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Due to heavy reconstruction of this webpage, this blog is temporary suspended to renew in this summer, it will be updated again after late-autumn, thank you for your visits in these 9 years.

31 December 2016

Endangered birds of Japan

First line :
Peregrine Falcon (擬游隼) ; Crested Serpent Eagle (大冠鷲)
White-backed Woodpecker (大赤啄木) ; Marsh Grassbird (斑背大尾鶯)

Second line :
Blakiston's Fish Owl (毛腳漁鴞) ; Cackling Goose (小加拿大雁)
Third line :
Okinawa Rail (沖繩秧雞) ; Japanese Wood Pigeon (黑林鴿)
Nordmann's Greenshank (諾氏青足鷸) ; Okinawa Woodpecker (野口啄木鳥)

Ireland (2014)
25th May, 2014. Ōhara, Iriomote

Japan is located in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Being latitudinally long, the island chain covers a wide climatic range; from the boreal to the sub-tropical climate zone. There are also two ecological lines which divide the countries flora and fauna. These are Blakiston's Line (between Hokkaido and Honshu) and the Watase's Line (southern Japan). Because of this unusual ecological background, Japan's avifauna is incredibly rich. More than 600 species have been recorded to date. Most of them are migratory (more than 60%) whilst approximately 60 species are either endemic or sub-regional endemic, including the internationally famous Okinawa Rail, Blakiston's Fish-owl, Japanese Murrelet, Red-crowned Crane, Pryer's Woodpecker and Lidth's Jay.

Birding in Japan is increasingly popular. The largest nature conservation NGO, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, has more than 53,000 members and there are more birders who do not belong to the WBS-J. Twitching is becoming more and more common. People can get to rare birds within a few hours of their discovery because of the development of the internet and mobile telephones.

24 December 2016

Lake Constance

Mute Swan (疣鼻天鵝)
Switzerland (2016)

12st May, 2016. Romanshorn

Black-headed Gull (紅嘴鷗)
Switzerland (2016)

12th May, 2015. Ermatingen

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: anyone hoping to spot a monster is going to be disappointed. Surrounded by three countries, the waters do not conceal any sea creatures in the vein of Nessie, for ex- ample. With its wealth of islands, Lake Constance is simply too idyllic for that. However, anglers near Bregenz did recently catch a huge wels catfish measuring 2.5 metres in length. Experts even suspect the existence of older and larger specimens gliding through the depths, measuring up to 3 metres in length and weighing well over 100 kilograms. But this shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying their water-sports or indulging their fas- cination with the stunning sunsets and fantastic cloud formations reflected in the enormous mirrored surface. This natural wonder consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee (upper lake), Untersee (lower lake) and Seerhein, which links the first two. The shoreline of this gem is shared by three countries. So it is no surprise that Swiss Post has chosen to pres- ent its new special stamp as a triptych.

17 December 2016

Goldfinch

Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Germany (2016)
3rd May, 2016. Berlin

Lichtenberg is the eleventh borough of Berlin, Germany. In Berlin's 2001 administrative reform it absorbed the former borough of Hohenschönhausen.

The district contains the Tierpark Berlin in Friedrichsfelde, the larger of Berlin's two zoological gardens. Lichtenberg was also the site of the extensive headquarters complex of the Stasi, the East German intelligence service. Prior to the establishment of the GDR it housed the main office of the Soviet Military Administration in Berlin, and before that it was an officers' mess of the Wehrmacht. The complex is now the location of the Stasi Museum. The Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial is on the site of the main remand prison of the Stasi. Lichtenberg is also the location of the German-Russian Museum, the historical venue of the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) on 8 May 1945.

10 December 2016

Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary (南方鶴鴕)
Papua New Guinea (2011)
25th August, 2011. Port Moresby

Presently, most authorities consider the southern cassowary monotypic, but several subspecies have been described. It has proven very difficult to confirm the validity of these due to individual variations, age-related variations, the relatively few available specimens (and the bright skin of the head and neck – the basis of which several subspecies have been described – fades in specimens), and that locals are known to have traded live cassowaries for hundreds, if not thousands of years, some of which are likely to have escaped/been deliberately introduced to regions away from their origin.

Cassowaries are closely related to the kiwis, both families diverging from a common ancestor approximately 40 million years ago.

The binomial name Casuarius casuarius is derived from its Malay name kesuari. The southern cassowary was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae, as Struthio casuarius, from a specimen from Seram, in 1758. It is now the type species of the genus Casuarius.

The southern cassowary has been described under a large number of scientific names, all of which are now considered taxonomic synonyms for the species.

