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

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

EGYPTIAN LOCUST (Nymph) (Anacridium aegyptium) Moni Gouvernetou Monastery, Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Egyptian Locust (Anacridium aegyptium) is a species of grasshopper in the family Acrididae. In Europe, it mainly occurs in countries that boarder the Mediterranean Basin. It is also found in North Africa as well as Southwestern Asia. After hatching from an egg, an immature locust (called a nymph) goes through five growth stages known as instars and then becomes an adult. Unlike some other types of locust, this species poses no treat to agriculture. It is Europe's largest grasshopper with some females reaching up to 70mm in length.
  
Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Sunday, 27 March 2016

COMMON BLUE BUTTERFLY [Female] (Polyommatus icarus) Archea Poli Falassarna, Phalasarna, Crete, Greece


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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. 

 Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

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

The above male Common Blue Butterfly was photographed on Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

WOODLARK (Lullula arborea) Kaminia River, Nikiforos Fokas, Rethymno, Crete, Greece


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The Woodlark or Wood Lark (Lullula arborea) is a small passerine in the lark genus Lullula.  It breeds across the Middle East, Western Asia as well as parts of northern Africa and most of Europe but is absent from Iceland, Ireland, Northern Britain, Northern Scandinavia and Northern Russia.  
There are two subspecies recognised L. a. arborea and L. a. pallida.
The western population is sedentary whereas the eastern population is semi migratory and winters in the warmer part of its range. 
It can be confused with other species of lark but it has quite a short tail and has a very distinctive black and white mark along the edge of the closed wing. In flight it shows a noticeable dark patch at the bend of the wing as well as a narrow white trailing edge to the tail. 

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Thursday, 10 March 2016

COLLARED FLYCATCHER (Female) (Ficedula albicollis) Moni Gouvernetou, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) is an Old World flycatcher in the family Muscicapidae. It is a summer resident in central/eastern Europe and south western Asia. This species occurs in well-established deciduous woodland as well as parks and gardens where old woodpecker nesting holes are readily used. In late April/May, it returns from its wintering areas in southern Africa. Main prey items include caterpillars and small flying invertebrates. By September with its food supply in decline, the return migration south begins.
  
 Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Sunday, 6 March 2016

BANDED DEMOISELLE DAMSELFLY (Male) (Calopteryx splendens subspecies C. s. cretensis) Kaminia River, Nikiforos Fokas, Rethymno, Crete, Greece

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The Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) is a large damselfly in the family Calopterygidae. The range of this Eurasia species extends in a wide band from the Atlantic coast of Ireland eastwards to north western China but is absent from the colder northern regions. In Europe, it doesn’t occur in Iceland, northern Scandinavia, northern Russia or the Iberian Peninsula. Like all species of damselflies and dragonflies the major part of its life cycle is spent as an aquatic nymph. From late April to October (May to August in northern areas) it is on the wing, frequenting streams and rivers edged with aquatic plants which are used for egg laying and roosting. It has a widespread distribution and a number of races are recognised including Calopteryx splendens cretensis which is endemic to the Greek island of Crete.
  

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

EUROPEAN STONECHAT (Male) (Saxicola rubicola subspecies S. r. rubicola) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece


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The European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) is a small passerine in the family Muscicapidae and is closely related to the Old World flycatchers. There are two subspecies generally recognised. Saxicola rubicola hibernans occurs in north-western Europe including Britain, Ireland, France and Norway. Saxicola rubicola rubicola occurs in central/eastern and southern Europe as well as northern Morocco and south-eastern Turkey.  

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds