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

Monday, 27 March 2017

SCARLET DARTER DRAGONFLY [Male] (Crocothemis erythraea) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Scarlet Darter Dragonfly (Crocothemis erythraea) is a member of the family Libellulidae which is in the genus Crocothemis. It is a common species in southern Europe and throughout Africa as well as western Asia as far as southern China. The adult male’s bright scarlet red abdomen has a striking flattened profile which distinguishes it from other "red" darters. Females and immatures are yellow-brown and have a conspicuous pale stripe along the top of the thorax.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

SARDINIAN WARBLER [Male] (Sylvia melanocephala) Boquer Valley, Formentor Peninsula, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala) is a small mainly insectivorous warbler of the family Sylviidae which is in the genus Sylvia. It is commonly encountered in southern and eastern Europe and around the Mediterranean Basin as well as on the Canary Islands. Up to five subspecies are recognised by some authorities. The female, typically of most sylvia warblers, has drabber plumage, it is grey headed with brownish upper parts and the under parts are washed buff. This species normally occurs in shrubby type habitat as well as in parks and gardens. 

Text:  © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / RawBirds.com

Friday, 3 March 2017

WESTERN [PURPLE] SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Western Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) is a large member of the rail family Rallidae which is in the genus Porphyrio. This chicken-sized bird, with its large feet, bright plumage and red bill and frontal shield is easily recognisable in its native range. It used to be considered the nominate subspecies of the Purple Swamphen which has now been split into six full species  It is found in Iberia, France, Sardinia and  northwest Africa to Tunisia.

The Purple Swamphen has been split into the following species:
  •     Western Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) - southwest Europe and northwest Africa
  •     African Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis) - sub-Saharan  Africa and   Madagascar
  •     Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) - Middle East, through the Indian subcontinent to southern China and northern Thailand, introduced Florida, USA
  •     Black-backed Swamphen (Porphyrio indicus) - southeast Asia to Sulawesi
  •     Philippine Swamphen (Porphyrio pulverulentus) - Philippine islands
  •     Australasian Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus) - Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_swamphen

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

RED VEINED DARTER DRAGONFLY [Male] (Sympetrum fonscolombii) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Red Veined Darter Dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a member of the family Libellulidae which is in the genus Sympetrum. It has a wide spread distribution and is commonly found in Africa, western, central and southern Asia as well as most of Europe. This species is nomadic by nature and since the 1990’s has greatly expanded its European range as far north as southern Scandinavia.  

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

Monday, 20 February 2017

CLOUDED YELLOW BUTTERFLY (Colias croceus) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) is a migratory butterfly of the family Pieridae which is in the genus Colias. It is one of the most-widespread species in Europe. The breeding range extends from North Africa and southern Europe eastwards through Turkey into the Middle East. It occurs throughout the rest of Europe as a summer migrant, in good years individuals reaching Scandinavia. In Asia, its range extends into central Siberia in the north and into India in the south but it is absent from Central Asia.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colias_croceus

Friday, 10 February 2017

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) is a member of the rail and crake family Rallidae which is in the genus Fulica. It occurs in Eurasia, northern Africa and Australia. It has recently expanded its range into New Zealand. In the milder parts of its range, it is sedentary but in the northern more colder region, it migrates further south and west for the winter.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_coot   

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), more commonly known as Night Heron, is a medium sized heron in the family Ardeidae which is in the genus Nycticorax. It is the most widespread heron in the world but is absent from large parts of North Africa, Northern Eurasia and Australasia as well as the more northern and colder regions. There are four subspecies or races generally recognised. The northern populations are migratory and winter in the southern parts of the range.

Friday, 20 January 2017

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) Albufera Marsh, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small member of the heron family Ardeidae which also includes Bitterns and Herons. 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. It first bred in the Caribbean in the mid 1990’s and is increasingly being recorded along the North American eastern seaboard.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Rawbirds.com

Saturday, 31 December 2016

CATTLE EGRET [WESTERN] (Bubulcus ibis) Pollença, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a species of heron of the family Ardeidae which is in the genius Bubulcus. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, it has undergone a rapid expansion and has successfully colonised much of the temperate zones of the world. There are two geographical races which are sometimes classified as full species, the Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis ibis) and the Eastern Cattle Egret (B. ibis coromandus). The eastern subspecies breeds in Asia and Australasia, and the western form occupies the rest of the range, including the Americas. Some authorities recognise a third subspecies, (B. i. seychellarum) which occurs on the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. 

 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle_egret

Saturday, 24 December 2016

BALEARIC WARBLER [Male] (Sylvia balearica) Boquer Valley, Formentor Peninsula, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


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The Balearic Warbler (Sylvia balearica) is a small passerine of the family Sylviidae which is in the genus Sylvia. It is endemic to the Balearic Islands (but is absent from Menorca), Spain. It is very closely related to and is similar in appearance to Marmora's Warbler (Sylvia sarda) who together with Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata) and Tristram's Warbler (Sylvia deserticola) form a super group within the genus Sylvia. This insectivorous species occurs in open rocky coastal habitat with thorny bushes, broom and heather which provide cover and nesting areas.

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

Monday, 19 December 2016

SQUACCO HERON [Male] (Ardeola ralloides) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) is small heron of the family Ardeidae which is in the genus Ralloides. It is resident south of the Sahara Desert in western, eastern and south eastern Africa, including Madagascar. There is also a small population in Morocco and Algeria on the North West African coast. In addition, this heron occurs as a summer resident in central and southern Europe as well as in western central Asia. In the autumn, it migrates back to Africa to spend the winter months there. Its diet includes frogs, lizards, small fish and a wide variety of invertebrates. 

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Rawbirds.com

Saturday, 17 December 2016

CHUKAR PARTRIDGE (Alectoris chukar subspecies A. c. cypriotes) Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece

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The Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) or more commonly called Chukar is in the pheasant family Phasianidae which is in the genus Alectoris. It has a widespread distribution which stretches in a wide band from south eastern Europe to eastern China. There are many subspecies recognised including Alectoris chukar cypriotes which occurs on the islands of Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus as well as in parts of Bulgaria and Syria.This gamebird has been widely introduced, for hunting purposes, in many countries including the USA and New Zealand where feral populations have become established.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / rawbirds.com

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus) Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, Cuculiformes, which includes the roadrunners, the anis and the coucals. This species is a widespread summer migrant to Europe and Asia, and winters in Africa. It is a brood parasite, which means it lays eggs in the nests of other bird species, particularly of dunnocks, meadow pipits, and reed warblers. Although its eggs are larger than those of its hosts, the eggs in each type of host nest resemble the host's eggs. The adult too is a mimic, in its case of the sparrowhawk; since that species is a predator, the mimicry gives the female time to lay her eggs without being seen to do so.

Text reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_cuckoo

Saturday, 12 November 2016

RED FOOTED FALCON [Male] (Falco vespertinusi) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) is a small bird of prey in the family falconidae which is in the genus falco. It's breeding range extends from Eastern Europe eastward to Central Asia. In the autumn it migrates south to spend the winter in Southern Africa and in April/May the following year returns to its breeding grounds. Its scientific species name, vespertinus, is Latin for ‘of the evening’ and probably refers to the time of the day when it can be seen hunting.

Text reference: http://www.arkive.org/red-footed-falcon/falco-vespertinus/

Sunday, 6 November 2016

VIOLET CARPENTER BEE (Xylocopa violacea) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece


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The Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa violacea) is a member of the family Apidae which is in the genus Xylocopa. Its range extends from the temperate regions of Western Europe eastward across Asia as far as central China. In recent times, it has greatly expanded its European range northward and by 2006 had reached Britain. This very conspicuous species is the largest European bee. After mating, the gravid female bores tunnels in dead wood, hence the name "carpenter bee".