3 December 2016

Nocturnal animals

Tawny Owl (灰林鴞)
Switzerland (2016)
12th May, 2016. Wildegg


Tawny Owl (灰林鴞)
Switzerland (2016)
12th May, 2016. Bern 

At night, when all good citizens make their way to bed to sleep the sleep of the just, it’s time for some creatures to really start their revels and turn our night into their day. Under cover of darkness, they go in search of their prey – silently creeping, flying and lurking – and feast on their bounty or attract potential mates to play by the light of the silvery moon. Mother Nature has equipped them well over thecourse of evolution: with an acute sense of hearing, highly sensitive sight, organs of touch, radar-like systems, their own light sources and many other aids. Swiss Post is now devoting a set of special stamps to four native nocturnal animals: the tawny owl, the garden dormouse, the European glow-worm and the hedgehog. The stamps can, of course, be used night and day.

26 November 2016

Saxon Switzerland

White-throated Dipper (河烏)
 Germany (2016)
2nd June, 2016. Berlin

Saxon Switzerland is a hilly climbing area and national park around the Elbe valley south-east of Dresden in Saxony, Germany. Together with the Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic it forms the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

Saxon Switzerland alone has some 1,000 climbing peaks, as well as several hollows. The area is popular with Dresden locals and international climbers.

The administrative district for the area is Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge. The fortress of Königstein is a well-known landmark.

19 November 2016

Thailand - North Korea diplomatic relations 40 years

 
Northern Goshawk  (蒼鷹) ; Siamese Fireback (戴氏鷴)
North Korea (2015)
30th May, 2016. Pyongyang

Northern Goshawk  (蒼鷹) ; Siamese Fireback (戴氏鷴)
Thailand (2015)
 
28th August, 2015. Bangkok

Siamese fireback also known as Diard's fireback is a fairly large, approximately 80 cm long, pheasant. The male has a grey plumage with an extensive red facial skin, crimson legs and feet, ornamental black crest feathers, reddish brown iris and long curved blackish tail. The female is a brown bird with blackish wing and tail feathers.

The Siamese fireback is distributed to the lowland and evergreen forests of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. This species is also designated as the national bird of Thailand. The female usually lays between four to eight rosy eggs.

The scientific name commemorates the French naturalist Pierre-Médard Diard.

Northern Goshawk is a medium-large raptor in the family Accipitridae, which also includes other diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards and harriers. As a species in the Accipiter genus, the goshawk is often considered a true "hawk". The scientific name is Latin; Accipiter is "hawk", from accipere, "to grasp", and gentilis is "noble" or "gentle" because in the Middle Ages only the nobility were permitted to fly goshawks for falconry.

It is a widespread species that inhabits the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the only species in the Accipiter genus found in both Eurasia and North America. With the exception of Asia, it is the only species of "goshawk" in its range and it is thus often referred to, both officially and unofficially, as simply the "goshawk". It is mainly resident, but birds from colder regions migrate south for the winter. In North America, migratory goshawks are often seen migrating south along mountain ridge tops in September and October.

This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 under its current scientific name.



12 November 2016

Philately Week 2008

From left to right :
Snowy Plover (小環頸鴴) ; Little Egret (小白鷺)
Japan (2008)
17th May, 2016. Miyagi Sendai

Watanabe Shotei was a versatile artist and artisan of the Japanese Meiji era. At an early age he had the possibility to exhibit Japan's arts and crafts as a team member of Shibata Zeshin for the Paris World Exhibition of 1878. Later he travelled to Europe and the United States to study Western art and to exhibit Japanese arts and crafts outside of Japan.

Watanabe Shotei studied painting. Still at a young age he began to work for Shibata Zeshin who at that time was one of Japan's most renowned painters, lacquer artists and printmakers. Zeshin Shibata was selected to represent Japan at the international world exhibitions in Vienna in 1875, in Philadelphia in 1876 and in Paris in 1878.

Watanabe Shotei received the opportunity to accompany Zeshin Shibata in 1878 for the Paris World Exhibition. This lead him to further travels to the United States and to an extended stay in Paris to study Western art.

Back in Japan Shotei Watanabe followed the career scheme of Shibata Zeshin by not concentrating on one art form, but being active in a number of different art and artisan fields - printmaking, painting and making designs for Japanese cloisonné.

Also in printmaking he covered a wide field - from kuchi-e to kacho-e. Watanabe's printmaking style varies from the minimalistic approach rooted in Japanese and Chinese painting to a style that reminds us of the coming shin hanga art movement promoted by the Tokyo publisher Watanabe Shozaburo.

