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

Sunday, 31 January 2016

LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece


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The Little Stint (Calidris minuta) is a small Eurasian species of shorebird (or wader) in the family Scolopacidae which breeds in the tundra areas of the Arctic. It is a long distance passage migrant that spends the winter in sub Saharan Africa and southern Asia. In addition, there are scattered wintering populations around the Mediterranean Basin as well as on the Atlantic coasts of France, Portugal and Spain. It is generally encountered in north west Europe during autumn migration and to a lesser extent during the spring passage.  
Text © www.rawbirds.com

Thursday, 28 January 2016

SARDINIAN WARBLER (Male) (Sylvia melanocephala) Agia Marina, Crete, Greece


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The Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala) is a small mainly insectivorous warbler of the family Sylviidae which is in the genus Sylvia. It is commonly encountered in southern and eastern Europe as well as in countries bordering the Mediterranean Basin. It is also resident on the Canary Islands. Some authorities recognise up to five subspecies. The female, typical of most sylvia warblers, has drabber plumage, it is grey headed with brownish upper parts and the under parts are washed buff. This species normally occurs in shrubby type habitat as well as in parks and gardens.
    Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com 
 
Up to five subspecies are generally recognised:
  • Sylvia melanocephala melanocephala - Iberia across the northern Mediterranean to western Turkey. Extends into the Maghreb from Iberia, and into Libya from Italy via Sicily. Migrates to the Sahel and oases in the Sahara in winter.
  • Sylvia melanocephala leucogastra  - Canary Islands, resident, probably some vagrancy between eastern islands and Maghreb.
  • Sylvia melanocephala momus - Near East. Resident, some local movements. 
  • Sylvia melanocephala norissae - Fayyum Warbler - probably only a local morph of momus  - Nile Delta region. Extinct since around 1940.
  • Sylvia melanocephala valverdei - Morocco south to the Tropic of Cancer, inland to the edge of the Sahara. Resident, but some seasonal movements.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardinian_warbler

Sunday, 24 January 2016

WESTERN (BLACK HEADED) YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla flava subspecies M.f. feldegg) male, Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece

 
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The Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) is of the family Motacillidae which includes longclaws, pipits and wagtails. It is a summer resident in the temperate regions of Western Asia and Europe which migrates south in early autumn to winter in southern Asia and Africa. Up to 20 subspecies are recognised including the Black Headed Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava feldegg)
who’s breeding range extends east wards from the Balkans to the Caspian Sea and as far south as Iran.  
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Saturday, 23 January 2016

BALKAN GREEN LIZARD (Juvenile) (Lacerta trilineata) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece

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The Balkan Green Lizard (Lacerta trilineata) is in the family Lacertidae  and is closely related to the Western Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata). It occurs in the southern half of Eastern Europe and parts of south western Asia. It tends to prefer vegetative type habitat. A wide variety of arthropods, small invertebrates and snails are preyed upon. 
It is one of 14 species of amphibian/reptile (three frogs, one toad, three geckos, one skink, two lizards and four snakes) found on the Greek island of Crete. The endemic Cretan Wall Lizard (Podarcis cretensis) is the other lizard that occurs on the island.
Text © www.rawbirds.com

      List of amphibians/reptiles found on Crete
          • American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeianus)
          • Cretan Water Frog (Rana cretensis)
          • Common Tree Frog (Hyla arborea kretensis)
          • Green Toad (Bufo viridis)
          • Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica)
          • Kotschy’s Gecko (Mediodactylus kotschyi
          • Turkish Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
          • Ocellated Skink (Chalcides occellatus)
          • Balkan Green Lizard (Lacerta trilineata)
          • Cretan Wall Lizard (Podarcis cretensis)
          • Balkan Whip Snake (Hierophis gemonensis)
          • Cretan Cat Snake (Telescopus fallax pallidus)
          • Dice Snake (Natrix tesselata)
          • Leopard Snake (Zamenis situla) 

Monday, 18 January 2016

LITTLE CRAKE (Male) (Porzana parva) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece

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The Little Crake (Porzana parva) is a small migratory waterbird in the family Rallidae which includes rails and crakes. This reed bed species is a summer breeding resident mainly in eastern Europe and parts of western Asia. It returns to Europe from its wintering areas in Africa in late March. During the breeding season this secretive species is more often heard than seen. In late August, the start of the migration south begins.
Text © www.rawbirds.com

Saturday, 16 January 2016

ITALIAN SPARROW (Male) (Passer italiae) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece

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The Italian Sparrow (Passer italiae) or Cisalpine Sparrow is a small perching bird in the family Passeridae which is in the genus Passer. It is very closely related to and is intermediate in appearance between House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis). Some authorities treat it as a subspecies of House Sparrow but recent DNA research strongly supports its status as a full species. The Italian Sparrow occurs in Italy and small populations are also found in the adjoining countries of Austria, France, Slovenia and Switzerland. It is also resident on the Greek island of Crete and other Mediterranean islands including Corsica and Malta. 


Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds.com

Thursday, 14 January 2016

WHINCHAT (Male) (Saxicola rubetra) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece

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The Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) is a small migratory passerine in the family Muscicapidae and is closely related to the Old World flycatchers. It is a summer breeding resident in Europe and in parts of Western Asia which winters in sub Saharan Africa. Small numbers also winter in north western Africa. The autumn migration south commences from late August. By early April the following year the first of the returning migrants begin to reappear in southern Europe.  

Saturday, 9 January 2016

EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE (Streptopelia turtur) Tavronitis River Mouth, Crete, Greece

 
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The European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) is a migratory member of the genus Columbidae, which includes doves and pigeons. It is a  summer breeding resident in Europe (including the Canary Islands), parts of the Middle East, as well as western Asia and north Africa. It is absent as a breeding species from Iceland, Ireland (formally bred) and most of Scandinavia but does occur in spring and autumn as an uncommon/rare overshooting migrant. Over much of its northern range, there has been a very sharp decline in its population. In the autumn, it migrates south to spend the winter in southern Africa.  
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Monday, 4 January 2016

CRETAN WALL LIZARD (Podarcis cretensis) Moni Ioannou Erimitou Gkouvernetou, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece

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The Cretan Wall Lizard (Podarcis cretensis) is endemic to the Greek island of Crete and its satellite islets. It is one of 14 species of amphibian/reptile (three frogs, one toad, three geckos, one skink, two lizards and four snakes) found there. It is confined to the western half of the island but can be locally common. It is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is protected under Appendix II of Bern and Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. The prefer habitats include rocky outcrops, dry river beds and stone walls. A wide variety of arthropods, small invertebrates and snails are preyed upon. The Balkan Green Lizard (Lacerta trilineata) is the other species of lizard that occurs less commonly on the island. 

 Text © www.rawbirds.com

Friday, 1 January 2016

LITTLE GREBE or DABCHICK (Tachybaptus ruficollis) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece

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The Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) or more commonly known as Dabchick, is a small waterbird in the family Podicipedidae which is in the genus Tachybaptus. Nine subspecies are generally recognised whose range extends in a band over most of Europe across southern and eastern Asia. It also occurs in northern and sub Saharan Africa. Worldwide there were 23 species of grebe but Alaotra Grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus), which was last seen in 1985 at Lake Alaotra in Madagascar, is now considered to be extinct. 

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds