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

Thursday, 30 July 2015

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax subspecies C. c. canariensis) Las Penitas Mirador, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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The Common Raven or Northern Raven (Corvus corax) has a widespread distribution across the Northern Hemisphere. A minimum of eight subspecies are recognised including Corvus corax canariensis  which is confined to the Canary Islands. It is smaller in body structure, has a smaller more decurved bill and shows an oily brown gloss to its plumage. Ravens are normally very wary but at this location, they are tame because titbits can be scavenged from the tourists which pull in at this mirador (viewing area). This area overlooks the lush valley and reservoir at Las Penitas, an important area for wildlife on Fuerteventura.Text © www.rawbirds.com

Sunday, 26 July 2015

BARBARY PARTRIDGE (Alectoris barbara subspecies A. b. koenigi) Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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The Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara) is a North African gamebird. It is also native to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. On the Iberian Peninsula there is a small colony at Gibraltar. The endemic subspecies Alectoris barbara koenigi occurs on the Canary Islands. On Fuerteventura, although uncommon, it is found throughout the island where at times it can be difficult to locate.
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Saturday, 25 July 2015

CANARY ISLANDS CANDLE PLANT (Kleinia neriifolia) Barranco de Betancuria, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain


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There are nearly 1300 species of plant found on the Canary Islands but fewer than 800 of these occur on Fuerteventura Island. The Canary Islands Candle Plant (Kleinia neriifolia) is one of 43 plants that are endemic, 13 of which are confined to Fuerteventura. This perennial succulent is found in scrubby semi-arid type habitat and can grow up to 3 meters in height. Also known variously as Mountain Grass, Verode or Berode. Its Spanish name is Vero de Canarias. Text © www.rawbirds.com

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

RUDDY SHELDUCK (Male) (Tadorna ferruginea) Los Molinos Reservoir, Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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Central Asia is the main stronghold of the Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) where it is a summer resident which winters predominantly on the Indian sub-continent and in South East Asia. There are five other species of shelduck, none of which are found in the Americas. The Common Shelduck (Tadorna Tadorna) occurs in Europe, North Africa and Central Asia. Four species are resident in the Southern Hemisphere, Cape Shelduck (Tadorna carna) in southern Africa, Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) in south east and western Australia, Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) in the East Indies and northern Australia and Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna varigata) in New Zealand. A seventh species the Crested Shelduck (Tadorna cristata) was found mainly in northern Korea and was last reliably reported in 1964.There was a further report in 1971 but it is now probably extinct. Ruddy Shelduck has recently been discovered breeding in the Ethiopian Mountain. In the Eastern Mediterranean, the stronghold is Turkey. In the Western Mediterranean, there are two small populations in North West Africa, one in Tunisia and the other in western Morocco. Formally a vagrant to the Canary Islands, it first bred on Fuerteventura in 1994 where it has now become established. Text © www.rawbirds.com

Saturday, 18 July 2015

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

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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  http://www.bbrc.org.uk/species-information-riact/owls-to-shrikes

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

COMMON BLUE BUTTERFLY [Male] (Polyommatus icarus) Barranco de Betancuria, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain


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The Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) is a small butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It occurs throughout the temperate regions of Europe (including The Canary Islands) Asia and North Africa. In Europe, it is absent from Iceland, the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores. As its name implies it is one of the most widespread and commonly encountered blue butterflies in the Palaerarctic  region. In 2005, it was discovered breeding in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada and it has since increased its distribution there. In southern Europe, it is on the wing from late March to early November but it has a shorter  flight (May to September) season in the northern parts of its range.  
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