24 September 2016

Immortal Blossoms of an Eternal Spring (I)

From left to right :
NT$5 : Barn Swallow (家燕) ; NT$9 : Common Rosefinch (普通朱雀)
NT$10 : Vinous-throated Parrotbill (粉紅鸚嘴) ; NT$12 : Yellow-billed Grosbeak (黑尾蠟嘴雀)
Taiwan (2016)

29th March, 2016. Shilin

Giuseppe Castiglione is an Italian named Giuseppe Castiglione, was a native of Milan. At the age of 19 he became a Jesuit as a novitiate and studied oil painting and architecture. At 27 he went to China and was called to the court, serving as a painter under three emperors: Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong. Skilled in figure and bird-and-flower subjects (particularly horses and dogs), his style combined Western techniques (such as perspective and modeling) with traditional Chinese methods. This blending resulted in colorful works with realistic forms.

Each of the sixteen leaves of flowers in the seasons from this album includes rock, bird, or plant motifs. Though the subjects are from life, the compositions are exquisite, each part in harmony for a rare masterpiece fusing Chinese and Western art.

17 September 2016

Sunbirds of South Africa

From left to right :
Lemon-breasted Seedeater (檸檬黃胸絲雀)
Neergaard's Sunbird (尼氏花蜜鳥) ; Plain-backed Sunbird (純背食蜜鳥) ; 
Collared Sunbird (環頸直嘴太陽鳥)
White-breasted Sunbird (白腹花蜜鳥) ; Dusky Sunbird (暗色蜜鳥)
South Africa (1996, 2012)
17th February, 2016. Pretoria

South Africa ranks as one of the top birding destinations in the world, offering an unbeatable combination of variety of birds, well developed transport systems, and a user-friendly and supportive birding tourism industry.

Birders from around the world come to experience both the great variety of typically African birds, migrants, and endemics - those birds found only in South Africa. These birders enjoy excellent birding, whether they are with an organised commercial birding tour or are touring independently.

Of the 850 or so species that have been recorded in South Africa, about 725, or 85%, are resident or annual visitors, and about 50 of these are endemic or near- endemic to South Africa, and can only be seen in the country.

Apart from the resident birds, South Africa hosts a number of African migrants such as cuckoos and kingfishers, as well as birds from the Arctic, Europe, Central Asia, China and Antarctica during the year.

10 September 2016

Red-billed Streamertail

Red-billed Streamertail (紅嘴長尾蜂鳥)
Jamaica (1995)
26th January, 2016. Negril

Red-billed streamertail also known as the doctor bird, scissor-tail or scissors tail hummingbird, is indigenous to Jamaica, where it is the most abundant and widespread member of the hummingbird family. While most authorities now consider it a separate species, some (including the American Ornithologists' Union) continue to consider it conspecific with the black-billed streamertail. The red-billed streamertail is the national bird of Jamaica.

When the black-billed streamertail of eastern Jamaica (found mostly in the parish of Portland) is considered a separate species, the red-billed streamertail occurs west of a line from Morant Bay following the Morant River, and via Ginger House and the middle Rio Grande to Port Antonio.

The next-to-outermost rectrices of the male are 15–18 centimetres (6–7 in) long, far longer than its bearer's body. Trailing behind the flying hummingbird like thin black streamers, these feathers make a humming sound. Females lack the elongated rectrices, and are largely white below.

These birds feed on nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue or catch small insects on the wing.

The bird is featured in Ian Fleming's James Bond short story For Your Eyes Only. The first line of the book reads, "The most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world, is the streamer-tail or doctor humming-bird."

3 September 2016

Matt Sewell’s Birds

Atlantic Puffin (角嘴海雀)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

The 10 iconic illustrations from the celebrated artist and ornithologist showcase the diverse range of birdlife the British Isles, including the Isle of Man. Recreated from the original water colours, the images include many popular species, but we are especially pleased that this set of stamps includes the Manx Shearwater as an exclusive design.

Matt will be familiar to some as former artist-in-residence on the BBC’s Springwatch Unsprung and his appearances on Countryfile, but his work has reached a global audience through a series of books, publications like the Guardian and The Big Issue and exhibitions in London, Manchester, New York, Tokyo and Paris.

As someone who admits to having been obsessed with birds for as long as they can remember, an invitation to see what Manx shores had to offer was too good to miss for Matt, and didn’t disappoint.

The Isle of Man is home to dozens of species including fittingly given the subject of Matt’s new book, many seabirds. Numbered among them is the Manx Shearwater, a bird once threatened with a severe decline in numbers which is now once again on the increase. Matt’s Shearwater illustration is a wonderful and exclusive addition to this set.

Matt has also written text to accompany the stamp, explaining his lifelong love of birds, how he began drawing them and offering often whimsical descriptions of the species featured. He also talks about his conservation work with charities fighting to protect under-threat bird habitats.

Common Pheasant (雉雞)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

Blue Tit (藍山雀)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

European Robin (知更鳥)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

Common Starling (椋鳥)
Isle of Man (2016)
24th March, 2016. Isle of Man

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.
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