18 February 2017

Definitive issue 2015 of St Helena

50p : Red-billed Tropicbird (紅嘴熱帶鳥) ; 40p : Wilson's Storm Petrel (黃蹼洋海燕)
60p : Masked Booby (藍臉鰹鳥) ; 30p : Java Sparrow (爪哇禾雀)
St Helena (2015)

23rd July, 2016. Jamestown

The avifauna of Saint Helena Island include a total of 68 species. Only one endemic species survives today, the Saint Helena plover. Several more endemics are extinct and known only from subfossil remains: the Saint Helena petrel, Olson's petrel, Saint Helena shearwater, Saint Helena crake, Saint Helena swamphen, Saint Helena dove, Saint Helena cuckoo and Saint Helena hoopoe. At least five non-endemics have been extirpated from Saint Helena but still occur elsewhere. Nine species have been introduced by humans and formed established breeding populations while many more species were introduced in the past but failed to become established. Of these, 43 species are rare or accidental visitors.

20p : Brown Booby (白腹鰹鳥) ; 5p : White Tern (白玄鷗)
10p : Zebra Dove (斑姬地鳩) ; 15p : Chukar Partridge (石雞)
St Helena (2015)

19th July, 2016. Sandy Bay

11 February 2017

National bird of Mongolia

Saker Falcon (獵鷹)
Mongolia (2013)

11th July, 2016. Ulaanbaatar

Saker Falcon is a large hierofalcon, larger than the lanner falcon and almost as large as gyrfalcon at 47–55cm length with a wingspan of 105–129cm. Its broad blunt wings give it a shadow similar to Gyrfalcon, but its plumage is more similar to a lanner falcon's.

Saker Falcons have brown upperbellies and contrasting grey flight feathers. The head and underparts are paler brown, with streaking from the breast down. Males (called sakrets in falconry) and females are similar, as are young birds, although these tend to be a duller brown. The call is a sharp kiy-ee.

Adults can be distinguished from the similar lanner falcon since the lanner is blue-grey above with a reddish back to the head. However, juveniles of the two species can be very similar although the saker falcon always has a uniformly buff top of the head with dark streaks, and a less clear pattern on the sides of the head.

A further complication is that some Asian birds have grey barred upperparts; these must be separated from lanner on size, structure, and a weaker moustache stripe. Saker falcons at the northeast edge of the range in the Altai Mountains are slightly larger, and darker and more heavily spotted on the underparts than other populations. These, known as the Altai falcon, have been treated in the past either as a distinct species "Falco altaicus" or as a hybrid between saker falcon and gyrfalcon, but modern opinion is to tentatively treat it as a form of saker falcon, until comprehensive studies of its population genetics and ecology are available.

This species belongs to the close-knit hierofalcon complex. In this group, there is ample evidence for rampant hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting which confounds analyses of DNA sequence data to a massive extent; molecular studies with small sample sizes can simply not be expected to yield reliable conclusions in the entire hierofalcon group. The radiation of the entire living diversity of hierofalcons seems to have taken place in the Eemian interglacial at the start of the Late Pleistocene, a mere 130,000–115,000 years ago; the saker falcon represents a lineage that expanded out of northeastern Africa into the interior of southeastern Europe and Asia, by way of the eastern Mediterranean region.

4 February 2017

Wildes Deutschland

Postmark : Golden Eagle (金鵰)
Germany (2016)

26th June, 2016. Zürpich

Postmark : Nightingale (夜鶯)
Germany (2016)

23rd June, 2016. Berlin

Phytogeographically, Germany is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The territory of Germany can be subdivided into two ecoregions: European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine.[37] The majority of Germany is covered by either arable land (33%) or forestry and woodland (31%). Only 15% is covered by permanent pastures. Plants and animals are those generally common to middle Europe. Beeches, oaks, and other deciduous trees constitute one-third of the forests; conifers are increasing as a result of reforestation. Spruce and fir trees predominate in the upper mountains, while pine and larch are found in sandy soil. There are many species of ferns, flowers, fungi, and mosses. Fish abound in the rivers and the North Sea. Wild animals include deer, wild boar, mouflon, fox, badger, hare, and small numbers of beaver. Various migratory birds cross Germany in the spring and autumn.

28 January 2017

Nature conservation in Japan

From left to right :
Bonin Honeyeater (笠原吸蜜鳥) ; Ryukyu Robin (琉球歌鴝)
Short-tailed Albatross (短尾信天翁) ; Red-crowned Crane (丹頂鶴)
Japan (1975, 1976)

4th May, 2011. Tōro, Shibecha

Japanese archipelago stretches from the subtropical to subarctic zones running parallel to the eastern rim of the Eurasian Continent consists of four main islands and more than 3,900 smaller islands whose area cover almost 378 thousand square kilometers.

Rapid economic development which started in the 1960's has changed the social and economical structure and life style in Japan, particularly in Tokyo and other big cities. Huge industrial complexes have been developed and rapidly urbanized suburban areas.

Still, forest areas cover 67 percent of Japan's total land area and agricultural lands 14 percent. Because of its mountainous topographical nature, a large part of Japan is still decorated with beautiful primitive and secondary forests. Brown bears, black bears, and Japanese deer trot in forests, and golden eagles, cranes and herons glide in blue sky.

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.
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