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Due to heavy reconstruction of this webpage, this blog is temporary suspended to renew in this summer, it will be updated again after late-autumn, thank you for your visits in these 9 years.

27 February 2016

Nias Myna

Nias Myna (尼亞鷯哥)
Indonesia (2015)
5th November, 2015. Jakarta

Nias Myna is endemic to the island of Nias in South East Asia and other nearby islands off western Sumatra.

The number of Nias Hill Mynahs has declined substantially in the wild due to trapping for the illegal pet trade and loss of habitat from deforestation. In a bird survey of Nias Island in 1990, Dymond failed to find any Nias Mynas in a 17 day stay.

They are now not available for the pet markets or importing, and are now protected.

This is a large stocky myna, averaging 30 - 36 cm or 12 - 40.5 cm or 14 inches in length. They weigh approximately 400 grams or 14 oz. It is significantly larger than the Common Hill Myna and much larger than the Greater Indian Hill. In fact, it is the largest of all the Hill mynahs.

The Nias Myna has a mainly purple-glossed black plumage. It has bright orange-yellow patches of naked skin and large fleshy yellow wattles (loose folds of skin) on the side of its head and nape. There are large white wing patches which are obvious in flight.

The massive bill is mainly red, and the strong legs are bright yellow.

20 February 2016

Norway birds II

 
 White Wagtail (白鶺鴒)
Norway (2015)
3rd October, 2015. Oslo


King Eider (王絨鴨)
Norway (2015)
3rd October, 2015. Oslo

 
Common Eider (歐絨鴨)
Norway (2015)
3rd October, 2015. Oslo

 
Northern Wheatear (穗䳭)
Norway (2015)
3rd October, 2015. Oslo

King Eider is species of the duck family is a little smaller than the common eider, but is more colourful.

It mainly keeps to the polar areas of North America and Russia but also breeds in the northernmost areas of Norway. Even though the majority of the king eider population spends the winter in the Barents Sea, up to 100,000 individuals winter on the windswept edges of the islands off the coast of Northern Norway. The king eider is a capable diver that brings up molluscs , cray­fish and sea urchins from depths of 40 to 60 metres.

Common eider is the largest of our diving ducks and can weigh up to three kilos. The eggs hatch after almost a month of brooding, and after two to three months the young are able to fly. The common eider is a powerful diver who can bring up mussels and seafood from depths of 50-60 metres. It is first and foremost a coastal bird, and many along the coast used to make a nice extra income from harvesting eiderdown. It takes the down from 60-70 nests to produce one kilo of cleaned down, so it’s no surprise that duvets and pillows filled with eiderdown became so exclusive!

For most people the White Wagtail is a sure sign that spring has arrived. This is not just because it is happy and optimistic, but also because it is faithful - the same pair often return year after year. Countless stories tell of white wagtail couples who come back in the spring and «greet»f amilies in the neighbourhood. The white wagtail is equally content on the coast as high in the mountains. Its nest is often found under rocks or other places with a «roof». The eggs hatch after two weeks, and fourteen days later the young leave the nest.

The Northern Wheatear is most comfortable on the ground, where it often builds its nest in walls or on rocky scree. It is found both in the mountains and far north in the country - a few nesting pairs have even made their way as far as Svalbard. It is estimated that between one-half and one million pairs of northern wheatears have their breeding grounds in Norway. The northern wheatear winters in Africa. Southerly migration begins as early as August/September, but by March/April it is back on its rocky scree.

13 February 2016

Albatrosses

70p : Black-browed Albatross (黑眉信天翁) ; 80p : Grey-headed Albatross (灰頭信天翁)
£1,00 : Light-mantled Albatross (淡額黑信天翁) ; £1,25 : Wandering Albatross (漂泊信天翁)
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (2015)

10th January, 2015. King Edward Point

As a group, albatrosses are the most endangered family of birds in the world with 15 of the 22 species listed by IUCN as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered. South Georgia supports internationally important populations of four species of albatross, including the world’s largest populations of grey-headed and, probably, light-mantled albatross, the second largest population of wandering albatross and the third largest population of black-browed albatross.

On South Georgia, the majority of albatross breeding sites are found on offshore islands at the northern and southern extremes of mainland South Georgia (and Annenkov Island); the exception being the light-mantled albatross, which are scattered across the entire Island. Bird Island, off the northern tip of South Georgia, is the most significant breeding site for albatrosses in the archipelago and home to one of the two British Antarctic Survey bases on the islands.

Since the 1970s, annual counts of all wandering albatross nests and selected study colonies of black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses have shown a steady decline in the populations of all these birds. Island wide censuses in the 1980s were repeated in 2003/04 and confirmed the declining trend throughout the Islands. It is believed that the major threats to these species are encountered at-sea, many birds are known to be killed in longline and trawl fisheries throughout the southern hemisphere. Although there are fisheries within the SGSSI Marine Protected Area, strict mitigation measures are used to reduce seabird mortality to minimal levels. However, albatrosses travel vast distances to feed or overwinter in other regions, where they are exposed to numerous fisheries that are not so strictly regulated.

6 February 2016

Birds of Moldova

From left to right :
Bohemian Waxwing (太平鳥) ; Blue Tit (藍山雀)
Moldova (2015)
28th September, 2015. Chişinău

Bohemian Waxwing is a starling-sized passerine bird that breeds in the northern forests of Eurasia and North America. It has mainly buff-grey plumage, black face markings and a pointed crest. Its wings are patterned with white and bright yellow, and some feather tips have the red waxy appearance that give this species its English name. The three subspecies show only minor differences in appearance. Females are similar to males, although young birds are less well-marked and have few or no waxy wingtips. Although the Bohemian waxwing's range overlaps those of the cedar and Japanese waxwings, it is easily distinguished from them by size and plumage differences.

Blue Tit is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. The bird is easily recognisable by its blue and yellow plumage, but various authorities dispute their scientific classification. It usually resident and non-migratory birds, are widespread and a common resident breeder throughout temperate and subarctic Europe and western Asia in deciduous or mixed woodlands with a high proportion of oak. They usually nest in tree holes, although they easily adapt to nest boxes where necessary. Their main rival for nests and in the search for food is the larger great tit.

Blue Tit prefers insects and spiders for its diet. Outside the breeding season, they also eat seeds and other vegetable-based foods. The birds are famed for their skill, as they can cling to the outermost branches and hang upside down when looking for food.
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