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 September 2021

LITTLE GREBE or DABCHICK (Tachybaptus ruficollis) Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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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

Wednesday 29 September 2021

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) female and Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) in the background Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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 The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is a dabbling duck of the family Anatidae which is in the genus Anas.

Tuesday 28 September 2021

RED ADMIRAL BUTTERFLY (Vanessa atalanta) Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

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Click external link here to see identification guide to Irish Butterflies
 

The Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) is of the family Nymphalidae which is in the genus Vanessa.

Monday 27 September 2021

COMMA BUTTERFLY (Polygonia c-album) two on the Bird Walk trail Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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Click external link here to see identification guide to Irish Butterflies
 
The Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-aibum) is of the family Nymphalidae which is in the genus Polygonia
This common species has a widespread distribution in the temperate regions of Eurasia and North Africa. Formally absent from Ireland, it is only in recent times that it has been added to the Irish Butterfly List. It was first reliably reported near Portaferry, Co. Down in August 1997 and again in August 1998. There were no further reports until 17th August 2000 when there was a fully verified record from the Raven Nature Reserve, Co. Wexford. Proof of breeding was subsequently confirmed in that area. Over the last ten years, it has rapidly expanded its range from southeast Co. Wexford and has now colonised most of southern Leinster as well as eastern Munster.
The larval food plant is mainly Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and the flight season is from late March to late September, split over two generations. Having overwintered as an adult, it emerges in late spring and then after mating, lays its eggs on the larval food plant.
The 1st record for Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork on 14th October 2019 (pers. comm. Jim Fitzharris) might be an indication of fresh immigration from Britain or Continental Europe. 
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Sunday 26 September 2021

BUFF TAILED BUMBLEBEE (Bombus terrestris) nectering on Common Ivy Blossoms (Hedera helix ) Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

 


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The Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) is of the family Apidae which is in the genus Bombus. This bumblebee is commonly found throughout the temperate regions of Europe, The Middle East, northern Africa and occurs as an introduced species in other countries including Australia (Tasmania), Japan as well as parts of South America.  

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Saturday 25 September 2021

GREY HERON (Ardea cinerea) sheltering from the wind at Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland



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The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) is of the family Ardeidae and is in the genus Ardea It is resident in the temperate regions of Eurasia as well as eastern and sub Saharan Africa. The more northern populations are migratory and move south for the winter. Wetlands are its main habitat and commonly occurs along estuaries, streams, rivers and lakes. Aquatic as well as terrestrial creatures are preyed upon. Prey items include amphibians, insects, reptiles, small mammals and birds which are swallowed whole.
This species nests in tall trees in colonies which are known as heronries. Upto five eggs are laid and are incubated for 25 days. Fledging takes place after 60 days.
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
 
 Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) distribution map
 Breeding     Resident     Winter     Vagrant      Introduced resident 
 
SanoAK: Alexander Kürthy, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons 

Friday 24 September 2021

COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo) at Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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 The Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) is a medium sized bird of prey of the family Accipitridae which is in the genus Buteo.

Thursday 23 September 2021

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) in transition to winter plumage Blacksod Lighthouse, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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The Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) is of the family Scolopacidae which is in the genus Arenaria.

Wednesday 22 September 2021

COMMON LINNET (Linaria cannabina) Blacksod Village, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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The Linnet (Linaria cannabina) or Common Linnet is of the family Fringillidae which is in the genus Linaria.
 It derives its name from its fondness for the seeds of the flax plant which is used to make linen. This small finch occurs in Europe as well as Western Asia but is absent from northern latitudes and has a limited distribution in North West Africa and the Middle East. 

There are seven subspecies :
  • Linaria c. autochthona - occurs in Scotland     
  • L. c. cannabina - occurs in the rest of Britain, Ireland also northern Europe, eastwards to central Siberia. It is a partial migrant, wintering in north Africa and southwest Asia
  • L. c. bella - occurs in Middle East, eastwards to Mongolia and northwestern China
  • L. c. mediterranea - occurs on the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Greece, northwest Africa and on the Mediterranean islands
  • L. c. guentheri - occurs on Madeira Island
  • L. c. meadewaldoi - occurs on the Western Canary Islands (El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria)
  • L. c. harterti - occurs on the Eastern Canary Islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura)
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
 
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_linnet

Tuesday 21 September 2021

BRIGHT-LINE BROWN-EYE MOTH or TOMATO MOTH (Spilosoma lubricipeda) caterpillar Blacksod Village, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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 The Bright-line Brown-eye Moth (Lacanobia oleracea) or Tomato Moth is of the family Noctuidae which is in the genus Lacanobia. This common and widespread species occurs in the temperate areas of Eurasia as well as parts of North Africa.   
Having overwintered underground as a papa, the adult merges in early May and is on the wing until early July. In warmer regions there is a second generation and that flight season is during August and September. The caterpillar or larva stage is from June into early October.

