Tag Archives: New Issues 2020

St Vincent and The Grenadines

The Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

St Vincent and The Grenadines is another country with an extensive range of bird stamps.   For this March 2020 issue, I was struck by the powerful design of this miniature sheet and set of four stamps from the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation for the St Vincent and The Grenadines Postal Corporation.  I particularly like the background image, with the imposing photograph of the Black Vulture.  I also think that it is helpful too to have a commentary about the Black Vulture incorporated into the margin.

I then went to the website of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds where I found the freely available “Complete Checklist of the birds of the West Indies” in which the Black Vulture is mentioned as a “Rare Breeding Resident”, so I guess that it is conceivable that the Black Vulture might be spotted (from time to time) in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Marshall Islands

Birds Definitives Set

22 May 2020

This is more my type of stamp issue: a new definitive stamp set that will hopefully have postal usage.  The Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) has recently issued this set of five definitives for the Marshal Islands. They add to an already comprehensive list of bird stamps from this country. 

The five birds featured are:

  • $26.25 Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus)
  • $15.50 Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
  • $7.75 Long-tailed Koel (Urodynamis taitensis)
  • $0.06 [6c] Crimson Crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus)           
  • $1.45 Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

The Sacred Kingfisher has made a couple of recent appearances on the stamps of the Marshall Islands. This set of four stamps in a souvenir sheet dates from 22 May 2019.  Prior to that, there was one stamp issue in March 2019, as part of a set of six stamps on the theme of birds of the Marshall Islands.

Other countries that have issued Sacred Kingfisher stamps include Australia and New Zealand, as well as Guinea.  The bird is widely found in Oceania and is classified in the “Least Concern” category.

The Tufted Duck is a truly global bird and features on some 30 stamps from around the world.  Interestingly, a few of these issues also show the brown female, including those from Jersey, Maldives, Palau and Romania.  The Tufted Duck is also classed as being in the “Least Concern” group.

The Long-tailed Koel is one of six land birds that is a resident of the Marshall Islands.  It has a broad distribution across the islands and land masses of the Pacific Ocean. The Birdlife Data zone states that the Long-tailed Koel is in the “Least Concern” category, though the population numbers as a whole are suspected of being in decline, owing to habitat destruction, a message that is too common.   

The bird theme website shows that there are ten previous stamps featuring this bird, issued by Tuvalu, Niue, Norfolk Island as well as Micronesia and the Marshall Islands (back in 2002) and Kiribati.  One of the Tuvalu issues was for the “Kosovo Relief Fund”.  The connection between these two countries doesn’t immediately spring to mind. 

The Tongan or Crimson Crowned Fruit Dove is another bird that has featured on a dozen stamp issues from countries in the Pacific, where it is to be found. These issues include ones from Niue, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji and the Marshall Islands (in 199, 2002 and 2008).   It is in the “Least Concern” category.

The Arctic Tern is also well represented on stamps reflecting its broad geographical spread. It is another bird classed as being in the “Least Concern” category, notwithstanding that there is likely a decreasing population trend.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any information on the postal rates for the Marshall Islands Post Office. We can only hope that the odd values in this set do correspond to the real postal rates for 2020.





New Caledonia – 2020 Christmas Stamp

Masked Booby

Issued 4th November 2020

This new permanent value international postage stamp was designed by Thierry Mordant, an artist who has created many illustrations and various postage stamps for New Caledonia, France and the Principality of Monaco. On this new stamp, two masked boobies (Sula dactylatra) wearing Christmas beanie hats are engaged in the vital task of carrying traditional seasonal gifts from the shores of New Caledonia.

 These large seabirds are both striking and graceful, with their white and black plumage, yellow beaks and black masks around beak and eyes. They are quite rare within the area covered by New Caledonia’s lagoon. Masked boobies prefer to nest on remote islands and islets (Carey, Chesterfield, Entrecasteaux, Matthew and Hunter), and are expert freefalling plunge divers. They can plunge dive into deep water from a height of over 30 metres to pick off prey from schools of fish or catch large squids!

Recent Bird Stamps from Bosnia Herzegovina (BH Pošta)

Prosecuting Peacocks?

One of the consequences of the Coronavirus situation is that I am spending more time at home than I might otherwise do, primarily to “keep safe”.  Naturally, this is proving difficult to do, because I am eager to explore the county of Dumfries and Galloway, which is now my new home. 

I was sifting through my new bird stamps from Bosnia Herzegovina that had just arrived, when on the radio, I hear a story about five peacocks that have roamed the village of Henfield (West Sussex). The police had allegedly threatened these peacocks with death, following complaints from some villagers about the impact of the peacocks on gardens and property.  A rival group have got together to save the birds from extinction and to provide a more permanent home, to avoid them roaming the streets and gardens of the village. Ordinarily I would not have been at home to hear such a story.  Coincidentally, one of the stamps that I had in front of me when the radio blared out this story was the 27 March 2020 BH Pošta issue of a peacock (Pavo cristatus) in a miniature sheet format, as below:

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola Peruvianus)

Browsing through the New Issues catalogue that I receive quarterly from Yvert & Tellier, I came across this new definitive stamp issued by Serpost, the postal authority for Peru, featuring the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola Peruvianus).

There is an immediate curiosity about this stamp: in the Yvert new issues catalogue, on the left-hand side of the stamp is the name of the printer (CARTOR) and the printing date (2019). 

On the right-hand margin is a serial number: 06062. The stamps featured both on the free stamp catalogue website and on the bird theme website also share these characteristics.  In contracts, the images below, from the official Serpost website, don’t show these features.  That may just be a characteristic of the publicity information issued by Serpost for this stamp, both of the stamp and of the First Day Cover (dated 13 January 2020).    

The stamp value at 1.20 Sols is worth around £0.26, which makes me wonder if this is a make up value or has a particular postal use on its own.  Unfortunately, the tariff pages on Serpost are not available as I write this article, so I will have to do some follow up research later.

To read Steven’s full article, click here