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27 June 2015

Norway birds I

European Crested Tit (鳳頭山雀)
Norway (2015)

20th January, 2015. Oslo

Here is the 600th post in this blog.

The Eurasian Blue Tit is found all over the country right up to Narvik in the north. The population is increasing; different sources estimate the number of blue tits in Norway at between 50,000 and 100,000 pairs. The blue tit is most content in ancient deciduous forest, preferably with tall trees. Here it is easier to find holes in trunks, where they build nests from moss and other soft materials. If you set up a bird box in a deciduous forest, the blue tit is one of the first to come and seek shelter, often competing with the flycatcher. The blue tit lays eggs in April/May and broods for fourteen days. After a further three weeks the young take their first flight from the nest. This playful and colourful bird stands out from the great tit as it has more blue colour on its wings, crown and tail. The blue tit is a non-migratory bird that generally also stays in Norway for the winter. It does not hoard a winter store of food, so it is a regular guest at bird tables and other feeding places.

The easily recognisable feathered crest on its head makes it straightforward to distinguish the crested tit from the other tits. The crested tit breeds in coniferous forest areas as far up as the southern part of Namdalen. It is most at home in ancient pine forest or mixed deciduous forest. It is most probably the availability of moss and lichen on the trees that makes it prefer these types of forest. As there is less food to be found there, the crested tit keeps away from newly planted areas. It never breeds in such places. The crested tit also like bird boxes and often breeds early in April, far earlier than the blue tit. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 200,000 pairs of crested tits breed in Norway, but the population varies from year to year. According to ornithologist Kjell-Ove Hauge, forestry affects living conditions for the crested tit.

Blue Tit (藍山雀)
Norway (2015)

20th January, 2015. Oslo

20 June 2015

American Redstart

American Redstart (橙尾鴝鶯)
St Pierre et Miquelon (2015)

10th March, 2015. St Pierre

The American redstart is a smallish warbler. It measures 11 to 14 cm in total length and has a wingspan of 16 to 23 cm. Its length is boosted by a relatively long tail and it is one of the lightest birds in its family. Weight is considerably less in winter than in summer. Males weigh an average of 8.6 g in summer but drop to 7.2 g in winter, while females drop even more from an average of 8.7 g to an average of 6.9 g. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 5.5 to 6.9 cm, the tail is 4.9 to 5.8 cm, the bill is 0.7 to 0.9 cm and the tarsus is 1.5 to 1.9 cm. The breeding males are unmistakable, jet black above apart from large orange-red patches on their wings and tails. Their breast sides are also orange, with the rest of their underparts colored white. In their other plumages, American redstarts display green in their upperparts, along with black central tails and grey heads. The orange patches of the breeding males are replaced by yellow in the plumages of the females and young birds. Orange and yellow coloration is due to the presence of carotenoids; males possess the red carotenoid canthaxanthin and the yellow carotenoids canary xanthophyll A and B, all of which mix together to produce an orange colour, while the females possess only the yellow carotenoids. Recent research indicates that an age and sex effect on observed color attributes of hue, brightness, and saturation exists in American redstarts, with the exception for saturation, which only showed an age effect. Their song is a series of musical see notes. Their call is a soft chip.

6 June 2015

Roseate Tern

Hong-Kong (2006)
24th July, 2014. Hong-Kong

This is the third set of definitive stamps issued by Hongkong Post since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, and the new set of Hong Kong definitive stamps, featuring the landscapes of Hong Kong Global Geopark of China, will be released on 24 July 2014. In parallel, the 2006 definitive stamps on birds, officially released on 31 December 2006, will continue to be on sale while stock lasts.

Roseate Tern is an uncommon to scarce summer visitor, breeding on rocky islets in offshore waters. It is an example of a bird which spends most of the time at sea, only coming to shore to lay eggs. At a distance, it appears mostly white apart from a black cap and a red bill. The tail is deeply forked. The breast and the belly are sometimes tinged red. Its flight is graceful, punctuated by plunges into the sea to catch fish.