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds  
 
References and highly recommended reading:
Field guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland  by Paul Waring, Martin Townsend and Richard Lewington
Field guide to the Caterpillars of Great Britain and Ireland  by Barry Henwood, Phil Sterling and Richard Lewington

Monday 20 September 2021

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) a migrating juvenile resting on a gutter Blacksod Village, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland

 
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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 six 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 19 September 2021

MOSS CARDER BEE (Bombus muscorum) or LARGE CARDER BEE nectering on Devil's-bit Scabious Wildflower (Succisa pratensis) at Blacksod Village, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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The Moss Carder Bee (Bombus muscorum) or Large Carder Bumblebee is of the family Apidae which is in the genus Bombus.
The Devil's-bit Scabious Wildflower (Succisa pratensis) is of the family Caprifoliaceae which is in the genus Succisa
 
Click external link here to view identification guide to Irish Bumblebees

Saturday 18 September 2021

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) adult in the foreground and juvenile Blacksod Lighthouse, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland

 
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 The Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) is of the family Charadriidae which is in the genus Charadrius.

Friday 17 September 2021

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) adult Blacksod Lighthouse, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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 The Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) is of the family Charadriidae which is in the genus Charadrius.

Thursday 16 September 2021

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) juvenile Blacksod Lighthouse, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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 The Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) is of the family Charadriidae which is in the genus Charadrius.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

EUROPEAN HERRING GULL (Larus argentatus subspecies L. a. argenteus) adult Blacksod Lighthouse, Mullett Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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The European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) is of the family Laridae which is in the genus Larus. There are several subspecies recognised including the Western European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argenteus) which is resident in Ireland, Britain and the Near Continent.
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
 
European Herring Gull  (Larus argentatus) distribution map
 
 File:Larus argentatus map.svg 
Green: year-round  Yellow: breeding  Blue: non breeding

Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday 14 September 2021

WHITE ERMINE MOTH (Spilosoma lubricipeda) caterpillar Blacksod, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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 The White Ermine Moth (Spilosoma lubricipeda) is of the family Erebidae which is in the genus Spilosoma. This common species is found throughout the temperate regions of Eurasia. The adult is white with dark antennae and has black speckling on the forewing. The normal flight season is from mid May to end of July but infrequently there is a second generation later in the autumn. Larval stage is from July to late September. Then a  hairy cocoon is formed among plant debris in which the pupal stage remains and emerges the following year as an adult in early summer.
 
 Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds  
 
References and highly recommended reading:
Field guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland  by Paul Waring, Martin Townsend and Richard Lewington
Field guide to the Caterpillars of Great Britain and Ireland  by Barry Henwood, Phil Sterling and Richard Lewington 

Monday 13 September 2021

KNOT GRASS MOTH (Acronicta rumicis) caterpillar Blacksod, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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The Knot Grass Moth (Acronicta rumicis) is of the family Noctuidae which is in the genus Acronicta.

Sunday 12 September 2021

RED BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius collurio) immature found by Mark Collins on 12-09-2021 was still present on 15th and is only the 5th Dublin record Upper Cliff Road, Balscadden, Howth, Co. Dublin, Ireland

 

  
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 The Red Backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) is of the family Laniidae which is in the genus Lanius. Its breeding range extends from Mainland Europe to Western Asia and in the autumn it migrates south to spend the winter in Southern Africa. 
In Ireland, it is a rare but annual spring and autumn passage migrant, with just over 200 records. There are four previous Co. Dublin records: 26-08-1927 (immature Rockabill Island, Skerries), 24-09-1974 (immature Clontarf), 02 to 04-10-2004 (first-winter North Bull Island) and 26-05-2012 (male Sutton).   
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
  
Reference:
A List of Some Rarer Birds in Dublin version 5.2  by Joe Hobbs (download pdf here)

Wednesday 8 September 2021

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) adult in breeding plumage Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

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The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is of family Ardeidae which includes Bitterns, Egrets as well as Herons and is in the genus Egretta . It is found in the temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa as well as 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, as well as Ireland. It first bred in the Caribbean in the mid 1990’s and is increasingly being recorded along the North American eastern seaboard.

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Sunday 5 September 2021

GREY HERON (Ardea cinerea) melanistic type adult at The Horse Marsh, Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) is of the family Ardeidae and is in the genus Ardea It is resident in the temperate regions of Eurasia as well as eastern and sub Saharan Africa. The more northern populations are migratory and move south for the winter. Wetlands are its main habitat and commonly occurs along estuaries, streams, rivers and lakes. Aquatic as well as terrestrial creatures are preyed upon. Prey items include amphibians, insects, reptiles, small mammals and birds which are swallowed whole.
This species nests in tall trees in colonies which are known as heronries. Upto five eggs are laid and are incubated for 25 days. Fledging takes place after 60 days.
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
 
 Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) distribution map
 Breeding     Resident     Winter     Vagrant      Introduced resident 
 
SanoAK: Alexander Kürthy, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons