27 August 2016

Bailiwick Life

Atlantic Puffin (角嘴海雀)
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 (
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.
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