Sunday, 31 August 2014

Reptiles - Sunday Stamps

Viridian's reptile theme proved harder than I thought and I have had to show some stamps for a second time.

This one from Australia was included before with several other wildlife stamps so deserves an outing on its own.

Saltwater Crocodile - Australia
You can read about crocodylus porosos here. . The stamp was issued in 1994.

The marine iguana on the next stamp was part of a 2009 set to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin.

Marine Iguana - Great Britain
And as Viridian also allowed amphibians this week I thought the common frog from from the Europa Pond Life series deserved to be seen.

Common Frog - Great Britain 2001
One of my daughter's dogs spends a lot of time trying to catch Rana clamitans (the American Green Frog) - I wonder whether she would be interested in a common frog from Britain.

The European Green Lizard (Lagarto verde; scientific name lacerta viridis) appears on a stamp issued in 1974.

European Green Lizard - Spain
To my surprise I did not find a stamp showing a snake of any kind. To see whether anyone else, has try the links at Sunday-Stamps-185 where there is another green lizard on view.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Birds of a Feather - Thematic Photography

Carmi couldn't have made a better choice of a topic for me this week.

Feathers abound on the grass by the side of the road along which I take my morning walk.

A feather down
And if that is not enough - 

Four feathers
But not from a thrush.

Tail feathers
However there is a sad tale to this as these feathers are all that remained of a wood pigeon demolished by a hawk.

Man, the worse predator of all, can also have a devastating effect.

Owl - a road kill victim
Other birds play hide and seek behind - 

The chimney pots
Jackdaw viewing spot
Discussing last night's soap
While sparrows watch the children cross
Some just watch the world go by.

Young blackbird on kitchen window sill
A much better place to be than behind glass at - 

Detroit Zoo - King Penguins
Some birds just have to pretend while - 

Waiting for the mail.
Meanwhile there is a work in progress for me - I'm trying to get a decent shot of this bird.

Nuthatch (image scanned from a bird book)
This is the best I have done so far from 50ft away and through a double glazed window.

Nuthatch clearing ivy from a nesting box

We saw this bird for the first time in our garden only last month; now it is a regular visitor.

Fortunately it's a little smaller than the bird we saw at nearby Preston Park.

However my favourite so far this year is one some of you have seen before.

Male Bullfinch
It was making itself comfortable in a hand towel while it recovered from the argument it lost with our lounge window.

Now is the time for you to recover to and fly over to see other 'Birds of a feather' at Carmi's Thematic-photographic-307.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

By Boat and Plane to Guernsey - Sunday Stamps.

I have never been to the Channel Islands and only have a few of their stamps. However I came across this lot last week on my favourite market stall.

The Dasher appeared in a Mail Boat set issued in 1972, the Isle of Guernsey in another Mail Boat set the following year.

The Arthur Lionel lifeboat stamp was issued in 1974 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. The Arthur Lionel was launched in 1912 at Liverpool and appeared on another stamp in 1999 on the 175th Anniversary of the RNLI.

The Westland Wessex stamp was issued in 1973 to commemorate 50 years of flying to the island and the three aircraft used by Cobham Air Services. The plane shown came to grief on the 3 July 1935 when it ditched in the English Channel with the loss of the pilot, the passenger managed to escape. The aircraft was carrying only the one passenger from Guernsey to Bournemouth. Its starboard engine failed 25 to 30 minutes into the flight but carried on with the two remaining engines. After an half-an-hour one or both of these engines failed and the aircraft crashed into the sea. The passenger was picked up after two hours but the pilot was never found. An inquiry concluded that the pilot had taken an unnecessary but not wholly unjustifiable risk to continue with two engines and he should have considered turning for the French coast.

The Les Casquets lighthouse stamp was issued in 1976; the light guides shipping to Alderney and Guernsey.

Herm Island used to issue its own stamps. Herm is one of the islands making up the Bailiwick of Guernsey. the 7p stamp was issued in 1975.

To see what others have chosen this week please visit Viridian's Sunday-Stamps-184.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Shooting strangers from afar - Thematic Photography

If you live in a village as small as mine it's often difficult to find a stranger at all. However just when I was about to give up I came across an ideal opportunity.

A stranger getting directions from a stranger
I thought it rather odd to see a car in this country lane that leads to nowhere but some farms. When I checked the car's registration I found that it had originated over 250 miles away, in Chelmsford, Essex.

I guess the stranger just wandered into my next shot of a fire practice on the River Tees.

Fire practice near the Infinity Bridge, Stockton-on-Tees
We went to watch our grandson in a surfing contest at Saltburn last October. There were strangers by the score - 

On the pier
and - 

On the beach
Even two of the surfers were strangers to me.

