Monday, 30 May 2011

Peony of Pitcairn Islands

The Pitcairn Islands are proud to participate in China's 2011 Peony celebrations with the release of this special stamp issue.
The Peony is native to Asia, southern Europe and western North America and is China’s unofficial national flower having been voted the favourite by the people. From February to April China celebrates the Peony with huge displays throughout China especially in Luoyang, in Henan Province.

There are 25-40 species of Peony, most of which are herbaceous perennial plants growing 0.5 –1.5 metres tall, although some resemble trees up to 3 metres tall.

They have deeply lobed, glossy leaves and large, often fragrant, single or double flowers ranging from red, pink, white to even yellow.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Mount Ruapehu of New Zealand

Mount Ruapehu is the highest mountain (2797 metres) in the North Island of New Zealand. This is one of the most active volcanic regions of its kind in the world, with the massive Taupo eruption occurring in AD 186, Tarawera erupting in 1886 and Ruapehu in 1945, 1995 and 1996.
Ruapehu made headlines around the world in 1995 when it began spitting rocks and steam.This $10 definitive stamp features a striking aerial photograph of the eruption in June 1996 and has issued by the  New Zealand Post on February 12, 1997 for commemorating the eruption event.
Volcanic activity reached a peak at the end of September 1995 with plumes of ash and steam reaching heights of 19 km. Ruapehu's volcanic activity intensified again in early 1996, with a flood of mud and boulders moving down the Whangaehu River in late April. During June, moderate-sized ash eruptions occurred, with lava bombs ejected 100-500 metres above the volcano's vent.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Forests - National Park Poloniny

The Slovenko Post has issued the stamp series features the Forest  in related with the theme of Europa 2011 on May 6, 2011.The stamp is only one depicted the National Park Poloniny. 
 The National Park Poloniny is the eastern-most Slovak large protected area. It lies on the Slovak-Polish-Ukrainian border. The forests are dominant in the national park – they cover more than 90 % of the area. Those most precious ones are declared to be the national natural preserves or natural preserves to protect the old forest community. They are unique for human-impacted or only slightly impacted forests called primeval forests. It is a community where everything flows in an integrated circle. It represents the peak of natural ecosystems.

The primeval forest development has three stages. The circle of life starts at the stage of growth (forest younger than 150 years), and continues at the stage of optimum (forest of age 150 – 250) and declining of large trees with subsequent natural woods rejuvenation during the stage of decay (forest older than 250 years). 

The main wood species of the Carpathian forests is the European beech (Fagus silvatica). Together with white fir (Abies alba) they create precious beech and fir-beech communities. More than 40-meter high beeches are 200 to 250 years old. Slim, more than 50-meter high firs reach the age of 300 to 500 years.
 Primeval forests are a suitable refuge of a wide variety of animals. In the wood of the lost beeches, the larvae of precious longicorns can be found – Rosalia Longicorn and Leptura (=Strangalia) Thoracica. Amphibians are represented by Yellow-Bellied Toad, Carpathian Newt, Fire Salamander. Of the reptiles typical is Aesculapian Snake, randomly also Common European Viper can be found.


The old forests are interesting for the amount of various precious and endangered plant and animal species. Typical is Dog´s Mercury, Henbane Bell, Dentaria Glandulosa, Tozzia Carpathica, Campanula Serrata, Tiger Lilly, Scilla Kladnii.

The birds of feather include Black Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Sage Grouse, Black Stork, Ural Owl and others. There is also deer and roe buck living, of the beasts there are Northern Lynx, Grey Wolf, European Wildcat and Brown Bear. The Carpathian beech forests were recorded into the list of World Natural Heritage in 2007. The cross-border world natural heritage consists of ten separate units located in Slovakia and in Ukraine. The most famous and the biggest primeval forest is Stužica – national natural preserve above the village of Nová Sedlica. (adopted from information from Slovenko Post).

Saturday, 21 May 2011


In the past decades global warming was most evident in polar regions where it has been the cause of thawing of continental glaciers as well as floating icebergs. This situation may soon lead not only to the rise of the sea level but also to global climate changes. Warming causes not only changes of sea currents but also growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the air which are created by human activities which are often careless of the nature.
The highest rise in temperature in this century by 2 to 6 °C is expected to occur in the arctic region. Temperatures have been rising also in the Southern polar regions. Antarctic ice has been disappearing as coastal glaciers split apart from the ice shelves. Ice melting endangers also animal and plant species occurring in polar regions.
Water resources, agriculture and forest industry, energy production and human health are most affected by the global changes. The existing climatic changes should be slowed down and their impact reduced by better exploitation of energy resources and use of low carbon fuels and renewable resources. Further improvements could be brought by investments into new technologies and services and into research of polar regions.
Therefore the Czech Post to commemorate the joint project of forty countries to draw attention the protection of polar regions and glaciers as set up at the initiative of Finland and Chile by issued the miniature sheet of stamp feature the impact of global warming to the polar regions on February 11, 2009.The common symbol of all issues is a crystal designed by the Finnish graphic designer Saku Heinänen.This project is unique mainly because the initiative of the two countries found response in dozens of postal administrations in different parts of the globe who aimed to address both the peoples and governments all around the world.

