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, 30 April 2016

SAMARIA GORGE Σφακιά, Chora Sfakion 730 11, Crete, Greece


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The Samariá Gorge is a National Park on the Greek island of Crete and  is also a World's Biosphere Reserve. It became a national park in 1962, as a refuge for the rare Kri-Kri, the local name of the wild Cretan Goat (Capra aegagrus cretica) which is largely restricted to the park and an islet off the northwest coast at Agia Marina. The gorge is the best location on Crete to see the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) also known as Lammergeier or Ossifrage,
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samari%C3%A1_Gorge

 Samariá National Park, Western Crete, Greece 
 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

COMMON CHAFFINCH (Fringilla coelebs subspecies F. c. schiebeli) male, Agia Marina, Crete, Greece


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The Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) is a small tree nesting finch in the family Fringillidae which is in the genus Fringilla. It is commonly found throughout Europe (but is absent from Iceland), Western Asia and parts of North Africa. The northern populations are migratory and winters in the southern part of the range. There are many subspecies recognised including Fringilla coelebs schiebeli which occurs on Crete as well as in Southern Greece and Turkey. 
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

WESTERN (ROMANIAN) YELLOW WAGTAIL (Male) (Motacilla flava subspecies M. f. dombrowskii) 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 Romanian Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava dombrowskii).

Saturday, 23 April 2016

WHITE SPOTTED ROSE BEETLE (Oxythyrea funesta) Cape Kutri, Phalasarna, Crete, Greece


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The White Spotted Rose Beetle (Oxythyrea funesta) is plant eating (phytophagous) beetle in the family Cetonidae which is in the genus Oxythyrea. It is also known as The Mediterranean Spotted Chafer. Over wintering larvae, which feed on plant roots, emerge as beetles in late Spring. They feed on the flowers of a wide variety of plants up until early Autumn. 
 Text © www.rawbirds.com 

Distribution
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Balearic Is., Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canary Is., Channel Is., Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, European Turkey, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, North Aegean Is., Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia Central, Russia East, Russia South, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Near East, North Africa (Fauna Europaea 2013). 
Source: Stefanelli S, Della Rocca F, Bogliani G (2014) Saproxylic beetles of the Po plain woodlands, Italy. Biodiversity Data Journal 2: e1106. doi: 10.3897/BDJ.2.e1106Saproxylic beetles of the Po plain woodlands, Italy

Thursday, 21 April 2016

WOOD WARBLER (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) Moni Gouvernetou Monastery, Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) is an Old World warbler in the family Phylloscopidae which is in the genus Phylloscopus. It is a summer resident which breeds in the temperate regions of Europe and Western Asia. This long distant migrant arrives back from its wintering areas in sub Saharan in mid-April. The preferred habit of this insectivorous species is mature oak woodland with mainly open under story. Up to two broods are raised by this ground nesting leaf warbler. By late August the breeding areas are vacated and the return migration south begins
 Text © www.rawbirds.com

Friday, 15 April 2016

HOLLY BLUE BUTTERFLY [Female] (Celastrina argiolus) Archea Poli Falassarna, Cape Kutri, Phalasarna, Crete, Greece

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The Holly Blue Butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) is a small butterfly in the family Lycaenids which is in the genus Celastrina. It is a widespread species and occurs in Eurasia as well as North America but is absent from the colder northern parts of this range. There are two generations and it is one of the earliest blue butterflies to be seen, emerging in late spring. Later in the season, it can be confused with similar coloured species but it has very distinctive black speckling on its under wing. It is on the wing up to late July. There are 14 subspecies generally recognised which are sub divided geographically into four groups as follows:                               
  • Palaearctic/North African (the argiolus group has four subspecies)
  • South/South-East Asian (the kollari group has two subspecies)     
  • Far Eastern (the ladonides group has three subspecies)
  • North/Central American (the ladon group has five subspecies) 
In North America this species is called The Spring Azure Butterfly (Celastrina argiolus ladon) and the western subspecies (Celastrina argiolus echo) is known as Echo Blue Butterfly.
 Text © www.rawbirds.com

 

HOLLY BLUE BUTTERFLY [Male] (Celastrina argiolus) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

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Male Holly Blue Butterfly seen here on Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna)


HOLLY BLUE BUTTERFLY [Female] (Celastrina argiolus) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland 

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Female Holly Blue Butterfly seen here on Whitethorn (Crataegus monogyna)


Monday, 11 April 2016

CRETAN WALL LIZARD (Podarcis cretensis) Moni Gouvernetou Monastery, Akrotiri Peninsula, 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 reptile and amphibian (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 (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 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 on the island.   