When the art dealer and collector Robert O. Muller passed away in 2003, he left the greatest and in the view of many art collectors and dealers also the best collection of mainly shin hanga prints that the world had ever seen. Among the shin hanga that came into the market, were also many beautiful designs made by Shotei Watanabe. They consist of kacho-e (images of birds and flowers) kept in an early shin hanga style.

5 November 2016

Madagascar Paradise-flycatcher

Madagascar Paradise-flycatcher (馬達加斯加綬帶鳥)
Madagascar (2014)
26th April, 2016. Antananarivo

The Malagasy paradise flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine, measuring 18cm in length and weighing between 12.1 and 12.3g. Males have long tail plumes, which can add as much as 18 cm to their overall length. The female is largely rufous-orange, with a black head and nape. The flight feathers on her wings are black with rufous edges, and she has a thin, light blue eyelid wattle.

This species is a regional endemic found on Madagascar, Mayotte and the Comoros islands. It is common in all native forest types except montane forest, at elevations ranging from sea level to 1,600 m. It also occurs, though less frequently, in other wooded habitats, including plantations, gardens and secondary forest.

29 October 2016

Birds of prey in Falkland Islands

Barn Owl (倉鴞)
Falkland Islands (2016)

13th January, 2016. Stanley

Birds of prey are also termed “raptors”, derived from the Latin rapere, meaning to take or seize by force. They are characterised by sharply curved bills, powerful feet with large talons, exceptional eyesight in diurnal species and specially adapted hearing in nocturnal species.

The Falkland Islands has seven species of raptor: six of these are represented in this issue; the seventh is the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura falklandica), a New World vulture.

Striated Caracara (條紋卡拉鷹)
Falkland Islands (2016)
13th January, 2016. Stanley

Peregrine Falcon (擬游隼)
Falkland Islands (2016)

13th January, 2016. Stanley

22 October 2016

Birds of Greenland

5kr. : Rock Ptarmigan (岩雷鳥) ; 10kr. : Snowy Owl (雪鴞) ; 3kr. Gyrfalcon (矛隼)
4,10kr. : Raven (渡鴉) ; 5,50kr. : White-tailed Eagle (白尾鷲)
7kr. : Great Northern Diver (普通潛鳥) ; 3,20kr. : Long-tailed Duck (長尾鴨)
4,40kr. Snow Bunting (雪鵐) ; 5,50kr. : Black Guillemot (黑海鳩)
6,50kr. : Brunnich's Guillemot (厚嘴海鴉) ; 4kr. : Snow Goose (雪雁)
7,50kr. Long-tailed Jaeger (長尾賊鷗)
Greenland (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)

14th April, 2016. Aasiaat, Iginniarfik

There are 235 different species of bird in the airspace over Greenland. Some of these birds also breed on land, they include the majestic sea eagle.

The majority of Greenland's birds are migratory birds and there are therefore only around 60 species that are regarded as permanent breeders in the country.

In addition to the birds above, a number of other birds should also be mentioned. This applies in particular to the black raven, which is probably the bird that the majority of people notice. The raven is in the crow family and breeds all over the country.

Its characteristic croaking call can be heard very clearly if you are out hiking.

The snow bunting is another very common bird that leaves Greenland in about September and returns in March. Greenland also has two species of falcon - the peregrine falcon and the gerfalcon - which are both protected species.

15 October 2016

Songbirds of Romania

From left to right :
9,10L : Bullfinch (紅腹灰雀) ; 8,10L : Bohemian Waxwing (太平鳥)
5L : Yellowhammer (黃鵐) ; 4,50L : Hawfinch (錫嘴雀)
Romania (2015)

25th April, 2016. Noluntari

Romfilatelia proposes to bird lovers and philatelists a special postage stamp issue illustrating Songbirds. Also called Oscines (from the Latin word oscine meaning songbird), these were assigned by ornithologists to the order Passeriformes, being characterized by the diversity of size and plumage.

8 October 2016

Protected wildlife in Romanian reserves

 
8,10L, 5L : Eastern White Pelican (白鵜鶘)
3,60L, 9,10L : Dalmatian Pelican (卷羽鵜鶘)
Romania (2015)
25th April, 2016. Voluntari

Romfilatelia recalls the richness of the natural heritage of Romania by introducing into circulation a postage stamp issue dedicated to the species of pelicans living in our country, as part of a broader topic consecrated to protected wildlife from Romanian reserves. In the Danube Delta, we can find two species: the Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) and the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus).

The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve celebrates this year its 25th anniversary. The only delta in the world entirely declared a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO world heritage site since 1991, it shelters an impressive number of pelicans from both species, these birds being declared a natural monument.

The margin of the souvenir sheet emphasizes the 25-year anniversary since the foundation of the Reserve and its belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage.

