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27 May 2017

Treasures from German Museums

Demoiselle Crane (蓑羽鶴) ; Red-billed Toucan (紅嘴巨嘴鳥) and
Black Crowned-Crane (黑冕鶴)
Germany (2017)

2nd January, 2017. Bonn

The French court painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) set the vain beauty contest of three feathered opponents in his painting "Pfefferfresser, Jungfern- und Haubenkranich" (1745). The master of the exotic animal portrait does not only understand the virtuoso play with color and light. Experts also attest to a subtle and nuanced approach to his "models", which gives these almost human traits. On the threshold of Rococo at the time of the Enlightenment animals were also given a soul in animals.

Oudry, one of the most important painters of his time and a respected figure in the cultural life of Paris, studied the behavior of animals in nature. As court painter of Louis XV. He specialized in dramatic jazz scenes, which belonged to the king's favorite subjects. Famous is his zoologically accurate depiction of the exotic animals in the royal menagerie - especially the life-size picture of the Indian rhino lady "Clara". For about 25 years Oudry worked for the French court and made a name for himself all over Europe. Until his death, he created around 1000 paintings and 3000 drawings.

The impressive painting by Clara was shown in the Paris Salon in 1749, and in 1750 by Duke Christian Ludwig II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, together with a series of menagerie paintings. Around 56 drawings by the celebrated court painter went into the possession of the Schweriner Hof, so that today a closed collection of Oudry's works is still located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. With 34 paintings - among them "pepper-eaters, gannets and caterpillars" - and about forty manuscripts, Schwerin owns the worlds largest collection of the French animal painter. The menagerie paintings were moved from Staatliche Museum Schwerin to the baroque palace Ludwigslust in 2016, 35 kilometers south of the state capital.

20 May 2017

Aerogramme of Giibraltar

From left to right :
Mediterranean Shag (地中海鸕鶿) ; Eurasian Hoopoe (戴勝)
Gibraltar (1992, 2008)

25th August, 2016. Gibraltar

Gibraltar has long been known as a key location for observing birds so we thought what better subject for the 2008 Definitive. The ‘Birds of the Rock’ Definitive focuses on some of the beautiful birds that grace Gibraltar’s skies.

Hoopoe breeds throughout the Mediterranean and is known to many locals as ‘Gallito de Marzo’. They are particularly noticeable around the Alameda Gardens in March during its main migration period every spring.

Mediterranean Shag is a small breeding colony of 5-8 pairs of this threatened seabird breeds in sea caves along the east side of Rock. The Gibraltar colony is possibly the only one left on mainland Iberia.

13 May 2017

Aerogramme of Vanuatu

From left to right :
Pacific Imperial-pigeon (太平洋皇鳩) ; Purple Swamphen (紫水雞)
Streaked Fantail (點胸扇尾鶲)
Vanuatu (2012)

21st September, 2016. Port Vila

The Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres has a fascinating migration story compared to the Vanuatu Petrel Pterodroma occulta which breeds on Vanua Lava while the Vanuatu Scrubfowl Megapodius layardi (Namalao), found on Ambryn Island, predominantly incubates its eggs in geothermally-heated soil. Nambiru or the Purple Swamphen Porphyrio Porphyrio has a very loud explosive call described as a "raucous high-pitched screech”. The Dark-brown Honeyeater Lichmera incana is also loud and noisy in contrast to the endemic Southern Shrikebill Clytorhynchus pachycephaloides which is a beautiful songbird. Long-tailed Triller Lalage leucopyga simillima is endemic to Vanuatu and not threatened.

The Streaked Fantail Rhipidura spilodera is also endemic on all except the smallest islands from Vanua Lava to Efate. These can be compared to the Red-bellied Fruit Dove Ptilinopus greyii, which is considered to be capable of flying between islands. Of the others, the Pacific Imperial Pigeon Ducula pacifica (locally known as Nawemba) dines on fruiting native trees; the Silvereye Zosterops lateralis has a distinctive olive coloured head and white eye-ring and the Striated Mangrove Heron Butorides solomonensis reaches only 45cm in height but has interesting behavioural traits.

6 May 2017

Antillean crested hummingbird

Antillean crested hummingbird (鳳頭蜂鳥)
British Virgin Islands (2014)

7th July, 2014. Road Town

The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a tiny hummingbird species with a small geographic range in the Caribbean, from eastern Puerto Rico through much of the Lesser Antilles. In its range, it is easily identified both by the small size and the obvious crest. In the United States it is generally unknown, although there are a handful of disputed sightings in both Texas and Florida.

