From Japan – Fish Eagles.
This card is from lovepostcards. I enjoyed finding out about the ‘fish eagle’ and I also really like the cute stamps on this card.
The info on the back of the card – well at least the sentence that is in English – says: “Fish eagles migrate to Hokkaido to pass the winter.”
I think it looks like a Stellar’s Sea- Eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus. See pictures and further information here and let me know what you think. The Stellar’s Sea-Eagle is a very large raptor – a bird of prey – like Bald Eagles, to which it is related. It hunts during the day for salmon & trout. It will also eat other fish, small seabirds and mammals and also steals food from other birds. Its scientific name means something like ‘eagle of the open seas.’
Its territory ranges from northeast Russia to Japan and North Korea. It breeds in Russia and spends up to six months of winter on Hokkaido, which is the northern-most large island of Japan. These birds are very rare and feature in Japan’s Red Data Book There are only about 5000 of them in the world. Like many raptors they have been affected by lead poisoning due to eating the remains of animals that have been shot with lead pellets.
A further possible risk for the Stellar’s Sea-eagle is, strangely enough, wind power!!! Hokkaido is the least developed of Japan’s main islands, but is getting into wind-power in a big way. It is not completely understood how wind turbines affect migratory birds (there have been some investigations in Europe), but as well as the obvious physical risk of flying in to one, there is thought to be disturbances caused by the changed air flow and low-frequency sound produced around wind turbines.
So what a quandary. In earnest attempts to develop environmentally friendly power sources, nations may be endangering some bird species.
From Italy – Church of Madonnina in Prato
This postcard is from Manuela who lives in Italy. The city features is Varese, which is in the province on Lombardy, in the north of Italy. Varese is 55 km from Milan, but Malpensa International Airport for Milan is located there. It is quite a multi-cultural city, with workers from all over the world living there., including many who work in Milan.
Varese is best known for being the site of a UNESCO World Heritage location (something that many Postcrossers are interested in, for my readers who are not Postcrossers.) One of the nine ‘Sacred Mounts’ is located here.
The nine Sacred Mounts of Northern Italy are groups of chapels and other architectural edifices constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries, dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith. In addition to their symbolic and spiritual significance, they also possess notable characteristics of beauty, virtue and pleasantness, and they are integrated in natural and scenic environments of hills, woods and lakes. They also contain very important artistic remains (frescoes an statues)”. With this motivation, in 2003 the UNESCO registered the site “Sacred Mounts of Piemonte and of Lombardia” in its World Heritage List.
More information can be found here at the Sacri Monit website.
The building that is the focus of this postcard, however, is the Church of Madonnina in Prato. The name of the church means ‘ Madonna in the Meadow’ which is a reference to the Virgin Mary who is the mother of Jesus in the Christian faith. The church represents “one of the most authentic examples of devotional Baroque style architecture in Varese.” (Whatever that might mean! I even read a Wikipedia article about Baroque architecture, and I still don’t know.) But anyway, it looks kind of interesting. Below is a little video that I think shows some of the history of this church. If you speak Italian you will find it even more informative – I just got to look at the pictures.
From Finland –
This is a very nice card with some cute birds on it, but there is no information on the back of the card. The only thing I can’t read is PAINETTU SUOMESSA TRYCKT, but I don’t think that tells me the names of the birds. If anyone has any ideas – especially about the little family in the middle picture, please leave me a comment!