Monday, 16 May 2011


The Two close countries, Serbia and Bulgaria, have chosen, for this joint issue of postage stamps, a nowadays very actual world theme - ECOLOGY.The motif of these jointly issues stamps is the Balkan Mountain landscape with birds(Scolopax rusticola- Eurasian Woodcock; Monticola saxatilis - Rufous - tailed Rock - thrush).
In the scope of this field, the Balkan Mountain with its flora and fauna proved itself to be an out - and - out stamp motif, because it represents the tight connection between two countries, which share this mountain’s wonderful natural beauties.


Scolopax rusticola- Eurasian Woodcock
The Stara planina belongs to the big Balkan mountain range which runs 530 km, from the Black Sea, on the East, to the Vrska Cuka Peak, on the West. It is part of the Carpathian - Balkan Mountain range.
The smaller, western part of this mountain is located on the territory of East Serbia. The highest peak of the Balkan Mountain is Botev (2376 m) in Bulgaria. In Serbia, the highest peak is Midzor (2169 m).

imageMonticola saxatilis - Rufous - tailed Rock - thrush
In 1997, the area of the Balkan Mountain in Serbia was declared Natural Park.
The ornithofauna of Balkan Mountains is very rich and until nowadays has 206 recorded bird species of which 104 are protected by the Bern Convention and the Regulation of the Government of Serbia on Natural Rarities Protection.

Cornflower, the Estonian National Flower

On April 7, 2000, the Estonia Post has issued one stamp features the Estonian National Flower, Cornflower. The stamp depicts the blue cornflower and a bee close to it. The more picture of conflower depicted on the First Day Cover which  issued together with the stamps.
Cornflower  or Centaurea cyanus  is a small annual flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe.Cornflower is an annual plant growing to 16-35 inches tall, with grey-green branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 1–4 cm long.
The flowers are most commonly an intense blue colour, produced in flowerheads (capitula) 1.5–3 cm diameter, with a ring of a few large, spreading ray florets surrounding a central cluster of disc florets. The blue pigment is protocyanin.
In the past Cornflowerit often grew as a weed in crop fields. Rye is one of Estonia's most important crops. Mainly rye flour is used to bake Estonia's tasty and healthy "black bread". Cornflowers have been used and prized historically for their blue pigment. Cornflowers are often used as an ingredient in some tea blends and herbal teas.The cornflower is considered a beneficial weed, and its edible flower can be used to add colour to salads.
The beautiful blue cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), in Estonian literally the rye flower, has been chosen for a national symbol since 1968 and symbolizes daily bread to Estonians. It is also the symbol of the Estonian political party,
Cornflower is now endangered in its native habitat by agricultural intensification, particularly over-use of herbicides, destroying its habitat.The conservation charity Plantlife named it as one of 101 species it would actively work to bring 'Back from the Brink'. It is also, however, through introduction as an ornamental plant in gardens and a seed contaminant in crop seeds, now naturalised in many other parts of the world, including North America and parts of Australia.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Matsalu Nature Reserve

The Estonia Post has issued  the nature reserve stamp series to devoted the effort to protect the environmental in their country. They issued 2 stamps on January 26, 1995  and introducing the Matsalu Nature Reserve depicts the greylag goose (Anser anser), another the barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis).
Matsalu Nature Reserve  or now called Matsalu National Park is a nature reserve and national park situated in Lääne County, Estonia. Matsalu National Park spans an area of 486.1 km2 (187.7 sq mi), comprising Matsalu Bay, the Kasari River delta, and surrounding areas.
Matsalu Nature Reserve is the first and so far the only wetland of international importance in Estonia. The shallow Matsalu Bay, small marine islands, extensive reed-beds, flood-plain meadows, coastal meadows and coastal pastures are favourite sites for lots of waterfowl, both as their nesting grounds and as roosting places during the migration.
Matsalu Bay is one of the most important wetland bird areas in Europe, due to its prime position on the East Atlantic Flyway. Large numbers of migratory birds use Matsalu as a staging area.Every spring over two million waterfowl pass Matsalu, of which around 1.6 million are Long-tailed Ducks.
The gerylag goose is a typical breeding bird in the Matsalu reed-bed and, in the past few years, also on the marine islands. About 300 pairs of greylag geese nest in Matsalu every year. Within the migration season, more than 1000 greylag geese stop in Matsalu.

The barnacle goose is the most significant migriting bird in the Matsalu wetland. Every year nearly 20 000 barnacle geese stop here during their spring migration, with the flocks consisting of up to 6000 individuals. Since 1981, the barnacle nests also on the islands of the Matsalu Nature reserve. The number of nesting barnacle geese has increased from year to year, reaching about 20 pairs at present.

Matsalu National Park or Matsalu National Reserve is a home for a number of endangered species, many of which are listed in the Estonian IUCN Red List, including the White-tailed Eagle of the highest conservation category, a lot of bird species of the second and third protection categories, 22 strongly protected plant species, the Natterjack Toad, and ten species of mammals of the second conservation category.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Flying squirrel

The Estonia Post has collaborated with WWF organization issued the stamp series features  the  endangered species, Pteromys volans Lendorav  or the Flying squirrel on June 27th 1994. The issuance consisted of 4 single stamps with differ face value and one First Day Cover. All issuance  stamps have marked  a logo of WWF.

