Monday, 31 October 2011

Australian Beaches - International Stamps

Australian Beaches are beautiful  and  inherent with “ 3 S”, Sun, Sand  and Surf . Australia is  renowned for these, and three of its most beautiful beaches are shown on these stamps that issued by Australia Post on June 28, 2011. The stamps designed by Janet Boschen. 

imageBay of Fires, Tasmania
The Bay of Fires in north-eastern Tasmania is located within Mt William National Park. The rocks and stones along the beach are visible reminders of the land bridge once connecting Tasmania to the mainland. It was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux, in 1773, when he noticed numerous fires along the coast. 

Cape Tribulation, Queensland
Cape Tribulation, in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in northern Queensland, is in one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. The Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of this area. The Cape was named by Lieutenant James Cook after his ship, Endeavour, was holed on a reef in 1770.

Hellfire Bay, Western Australia
Hellfire Bay is located east of Esperance in Cape Le Grand, one of Western Australia’s best known and most spectacular national parks. The park is named after Le Grand, an officer of the L’Esperance, one of the ships in a French expedition that sailed in 1792. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

“Nature Heritage Objects of Lithuania - THE STONE OF PUNTUKAS”


The Puntukas Stone is the second-largest, but the best known and visited boulder in Lithuania brought by glaciers from Scandinavia, which covered Lithuania during the last glacial period dating back almost 20 thousand years. 

The boulder stranded on the bank of the Šventoji River in a short distance from Anykščiai. A block of rapakivi (crumbly Finnish granite) measuring more than 7 metres in length and width, almost 6 metres in height (one and a half metres underground) weights 265 tons. It is believed that the ancient Balts performed religious rituals at Puntukas

In the middle of 20th century within the years 1942-1943, to commemorate in Lithuania the 10th anniversary of transatlantic flight performed by Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas, the sculptor Bronius Pundzius engraved the portraits of the pilots and the quotes from their last will dedicated to the young State of Lithuania turning the stone into a unique monument of culture.

The souvenir sheet consist of one single stamp featured the Puntukas Stone with background of forest. This sheet has designed by H. Ratkevičius. and issued on August 20, 2010.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Nature Protection: Šumava - UNESCO Biosphere Reserve


The Šumava Biosphere Reserve is to preserve the typical Šumava landscape and all of its traditional elements including the way of its cultivation. The biosphere reserve is located in the mountain area along the Austrian and Bavarian borders with the Czech Republic. The entire region was affected by human activities (such as gold mining, glass industry) and frequently used from as early as the 10th century. Šumava is also the last big central European area with an extensive way of using. The area abounds in ancient mountain forests, lakes of glacial origin, peat bogs, rivers and their canyons and similar values that have been preserved until the present day.

Unlike the Šumava National Park with a higher percentage of forest (83.8%), forests (flower and acidophilic beech woods, mountain spruce woods, wetland pine woods) are present in more than 65% of the Šumava Biosphere Reserve. Local peat bogs are clearly the highlight of the area. The plains that cover the central part of Šumava at more than 1,000 meters above the sea level are also extensively used. The vast area is used as meadows or pasture land.

A large number of rare animals, such as Northern birch mouse (Sicista betulina) or the imported Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), live in the area. Prominent wild birds include wood grouse (Tetrao urogallus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix). The Blanice river headwater area has the highest presence of freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) in the Czech Republic.

The Šumava-UNESCO Biosphere Reserve miniature sheet is the final one of the present series of six sheets featuring Czech biosphere reserves.This sheet was issued on 31. 8. 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011

THE OAK OF STELMUŽĖ - Nature Heritage Objects of Lithuania.


The Stelmužė Oak is one of the most famous and important nature heritage objects of Lithuania. It is the thickest and oldest oak growing in Lithuania and one of the oldest oaks in Europe.The oak is growing in the Zarasai District, Imbradas Subdistrict, the former Stelmužė Manor Park. The remarkable tree reaches 23 metres of height, as much as 3,5 metres wide and spans approximately 13 metres at its widest part. It is believed to be about 1500 years old, although the exact age has not been estimated.

The Lithuania Post issued a souvenir sheet features the Stelmužė Oak on June 5, 2010. Only one stamp has issued as reminder of the importance of nature heritage objects of Lithuania.Designer of stamp is H. .Ratkevičius.Legends and stories say that in ancient time’s people, having gathered around the oak, sacrificed goats, sheaves of rye, and jugs of mead to the god Perkūnas praying for a good harvest and success in hunting.

Despite the fact that over time the oak has lost a part of its branches as a result of drying or breakage, it still looks magnificent and each spring comes into leaf and still attracts tourists. Due to proper care and maintenance, the Stelmužė Oak survived until nowadays.

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Lithuania Post issued the stamp series depicts the animal of the Kaunas Zoo on May 21,2005. The stamps issued in one souvenir sheet comprises of 4 stamps and designed by E. Paukštytė. The animal depicted are  Giraffe,  Pelican,Electric blue Jack Dempsey fish, and Polar bear.The zoological garden is a unique school of knowledge introducing visitors to natural and cultural values.


