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, 21 March 2015

EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE (Streptopelia turtur) adult at Barranco de Betancuria, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

 
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The European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) is a migratory member of the family Columbidae, which includes doves as well as pigeons and is in the genus Streptopelia. It is a  summer breeding resident in Europe (including the Canary Islands), parts of the Middle East, as well as western Asia and north Africa. It is absent as a breeding species from Iceland, Ireland (formally bred) and most of Scandinavia but does occur in spring and autumn as an uncommon/rare overshooting migrant. Over much of its northern range, there has been a very sharp decline in its population. In the autumn, it migrates south to spend the winter in southern Africa.  
 
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Friday, 13 March 2015

EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus subspecies F. t. dacotiae) male with freshly killed ATLANTIC LIZARD (Gallotia atlantica), Betancuria, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

 
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The Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is a small bird of prey of the family Falconidae which is in the genus Falco. Alternative names include European Kestrel, Common Kestrel or simply referred to as a Kestrel.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

ATLANTIC LIZARD (Gallotia atlantica) male, Los Molinos Reservoir, Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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There are only three species of reptile resident on the Eastern Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and the Chinijo Archipelago). They are the Atlantic Lizard Gallotia atlantica, the Eastern Canary Gecko (Tarentola angustimentalis) and the Eastern Canary Skink (Chalcides simonyi), all of whom are endemic. The lizard is common, has a wide spread distribution and in some locations can be abundant. It is found in a variety of habitats from sea level up to the higher peaks. Males are larger than females but rarely exceed 200mm in length. Three clutches of up to five eggs are laid annually. It is a very important food item in the diet of Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus subspecies F. t. dacoyiae) and also for Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo subspecies B. b. insularm).                                                                 Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Thursday, 26 February 2015

BLACK BELLIED SANDGROUSE [Male] (Pterocles orientalis) Los Molinos Reservoir, Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain


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The Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) is a gamebird of the family Pteroclididae which is in the genus Pterocles. The nominate race breeds in Iberia, northwest Africa, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus and Israel. The eastern race (P. o. arenarius) occurs in Kazakhstan, western China and northern Pakistan. It is a partial migrant, with central Asian populations moving to Pakistan and northern India for the winter.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-bellied_sandgrouse

Monday, 23 February 2015

BLACK BELLIED SANDGROUSE [Female] (Pterocles orientalis) Los Molinos Reservoir, Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain


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The Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) is a gamebird of the family Pteroclididae which is in the genus Pterocles. The nominate race breeds in Iberia, northwest Africa, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus and Israel. The eastern race (P. o. arenarius) occurs in Kazakhstan, western China and northern Pakistan. It is a partial migrant, with central Asian populations moving to Pakistan and northern India for the winter.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-bellied_sandgrouse

Thursday, 19 February 2015

BLACK WINGED STILT [Female] (Himantopus himantopus) Los Molinos Reservoir, Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain


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The Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is one of three species of stilt, the others two are Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) and Banded Stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus). It is resident in Africa and also breeds across the temperate parts of Europe and Central Asia where it is a summer resident that migrates south for the winter to sub Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia. Within the warmer parts of this range, there is a sedentary population.  
In addition, there are also four subspecies or races recognised, which some authorities consider to be full species, 
  • Hawaiian Stilt (Himantopus himantopus knudseni) is resident on the Hawaiian Islands. 
  •  Black-necked Stilt (H. h.  mexicanus) occurs in the southern part of North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and the northern part of South America, including the Galapagos Islands
  • White-backed Stilt (H. h.  melanurus) occurs in central and southern South America
  • White-headed Stilt (H. h.  leucocephalus) occurs in Australasia, the Java Peninsula and the Philippines.
Formally absent from the Canary Islands, except as a vagrant, it is now a very rare resident on Fuerteventura and Lanzarote which first bred in 1994.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

RUDDY SHELDUCK (Male) Tadorna ferruginea Los Molinos Reservoir, Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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Central Asia is the main stronghold of the Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) where it is a summer resident which winters predominantly on the Indian sub-continent and in South East Asia. There are five other species of shelduck, none of which are found in the Americas. The Common Shelduck (Tadorna Tadorna) occurs in Europe, North Africa and Central Asia. Four species are resident in the Southern Hemisphere, Cape Shelduck (Tadorna carna) in southern Africa, Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) in south east and western Australia, Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) in the East Indies and northern Australia and Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna varigata) in New Zealand. A seventh species the Crested Shelduck (Tadorna cristata) was found mainly in northern Korea and was last reliably reported in 1964.There was a further report in 1971 but it is now probably extinct. Ruddy Shelduck has recently been discovered breeding in the Ethiopian Mountain. In the Eastern Mediterranean, the stronghold is Turkey. In the Western Mediterranean, there are two small populations in North West Africa, one in Tunisia and the other in western Morocco. Formally a vagrant to the Canary Islands, it first bred on Fuerteventura in 1994 where it has now become established.

