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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.

28 January 2017

Nature conservation in Japan

From left to right :
Bonin Honeyeater (笠原吸蜜鳥) ; Ryukyu Robin (琉球歌鴝)
Short-tailed Albatross (短尾信天翁) ; Red-crowned Crane (丹頂鶴)
Japan (1975, 1976)

4th May, 2011. Tōro, Shibecha

Japanese archipelago stretches from the subtropical to subarctic zones running parallel to the eastern rim of the Eurasian Continent consists of four main islands and more than 3,900 smaller islands whose area cover almost 378 thousand square kilometers.

Rapid economic development which started in the 1960's has changed the social and economical structure and life style in Japan, particularly in Tokyo and other big cities. Huge industrial complexes have been developed and rapidly urbanized suburban areas.

Still, forest areas cover 67 percent of Japan's total land area and agricultural lands 14 percent. Because of its mountainous topographical nature, a large part of Japan is still decorated with beautiful primitive and secondary forests. Brown bears, black bears, and Japanese deer trot in forests, and golden eagles, cranes and herons glide in blue sky.

21 January 2017

Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher (冠翠鳥)
Namibia (2002)
5th June, 2016. Windhoek Central

Mlachite Kingfisher is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate-related movements.

This is a small kingfisher, 13cm in length. The general colour of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face, cheeks, and underparts are rufous and white patches are on the throat and rear neck sides. The bill is black in young birds and reddish-orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

This species is common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow-moving water or ponds. The flight of the malachite kingfisher is rapid, with the short, rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

Large food items are beaten on a bough or rail; small fish and insects are promptly swallowed. A fish is usually lifted and carried by its middle, but its position is changed, sometimes by tossing it into the air, before it is swallowed head downwards. Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans are eaten.

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both birds excavate. Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached.

Three or four clutches of three to six round, white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is then a short shrill seek. The breeding song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui.

14 January 2017

The Azores - Certified by Nature

Azores Bullfinch (亞速爾紅腹灰雀)
Azores (2016)

21st June, 2016. Nordeste, Azores

Azores Bullfinch also known as the São Miguel bullfinch, or locally in Portuguese as the Priolo, is an endangered passerine bird in the true finch family. It is endemic to São Miguel Island, in the Azores archipelago of Macaronesia in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The bullfinch is now largely restricted to a small area of native laurisilva forest at the eastern end of São Miguel, 300–-800 m asl, mainly centred on Pico da Vara in the Serra da Tronqueira range, but also seasonally (September to December) around Salto do Cavalo, further westwards in the range, probably of juveniles following post-fledging dispersal. It has never been recorded from the western end of the island.

Necessary for the recovery of the Azores bullfinch is to recover the available ecological enclaves of its northern archipelago of Macaronesia. The process of decline that suffers a significant portion of the endemic Azorean flora, is favored by the expansion of invasive alien plants. The projects dedicated to save the Azores bullfinch include the restoration of original laurel forest habitat, in the eastern monteverde of São Miguel.

Azores Bullfinch (亞速爾紅腹灰雀)
Azores (2016)

16th May, 2016. Nordeste, Azores

7 January 2017

Levantine Shearwater

Levantine Shearwater (地中海海鸌)
Malta (1993, 2001)

6th July, 2011. Marsa

Shearwaters, which range from 35 to 65cm in length, nest in burrows on offshore islands and coastal hills in the North Atlantic, eastern South Atlantic, the Pacific and throughout the Mediterranean. These birds feed on fish, squid and other marine creatures while searing out at sea. Large flocks of Shearwaters are commonly seen between March and November, scavenging behind trawlers together with other sea birds. The Shearwater has a very particular call, similar to a crying baby.

This bird breeds in colonies on rocky islands and cliffs, using cavities and burrows. They are frequent breeders and their eggs hatch within 53 days. The largest colony in the Maltese Islands is found at Ta' Cenc cliffs while some pairs also breed on Comino as well as on the Fungus Rock at Dwejra Bay, Gozo.
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