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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.

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."

14 May 2016

Ecotourism

Village Weaver (鄉村織布鳥) ; Eastern White Pelican (白鵜鶘)
Senegal (1968, 2002)

16th January, 2013. Dakar

Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial (mass) tourism. Its purpose may be to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Since the 1980s ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, so that future generations may experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention. Several university programs use this description as the working definition of ecotourism.

Generally, ecotourism deals with living parts of the natural environments. Ecotourism focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Ecotourism is intended to offer tourists insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats.

7 May 2016

Vultures of Botswana

From left to right :
P7.80 : Hooded Vulture (冠鷲) ; P5.90 : White-backed Vulture (非洲白背兀鷲)

P10.00 : Cape Griffon (南非兀鷲)
P5.00 : White-headed Vulture (白頭禿鷲) ; P4.00 : Lappet-faced Vulture (皺臉禿鷲)
Botswana (2015)
10th December, 2015. Gaborone

There are eight species of vulture in Africa of which five are found in Botswana namely Hooded, White-backed, Lappet-faced, White headed and Cape Griffon. Very rare sightings of the Egyptian Vulture have been recorded. Vultures are often the first to arrive at a carcass after a kill or the first to pick up a dead animal. One of the defining images of Africa is that of vultures sitting in trees waiting for a predator to finish feeding.

It is not uncommon to see a number of species of vultures at a carcass at the same time as there is little completion between them due to them feeding on different parts of the carcass. The beaks of each species indicate what they prefer feeding on. For example the small hooked beak of the Hooded Vulture is ideal for small crevasses to pick out titbits, whereas the large beak of the Lappet-faced allows it to feed on tougher, larger pieces.

Vulture cannot fly for long periods but they can soar for hours on thermals, and this is the reason why they only take flight when the day heats up. Vultures are predominantly scavengers but they have been known to kill their own food, with the lappet-faced often killing rodents and hares. Hooded Vultures are known to feed on insects and I have personally watched them feeding on beetles at dung heaps. Vultures were once severely persecuted when it was still mistakenly believed that they killed domestic livestock. Poisoned meat was set out which killed the vultures after they fed on it.
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