Found in a variety of habitats, typically open, lowland areas such as forest edges and clearings, parks, and residential areas. Feeds on both nectar and small insects.

Forages by taking nectar from flowers, vigorously defending favored patches from rivals. They also will take insects, both by gleaning from vegetation while hovering, or by capturing insects in flight. The nest of an Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a small cup built of plant fibers and decorated with bits of moss, lichen, and other material, built within 3 to 10 feet of the ground in a shrub, vine, or other protected area. The female usually lays 2 eggs, and she alone incubates them. She alone feeds the young once they hatch. The young fledge after about 3 weeks.

29 April 2017

Birds of prey, Singapore

From left to right :
White-bellied Sea Eagle (白腹海鵰) ; Brahminy Kite (栗鳶)
Black-winged Kite (黑翅鳶) ; Changeable Hawk Eagle (鳳頭鷹雕)
Singapore (2016)

21st September, 2016. Toa Payoh Central

Changeable Hawk Eagle is well established in Singapore. Its name reflects its occurrence in two different colour morphs – dark and light. It is a mid-sized raptor and a forest edge bird, with typically broad wings and a relatively small wingspan. It feeds on small- to large-sized birds, mammals – up to the size of small macaques, and reptiles.

White-bellied Sea Eagle is one of Singapore’s largest native raptor. It is seen frequently gliding over reservoirs and woodland areas and adult birds can be identified easily by their pure white lower bodies. It hunts fish, sea snakes, terrapins, frogs, rats and fruit bats.

Brahminy Kite is a highly adaptable raptor. It is common in Singapore and distinguished easily by a contrasting combination of an auburn-brown body with a grey-white head. Unlike other kites, it has a round, instead of a forked, tail. It feeds mostly on garbage from the surface of the sea. It also eats small crustaceans, frogs, rats, shellfish and fish.

Black-winged Kite is a medium-small raptor found mostly in grassland areas. It can be recognised by its red eyes and its light grey plumage that has a black patch on each wing. It hunts usually from a perch but is also capable of hovering like the kestrel species. In this, it is unique among kite species. It feeds mostly on rodents and insects.

From left to right :
White-bellied Sea Eagle (白腹海鵰) ; Brahminy Kite (栗鳶)
Black-winged Kite (黑翅鳶) ; Changeable Hawk Eagle (鳳頭鷹雕)
Singapore (2016)

21st September, 2016. Philatelic Bureau

22 April 2017

Red-billed Leiothrix

Red-billed Leiothrix (紅嘴相思鳥)
China (2016)

9th August, 2016. Longdong, Guangzhou

Red-billed Leiothrix is native to the Indian subcontinent. Adults have bright red bills and a dull yellow ring around their eyes. Their backs are dull olive green, and they have a bright yellow-orange throat with a yellow chin; females are somewhat duller than males, and juveniles have black bills. It has also been introduced in various parts of the world, with small populations of escapees having existed in Japan since the 1980s.

The species usually found in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Burma and parts of Tibet. This species is a bird of the hill forests, found in every type of jungle though it prefers pine forests with bushes. It has also been found at elevations ranging from near sea level to about 7,500 feet.

The species was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1918 and spread to all the forested islands except Lanai. Its population on Oahu crashed in the 1960s and it disappeared from Kauai, but is now common and increasing on Oahu. The leiothrix was released in Western Australia but it failed to become established. This species was also introduced in Great Britain but permanent establishment was unsuccessful. It was introduced to France, where it is now established in several areas, and Catalonia where it is increasing and spreading from the Collserola Park.

15 April 2017

Varity events in Germany

Bird of the year 2016 :
Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Germany (2016)

11th September, 2011. Neckarwestheim

50th anniversary of BSV :
Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Germany (2016)

6th November, 2011. Gaildof

150th anniversary of Post in Haiteebach :
Common Cuckoo (普通杜鵑)
Germany (2017)

15th January, 2017. Haiteebach

8 April 2017

Bird definitive series (3) of Slovenia

€0,25 : European Green Woodpecker (綠啄木鳥) ; €0,30 : European Honey Buzzard (鵰頭鷹)
€0,50 ; Hazel Grouse (花尾榛雞), €0,75 : Firecrest (火冠戴菊)
€1,00 : European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎)
Slovenia (2016)

27th May, 2016. Maribor

European Green Woodpecker is one of the largest members of the woodpecker family, growing to a length of 30–33 cm. Its habitat consists of open areas with some trees, preferably old orchards. The female lays clutches of five to seven eggs in unlined tree cavities. It feeds on insects, especially ants, and therefore spends a lot of time on the ground hunting food with the help of its remarkably long tongue. It is a widely distributed species in Slovenia and a common species throughout the year.