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylocopa_violacea 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

RED FOOTED FALCON [Female] (Falco vespertinusi) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) is a small bird of prey in the family falconidae which is in the genus falco. It breeding range extends from Eastern Europe eastward to Central Asia. In the autumn it migrates south to spend the winter in Southern Africa and in April/May the following year returns to its breeding grounds. Its scientific name, vespertinus, is Latin for ‘of the evening’ and may refer to the time of the day when it can be seen hunting.

Text reference: http://www.arkive.org/red-footed-falcon/falco-vespertinus/

Monday, 24 October 2016

ITALIAN SPARROW [Male] (Passer italiae) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Italian Sparrow (Passer italiae) or Cisalpine Sparrow is a small perching bird in the family Passeridae which is in the genus Passer. It is very closely related to and is intermediate in appearance between House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis). Some authorities treat it as a subspecies of House Sparrow but recent DNA research strongly supports its status as a full species. The Italian Sparrow occurs in Italy and small populations are also found in the adjoining countries of Austria, France, Slovenia and Switzerland. It is also resident on the Greek island of Crete and other Mediterranean islands including Corsica and Malta. 


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

Friday, 14 October 2016

WHINCHAT [Male] (Saxicola rubetra) Pelekaniotikos River, Koundoura, Crete, Greece



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The Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) is a small migratory passerine in the family Muscicapidae and is closely related to the Old World flycatchers. It is a summer breeding resident in Europe and in parts of Western Asia which winters in sub Saharan Africa. Small numbers also winter in north western Africa. The autumn migration south commences from late August. By early April the following year the first of the returning migrants begin to reappear in southern Europe. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small member of the heron family Ardeidae which also includes Bitterns and Herons. 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. It first bred in the Caribbean in the mid 1990’s and is increasingly being recorded along the North American eastern seaboard.

Text © Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Rawbirds.com

Monday, 3 October 2016

LESSER KESTREL [Female] (Falco naumanni) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small migratory bird of prey of the family Falconidae which is in the genus Falco. It is a summer resident which occurs across a narrow band that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards as far as Mongolia and north western China. This colonial breeder has a patchy distribution in southern Europe.
It arrives back from its wintering areas in sub Saharan Africa and Pakistan during April and early May. In addition, there are small non migratory populations mainly in southwest Spain and northwest Africa. Prey items include small birds, invertebrates, reptiles, mice, shrews and voles. It remains in the breeding areas until late August and early September when the return migration south begins. 
 Where their ranges overlaps, it can be easily confused with the closely related Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) especially the females as they are very similar in appearance. The European population is in serious decline probably as a result of overuse of pesticides and rodenticides.

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

Sunday, 2 October 2016

CANDIA TULIP (Tulipa saxatilis) Samariá Gorge, Mousoures, Crete, Greece


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The Candia Tulip (Tulipa saxatilis) is primarily a plant of the Southern Aegean Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It is also native to the limestone areas of the Greek Islands of Crete, Karpathos and Rhodes as well as the Datça peninsula in Western Turkey. It grows at the edges of fields, scree slopes and rock faces up to 900 m. It is naturalized on the Greek mainland as well as parts of Italy and in Britain it occurs on the Scilly Isles. This bulbous species is widely cultivated in gardens. The flowering period extends from March to May.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulipa_saxatilis
 

Thursday, 15 September 2016

PYRAMIDAL ORCHID (Anacamptis pyramidalis) Cape Kutri, Kisamos district, Crete, Greece


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The Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) is a perennial herbaceous plant of the of the family Orchidaceae which is in the genus Anacamptis. The scientific name Anacamptis derives from Greek ανακάμτειν 'anakamptein' meaning 'bend forward', while the Latin name pyramidalis refers to the pyramidal form of the inflorescence. The triangular arrangement of the flower spike gives this orchid its English name. Colour variations range from pure white to dark magenta. It is commonly found in Europe on roadside verges, in meadows and parks. On the Greek island of Crete this conspecious orchid is in flower from late March to early May.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacamptis_pyramidalis

Monday, 12 September 2016

YELLOW LEGGED GULL (Larus michahellis) Palaiochora Harbour, Palaiochora, Crete, Greece


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The Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) is a large gull of the family Laridae which is in the genus Larus. It breeds mainly in the southern half of Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. There is a post breeding dispersal of part of the European population to winter in Northwest Europe. It was formerly considered a subspecies of Herring Gull (L. argentatus). The genus name is from Latin Larus meaning gull or other large seabird and the species name honours the  zoologist Karl Michahelles.

