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, 31 May 2022

EUROPEAN SHAG (Gulosus aristotelis) adult at Blacksod Harbour, Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo, Ireland


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The European Shag (Gulosus aristotelis) is of the cormorant family Phalacrocoracidae which is in the genus Gulosus. It occurs in northern and western Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, parts of North Africa as well as parts of the Black Sea Coast. This species breeds in colonies on coastal rocky cliffs and on offshore islands. Can easily be confused with Greater Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) but unlike that species, it is very rarely found inland on lakes or rivers.
  
Three subspecies are generally recognised :
      • G. a. aristotelis – occurs in northwestern European Atlantic Ocean coasts
      • G. a. desmarestii – occurs in the Mediterranean Basin and Black Sea coasts
      • G. a. riggenbachi – occurs in northwestern African coasts
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
 
European Shag (Gulosus aristotelis) distribution map

 Breeding                  Non-breeding - winter 
 
SanoAK: Alexander Kürthy, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Sunday, 29 May 2022

GREY HERON (Ardea cinerea) in breeding plumage at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, 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 

Thursday, 26 May 2022

BUFF TAILED BUMBLEBEE (Bombus terrestris) queen nectar robbing from a Granny's Bonnet / Columbine Plant (Aquilegia ssp.) at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, 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 species is commonly found throughout the temperate regions of Europe, The Middle East, northern Africa and has been introduced to other countries including Australia (Tasmania), Japan as well as parts of South America. 
It is not normally seen in Ireland during the colder months of the year. In late autumn the worker bees and the males (drones) die off and the gravid queen hibernates for the winter. In recent times, it has been on the wing all year round mainly at coastal locations where shrubs such as Hebe (Hebe × franciscana), Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) have continued to flower in mild winters.
Aquilegias produce their nectar in spurs which project from the rear of the flower head and are pollinated by long tonged insects, including hawkmoths. Short tonged insects, such as bumblebees, use a method known as nectar robbing and penetrate or cut into the plant's spurs to extract this rich food source. As a results no pollination takes place. In North America aquilegias are also pollinated by hummingbirds.  

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Monday, 23 May 2022

COMMON CLOVER SAWFLY (Tenthredo arcuata) at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The Common Clover Sawfly (Tenthredo arcuata) is of the family Tenthredinidae which is in the genus Tenthredo. It is on the wing from April to late August over two generations. This pollen eating species is commonly encountered on thistles and umbellifers. The larval food plant is White Clover. 

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Thursday, 19 May 2022

EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL or GREY SQUIRREL (Sciurus carolinensis) munching on a Common Earthworm (Slumbricus terrestris) at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, Co. Dublin, Ireland

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The Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) or more commonly known as a Grey Squirrel in Europe, is of the family Sciuridae which is in the genus Sciurus. This species of tree squirrel is native to the eastern half of the USA as well as to parts of central and southeastern Canada. 
It has been deliberately introduced elsewhere in North America as well as to other countries, including Britain (1870's) and Ireland (1911). It now commonly occurs throughout most of Britain. In Ireland, its range is restricted to the eastern half of the island but is now in decline due to the increase in the European Pine Martin (Martes martes) population, which is its main predator.
  
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) male at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is of the family Anatidae which is in the genus Anas. This dabbling duck is native to North America, Eurasia and parts of North Africa. It has also been widely introduced to a number of other countries either as a game bird or as ornamental wildfowl in parks.

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Saturday, 14 May 2022

ORCHID BEETLE (Dascillus cervinus) at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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 The Orchid Beetle (Dascillus cervinus) is of the family Dascillidae which is in the genus Dascillus.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

GREEN VEINED WHITE BUTTERFLY (Pieris napi) at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, Co. Dublin, Ireland

 
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The Green-veined White Butterfly (Pieris napi) is of the family Pieridae which is in the genus Pieris. It commonly occurs in Eurasia as well as North America. This species is on the wing from March to October, over several generations, but in Ireland the normal flight season extends from mid April to mid September. It overwinters as a chrysalis.

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

LARGE WHITE BUTTERFLY or LARGE CABBAGE WHITE BUTTERFLY (Pieris brassicae) nectaring on a Dandalion (Taraxacum Officinale agg.) at Ardgillan Demense, Balbriggan, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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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

Sunday, 8 May 2022

BLOTCH WINGED HOVERFLY (Leucozoba lucorum) male at Ardgillan Demense, Balbriggan, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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Click external link here to see a Beginners Guide to Hoverflies 
 
The Blotch winged Hoverfly (Helophilus pendulus) is of the family Syrphidae which is in the genus Helophilus. This is a very distinctive species that mimics the Common Carder Bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum). Orange hairs on the thorax and an orange yellow scutellum are among the features that help separate it from Volucella hoverflies. In Ireland the normal flight season extends from May to August.
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds
 
Reference and highly recommended reading:
Britain's Hoverflies A field guide 2nd edition Stuart Ball and Roger Morris

Friday, 6 May 2022

SCARLET LILLY BEETLE (Lilioceris lilii) at Ardgillan Demense, Balbriggan, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland


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  The Scarlet Lilly Beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is of the family Chrysomelidae which is in the genus Lilioceris. It is native to parts of mainland Europe as well as Asia and occurs as an invasive species/ horticultural pest in many other countries. This leaf beetle overwinters as an adult and in late spring emerges to lay its eggs, in small clusters, on lillies and fritillaries. Subsequently both adults and larvae can cause extensive damage feeding on all parts of these plants. In Britain it was first recorded in 1839 and is now widespread. There were no reports from Ireland until 2001 and it has since been reported from a number of counties.

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Thursday, 5 May 2022

RED MASON BEE (Osmia bicornis) on Green Alkanet Wildflower (Pentaglottis sempervirens) at Ardgillan Demense, Balbriggan, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis) on Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) and infected with Phoretic Mites

Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis)  infected with a large cluster of  Phoretic Mites
 
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Click external link here for detailed Green Alkanet Wildflower information

The Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis) is of the family Megachilidae which is in the genus Osmia. This solitary bee commonly occurs in Europe, including Britain. It was first reported from Ireland in 2003 and has become widespread in the eastern region. The flight season extends from April into June.
  Phoretic mites form a non permanent relationship with their host. This is known as phoresis or phoresy, in which one organism attaches itself to another species solely for the purpose of travel to new habitat and then drop off. In this case the phoretic mites have attached themselves to the bees thorax.
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds 
 
References and highly recommended reading:
https://irishnaturalist.com/bees/red-mason-bee-osmia-bicornis/ 
Field guide to the Bees of Great Britain And Ireland by Stephen Falk and illustrated by Richard Lewington

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

BLACK LEGGED KITTIWAKE (Rissa tridactyla)[from 3rd to 8th May 2022] in 1st summer/ 2nd calandar year plumage at the Horse Marsh, Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland




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The Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) is of the gull family Laridae which is in the genus Rissa. The only other member of the genus Rissa is the Red-legged Kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris) where less than 200,000 pairs breed on some of the Bering Sea Islands between Russia and Alaska,USA.
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe /Raw Birds

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

LITTLE GULL (Hydrocoloeus minutus) [from 1st to 6th May 2022] in 1st summer/ 2nd calendar year plumage at the Horse Marsh, Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

 Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) in 1st summer/ 2nd calendar year plumage.

 Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) on the left and Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus), both in 1st summer/ 2nd calendar year plumage.

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The Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) is of the family Laridae which is in the genus Hydrocoloeus.