1 October 2016

Red-footed Booby

Red-footed Booby (紅腳鰹鳥)
Ascension (2016)
22th February, 2016. Georgetown

Red-footed Booby is the smallest member of the booby and gannet family at about 70 cm in length and with a wingspan of up to 1m. The average weight of 490 adults from Christmas Island was 837g. It has red legs, and its bill and throat pouch are coloured pink and blue. This species has several morphs. In the white morph the plumage is mostly white (the head often tinged yellowish) and the flight feathers are black. The black-tailed white morph is similar, but with a black tail, and can easily be confused with the Nazca and masked boobies. The brown morph is overall brown. The white-tailed brown morph is similar, but has a white belly, rump, and tail. The white-headed and white-tailed brown morph has a mostly white body, tail and head, and brown wings and back. The morphs commonly breed together, but in most regions one or two morphs predominates; e.g. at the Galápagos Islands, most belong to the brown morph, though the white morph also occurs.

The sexes are similar, and juveniles are brownish with darker wings, and pale pinkish legs, while chicks are covered in dense white down.

24 September 2016

Immortal Blossoms of an Eternal Spring (I)

From left to right :
NT$5 : Barn Swallow (家燕) ; NT$9 : Common Rosefinch (普通朱雀)
NT$10 : Vinous-throated Parrotbill (粉紅鸚嘴) ; NT$12 : Yellow-billed Grosbeak (黑尾蠟嘴雀)
Taiwan (2016)

29th March, 2016. Shilin

Giuseppe Castiglione is an Italian named Giuseppe Castiglione, was a native of Milan. At the age of 19 he became a Jesuit as a novitiate and studied oil painting and architecture. At 27 he went to China and was called to the court, serving as a painter under three emperors: Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong. Skilled in figure and bird-and-flower subjects (particularly horses and dogs), his style combined Western techniques (such as perspective and modeling) with traditional Chinese methods. This blending resulted in colorful works with realistic forms.

Each of the sixteen leaves of flowers in the seasons from this album includes rock, bird, or plant motifs. Though the subjects are from life, the compositions are exquisite, each part in harmony for a rare masterpiece fusing Chinese and Western art.

17 September 2016

Sunbirds of South Africa

From left to right :
Lemon-breasted Seedeater (檸檬黃胸絲雀)
Neergaard's Sunbird (尼氏花蜜鳥) ; Plain-backed Sunbird (純背食蜜鳥) ; 
Collared Sunbird (環頸直嘴太陽鳥)
White-breasted Sunbird (白腹花蜜鳥) ; Dusky Sunbird (暗色蜜鳥)
South Africa (1996, 2012)
17th February, 2016. Pretoria

South Africa ranks as one of the top birding destinations in the world, offering an unbeatable combination of variety of birds, well developed transport systems, and a user-friendly and supportive birding tourism industry.

Birders from around the world come to experience both the great variety of typically African birds, migrants, and endemics - those birds found only in South Africa. These birders enjoy excellent birding, whether they are with an organised commercial birding tour or are touring independently.

Of the 850 or so species that have been recorded in South Africa, about 725, or 85%, are resident or annual visitors, and about 50 of these are endemic or near- endemic to South Africa, and can only be seen in the country.

Apart from the resident birds, South Africa hosts a number of African migrants such as cuckoos and kingfishers, as well as birds from the Arctic, Europe, Central Asia, China and Antarctica during the year.

10 September 2016

Hirkan national park

From left to right :
Dalmatian Pelican (卷羽鵜鶘) ; Marbled Teal (雲石斑鴨)
Black Stork (黑鸛)
Azerbaijan (2013)

27th July, 2016. Baki

Hirkan National Park is a national park of Azerbaijan. It was established by the decree of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, in an area in Lankaran Rayon and Astara Rayon administrative districts on February 9, 2004 on the basis of the former "Hirkan State Reserve" which it superseded, on a surface area of 29,760 hectares. It was enlarged by presidential decree on April 23, 2008 from 29,760 hectares to 40,358 hectares.

The area of Hirkan National Park is 99% covered by forests in a primarily mountainous region, and is strictly protected. It constitutes one of the largest contiguous forests in Azerbaijan, which is not interrupted by any settlement or pasture.

The Hirkan National Park protects the humid subtropical and humid temperate forests in the area of the Lenkoran Lowland and the Talysh Mountains, sheltering many endemic plant and animal species.

The ecosystem of the Hirkan National Park, belongs to the Caspian Hyrcanian (Girkan) mixed forests ecoregion, an area of lush deciduous broadleaved lowland and montane forests (subtropical and temperate rainforests) that completely cover the Talysh Mountains and partially cover the Lankaran Lowland.

