Sunday, 4 August 2013

On the Wing

1988: Hong Kong Birds

Hong Kong has an amazing number of birds for a place that one always associates with high rise buildings.  A total of 460 species, a third of the number found in China as a whole. The four stamps show some wonderful wings and the cover pairs the stunning kingfishers together. Going L to R we have

  • 50¢ White-breasted Kingfisher, a resident of Hong Kong which also breeds there.
  • $5 Pied Kingfisher, a lover of fish ponds. Although once widespread it is now virtually confined to the Deep Bay area and Starling Inlet. Occasionally it is seen elsewhere around the coast during migration.  The one shown with its double band on the chest identifies it as a male.
There are three groups of Kingfisher in the world and Hong Kong has them all.  The Pied Kingfisher belongs to the family of water kingfishers Cerylidae. The White-breasted kingfisher is in the group of tree or wood kingfishers, Halycyonidae.The third species is of course the river kingfisher, Alcedinidae.
  • $1.30 Fujian or Fukien Niltava, a winter visitor where it is mostly found in the Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve
  • $1.70 Black Kite. Hong Kong's commonest bird of prey. It is present throughout the year but migrants swell the number in autumn and winter when several hundred can often be seen circling overhead at dusk.
The attractive cover and stamps were designed by Karen Phillips who has been the illustrator of numerous bird guides of the far east and also randomly a book on 'Popular Chinese Vegetables'. Born in Sandakan, the largest city in Sabah, East Malaysia she was educated at Bedales School Hampshire and studied graphic design in London.  I believe she now lives in that other great birding area of the Algarve, Portugal.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps


Postcardy said...

I love both the stamps and envelope. They both are very attractive and look good together.

viridian said...

There must be a nature preserve, they say so! I think of many many high rise buildings too. Thank you for joining in.

Lisa B said...

a lovely set, my first thought was that birds are not something I ever think of when thinking of Hong Kong.

Ana said...

460 species?? never would have associated that with Hong Kong!
Lovely stamps!!

Maria said...

I agree with everyone, this is indeed a lovely first day cover.

I wonder if any of these birds migrate to the Philippines during cold months in Hong Kong... or if they really do, considering that there's really no snow there.

Ah, I need to educate myself on this topic. :)

VioletSky said...

A lovely set of stamps. Perhaps these are all birds that love the nightlife of HK?! Ordinarily, I would have thought there were (among other things) too many lights for the birds to be happy.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

That is a really lovely set and cover. I used to pass Bedales School every day on the way to work. I wonder if she was there in those days.

Bob Scotney said...

The humble sparrows on the cover set the stamps of well. Thanks for naming them all.

♥♥ Willa ♥♥ said...

Super love those stamps!!!

My SundayStamp:Malacanan Palace

Scriptor Senex said...

What a beautiful cover and stamps.