European Honey Buzzard lives in open deciduous and mixed woodland bordering pastures and meadows. It usually builds its nest high in a tree and will frequently occupy the abandoned nest of other birds. The female lays one clutch of one to three eggs. It feeds on wasp larvae, adult wasps and bees, and also on amphibians and birds. The European honey buzzard is a summer species that migrates via Gibraltar, Sicily and the Bosporus to southern Africa. It is a relatively common nesting species in Slovenia.

Hazel Grouse is one of the smaller members of the grouse family, growing to a length of 35–37cm. It lives in coniferous and mixed forests with some undergrowth and, unlike the other members of the family, remains within a very small area, of just a few hundred square metres, throughout the year. It lives in pairs and is very shy, and therefore difficult to observe. The female lays clutches of six to ten eggs and both parents care for the chicks. The hazel grouse feeds on a variety of plant food (buds, shoots and seeds). It is relatively widely distributed in Slovenia and is found in all mountainous areas.

Common Firecrest is one of two members of the kinglet family found in Slovenia, it grows to a length of 8.5–9cm and weighs barely more than 5.5 g. Its habitat consists of coniferous and mixed forest, where it tirelessly hunts tiny insects among the needles and leaves of trees. It builds a bowl-shaped nest high up in a tree, where the female lays between seven and eleven eggs. Each female lays two clutches. A relatively common summer species in Slovenia, individual specimens also remain over the winter in southern areas.

European Bee-eater iswonderfully coloured member of the bee-eater family grows to a length of 27–29 cm. Its preferred habitat is open areas with clayey or sandy cliffs in which to dig a breeding burrow. The European bee-eater nests in colonies. The female lays clutches of four to seven eggs and both parents incubate and care for the chicks. Bee-eaters are aerial hunters of prey consisting of the larger insects, such as dragonflies, and also bees. This summer species migrates south in autumn. It is a very rare nesting species in Slovenia.

1 April 2017

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl (穴鴞)
Aruba (2016)
25th July, 2016. Oranjestad

Burrowing Owl is a small, long-legged owl found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. It can be found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts, or any other open dry area with low vegetation. They nest and roost in burrows, such as those excavated by prairie dogs. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are often active during the day, although they tend to avoid the midday heat. But like many other kinds of owls, burrowing owls do most of their hunting from dusk until dawn, when they can use their night vision and hearing to their advantage. Living in open grasslands as opposed to the forest, the burrowing owl has developed longer legs, which enables it to sprint as well as fly when hunting.

Adults have brown heads and wings with white spotting. The chest and abdomen are white with variable brown spotting or barring, also depending on the subspecies. Juvenile owls are similar in appearance, but they lack most of the white spotting above and brown barring below. The juveniles have a buff bar across the upper wing and their breast may be buff-colored rather than white. Burrowing owls of all ages have grayish legs longer than those of other owls.

25 March 2017

Birds of Georgia

1,0L : Little Bustard (小鴇) ; 0,6L : Caucasian Black Grouse (高加索黑琴雞)
0,4L : Grey Partridge (灰山鶉)
Gambia (2011)

29th July, 2016. Akhaltsikhe

Georgia is located at the edge of Asia and Europe. Georgia is a country of exceptional beauty: diverse in nature, with rich and ancient history. The country is mostly complex and mountainous. The highest peak is 5201m (peak Shkhara) above sea level. Due to Georgia's specific geographic location, on a relatively small territory (69,700 square km.) there are extremely diverse ecosystems from Alpine meadows to semi-deserts, wetlands, costal landscape, numerous lakes and rivers, caves, magnificent mountain-chains and peaks covered with eternal snow.

In Georgia there are several spectacular birdwatching locations, with very different characteristics. Each of them is interesting in terms of species composition. On a relatively small territory there is a multitude of diverse ecosystems. This is very favorable for bird watching, as in a short period of time and in area very close to each other it is possible to see birds from totally different habitats.

Birders tend to target the 'big five' species: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Caucasian Chiffchaff but other regional specialties including: Twite (interior Asian form - a potential split), Red-fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, Citrine Wagtail, White-winged Snowfinch, Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Chukar, Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Greenish Warbler, Barred Warbler, Alpine Accentor, Common Rosefinch and dozens of other species.
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