3 September 2016

Matt Sewell’s Birds

Atlantic Puffin (北極海鸚)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

The 10 iconic illustrations from the celebrated artist and ornithologist showcase the diverse range of birdlife the British Isles, including the Isle of Man. Recreated from the original water colours, the images include many popular species, but we are especially pleased that this set of stamps includes the Manx Shearwater as an exclusive design.

Matt will be familiar to some as former artist-in-residence on the BBC’s Springwatch Unsprung and his appearances on Countryfile, but his work has reached a global audience through a series of books, publications like the Guardian and The Big Issue and exhibitions in London, Manchester, New York, Tokyo and Paris.

As someone who admits to having been obsessed with birds for as long as they can remember, an invitation to see what Manx shores had to offer was too good to miss for Matt, and didn’t disappoint.

The Isle of Man is home to dozens of species including fittingly given the subject of Matt’s new book, many seabirds. Numbered among them is the Manx Shearwater, a bird once threatened with a severe decline in numbers which is now once again on the increase. Matt’s Shearwater illustration is a wonderful and exclusive addition to this set.

Matt has also written text to accompany the stamp, explaining his lifelong love of birds, how he began drawing them and offering often whimsical descriptions of the species featured. He also talks about his conservation work with charities fighting to protect under-threat bird habitats.

Common Pheasant (雉雞)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

Blue Tit (藍山雀)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

European Robin (知更鳥)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

Common Starling (椋鳥)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

27 August 2016

Bailiwick Life

Atlantic Puffin (北極海鸚)
Guernsey (2016)

7th February, 2015. Guernsey

This latest issue of Guernsey Post & Go stamps includes six fantastic images of animals, all of which are associated with the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

The first of the stamps features a donkey, partly in recognition of the fact that people of Guernsey are sometimes referred to as donkeys! The inclusion of the donkey in this set is also to pay homage to the original Guernsey golden donkey, which is now extinct.

Other animals with island connections pictured on the stamps include the Guernsey golden goat, the iconic Guernsey cow, the Atlantic grey seal, the puffin and the unusual blonde hedgehog.

20 August 2016

World Wetlands Day 2016

From left to right :
Rs.7 : Fulvous Whistling-duck (草黃樹鴨) ; Rs.50 : Caspian Tern (紅咀巨鷗)
Rs.35 : Indian Spot-bill Duck (印度花嘴鴨) ; Rs.10 : Greater Flamingo (大紅鶴)
Sri Lanka (2016)
26th March, 2016. Colombo

Wetlands arereferred to as habitats with permanent or temporary accumulation of water with associated floral and faunal communities. Sri Lanka has a geography which supports the formation of wetlands to a great extent. Due to diverse geographical settings, wetlands of different areas display different characteristics. There are 3 broad categories of wetlands found in the country namely:
  • Inland natural fresh water wetlands
  • Marine and saltwater wetlands
  • Man-made wetlands
The interaction between soil, water, plants and animals in the wetlands enable many functions which are useful to people as well as the entire eco-system. Sri Lanka is a mesmerizing destination for bird watching. However, the wetlands in the country beside the others are among the best places to observe Sri Lanka’s avifauna.

13 August 2016

Purple Finch

Purple Finch (紫紅朱雀)
St Pierre et Miquelon (2016)
7th April, 2016. Miquelon

Purple Finch and the other "American rosefinches" are placed in the genus Haemorhous by the American Ornithologists' Union but have usually been included in Carpodacus. It is included in the finch family, Fringillidae, which is made up of passerine birds found in the northern hemisphere and Africa. The purple finch was originally described by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1789.

There are two subspecies of the purple finch, it differs from the nominate subspecies in that it has a longer tail and shorter wing. The plumage of both males and females are darker, and the coloration of the females is more greenish. The bill of C. p. californicus is also longer than that of the nominate subspecies.

Adults have a short forked brown tail and brown wings and are about 15 cm in length and weigh 34 g (1.2 oz). Adult males are raspberry red on the head, breast, back and rump; their back is streaked. Adult females have light brown upperparts and white underparts with dark brown streaks throughout; they have a white line on the face above the eye.


From top to bottom :
Purple Finch (紫紅朱雀) ; Bohemian Waxwing (太平鳥)
Blue Jay (藍松鴉) ; American Redstart (橙尾鴝鶯)
St Pierre et Miquelon (2013-2016)
7th April, 2016. Miquelon

6 August 2016

White-tailed Eagle

White-tailed Eagle (白尾鷲)
Sweden (2016)
25th March, 2016. Uppsala

The white-tailed eagle is one of the best examples of where humans not only can cause environmental destruction but also create something fantastic through active environmental improvements. Environmental toxins in the Baltic Sea eradicated almost the entire population of white-tailed eagles. These toxins made the shells of the birds’ eggs so thin that they broke during brooding. Today, white-tailed eagles have made a strong comeback. One reason for this has been in part the decrease in environmental toxins and in part Project Sea Eagle.

30 July 2016

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck (鴛鴦)
China (2015)

20th February, 2016. Pengliuyang Road, Wuhan

Mandarin Duck is a perching duck species found in East Asia. It is medium-sized, at 41–49 cm (16–19 in) long with a 65–75cm wingspan. As the other member of the genus Aix, it is closely related to the North American wood duck.

The adult male is a striking and unmistakable bird. It has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and "whiskers". The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange "sails" at the back. The female is similar to female wood duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill.

Both the males and females have crests, but the crest is more pronounced on the male.

Like many other species of ducks, the male undergoes a moult after the mating season into eclipse plumage. When in eclipse plumage, the male looks similar to the female, but can be told apart by their bright yellow-orange beak, lack of any crest, and a less-pronounced eye-stripe.

Mandarin ducklings are almost identical in appearance to wood ducklings, and very similar to mallard ducklings. The ducklings can be distinguished from mallard ducklings because the eye-stripe of mandarin ducklings (and wood ducklings) stops at the eye, while in mallard ducklings it reaches all the way to the bill.

Mandarin Duck (鴛鴦)
China (2015)

20th August, 2015. Nanping, Fujian

23 July 2016

Great Tit

Great Tit (大山雀)
Estonia (2016)

17th February, 2016. Tallinn

The great tit is known to everyone by its black longitudinal strip as well as the black head and a big white cheek blot. In Estonia it is a usual brooding bird who lives in various woodlands forests, parks, gardens. It builds its nest usually in tree hollows or nest boxes. If in summer the main food are insects and their larvae, then in winter it eats various seeds. In winter the great tit is a guest in various feeding houses - sunflower seeds and fat taste particularly well to it.

16 July 2016

Definitive issue 2014

30/- : Red and Yellow Barbet (紅黃擬啄木鳥) ; 35/- : Scarlet-chested Sunbird (赤胸花蜜鳥)
50/- : Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill (黃嘴犀鳥) ; 55/- : Greater Honeyguide (
黑喉響蜜鴷)
65/- : Superb Starling (栗頭麗椋鳥) ; 70/- : African Fish Eagle (吼海鵰)

80/- : Lesser Flamingo (小紅鸛)
100/- : Hadada Ibis (鳳頭朱鷺) ; 110/- : Ross's Turaco (短冠紫蕉鵑)
Kenya (2014)

16th February, 2016. Molo

Kenya has the reputation to be the number one country to visit for birds as several World records of twitching (highest bird list seen in a day, in a month...) are from this country. It is undisputably one of the best indeed: birds are numerous, generally not shy and fairly easy to find. Endemic list is not very long (see inset on the right) but Kenya is home of many beautiful and localised species. We describe a selection below: endemics, restricted range species (often shared with Tanzania) and most spectacular Eastern African specialities (often shared with Ethiopia or Somalia). Bird lists are so long that choosing either the bird to list and the photos to illustrate them is difficult!

9 July 2016

Bee-eaters of Namibia

 
From top to bottom :
Inland registered mail : European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎)
Standard mail : White-fronted Bee-eater (白額蜂虎)

N$5,70 : Southern Carmine Bee-eater (南紅蜂虎)
N$6,80 : Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (燕尾蜂虎) ; N$7,70 : Little Bee-eater (小蜂虎)

Namibia (2015)
5th February, 2016. Windhoek
26th February, 2016. Hong Kong

With their colourful aerobatics, bee-eaters are amongst the most striking of all small birds. As their name implies, bee-eaters live on bees and other flying insects, which they hawk in flight during spectacular aerial pursuits, or snatch from vegetation or the ground. Using their long, sharp, curved bills, the birds will pound stinging insects against a perch to discharge their sting before eating them. Bee-eater species vary significantly in size, yet all are relatively small birds with intricately-coloured plumage. Most bee-eaters are gregarious and roost together, as well as congregating on favourite perches that overlook ideal hunting grounds. Some species nest in large colonies, gathering in spectacular flocks during the breeding season. Some migrate to Namibia from other parts of Africa or Europe and are seen in our country only during the summer months.