The Siberian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans) is an Old World flying squirrel occurs throughout Scandinavia, Russia, across northern Asia to Siberia and south along the Pacific coast of northern China including the Korean Peninsula and northeast China. Pteromys volans is the only species of flying squirrel found in Europe.It is considered vulnerable  species  within the European Union where it is found only in Finland and Estonia.Possibly extinct in Belarus and Lithuania.


Pteromys volans have distinct, large, black eyes. The length of the head and body is 120-228 mm with a 9–14 cm long flattened tail . A female Siberian Flying Squirrel weighs about 150 grams, the males being slightly smaller on average.The coat is grey all over, the abdomen being slightly lighter than the back, with a black stripe between the neck and the forelimb. Pteromys volans do not have a membrane between their hind limbs and the base of their tail. Their limbs are relatively short and thick and their hind feet are significantly larger than their forefeet.

Pteromys volans are basically herbivores.The diet  consists of leaves, seeds, cones, buds, sprouts, nuts, berries and occasionally bird eggs and nestlings. In the summer, they feed on green plants, young branches, berries and seeds. During the winter months, P. volans consume nuts, catkins, pine cones, and pine needles.



Pteromys volans are a social species; many can be found together in a single tree. They build nests in vacant tree holes or in the junction of a branch and the trunk. Nests are often inhabited by pairs.Siberian Flying Squirrels preferentially build their nest in holes made by woodpeckers, but they may also nest in birdhouses if the size of the entrance is appropriate. The nest consists of a pile of soft materials (preferably soft beard lichen) into which the squirrel burrows. Pteromys volans or a Siberian Flying Squirrel can live up to about five years.


Siberian Flying Squirrels favor old forests with a mix of conifers and deciduous trees.It prefers mature spruce-dominated forests with a significant proportion of deciduous trees, especially aspen Populus tremula, birch Betula sp. and alder Alnus sp. They are mostly nocturnal, being most active late in the evening, although females with young may also feed during the day.They are found from lowlands to montane regions. Siberian Flying Squirrels do not hibernate, but in the winter they may sometimes sleep continuously for several days.

As shy and nocturnal animals, Siberian Flying Squirrels are seldom seen. The most common sign of their presence are their droppings, which resemble orange-yellow rice grains and are often found beneath or on top of their nest.In the summer, they are active from a half hour to an hour after sunset until dawn. Most of this time is spent searching for food.During the winter, the activity  is shorter and  consume less food.

Modern intensive forestry and logging are the major threats to this species .Pteromys volans are hunted for commercial use of their fur..Pteromys volans are preyed upon by martens, owls, ermines, and cats.The species continues to decline in many parts of its range owing to loss of old-growth mixed forests.Possibly extinct in Belarus and Lithuania.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Ice Cave of the Slovak National Park

The Slovak Post has issued the nature stamp feature the Ice Cave of the Slovak Paradise National Park on one single stamp. The issuance of the featured also in sheetlet stamp consisted of six stamps with pictures the part of the Ice Cave .

Dobšinská Ice Cave is located in the Slovak Paradise National Park in the Spiš-Gemer karst, in the cadastre of municipality Dobšiná. Cave entrance is on the northern slope of the Duča Hill at elevation of 969 m, near the village named Dobšinská Ľadová Jaskyňa.

Dobšinská Ice Cave was discovered on June 15, 1870 by Eugen Ruffiny accompanied by Gustáv Lang and Andrej Mega. The cave has been open since 1871. It was first experimentally electrically lit on July 10, 1881, then occasionally until 1887 and since 1887 it has been lit permanently. Dobšinská Ice Cave is among the largest and most important ice caves in the world; in 2000 it became the part of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage UNESCO.

The cave was formed as a part of bigger complex, the so-called Stratenská Nappe, by the river Hnilec in the Middle Triassic pale Steinalm and Wetterstein limestones, along the tectonic faults and interbed surfaces.

Dobšinská Ice Cave was formed approximately 400 thousand years ago, when the massive collapse separated it from this system. The cave obtained sack-like character with stagnation of cold air, enabling natural glaciations of the underground space.

Ice fill occurs in the form of floor ice, icefalls, ice stalagmites and columns. The ice volume reaches 110,100 m3. The cave reaches the length of 1,388 m, of these 495 m are accessible for the public.
The main part of the cave is the Great Hall. It is 72 m long, 36 - 42 m wide and 9 – 11 m high. The hall contains large quantities of floor ice, which is almost 27 m thick.


Dominant feature of the Great Hall and, at the same time, the symbol of the cave is a hollow ice stalagnate called Studňa (Well). Between 1891 and 1946, it was used for occasional skating for public.
The cave stands for the most important wintering place of various bat species. The most frequently occurring are the Whiskered Bat (Myotis mystacinus) and Brandt’s Bat (Myotis brandtii).

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