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

Sunday, 10 April 2016

JERUSALEM SAGE (Phlomis fruticosa) Archea Poli Falassarna, Cape Kutri, Phalasarna, Crete, Greece


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Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticose) is a flowering shrub in the family Lamiaceae that is in the genus Phlomis which includes shrubs and herbs with flowers in dense or lax whorls. It is native to the European countries that border the Adriatic Sea in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as Turkey and the islands of Sardinia, Cyprus and Crete. This yellow flowered shrub is in bloom from April to June and has evergreen leaves. It can grow up to 1m tall with a spread of 1.5m. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant. Phlomis cretica and Phlomis lanata are two similar and closely related species that also occur on Crete.
Text © www.rawbirds.com

Thursday, 7 April 2016

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) is a small shorebird or wader in the family Scolopacidae which is in the genus Actitis. This Eurasian species is a summer resident that returns from its wintering areas in April. It breeds around fresh water lakes and has a scattered  distribution that extends from the Atlantic coast of Europe to Eastern Asia. Unlike most other shorebirds or waders seen on passage, it does not occur in flocks, single individuals are normally encountered. It migrates south in late Summer to spend the Winter in Africa, southern Asia and Australia. Small numbers over winter in western and southern Europe. The Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) is an almost identical species that is a summer resident in North America which winters in South America and to a lesser extent in parts of southern USA. It is a rare but annual vagrant in Europe. Remarkably in 1975, a pair attempted to breed on the Isle of Sky in Scotland but alas the eggs failed to hatch.
 
Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

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

 
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  The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is of the family Hirundinae which is in the genus Hirundo . 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 mainly absent from the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia. This common and widespread insectivorous species feeds exclusively on small flies and midges. 
In late autumn with the onset of colder weather, when its prey items begin to diminish, it migrates south to its wintering areas. The North American population winters in Central and South America. The Eurasian population winters in sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-continent, South East Asia and parts of Northern Australia. In early spring the return migration north begins. At least races are recognised.  
There are 74 species of hirundines which includes 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.

  Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Sunday, 3 April 2016

WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba subspecies M. a. alba) Agia Marina, Crete, Greece


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The White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) is a small ground nesting passerine and along with the longclaws and pipits is in the family Motacillidae which is in the genus Motacilla. This species is the commonest and most widespread wagtail that is found in Eurasia. It also breeds in Morocco in North Africa and there is a small Alaskan breeding population in North America. The northern populations are migratory and winters in Southern Europe, Africa and Southern Asia. Up to 11 sub-species are recognised, including the Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii) which breeds in Britain, Ireland and the near-continent.

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

 PIED WAGTAIL [Male] (Motacilla alba yarrellii) Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

 

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) subspecies breeding distribution
By L. Shyamal, based on; Nakamura, Kazue (1985). "Historical change of the geographical distribution of two closely related species of the genus Motacilla in the Japanese Archipelago: a preliminary note". Bulletin of the Kanagawa prefecture Museum of Natural Science No.16. - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4226447

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Saturday, 2 April 2016

HOODED CROW or GREY CROW (Corvus cornix) Agia Marina, Crete, Greece


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  The Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) also known as Grey Crow is a member of the crow family Corvidae which is in the genus Corvus. Four subspecies are generally recognized. Despite the fact that it is heavily persecuted, it occurs throughout Western Asia including parts of the Middle East as well as along the Nile Valley in North Africa. It is also commonly encountered and has a widespread distribution in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. It is resident in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Northern Scotland. In the rest of Britain as well as Southwestern and Western Europe, it is replaced by the closely related Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) from which it was split in 2002 and was recognised as a separate species. Where their breeding ranges overlap, they may hybridise. Some of the northern populations are migratory and move south for the winter.
    
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds