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20 May 2017

Aerogramme of Giibraltar

From left to right :
Mediterranean Shag (地中海鸕鶿) ; Eurasian Hoopoe (戴勝)
Gibraltar (1992, 2008)

25th August, 2016. Gibraltar

Gibraltar has long been known as a key location for observing birds so we thought what better subject for the 2008 Definitive. The ‘Birds of the Rock’ Definitive focuses on some of the beautiful birds that grace Gibraltar’s skies.

Hoopoe breeds throughout the Mediterranean and is known to many locals as ‘Gallito de Marzo’. They are particularly noticeable around the Alameda Gardens in March during its main migration period every spring.

Mediterranean Shag is a small breeding colony of 5-8 pairs of this threatened seabird breeds in sea caves along the east side of Rock. The Gibraltar colony is possibly the only one left on mainland Iberia.

13 May 2017

Aerogramme of Vanuatu

From left to right :
Pacific Imperial-pigeon (太平洋皇鳩) ; Purple Swamphen (紫水雞)
Streaked Fantail (點胸扇尾鶲)
Vanuatu (2012)

21st September, 2016. Port Vila

The Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres has a fascinating migration story compared to the Vanuatu Petrel Pterodroma occulta which breeds on Vanua Lava while the Vanuatu Scrubfowl Megapodius layardi (Namalao), found on Ambryn Island, predominantly incubates its eggs in geothermally-heated soil. Nambiru or the Purple Swamphen Porphyrio Porphyrio has a very loud explosive call described as a "raucous high-pitched screech”. The Dark-brown Honeyeater Lichmera incana is also loud and noisy in contrast to the endemic Southern Shrikebill Clytorhynchus pachycephaloides which is a beautiful songbird. Long-tailed Triller Lalage leucopyga simillima is endemic to Vanuatu and not threatened.

The Streaked Fantail Rhipidura spilodera is also endemic on all except the smallest islands from Vanua Lava to Efate. These can be compared to the Red-bellied Fruit Dove Ptilinopus greyii, which is considered to be capable of flying between islands. Of the others, the Pacific Imperial Pigeon Ducula pacifica (locally known as Nawemba) dines on fruiting native trees; the Silvereye Zosterops lateralis has a distinctive olive coloured head and white eye-ring and the Striated Mangrove Heron Butorides solomonensis reaches only 45cm in height but has interesting behavioural traits.

6 May 2017

Antillean crested hummingbird

Antillean crested hummingbird (鳳頭蜂鳥)
British Virgin Islands (2014)

7th July, 2014. Road Town

The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a tiny hummingbird species with a small geographic range in the Caribbean, from eastern Puerto Rico through much of the Lesser Antilles. In its range, it is easily identified both by the small size and the obvious crest. In the United States it is generally unknown, although there are a handful of disputed sightings in both Texas and Florida.

Found in a variety of habitats, typically open, lowland areas such as forest edges and clearings, parks, and residential areas. Feeds on both nectar and small insects.

Forages by taking nectar from flowers, vigorously defending favored patches from rivals. They also will take insects, both by gleaning from vegetation while hovering, or by capturing insects in flight. The nest of an Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a small cup built of plant fibers and decorated with bits of moss, lichen, and other material, built within 3 to 10 feet of the ground in a shrub, vine, or other protected area. The female usually lays 2 eggs, and she alone incubates them. She alone feeds the young once they hatch. The young fledge after about 3 weeks.
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