 
European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎) 
Namibia (2015)
9th April, 2012. Rundi

 
Southern Carmine Bee-eater (南紅蜂虎)Namibia (2015)
9th April, 2012. Rundi/span>

 
Little Bee-eater (小蜂虎)Namibia (2015)
9th April, 2012. Rundi

2 July 2016

Sepac 2016: Seasons

Islandic Oystercatcher (冰島蠣鷸)
Faroe Islands (2016)
22th Fenruary, 2016. Tórshavn

Winter storms, drizzle and sleet, the ocean's relentless hammering on the coast and - the almost permanent winter darkness. Although the merciful Gulf Stream guarantees relatively mild winters, temperature wise, here in the North Atlantic and we rarely suffer from extreme cold, winter is a tough time of year to go through. Rain, snow and hail, combined with winter darkness and the harsh Atlantic gales, can faze even the strongest.

It is therefore no wonder that the Faroese rural dean, nationalist and poet, Jákup Dahl (1878 - 1944), probably on a stroll in the hometown Vágur, was torn out of his depression by the sound of the oystercatcher's calling - and inspired to write one of the most beloved Faroese songs: "Tjaldur, ver vælkomið" - a welcome hymn to the Faroese national bird, the.

As a matter of fact, spring in the Faroe Islands is heralded, even before it physically manifests, by the arrival of the oystercatchers, from wintering in the British Isles and the French Atlantic coast. The symbolic significance of this particular bird's arrival is not only a cultural condition – the oystercatcher's first call, the characteristic “klip, klip,” also affects the instincts, the unconscious computer, which detects and combines the small signs of oncoming changes. Just like the arrival of the first lams, a couple of months later, the first calling of the oystercatcher is something that people notice and talk about.

25 June 2016

Blue-breasted Kingfisher

Blue-breasted Kingfisher (藍胸翡翠)
São Tomé e Príncipe (2015)
3rd February, 2016. São Tomé

The blue-breasted kingfisher is a tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in tropical west Africa. This kingfisher is essentially resident, but retreats from drier savanna areas to wetter habitats in the dry season.

This is a large kingfisher, 25 cm in length. The adult has a bright blue head, back, wing panel and tail. Its underparts are white, but it has a blue breast band. The shoulders are black. The flight of the blue-breasted kingfisher is rapid and direct. The large bill has a red upper mandible and black lower mandible. The legs are bright red.

The blue-breasted kingfisher is a species of a variety of well-wooded habitats. It perches quietly in deep shade whilst seeking food. It is territorial but wary. This species mainly hunts large insects, arthropods, fish and frogs, but will also eat the fruit of the Oil Palm.

It has a striking display in which the wings are spread to show the white linings. The nest is a hole in a tree termite nest. A single clutch of two round white eggs is typical.

18 June 2016

Birds of Peru

From left to right :
Groove-billed Ani (溝嘴犀鵑) ; Slender-billed Finch (細嘴雀鵐)
Peru (2014)
18th February, 2016. Lima
29th February, 2016. Hong Kong

The Groove-billed Ani  is an odd-looking tropical bird in the cuckoo family with a long tail and a large, curved beak. It is a resident species throughout most of its range, from southern Texas, central Mexico and The Bahamas, through Central America, to northern Colombia and Venezuela, and coastal Ecuador and Peru. It only retreats from the northern limits of its range in Texas and northern Mexico during winter.

The groove-billed ani is about 34 cm long, and weighs 70–90g. It is completely black, with a very long tail almost as long as its body. It has a huge bill with horizontal grooves along the length of the upper mandible. It is very similar to the smooth-billed ani, some of which have bills as small as the groove-billed and with grooves on the basal half. The two species are best distinguished by voice and range. In flight, the ani alternates between quick, choppy flaps and short glides.

The Slender-billed Finch is a species of finch-like bird traditionally placed in the Emberizidae family, but it may be more closely related to the Thraupidae. It is restricted to southwest Peru and northern Chile, and inhabits mainly riverine vegetation along coastal valleys. It has been considered endangered due to loss of habitat. Riparian thickets that were common are under pressure from logging by farm owners. Some information has indicated that it has adapted to threats using olive trees areas and other artificial habitats successfully.

11 June 2016

Historic Huts

Brown Skua (褐賊鷗)
British Antarctic Territory (2015)
17th November, 2015. Base Rothera

From left to right ;
66p : Weddell Seal (韋德爾氏海豹) ; 66p : Adelie Penguin (阿德利企鵝)
76p : Brown Skua (褐賊鷗) ; £1,01 : Antarctic Shag (南極鸕鶿)
£1,22 : Orca (虎鯨)
British Antarctic Territory (2015)
17th November, 2015. Base Rothera
29th April, 2016. Stanley, Falkland Islands

The brown skua also known as the Antarctic skua, subantarctic skua, southern great skua, southern skua, or hākoakoa (Māori), is a large seabird that breeds in the subantarctic and Antarctic zones and moves further north when not breeding. To further confuse, it hybridizes with both the south polar and Chilean skuas, and the entire group has been considered to be a subspecies of the great skua, a species otherwise restricted to the Northern Hemisphere. This is the heaviest species of skua and rivals the largest gulls, the great black-backed gull and glaucous gull, as the heaviest species in the shorebird order although not as large in length or wingspan. It is 52–64 cm in length, 126–160 cm in wingspan and has a body mass of 1.2–2.18 kg.