LOS MOLINOS RESERVOIR Las Parcelas, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain.


Detailed site information below
 
Just west of the scattered village of Las Parcelas, on the FV-221, there is a sharp bend in the road. At this bend, turn left at the goat farm building onto a 2km long driveable track which leads south to the car parking area at Los Molinos reservoir and dam. This track runs parallel to the Barranco de las Molinos (barranco - meaning dry river valley) which is on the right where the endemic Fuerteventura Chat (Saxicola dacotiae) can be found. On the left of the track is an extensive stony semi-arid plain which is home to most of Fuerteventura’s much sought after desert species.  This reservoir, with its permanent stand of fresh water, is a good place to see a variety of water birds, which includes Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopusand) and Little Egret (Egretta garzetta). Other birds, including some very rare species, are also attracted to the area during the spring/autumn migration period and during the winter months. This is the best location to see Plain Swift (Apus unicolor) and is joined by Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus) from March to October. The reservoir’s western side is inaccessible. On the eastern side, good views of the entire area can be had at the small bird hide (alas never open) which is located about 300m south of the car park. Due to the steep nature of its sides, access to the shore line is best left to the foolhardy.Text © www.rawbirds.com

Sunday, 8 February 2015

EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops) Los Molinos Reservoir, Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain



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The Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) is a very striking member of the family Upupidae which is in the genus Upupa. It derives its English name from its distinctive call. It occurs in Europe, Asia and North Africa where it is predominantly a summer resident which winters in sub Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. It is absent from the northern parts of Eurasia. Southern populations, including  those on the Canary Islands, are sedentary. Formerly considered a single species, the Hoopoe has now been split into three species, the African Hoopoe (Upupa africana), the Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) and the Madagascan Hoopoe (U. marginata). A fourth species the Saint Helena Hoopoe (U. antaios), now extinct, occurred on Saint Helena Island.
                                                                                       
 Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

TRUMPETER FINCH (Male) Bucanetes githagineus Las Parcelas, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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The Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus) occurs mainly in North West Africa and the Middle East. There is a small breeding population in South East Spain and it has recently expanded its breeding range into Turkey. This stocky, heavy billed finch is normally found in arid, stony, semi desert type habitat. Bucanetes githagineus subspecies B. g. amantum is endemic to the Canary Islands and is one of four subspecies recognised. On Fuerteventura, the track which runs alongside the goat farm at Las Parcelas and the surrounding plain are well-known area for them. Trumpeter Finches normally occur in small flocks but become dispersive during the breeding season (April) and they then can be difficult to locate.

LAS PARCELAS (GOAT FARM) Las Parcelas, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain.

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The goat farm at Las Parcelas and the surrounding plain holds some of the most sought after bird species on Fuerteventura. These include, Trumpeter Finch, Berthelot’s Pipit, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Cream Coloured Courser and Houbara Bustard.  Located west of the nearby village of Las Pacelas and at the start of a driveable track which leads to the Los Molinos dam and reservoir.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

BARBARY PARTRIDGE Alectoris barbara ssp. A. b. koenigi. Las Parcelas, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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The Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara) is a North African gamebird. It is also native to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. On the Iberian Peninsula there is a small colony at Gibraltar. The endemic subspecies Alectoris barbara koenigi occurs on the Canary Islands. On Fuerteventura, although uncommon, it is found throughout the island where at times it can be difficult to locate.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

EURASIAN STONE CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus Ssp B. o. insularum Tindaya, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

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World-wide, there are nine species of Stone Curlew (also known as Thick-knee or Dikkop). They are found in both tropical and temperate regions. On the Iberian Peninsula, the Eurasian Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) is sedentary but in the rest of Europe it is mainly a summer resident which winters in North Africa. The endemic subspecies Burhinus oedicnemus insularum occurs on the Canary Islands and its cryptic coloration help it blend in very well with the semi desert type habitat on Fuerteventura.