
  • Linaria c. autochthona - occurs in Scotland     
  • L. c. cannabina - occurs in the rest of Britain, Ireland also northern Europe, eastwards to central Siberia. It is a partial migrant, wintering in north Africa and southwest Asia
  • L. c. bella - occurs in Middle East, eastwards to Mongolia and northwestern China
  • L. c. mediterranea - occurs on the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Greece, northwest Africa and on the Mediterranean islands
  • L. c. guentheri - occurs on Madeira Island
  • L. c. meadewaldoi - occurs on the Western Canary Islands (El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria)
  • L. c. harterti - occurs on the Eastern Canary Islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura)