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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.

31 December 2016

Endangered birds of Japan

First line :
Peregrine Falcon (擬游隼) ; Crested Serpent Eagle (大冠鷲)
White-backed Woodpecker (大赤啄木) ; Marsh Grassbird (斑背大尾鶯)

Second line :
Blakiston's Fish Owl (毛腳漁鴞) ; Cackling Goose (小加拿大雁)
Third line :
Okinawa Rail (沖繩秧雞) ; Japanese Wood Pigeon (黑林鴿)
Nordmann's Greenshank (諾氏青足鷸) ; Okinawa Woodpecker (野口啄木鳥)

Ireland (2014)
25th May, 2014. Ōhara, Iriomote

Japan is located in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Being latitudinally long, the island chain covers a wide climatic range; from the boreal to the sub-tropical climate zone. There are also two ecological lines which divide the countries flora and fauna. These are Blakiston's Line (between Hokkaido and Honshu) and the Watase's Line (southern Japan). Because of this unusual ecological background, Japan's avifauna is incredibly rich. More than 600 species have been recorded to date. Most of them are migratory (more than 60%) whilst approximately 60 species are either endemic or sub-regional endemic, including the internationally famous Okinawa Rail, Blakiston's Fish-owl, Japanese Murrelet, Red-crowned Crane, Pryer's Woodpecker and Lidth's Jay.

Birding in Japan is increasingly popular. The largest nature conservation NGO, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, has more than 53,000 members and there are more birders who do not belong to the WBS-J. Twitching is becoming more and more common. People can get to rare birds within a few hours of their discovery because of the development of the internet and mobile telephones.

24 December 2016

Lake Constance

Mute Swan (疣鼻天鵝)
Switzerland (2016)

12st May, 2016. Romanshorn

Black-headed Gull (紅嘴鷗)
Switzerland (2016)

12th May, 2015. Ermatingen

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: anyone hoping to spot a monster is going to be disappointed. Surrounded by three countries, the waters do not conceal any sea creatures in the vein of Nessie, for ex- ample. With its wealth of islands, Lake Constance is simply too idyllic for that. However, anglers near Bregenz did recently catch a huge wels catfish measuring 2.5 metres in length. Experts even suspect the existence of older and larger specimens gliding through the depths, measuring up to 3 metres in length and weighing well over 100 kilograms. But this shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying their water-sports or indulging their fas- cination with the stunning sunsets and fantastic cloud formations reflected in the enormous mirrored surface. This natural wonder consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee (upper lake), Untersee (lower lake) and Seerhein, which links the first two. The shoreline of this gem is shared by three countries. So it is no surprise that Swiss Post has chosen to pres- ent its new special stamp as a triptych.

17 December 2016

Goldfinch

Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Germany (2016)
3rd May, 2016. Berlin

Lichtenberg is the eleventh borough of Berlin, Germany. In Berlin's 2001 administrative reform it absorbed the former borough of Hohenschönhausen.

The district contains the Tierpark Berlin in Friedrichsfelde, the larger of Berlin's two zoological gardens. Lichtenberg was also the site of the extensive headquarters complex of the Stasi, the East German intelligence service. Prior to the establishment of the GDR it housed the main office of the Soviet Military Administration in Berlin, and before that it was an officers' mess of the Wehrmacht. The complex is now the location of the Stasi Museum. The Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial is on the site of the main remand prison of the Stasi. Lichtenberg is also the location of the German-Russian Museum, the historical venue of the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) on 8 May 1945.

10 December 2016

Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary (南方鶴鴕)
Papua New Guinea (2011)
25th August, 2011. Port Moresby

Presently, most authorities consider the southern cassowary monotypic, but several subspecies have been described. It has proven very difficult to confirm the validity of these due to individual variations, age-related variations, the relatively few available specimens (and the bright skin of the head and neck – the basis of which several subspecies have been described – fades in specimens), and that locals are known to have traded live cassowaries for hundreds, if not thousands of years, some of which are likely to have escaped/been deliberately introduced to regions away from their origin.

Cassowaries are closely related to the kiwis, both families diverging from a common ancestor approximately 40 million years ago.

The binomial name Casuarius casuarius is derived from its Malay name kesuari. The southern cassowary was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae, as Struthio casuarius, from a specimen from Seram, in 1758. It is now the type species of the genus Casuarius.

The southern cassowary has been described under a large number of scientific names, all of which are now considered taxonomic synonyms for the species.

3 December 2016

Nocturnal animals

Tawny Owl (灰林鴞)
Switzerland (2016)
12th May, 2016. Wildegg


Tawny Owl (灰林鴞)
Switzerland (2016)
12th May, 2016. Bern 

At night, when all good citizens make their way to bed to sleep the sleep of the just, it’s time for some creatures to really start their revels and turn our night into their day. Under cover of darkness, they go in search of their prey – silently creeping, flying and lurking – and feast on their bounty or attract potential mates to play by the light of the silvery moon. Mother Nature has equipped them well over thecourse of evolution: with an acute sense of hearing, highly sensitive sight, organs of touch, radar-like systems, their own light sources and many other aids. Swiss Post is now devoting a set of special stamps to four native nocturnal animals: the tawny owl, the garden dormouse, the European glow-worm and the hedgehog. The stamps can, of course, be used night and day.
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