21 January 2017

Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher (冠翠鳥)
Namibia (2002)
5th June, 2016. Windhoek Central

Mlachite Kingfisher is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate-related movements.

This is a small kingfisher, 13cm in length. The general colour of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face, cheeks, and underparts are rufous and white patches are on the throat and rear neck sides. The bill is black in young birds and reddish-orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

This species is common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow-moving water or ponds. The flight of the malachite kingfisher is rapid, with the short, rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

Large food items are beaten on a bough or rail; small fish and insects are promptly swallowed. A fish is usually lifted and carried by its middle, but its position is changed, sometimes by tossing it into the air, before it is swallowed head downwards. Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans are eaten.

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both birds excavate. Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached.

Three or four clutches of three to six round, white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is then a short shrill seek. The breeding song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui.

14 January 2017

The Azores - Certified by Nature

Azores Bullfinch (亞速爾紅腹灰雀)
Azores (2016)

21st June, 2016. Nordeste, Azores

Azores Bullfinch also known as the São Miguel bullfinch, or locally in Portuguese as the Priolo, is an endangered passerine bird in the true finch family. It is endemic to São Miguel Island, in the Azores archipelago of Macaronesia in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The bullfinch is now largely restricted to a small area of native laurisilva forest at the eastern end of São Miguel, 300–-800 m asl, mainly centred on Pico da Vara in the Serra da Tronqueira range, but also seasonally (September to December) around Salto do Cavalo, further westwards in the range, probably of juveniles following post-fledging dispersal. It has never been recorded from the western end of the island.

Necessary for the recovery of the Azores bullfinch is to recover the available ecological enclaves of its northern archipelago of Macaronesia. The process of decline that suffers a significant portion of the endemic Azorean flora, is favored by the expansion of invasive alien plants. The projects dedicated to save the Azores bullfinch include the restoration of original laurel forest habitat, in the eastern monteverde of São Miguel.

Azores Bullfinch (亞速爾紅腹灰雀)
Azores (2016)

16th May, 2016. Nordeste, Azores

7 January 2017

Levantine Shearwater

Levantine Shearwater (地中海海鸌)
Malta (1993, 2001)

6th July, 2011. Marsa

Shearwaters, which range from 35 to 65cm in length, nest in burrows on offshore islands and coastal hills in the North Atlantic, eastern South Atlantic, the Pacific and throughout the Mediterranean. These birds feed on fish, squid and other marine creatures while searing out at sea. Large flocks of Shearwaters are commonly seen between March and November, scavenging behind trawlers together with other sea birds. The Shearwater has a very particular call, similar to a crying baby.

This bird breeds in colonies on rocky islands and cliffs, using cavities and burrows. They are frequent breeders and their eggs hatch within 53 days. The largest colony in the Maltese Islands is found at Ta' Cenc cliffs while some pairs also breed on Comino as well as on the Fungus Rock at Dwejra Bay, Gozo.

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.



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