All posts by Steven Ardron

Collecting interests: completely random and utterly disorganised. My interests are stimulated more by acquiring knowledge about the birds that are featured on the stamps that attract my interest. I also like to learn about the artists that have designed the stamps. Basically, I follow what I like when I see when I see it, rather than follow a pre-determined or a defined collecting path. Not very helpful, I know. Amongst this chaos are stamps from Belgium, French Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territories, Australia and its Dependencies and Bosnia Herzegovina.

Liechtenstein – Bird Definitive Overprint

Citril Finch (Carduelis citrinella)

On 3 January 2022, Liechtenstein Post re-issued the 1.00 CHF Citril Finch stamp with a “90” overprint in black ink. The Citril Finch was one of four bird stamps that Lichtenstein Post issued in 2021.
As indicated in its first philatelic newsletter of 2022, it is some 10 years since Liechtenstein Post has used the overprinting method for revaluing its definitive stamps. The postal authority also revalued the 2.20 CHF Peacock Butterfly stamp originally issued in 2011; the Butterfly is overprinted “110”.
The two new overprinted values reflect increased prices for postage of “A” mail letters (from 1.00 to 1.10) and “B” mail letters (from 0.85 to 0.90). This is apparently the first price increase in 17 years for these letter mail categories.
Liechtenstein Post have described these stamps as “Provisional”, so presumably they will be replaced later this year with more permanent definitive stamps at 0.90 and 1.10 CHF.
The Liechtenstein Post philatelic website has made available both first day covers and maximum cards featuring the two new overprinted stamps (https://shop.philatelie.li). The overprints were also available in sheets of 20, but Lichtenstein Post has now sold out of these offerings, though you can still obtain them in single sets and in blocks of four stamps.
Liechtenstein Post describes the two stamps on the philatelic website as “self-adhesive”. I think that this is incorrect: in our parlance, the stamps are gummed. The details in the bulletin also use “selfadhesive” to mean gummed. This terminology is repeated in the French version too.
The designer of the four bird stamps was Christine Böhmwalder, about which I have not been able to learn very much, other than that she has contributed other (none bird) designs to Lichtenstein stamps.

Technical details: Width: 32mm x 38mm Height. Perforations: 12.75 x 12.75. Printer: CMYK Gutenberg AG, Schaan. Designer: Christine Böhmwalder.

National Colours In Nature

I thought that this issue from Belgium was interesting in that it is features two birds that were not designed by André Buzin:

This sheet of five stamps is designed to illustrate the colours of the national flag: Black, Red and Yellow (hence the reference to “La Nature Tricolore” in the French title for this issue).

The Miniature Sheet of five stamps is on sale at €10.70, with each stamp valued at €2.14 for non-priority domestic postage up to 100g (i.e., equivalent to second class postage here).

Technical details: Sheet dimensions: Width 165mm x 220mm Height.  Perforations: 11.5.  Printing: Offset. Printer: bpost Philately and Stamps Printing.  Designer: Marijke Meersman.

The two birds featured show:

  • Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) [Width 40mm x 50mm Height]
  • Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) [Width 30mm x 50mm Height]

The Red Junglefowl is the bird that appears on the flag of Wallonia:

This design is based upon one developed by Pierre Paulus (1913) for the region of Wallonia.

In its federal structure, Belgium has three geographical regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels Capital City Region.  The Belgian Constitution also provides for three linguistic communities: the French speaking Community, the Flemish speaking Community and a German speaking Community.

Acknowledgements: bpost for the technical details and Kjell Scharning for the Latin names. Also the Belgian Senate website for the Belgian Constitution; and the official Wallonia information site.

BIRD SYMBOLS OF CANADA

Part 12 – Yukon

Provincial Bird: Northern or Common Raven (Corvus corax)

The Canadian Government website indicates that the Yukon adopted the Northern Raven in 1985 as its Territorial Bird.   The website goes on to say:

“The Northern Raven is seen everywhere in Yukon. It is a very intelligent bird and an opportunistic feeder, feasting on everything from carrion to groceries left in the back of pick-up trucks.

The raven is the largest member of the crow family and has a body length of up to 70 centimetres.The raven is called “crow” by Yukon First Nations people and is the subject of many stories passed from generation to generation.”

There is specific legislation – the Raven Act – in which the Yukon Legislature adopted the Northern Raven as its bird: Official bird 1 The bird popularly known as the northern raven and known biologically as the common raven (Corvus corax, sub-species principalis) is adopted as the official bird of the Yukon. S.Y. 2002, c.187, s.1.”

Colombia – Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti)

Introduction

Wandering through the website last year of the World Land Trust (WLT), the international organisation and charity that exists to “protect the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats acre by acre” I came across a section that deals with threatened wildlife, including birds at risk; and the work that the WLT is doing to help support that particular species.  The one bird that caught my interest was the Blue-billed Curassow, native of northern Colombia.  This is a Critically Endangered bird, native solely to Colombia and which is threatened by human activity, notably:

  • Loss of forest habitat at a rate of between 2-7 per cent a year, through conversion to farm land (cocoa, coffee and marijuana);
  • Poaching of birds for meat and eggs as well as hunting for the pet trade;
  • Loss of habitat through gold mining activities to the East of the range. 

In short, the greatest threat to the continued existence of this bird is human economic activity.  Its habitat is now limited to five small pockets of northern Colombia, where tropical lowland forests still remain.

Bird Symbols of Canada

Part 11 – Northwest Territories (NWT)

Provincial Bird: The Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus)

The Northwest Territories adopted the Gyrfalcon in 1990 as its Provincial bird.  The Territorial Emblems and Honours Act consolidates this status:

“Bird emblem 7. The bird known ornithologically as Falco rusticolus and called “gyrfalcon” is the bird emblem of the Northwest Territories.

The Northwest Legislative Assembly website goes on to explain the characteristics of the Gyrfalcon:

“The gyrfalcon is the largest and most magnificent of the falcons and breeds throughout the tundra, including all the Arctic islands. Gyrfalcons usually winter in the North and during that season can be found anywhere in the Northwest Territories. They range in color from white through shades of grey and brown to almost black. Darker birds are more common in the NWT. Gyrfalcons eat mostly ptarmigan, but also ground squirrels, seabirds, waterfowl, and arctic hares. They are expert hunters, and extremely fast and powerful fliers.

eBird Canada suggests that the Gyr Falcon is a relatively uncommon bird, even in Canada:

“Breeds on cliffs on Arctic tundra; winters in large open areas. Never common even on breeding grounds; rare everywhere in the continental U.S.

Canada Post has issued two stamps which feature the Gyrfalcon.   The first of these was in 2003, a single design stamp that was printed as part of a self-adhesive booklet of six stamps.