Sunday, May 19, 2019

Manul, Tajikistan

Another Sunday is about to come and go, and before it does, it is time for another Sunday Stamps episode - this one right on time :)

It is time for the letter M, and one lovely chubby creature called Manul .featured on this amazing stamp sheet from Tajikistan, issued on 28th June 1996.

The manul, also known as the Pallas's cat, is a small wild cat with a broad but fragmented distribution in the grasslands and montane steppes of Central Asia. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline and hunting, and has therefore been classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2002.

It cat was first described in 1776 by the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, hence the name.

Also the Pallas' glass lizard, Pallas' viper, Pallas's long-tongued bat, Pallas's tube-nosed bat, Pallas's squirrel, Pallas's leaf warbler, Pallas's cormorant, Pallas's fish-eagle, Pallas's gull, Pallas's sandgrouse, Pallas's rosefinch, and Pallas's grasshopper warbler were first described by him, as can be seen in their names.

I don't think the manul is meowing as regular cats. but for another m-related to this, the Macedonian word for a cat is machka (мачка), so there we go :)

Check out the rest of the M's here

Meow!! .

Monday, May 13, 2019

Lighthouses, Portugal

Well, I will do a bit of cheating on this week's Sunday Stamps and post on a Monday but I was away on a trip yesterday and in most cases would just miss the show, but being that L is for one of my favourite topics, I just had to show of part of my L-related collection. It is not very hard to guess it is lighthouses we are talking about, right?
Not the most creative word, but it is lighthouses we are talking about, already magnificent on their own!

A set of amazing 10 stamps (ignore the last two for the time being), showcasing Portuguese lighthouses, issued on 19th June 2008. I have some of these featured on postcards, but still a long way to go to get them all.
I haven't been to Portugal yet, and I am seriously having my eyes set on it for the near future, so I might just as well do a lighthouse tour while there :D

So in, not all their glory, here you can see:

- the Leça Lighthouse, located in Leça da Palmeira. It is in the shape of a white conical tower, with reinforced concrete, with narrow black strips and attached buildings. 46 metres high.

- Penedo de Saudade - located São Pedro de Moel, Leiria district. It is a quadrangular tower of stonework, with an annexed building covered in reddish-brown colored tiles and red lanterns. It is 32 meters high.

- Montedor - located in Viana de Castello - It is the northernmost lighthouse in the country and began operation on March 20, 1910. 28 metres high.

- the Esposende Lighthouse - set in front of the Forte de São João Baptista de Esposende. The 15 metre tall lighthouse dates back to 1922 and what is unusual about it is that it is made of metal.

- Santa Maria - situated to the south of the centre of Cascais, Lisbon District, Portugal. It is a quadrangular masonry tower covered with white tiles, with blue horizontal stripes and a red lantern. 20 metres high.

- Cabo Espichel - situated on the western coast of the civil parish of Castelo, in the Setúbal district of Portugal. The lighthouse was built in 1790 and is 32 metres high.

- Cabo Sardão -  Proposed in 1883, and of difficult access, only came into operation for the first time in 1915. The lighthouse is located at Ponta do Cavaleiro in Cabo Sardão. It has a white square tower 17 meters high in masonry. It has an annex building and a red cylindrical flashlight with light that reaches 43 kilometres.

- Bugio Lighthouse - situated on an island in the estuary of the River Tagus on the Fort of São Lourenço do Bugio, about ten kilometres west of Lisbon. It emits a green flash of one second every 5 seconds and marks the entrance to the port of Lisbon.

- Cabo de Roca - located 165 metres above the Atlantic Ocean, on Portugal's (and continental Europe's) most westerly extent (Cabo da Roca).  It is a third-order lighthouse, which originally began operating in 1772. It was the first new purpose-built lighthouse to be constructed in the country: the older lighthouses in existence at that time, were constructed on existing platforms or from pre-existing beacons. 22 metres high.

- Cabo de São Vicente - 28 metres high, located along the coastal peninsula of Sagres Point.
The traditional land's end of Europe, the extreme southwesternmost point on the continent, it was an essential landfall for sailors returning from Africa and the Americas. One of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe with its two 1,000 W lamps  - can be seen as far as 60 km away.

And back to the lighthouses I initially asked you to ignore since the one on the left was issued by the Azores, and the right one by the Madeira postal entity. And funny, they are double the face value than the rest.

- The Arnel lighthouse -   located at the tip of the Arnel, in the extreme northeast of the island of São Miguel, started operating on November 26, 1876, and was the first lighthouse located in the Autonomous Region of the Azores.

- Ponta de Pargo - an active lighthouse located in Ponta do Pargo, Madeira, Portugal. The lighthouse was built in 1922 on top of Ponta Vigia, a rocky cliff escarpment and has a focal height of 312 metres. 14 metres high.

So that would be a small part of the world of Portuguese lighthouses. I know it was a longish read and wont blame you if you hadn't read it all, but I would like to keep it for my future reference!

And unless you haven't done your task already, click here to head over to Sunday Stamps for some more L's!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Environmental Protection, Germany

After some absence, again, here I am back for one not so common letter, but I realized this FDC is something I've been wanting to post for a long while, and it is a very dear one to me, so here is the perfect occasion.

Issued on April 10th, 2008 by Deutsche Post, commemorating the International Polar Year, and raising the awareness for the environmental issues, it was Knut, the polar bear who was featured on this stamp.
I dont know how many of you are familiar with Knut, but I found out about him thanks to Postcrossing and fell in love with this creature right-away. Firstly, cos I simply adore animals, esp. fluffy ones. Second, the story about Knut was something that had touched the hearts of many... and unfortunately his death, even more.

Knut was an orphaned polar bear born in captivity at the Berlin Zoological Garden. Rejected by his mother at birth, he was raised by zookeepers. He was the first polar bear cub to survive past infancy at the Berlin Zoo in more than 30 years. At one time the subject of international controversy, he became a tourist attraction and commercial success.

After the German tabloid newspaper Bild ran a quote from an animal rights activist that decried keeping the cub in captivity, fans worldwide rallied in support of his being hand-raised by humans. Children protested outside the zoo, and e-mails and letters expressing sympathy for the cub's life were sent from around the world.
 Knut became the center of a mass media phenomenon dubbed "Knutmania" that spanned the globe and spawned toys, media specials, DVDs, and books. Because of this, the cub was largely responsible for a significant increase in revenue, estimated at about €5 million, at the Berlin Zoo in 2007.

Attendance figures for the year increased by an estimated 30 percent, making it the most profitable year in its 163-year history.
On 19 March 2011, Knut unexpectedly died at the age of four. His death was caused by drowning after he collapsed into his enclosure's pool while suffering from Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.

Now, I am in general against keeping animals in captivity and at ZOOs esp. in poor ZOO conditions like the one here in Skopje. And on one hand I feel sorry Knut had to be kept in captivity, but with all this recognition he had received, I believe he got the utmost care.

I remember the day he died, it was all over the media, and it was really sad. Strange how people can get attached to animals they dont know but which have become famous for one reason or another (currently I actually have two cats dear to my heart, which have received international acclaim, one is Bob, the other is Nala). While Bob has been around for quite a while, Nala appeared not so long ago, but I loved her instantly. There is just something special about the way these two felines had entered these two guys' lives. Funny, it is always guys in the stories. And probably a reason more why these stories become so popular... you know, guys showing their soft side, taking care of stray cats.

So that would be my letter K for today. Hopefully, I avoided scolding too since I fulfilled my duty :D

Check out more K's here