Colour in Nature – new stamp issue by Falkland Islands Post

May 24th, 2015 hurries to inform that Falkland Islands Post has released a set of stamps dedicated to the beuty of nature. The issue consists of four items that were unveiled and put into circulation on the 12th of May.

The theme Colour In Nature looks at the wide range of colours found in nature and more specifically those of plants, birds and invertebrates found in the Falkland Islands environment.

In general the Falklands' landscape and environment does not present or exhibit the intense and bright colours found, for example, in tropical regions. At first the casual glance of the Islands' landscape can be dominated by a background of rather sober colours, but look more carefully and an amazing palette of colour is revealed.

In this issue of four designs, two species of bird, one fern and a flower have been selected to show some of the colour found in nature in the Falkland Islands.

30p Black-throated Finch Melanodera m. melanodera

A resident breeding species which is confined to the Falkland Islands. This small ground loving finch is often overlooked due to its quiet fairly secretive nature, but can be more evident in spring when male birds are heard singing from vantage points on their territories. A seed eater, the species feeds on the seeds of different plants, especially of those producing berries such as Diddle-dee, Mountain berry and Teaberry. Forms a well concealed nest on the ground and may have up to three broods in a season.

The design shows the male of this species with its distinctive blue-grey head contrasting with the black bib and face mask. The back and flanks are brushed with blue-grey with a blend of yellowish green. The female and immature birds are less distinctive having yellowish-green and light brown feathering.

30p Fuegian fern or Fuegian Tall fern Blechnum magellanicum

The Fuegian fern is a common species often forming extensive "beds" on well drained areas especially on hillsides. In early summer the young fronds sprout from the top of the plants' trunk, their bright golden to orange or bright red adding an amazing splash of colour to the landscape. Perhaps depending on prevailing weather conditions, these rich coloured fronds within a relatively short time change to a dark green. In the autumn as fronds die these beds of fern turn to a light brown, thus changing the landscape's colour.

75p Dolphin Gull Larus scoresbii

The adult of this gull species is one of the most beautiful and colourful of Falkland birds. The plumage is predominantly a light dove grey to blue grey contrasting with the deep vermilion red of its bill and legs.

The species is fairly well distributed in the coastal areas of the archipelago. Form dense breeding colonies often in association with Dominican Gull, Brown-hooded Gull and South American Tern. Nest sites may be situated on sand, shingle, boulder beaches or on rocky promontories at quite high elevations. Feeds on marine life and is an important scavenger of penguin, albatross and other seabird rookeries and seal colonies.

Up until fairly recent times Dolphin Gulls were commonly found scavenging in areas of human occupancy, feeding on food scraps from waste bins and in hen runs, but with changes in waste disposal and the keeping of hens having diminished, this gull is far less common in areas of human habitation.

75p Yellow Daisy Senecio littoralis

This endemic species with its bright yellow flowers is one of the more showy perennial herbs. Flowers in the austral summer months of November and December and is fairly common in both coastal and inland areas. It tends to grow as a single plant rather than in groups.

In this design the plant is shown growing in a bed of Small Fern. In these less sheltered and more open coastal situations, plants may only grow to a height of some ten centimetres. Where plants grow amongst the huge accumulations of rock debris which form the "stone runs", a feature of the Islands' geology, plants may grow to a height of half a meter or more. In such situations the bright yellow flowers against a backcloth of grey quartzite rocks make an impressive spectacle.