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, 28 February 2016

LESSER KESTREL [First summer male on left and female] (Falco naumanni) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small migratory bird of prey of the family Falconidae which is in the genus Falco. It is a summer resident which occurs across a narrow band that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards as far as Mongolia and north western China. This colonial breeder has a patchy distribution in southern Europe.
It arrives back from its wintering areas in sub Saharan Africa and Pakistan during April and early May. In addition, there are small non migratory populations mainly in southwest Spain and northwest Africa. Prey items include small birds, invertebrates, reptiles, mice, shrews and voles. It remains in the breeding areas until late August and early September when the return migration south begins. 
 Where their ranges overlaps, it can be easily confused with the closely related Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) especially the females as they are very similar in appearance. The European population is in serious decline probably as a result of overuse of pesticides and rodenticides.

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

RED RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece


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The Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) is a migratory member of the family Hirundinidae which is in the genus Cecropis. World wide, there are 74 species of Hirundines (Swallows and Martins). In addition, the only known record of the Red Sea Cliff Swallow (Hirundo perdita) was of one found dead at Sanganeb Lighthouse, Sudan in May 1984. 
 It is mainly a summer resident in the temperate regions of southern Europe, Morocco in northwest Africa as well as parts of western, central and eastern Asia. Its range extends from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards to Japan. There are also non migratory populations resident in tropical Africa and in South East Asia. 
 This insectivorous species feeds exclusively on small flying insects, mainly flies and midges. Outside of the breeding season, it is a very rare but annual overshooting spring and autumn migrant to northern Europe. 
 The European, Moroccan and northern Asian populations migrate south in the autumn to spend the winter in sub Saharan Africa, the India sub-continent and northern Australia. 

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

Friday, 19 February 2016

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) Pelekaniotikos River, Koundoura, Crete, Greece

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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. It is the commonest and the most widespread flycatcher found in Europe and western Asia. It is one of five species of migratory flycatcher which are summer breeding residents in Europe. 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.  

Text © www.rawbirds.com

Sunday, 14 February 2016

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece

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The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small member of the heron family Ardeidae which also includes Bitterns and Herons. It is found in the temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa as well as in Australia and New Zealand. Over the last 60 years or so this species has greatly expanded its range including recolonising its former breeding areas in Northern Europe. It first bred in the Caribbean in the mid 1990’s and is increasingly being recorded along the North American eastern seaboard.

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Saturday, 13 February 2016

LARGE WHITE BUTTERFLY or LARGE CABAGE WHITE BUTTERFLY (Pieris brassicae) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Large White Butterfly
(Pieris brassicae) or Large Cabbage White Butterfly is of the family Pieridae which is in the genus Pieris. It occurs very commonly through out Eurasia and North Africa as well as an introduced species in South Africa. Although larger, it can be confused with the Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) which has a much reduced black edge to the upper forewing.

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Friday, 12 February 2016

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) Moronis River Lagoon, Souda, Crete, Greece

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The Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) is a medium sized shorebird or wader in the family Scolopacidae.  It is a summer resident which breeds across a wide band that stretches eastward from Scandinavia to the Pacific coast of Asia. This long distant migrant spends the winter in sub Saharan Africa, southern Asia and parts of Australia.  During spring and autumn, it is irrregularly encountered outside its normal range as a scarce/rare overshooting migrant. 

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

WOODCHAT SHRIKE (Male) (Lanius senator) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece

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The Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator) is a medium sized migratory perching bird in the family Laniidae and is one of 31 species of shrike  found worldwide. It is a summer resident in southern Europe, the Middle East and north western Africa which spends the winter in sub Saharan Africa.
  
Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Friday, 5 February 2016

GREY HERON (Ardea cinerea) with CORKWING WRASSE (Symphodus melops), Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece

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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

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece

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There are 74 species of Hirundines (Swallows and Martins). In additional, the only known record of the Red Sea Cliff Swallow (Hirundo perdita) was of one found dead at Sanganeb Lighthouse, Sudan in May 1984. The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is by far the commonest and most widespread hirundine. It is a summer resident which breeds in the Northern Hemisphere. There are small sedentary populations in some of the tropical parts of this range but during the summer it is absent from the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia. It is insectivorous and feeds exclusively on small flies and midges. With the onset of colder weather in late autumn, its prey items begin to diminish. It then migrates south to spend the winter in the Southern Hemisphere, on the Indian sub-continent and in South East Asia. In late spring the return migration north begins. There are at least six races recognised. 
Text © www.rawbirds.com