Two subspecies are generally recognised.
  • Larus michahellis michahellis - western and southern Europe, northwest Africa and the Mediterranean Basin.  
  • Larus michahellis atlantis - Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. This subspecies is also known as Atlantic Gull and is potentially a full species. Birds breeding on the Atlantic coasts of Morocco, Portugal and Galicia in Spain (and spreading north from there) are usually also included here but are sometimes considered to be a third subspecies Larus michahellis lusitanius.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow-legged_gull

Thursday, 1 September 2016

SPECKLED WOOD BUTTERFLY (Pararge aegeria) Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae which is one of three species in the genus Pararge. It is commonly found throughout much of the Palearctic ecozone, but is absent from the colder northern regions.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

RED VEINED DARTER DRAGONFLY [Male] (Sympetrum fonscolombii) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece


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The Red Veined Darter Dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a member of the family Libellulidae which is in the genus Sympetrum. It has a wide spread distribution and is commonly found in Africa, western, central and southern Asia as well as most of Europe. This species is nomadic by nature and since the 1990’s has greatly expanded its European range as far north as southern Scandinavia.  

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

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

RED RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) Techniti Limni Agia, Agia Lake, Agia, Crete, Greece


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The Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) is a migratory member of the family Hirundinidae which is in the genus Cecropis. World wide, there are 74 species of Hirundines (Swallows and Martins). In addition, the only known record of the Red Sea Cliff Swallow (Hirundo perdita) was of one found dead at Sanganeb Lighthouse, Sudan in May 1984. 
 It is mainly a summer resident in the temperate regions of southern Europe, Morocco in northwest Africa as well as parts of western, central and eastern Asia. Its range extends from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards to Japan. There are also non migratory populations resident in tropical Africa and in South East Asia. This insectivorous species feeds exclusively on small flying insects, mainly flies and midges. Outside of the breeding season, it is a very rare but annual overshooting spring and autumn migrant to northern Europe. 
  The European, Moroccan and northern Asian populations migrate south in the autumn to spend the winter in sub Saharan Africa, the India sub-continent and northern Australia. 

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

Saturday, 13 August 2016

LESSER KESTREL [Male] (Falco naumanni) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece


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The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small migratory bird of prey of the family Falconidae which is in the genus Falco. It is a summer resident which occurs across a narrow band that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards as far as Mongolia and north western China. This colonial breeder has a patchy distribution in southern Europe.
It arrives back from its wintering areas in sub Saharan Africa and Pakistan during April and early May. In addition, there are small non migratory populations mainly in southwest Spain and northwest Africa. Prey items include small birds, invertebrates, reptiles, mice, shrews and voles. It remains in the breeding areas until late August and early September when the return migration south begins. 
 Where their ranges overlaps, it can be easily confused with the closely related Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) especially the females as they are very similar in appearance. The European population is in serious decline probably as a result of overuse of pesticides and rodenticides.

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

Friday, 5 August 2016

RED AND BLACK SOLDIER BEETLE (Trichodes creticus) feeding on COMMON BRIGHTEYES (Reichardia picroides subspecies R. p. galatsida) Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece


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The Red and Black Soldier Beetle (Trichodes creticus) is a species of soldier beetle or checkered beetle of the family Cleridae which is in the genus Trichodes. It is endemic to the Greek island of Crete. It relies on its warning coloration to deter predators. The larvae are parasites of bees and wasps. On Crete, there are a number of very similar beetles but the dark line along the inner edges of the elytra that join the black patches on the back readily identifies this species. The adults prey on small invertebrates and are also commonly found feeding on the pollen of a variety of flowers, including Common Brighteyes (Reichardia picroides subspecies R. p. galatsida), from April to August.

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