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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.

16 July 2016

Definitive issue 2014

30/- : Red and Yellow Barbet (紅黃擬啄木鳥) ; 35/- : Scarlet-chested Sunbird (赤胸花蜜鳥)
50/- : Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill (黃嘴犀鳥) ; 55/- : Greater Honeyguide (
黑喉響蜜鴷)
65/- : Superb Starling (栗頭麗椋鳥) ; 70/- : African Fish Eagle (吼海鵰)

80/- : Lesser Flamingo (小紅鸛)
100/- : Hadada Ibis (鳳頭朱鷺) ; 110/- : Ross's Turaco (短冠紫蕉鵑)
Kenya (2014)

16th February, 2016. Molo

Kenya has the reputation to be the number one country to visit for birds as several World records of twitching (highest bird list seen in a day, in a month...) are from this country. It is undisputably one of the best indeed: birds are numerous, generally not shy and fairly easy to find. Endemic list is not very long (see inset on the right) but Kenya is home of many beautiful and localised species. We describe a selection below: endemics, restricted range species (often shared with Tanzania) and most spectacular Eastern African specialities (often shared with Ethiopia or Somalia). Bird lists are so long that choosing either the bird to list and the photos to illustrate them is difficult!

9 July 2016

Bee-eaters of Namibia

 
From top to bottom :
Inland registered mail : European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎)
Standard mail : White-fronted Bee-eater (白額蜂虎)

N$5,70 : Southern Carmine Bee-eater (南紅蜂虎)
N$6,80 : Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (燕尾蜂虎) ; N$7,70 : Little Bee-eater (小蜂虎)

Namibia (2015)
5th February, 2016. Windhoek
26th February, 2016. Hong Kong

With their colourful aerobatics, bee-eaters are amongst the most striking of all small birds. As their name implies, bee-eaters live on bees and other flying insects, which they hawk in flight during spectacular aerial pursuits, or snatch from vegetation or the ground. Using their long, sharp, curved bills, the birds will pound stinging insects against a perch to discharge their sting before eating them. Bee-eater species vary significantly in size, yet all are relatively small birds with intricately-coloured plumage. Most bee-eaters are gregarious and roost together, as well as congregating on favourite perches that overlook ideal hunting grounds. Some species nest in large colonies, gathering in spectacular flocks during the breeding season. Some migrate to Namibia from other parts of Africa or Europe and are seen in our country only during the summer months.

 
European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎) 
Namibia (2015)
9th April, 2012. Rundi

 
Southern Carmine Bee-eater (南紅蜂虎)Namibia (2015)
9th April, 2012. Rundi/span>

 
Little Bee-eater (小蜂虎)Namibia (2015)
9th April, 2012. Rundi

2 July 2016

Sepac 2016: Seasons

Islandic Oystercatcher (冰島蠣鷸)
Faroe Islands (2016)
22th Fenruary, 2016. Tórshavn

Winter storms, drizzle and sleet, the ocean's relentless hammering on the coast and - the almost permanent winter darkness. Although the merciful Gulf Stream guarantees relatively mild winters, temperature wise, here in the North Atlantic and we rarely suffer from extreme cold, winter is a tough time of year to go through. Rain, snow and hail, combined with winter darkness and the harsh Atlantic gales, can faze even the strongest.

It is therefore no wonder that the Faroese rural dean, nationalist and poet, Jákup Dahl (1878 - 1944), probably on a stroll in the hometown Vágur, was torn out of his depression by the sound of the oystercatcher's calling - and inspired to write one of the most beloved Faroese songs: "Tjaldur, ver vælkomið" - a welcome hymn to the Faroese national bird, the.

As a matter of fact, spring in the Faroe Islands is heralded, even before it physically manifests, by the arrival of the oystercatchers, from wintering in the British Isles and the French Atlantic coast. The symbolic significance of this particular bird's arrival is not only a cultural condition – the oystercatcher's first call, the characteristic “klip, klip,” also affects the instincts, the unconscious computer, which detects and combines the small signs of oncoming changes. Just like the arrival of the first lams, a couple of months later, the first calling of the oystercatcher is something that people notice and talk about.
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