Base Y in Horseshoe Island was established in March 1955 and closed in August 1960. The scientific research carried out at the station included topographic survey, geology and meteorology. Extensive survey trips, often covering hundreds of miles and lasting several months, were undertaken from the station using dog sledges.

The excellent condition and completeness of both the buildings and artefacts are of considerable historical significance; together they provide a very special time-capsule of British life and science in the Antarctic during the late 1950s. There are an estimated 10,000 artefacts on site and the nearby 'Blaiklock' refuge hut is considered an integral part of the site.

It was designated HSM No. 63 in 1995. Conservation work is scheduled to start during the 2016/17 season by the UKAHT.

4 June 2016

Stanley Bustard

Stanley Bustard (黑冠鴇)
Indonesia (2015)
25th January, 2016. Lome
15th February, 2016. Hongkong

Denham's bustard is the largest species in the Neotis genus, although is smaller than the bustards in the Ardeotis genus (as well as the great bustard). The male is 9 to 10 kg and 100–116 cm, the female is much smaller at 3 to 4 kg and 80–87 cm. The back is brown, darker and plainer in the male, and the underparts are white. The neck is pale grey with an orange nape. Its grey crown is bordered with black, and a black line runs through the eye with a white line forming an eyebrow above. The long legs are pale yellow. The wings are strikingly patterned in brown, white and black, the male showing more white in flight than the female or young birds. The long legs are yellowish in color and the bill is whitish horn in colour.

The male inflates his throat when displaying to show a conspicuous balloon of white feathers. This species is usually silent.

28 May 2016

Bavarian Forest

Bavarian Forest (巴伐利亞森林國家公園)
Germany (2016)
2nd January, 2016. Bonn

Bavarian Forest is a wooded low-mountain region in Bavaria, Germany. It extends along the Czech border and is continued on the Czech side by the Šumava (Bohemian Forest). Geographically the Bavarian Forest and Bohemian Forest are sections of the same mountain range. A part of the Bavarian Forest belongs to the Bavarian Forest National Park (Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald) (240 km²), established in 1970 as the first national park in Germany. Another 3,008 km² belong to the Bavarian Forest Nature Park (Naturpark Bayerischer Wald), established 1967, and 1738 km² to the Eastern Bavarian Forest Nature Park (Naturpark Oberer Bayerischer Wald), established 1965. The Bavarian Forest is a remnant of the Hercynian Forest that stretched across southern Germania in Roman times. It is the largest protected forest area in central Europe.

Postmark features Eurasian Capercaillie (松雞), also known as the wood grouse, heather cock, or just capercaillie, is the largest member of the grouse family. The largest known specimen, recorded in captivity, had a weight of 7.2 kg. The species shows extreme sexual dimorphism, with the male twice the size of the female. Found across Europe and Asia, this spectacular ground-living forest bird is renowned for its mating display. The United Kingdom population, confined to the pine forests of Scotland, is in rapid decline and threatened with extinction. However, individuals in Northern Europe and Asia number in the millions, and therefore the worldwide population is categorised as "Least concern".

21 May 2016

Red-billed Streamertail

Red-billed Streamertail (紅嘴長尾蜂鳥)
Jamaica (1995)

26th January, 2016. Negril Resorts

The red-billed streamertail also known as the doctor bird, scissor-tail or scissors tail hummingbird, is indigenous to Jamaica, where it is the most abundant and widespread member of the hummingbird family. While most authorities now consider it a separate species, some continue to consider it conspecific with the black-billed streamertail. The red-billed streamertail is the national bird of Jamaica.

When the black-billed streamertail of eastern Jamaica is considered a separate species, the red-billed streamertail occurs west of a line from Morant Bay following the Morant River, and via Ginger House and the middle Rio Grande to Port Antonio.

The next-to-outermost rectrices of the male are 15–18 centimetres long, far longer than its bearer's body. Trailing behind the flying hummingbird like thin black streamers, these feathers make a humming sound. Females lack the elongated rectrices, and are largely white below.

These birds feed on nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue or catch small insects on the wing.

The bird is featured in Ian Fleming's James Bond short story For Your Eyes Only. The first line of the book reads, "The most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world, is the streamer-tail or doctor humming-bird."
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