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.

12 November 2016

Philately Week 2008

From left to right :
Snowy Plover (小環頸鴴) ; Little Egret (小白鷺)
Japan (2008)
17th May, 2016. Miyagi Sendai

Watanabe Shotei was a versatile artist and artisan of the Japanese Meiji era. At an early age he had the possibility to exhibit Japan's arts and crafts as a team member of Shibata Zeshin for the Paris World Exhibition of 1878. Later he travelled to Europe and the United States to study Western art and to exhibit Japanese arts and crafts outside of Japan.

Watanabe Shotei studied painting. Still at a young age he began to work for Shibata Zeshin who at that time was one of Japan's most renowned painters, lacquer artists and printmakers. Zeshin Shibata was selected to represent Japan at the international world exhibitions in Vienna in 1875, in Philadelphia in 1876 and in Paris in 1878.

Watanabe Shotei received the opportunity to accompany Zeshin Shibata in 1878 for the Paris World Exhibition. This lead him to further travels to the United States and to an extended stay in Paris to study Western art.

Back in Japan Shotei Watanabe followed the career scheme of Shibata Zeshin by not concentrating on one art form, but being active in a number of different art and artisan fields - printmaking, painting and making designs for Japanese cloisonné.

Also in printmaking he covered a wide field - from kuchi-e to kacho-e. Watanabe's printmaking style varies from the minimalistic approach rooted in Japanese and Chinese painting to a style that reminds us of the coming shin hanga art movement promoted by the Tokyo publisher Watanabe Shozaburo.

When the art dealer and collector Robert O. Muller passed away in 2003, he left the greatest and in the view of many art collectors and dealers also the best collection of mainly shin hanga prints that the world had ever seen. Among the shin hanga that came into the market, were also many beautiful designs made by Shotei Watanabe. They consist of kacho-e (images of birds and flowers) kept in an early shin hanga style.

5 November 2016

Madagascar Paradise-flycatcher

Madagascar Paradise-flycatcher (馬達加斯加綬帶鳥)
Madagascar (2014)
26th April, 2016. Antananarivo

The Malagasy paradise flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine, measuring 18cm in length and weighing between 12.1 and 12.3g. Males have long tail plumes, which can add as much as 18 cm to their overall length. The female is largely rufous-orange, with a black head and nape. The flight feathers on her wings are black with rufous edges, and she has a thin, light blue eyelid wattle.

This species is a regional endemic found on Madagascar, Mayotte and the Comoros islands. It is common in all native forest types except montane forest, at elevations ranging from sea level to 1,600 m. It also occurs, though less frequently, in other wooded habitats, including plantations, gardens and secondary forest.

29 October 2016

Birds of prey in Falkland Islands

Barn Owl (倉鴞)
Falkland Islands (2016)

13th January, 2016. Stanley

Birds of prey are also termed “raptors”, derived from the Latin rapere, meaning to take or seize by force. They are characterised by sharply curved bills, powerful feet with large talons, exceptional eyesight in diurnal species and specially adapted hearing in nocturnal species.

The Falkland Islands has seven species of raptor: six of these are represented in this issue; the seventh is the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura falklandica), a New World vulture.

Striated Caracara (條紋卡拉鷹)
Falkland Islands (2016)
13th January, 2016. Stanley

Peregrine Falcon (擬游隼)
Falkland Islands (2016)

13th January, 2016. Stanley

22 October 2016

Birds of Greenland

5kr. : Rock Ptarmigan (岩雷鳥) ; 10kr. : Snowy Owl (雪鴞) ; 3kr. Gyrfalcon (矛隼)
4,10kr. : Raven (渡鴉) ; 5,50kr. : White-tailed Eagle (白尾鷲)
7kr. : Great Northern Diver (普通潛鳥) ; 3,20kr. : Long-tailed Duck (長尾鴨)
4,40kr. Snow Bunting (雪鵐) ; 5,50kr. : Black Guillemot (黑海鳩)
6,50kr. : Brunnich's Guillemot (厚嘴海鴉) ; 4kr. : Snow Goose (雪雁)
7,50kr. Long-tailed Jaeger (長尾賊鷗)
Greenland (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)

14th April, 2016. Aasiaat, Iginniarfik

There are 235 different species of bird in the airspace over Greenland. Some of these birds also breed on land, they include the majestic sea eagle.

The majority of Greenland's birds are migratory birds and there are therefore only around 60 species that are regarded as permanent breeders in the country.

In addition to the birds above, a number of other birds should also be mentioned. This applies in particular to the black raven, which is probably the bird that the majority of people notice. The raven is in the crow family and breeds all over the country.

Its characteristic croaking call can be heard very clearly if you are out hiking.

The snow bunting is another very common bird that leaves Greenland in about September and returns in March. Greenland also has two species of falcon - the peregrine falcon and the gerfalcon - which are both protected species.

15 October 2016

Songbirds of Romania

From left to right :
9,10L : Bullfinch (紅腹灰雀) ; 8,10L : Bohemian Waxwing (太平鳥)
5L : Yellowhammer (黃鵐) ; 4,50L : Hawfinch (錫嘴雀)
Romania (2015)

25th April, 2016. Noluntari

Romfilatelia proposes to bird lovers and philatelists a special postage stamp issue illustrating Songbirds. Also called Oscines (from the Latin word oscine meaning songbird), these were assigned by ornithologists to the order Passeriformes, being characterized by the diversity of size and plumage.

8 October 2016

Protected wildlife in Romanian reserves

8,10L, 5L : Eastern White Pelican (白鵜鶘)
3,60L, 9,10L : Dalmatian Pelican (卷羽鵜鶘)
Romania (2015)
25th April, 2016. Voluntari

Romfilatelia recalls the richness of the natural heritage of Romania by introducing into circulation a postage stamp issue dedicated to the species of pelicans living in our country, as part of a broader topic consecrated to protected wildlife from Romanian reserves. In the Danube Delta, we can find two species: the Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) and the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus).

The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve celebrates this year its 25th anniversary. The only delta in the world entirely declared a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO world heritage site since 1991, it shelters an impressive number of pelicans from both species, these birds being declared a natural monument.

The margin of the souvenir sheet emphasizes the 25-year anniversary since the foundation of the Reserve and its belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage.

1 October 2016

Red-footed Booby

Red-footed Booby (紅腳鰹鳥)
Ascension (2016)
22th February, 2016. Georgetown

Red-footed Booby is the smallest member of the booby and gannet family at about 70 cm in length and with a wingspan of up to 1m. The average weight of 490 adults from Christmas Island was 837g. It has red legs, and its bill and throat pouch are coloured pink and blue. This species has several morphs. In the white morph the plumage is mostly white (the head often tinged yellowish) and the flight feathers are black. The black-tailed white morph is similar, but with a black tail, and can easily be confused with the Nazca and masked boobies. The brown morph is overall brown. The white-tailed brown morph is similar, but has a white belly, rump, and tail. The white-headed and white-tailed brown morph has a mostly white body, tail and head, and brown wings and back. The morphs commonly breed together, but in most regions one or two morphs predominates; e.g. at the Galápagos Islands, most belong to the brown morph, though the white morph also occurs.

The sexes are similar, and juveniles are brownish with darker wings, and pale pinkish legs, while chicks are covered in dense white down.
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