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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.

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.
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