Shame the surf was so poor.
For more strangers unaware they are in the camera's eye head over to Carmi's Thematic-Photographic-306.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Stamps on Postcards

As there is no Sunday Stamp theme this week I went looking for another source of stamps by raiding a collection of postcards that have accumulated over the last 30 years or so.

Rio de Janeiro - Sunrise on Copacabana Beach
Both the stamps were issued originally in 1982 although the card is clearly postmarked 1984.

The top two stamps show the Mamona or Castor Oil Plant; The bottom stamp shows ears of Trigo (wheat). Brazil is the third largest producer of castor oil behind India and China.

From France I found two different denominations of the same Marianne.

François Mitterrand became the 1st Socialist President of the Fifth Republic on 10 May 1981. However the Marianne on these stamps is that used during the presidency of his predecessor, Valéry Giscard d-Estaing.

This is the Gandon Sabine Marianne by the stamp engraver Pierre Gandon inspired by a painting by Jacques-Louis David,

The Intervention of the Sabine Women (1799)
'Mitterand's' Gandon Liberté Marianne did not appear until 1982.

Both the postcards with these stamps were to my daughter.

The Côte d'Azur
The card from Paris just had to be from my eldest son to his sister 

because the message ended, 'Il me plait que tu n'es pas ici!!' This is a long standing family joke even if it was in French.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Look Straight Down - Thematic Photography

The danger is, as you get older, that you may not see your feet when you look straight down. However I do have shots that will qualify, some from years ago.

Looking down from St Rule's Tower, St Andrews - c1956/7
Moving on about 20 years to Norway I was looking down again.

1000 feet down to the water close to the Pulpit Rock, Lysefjord
The Pulpit Rock (Prekestolen) has a vertical drop of 1982 feet (604m) down to the fjord.

Much more mundane is the shot I took looking at a drain last winter.

Iced Drain
When we were at Richmond Castle last week I baulked at climbing the narrow spiral staircase to the top - that would have been an ideal place to look straight down. So I have had to settle for this view from the walls.

Bridge over the River Swale from the Castle wall

Of course if you are not careful someone may catch you looking straight down.

Danger strimmer at work!
No, I wasn't whacking weeds.

For other wacky shots looking straight down visit Carmi at Thematic-photographic-305.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Undersea Life - Sunday Stamps

There is a bit of a fishy tale about the theme of undersea life this week. I had used all my undersea creatures before so I had to trawl the world for my stamps this week starting with the National Fish of South Africa.

South Africa - Coracinus capensis
The Galjeon inhabits South Africa's coastal waters, confined mostly to the shallows. Its colour varies depending where it lives - almost black in rocky areas and silver bronze where it's sandy. KwaZula-Natal knows it as the black fish or black bream; elsewhere it is called the Damba, much easier to say than coracinus capensis

It may seem strange to include a stamp from a landlocked country like Hungary especially as Xiphophorus Helleri is part of their tropical fish series issued in 1962.

Hungary - Xiphophorus Helleri
The green swordfish (Xi-H) is a freshwater/brackish water fish. Where it has been introduced elsewhere in the world it has become a nuisance pest. Significant numbers exist along the east coast of Australia.

'Wars' have been fought over fish, the Cod Wars between Iceland and the United Kingdom in the 1950s and 1970s being well known disputes over fishing rights. It's not surprising to find that fish are featured on Icelandic stamps.

Iceland - Salmon (I think)
Iceland - Haddock and Cod
Britain would be at a loss with a supply of melanogrammus aeglefinnus (Haddock) and gadus morhua (Cod) to go with their chips.

These days though fission chips may be found subsea.

Great Britain - Nuclear Submarine
For other subsea sights and creatures just follow the links at Viridian's Sunday-Stamps-183.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Please be seated - Thematic Photography

When we visited Richmond in North Yorkshire today there were times when I would have been delighted if someone had said to me. 'Please be seated.'

But no-one did, even although there were seats like this available.

This one was the first we passed on our way down from the Market Place to the River Swale.

We could even have used several along the riverside, even those that had seen better days.

Can you spot the dog behind the tree?
Further on we were spoiled for choice when we had stopped for coffee.

Free seating
But we preferred to stand and look over the wall at the 

River Swale, Richmond
Of course we got a better view of the river from up on Richmond Castle's walls.

Looking down on the River Swale
By the time we had walked up here we were very pleased to see a vacant bench. There was no need for us to be invited to be seated.'

Bench in the Castle garden
We know at least two who never needed to be asked that question.

Maxie and Sam
Who needs a blanket?
If you still need to be invited to sit down then check out Carmi's 'Please be seated' at Thematic-photographic-304.