On the 1st of July 1938, the Kaunas Zoo was officially opened in the Mickevičius Valley under the initiative of naturalist Professor Tadas Ivanauskas. On the 4th of December 1958, the Kaunas Zoo was granted the name of a Republican Zoo.

The Zoo of Lithuania belongs to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and participates in the Programme on Breeding of Rare and Endangered Species. Also, it is a member of the International Zoo Educators Association and the International Species Information System.

The Lithuanian Zoo is a small 15,9 ha park located in the city centre where centennial oaks are growing. The park is decorated by art sculptures. On the opening day, there were only 40 animals that had been brought by Professor Tadas Ivanauskas himself. Some animals were brought as gifts from the zoos of other countries. Nowadays, the number of animals living in the Zoo reaches 2500. More than 10 animal species living in the Zoo are included into the Red List of Lithuania, and more than 100 species are included into the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the Zoo, the animals of 6 classes are kept: insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammalians.

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Snæfellsnes National Park - SEPAC


The theme of the joint issue of 11 small nations in Europe (SEPAC) is landscape. The motif of the Icelandic stamps in this third and last issue is Snæfellsjökull (Snæfell Glacier) National Park. SEPAC stands for Small European Postal Administration Cooperation. This cooperation is primarily concerned with issuing postage stamps but also includes sales and marketing.

The name of Snæfellsjökull  has been known in the world through the novel of French author Jules Verne  with the  title of „Journey to the Centre of the World“.

Snæfellsjökull National Park was founded by a legislation on nature conservation in June 2001 and is the fourth national park in Iceland. The area is characterized by its extremely diverse geology. Formerly it was the site of hectic activity with up to 60 fishing boats and 300-400 seamen during the fishing.

Snæfellsjökull National park lies in the westernmost part of Snæfellsnes peninsula and covers 170 square kilometres.The Park's purpose is to protect and conserve the area’s unique landscape, indigenous plant and animal life as well as important historical relics.

The Snæfellsnes peninsula coast line is very varied.  Rocky coves  alternatewith black sand beaches, light sand beaches and precipitous sea cliffs that teem with sea birds in the nesting season. The lowland within the national park is mostly lava that has flowed from Snæfellsjökull and from smaller craters in the lowland.

As one would predict, the most prominent birds in the area are seabirds. They nest along the entire coastline, and among the species found are guillemot, Brunnich’s guillemot,razorbill, fulmar, kittiwake and shag.

Soil in the outer stretches of Snæfellsnes tends to be quite permeable, but vegetation in the area is nonetheless quite diverse. The coastal area is rich in vegetation and has many clear ponds containing colourful seaweed and cupus.

Thick moss covers the lava in most places, while flowers thrive in sheltered nooks and crannies.The ferns are the most conspicuous. Out of the 16 species of fern found in Iceland, 11 grow here.

Snæfellsjökull  National  park offers a wide variety of hiking routes of all levels of difficulty. Some of them are staked or marked, and most of them are easy to navigate.Resources:  Environment Agency of Iceland


Lithuania Post issued the stamp series features the Forest Fauna and Flora from the Red Book of Lithuania on September 11, 2009. The stamps issued comprised of 2 single stamps and depicted Stock Pigeon and Lesser Emperor. Artist designer of stamps is A. Ratkevičienė. 


Stock Pigeon (Columba oenas) is a member of the family of Columbidae, doves and pigeons. The Stock Pigeon constantly inhabits the Curonian Spit and Kazlų Rūda forests in Lithuania. Larger colonies of these birds are distributed in the southern and eastern regions of the country – Dainava, Rūdninkai, Lavoriškės, Labanoras forests where pine trees dominate.
The Stock Pigeon generally inhabit mature pine forests and mixed forests. It nests in a naturally rotten hole in a tree. The eggs (usually 2) are laid in late April/early May. The Stock Pigeon is capable of raising 2–3 broods per season. Most of its food is vegetable.
Cutting down hollow dry trees and mature forests and abundance of pine martens pose the greatest threat to the Stock Pigeon. Since 1970, this species is listed in the Red Data Book of Lithuania, as well as the Berne Convention, Annex III.

Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) is a dragonfly of the family Aeshnidae. It is found in Ignalina, Lazdijai, Molėtai, Prienai, Trakai, Ukmergė, Varėna, and Vilkaviškis districts in Lithuania. The Lesser Emperor usually inhabits the surrounding areas of forest lakes and ponds.
The female of the species insert their eggs into water plants’ stems. Larval development depends on water temperature and usually takes 1–2 years. The Lesser Emperor is most commonly seen from May to August. It feeds on insects.
Water pollution and recreational activities in its natural habitats are major threats to the Lesser Emperor. Since 1989, this species is under protection in Lithuania.

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