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26 April 2014

Floodplain in the Lower Oder Valley

White Stork (白鸛)
Germany (2014)
12th February, 2014. Mühlau

The Lower Oder Valley International Park is a shared German-Polish nature reserve. It comprises the western banks of the Oder river within the Uckermark district in the German state of Brandenburg as well as the steep eastern banks in the Gryfino and Police counties of the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship further north.

The German part of the core area is the Nationalpark Unteres Odertal (Lower Oder Valley National Park). There is an information centre at Criewen. The Polish part of the core area is the Park Krajobrazowy Dolina Dolnej Odry (Lower Odra Valley Landscape Park). The area comprises 165 km2 (64 sq mi) (Germany 105 km2 (41 sq mi), Poland 60 km2 (23 sq mi)); together with adjoining nature reserves in Germany and Poland the total area is 1,172 km2 (453 sq mi). By decision of the German-Polish Environmental Council in 1992 the German, Polish and Brandenburg environment ministers as well as the voivode of Szczecin created the Lower Oder Valley International Park.

19 April 2014

White-tailed Eagle

White-tailed Eagle (白尾鷲)
Iceland (2014)
16th January, 2014. Reykjavík

The White-tailed Eagle is the largest bird in Iceland and among the rarest breeding birds in the country. The late 19th century saw a dramatic decline in the number of breeding pairs due to organised persecution. Until 1905, rewards were offered for shooting the eagle in Iceland. Since Januar 1st 1914, the year Iceland gained Homerule, the eagle has been strictly protected. In the last thirty to forty years, the population has tripled, but the eagle is still on the list of endangered species. The Icelandic eagle is genetically different from other stocks except the Greenland one. In the past eagles bred all over the country, but its habitat in Iceland i s now largely confined to Breiðafjörður and the West Fjords.

12 April 2014

Swinhoe’s Pheasant

Swinhoe’s Pheasant (藍腹鷳)
Taiwan (2014)
20th February, 2014. Sanchong

The Swinhoe’s pheasant is a member of the Phasianidae family and is a protected species endemic to Taiwan. A quick and nimble bird, it inhabits the floor of broadleaf forests between 300 and 2,300 meters in elevation. This pheasant has a small population in a limited range which is shrinking due to habitat degradation. Logging is a problem. Some populations are secure within protected areas, but others may be declining. It was hunted in the past and some populations were extirpated in the 1960s and 1970's. Today its global population is estimated to be over 10,000 individuals.

Swinhoe’s Pheasant (藍腹鷳)
Taiwan (2014)
14th March, 2014. Maolin

Swinhoe’s Pheasant (藍腹鷳)
Taiwan (2014)
14th March, 2014. Heping District, Taichung

5 April 2014

Antarctic food web

Adelie Penguin (阿德利企鵝)
Ross Dependency (2013)
14th February, 2014. Christchurch

This issue highlights one of the marvels of Antarctica: its ‘food web’, which enables a vast array of wildlife to find the sustenance they need to survive. The key to its success – and the element that enables every one of these animals to endure – is a tiny, delicately pink crustacean called krill.

The Adélie penguin – named in 1840 by French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville after his wife, Adélie – is one of only two species found on the Antarctic mainland; the other is the much larger emperor penguin. Easily recognised with its blue-black back and white chest and belly, the Adélie is a highly efficient hunter, with flippers that enable it to dive to depths of 175 metres in search of food.

One of only three bird species that breed exclusively in Antarctica, and the only one of its kind with pure white plumage, the snow petrel grows to about 40 centimetres long and can live for up to 20 years. The name ‘petrel’ derives from the story of Peter the Apostle and his walking on water – a reflection of the bird’s appearing to run on the water to take off.

Left : Lesser Snow Petrel (雪鸌) ; Right : Adelie Penguin (阿德利企鵝)
Ross Dependency (2013)
14th February, 2014. Christchurch
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