The naturalist Charles Darwin wrote of the lack of colour in the Falklands environment, describing it as drab and generally colourless: “…everywhere covered by a peaty soil and wiry grass, of a monotonous brown colour”. He was of course making reference to the vast flat landscape of the southern parts of East Falkland where the sober colours of the grassland and heath predominate. In general the Falkland landscape does not exhibit the range of bright colours found in many environments, but against this rather sober back-cloth are a variety of colours to match those found in any tropical environment.
The theme Colour in Nature looks at the wide range of colours found in nature and more specifically, the colours found in plants, birds and invertebrates that are found in the Falklands environment.
In this issue of four designs two species of bird and two plants have been selected to show a small sample of the range and intensity of colour found in the natural world of the Falkland Islands.
30p. Immature Night Heron Nycticorax n. cyanocephalus.
Widely distributed on most coasts where the birds are able to feed in tidal reaches on small fish and marine life. The design shows a first year immature with the typical “tear” drop feather markings but was chosen for the eye colouring and the green facial skin at the base of the bill. In their third or fourth year the plumage changes to a striking blue/grey presenting a very different looking bird.
30p. Diddle-dee or Red Crowberry Empetrum rubrum.
Very common ground hugging species which dominates much of the Islands coastal heaths. In the late summer and autumn the berries of this shrub produce a vivid splash of colour to the landscape. The design shows the fairly typical rich red colour of the berry, but depending on the nature of the soils where the plant grows, colours may vary from deep orange-yellow to different shades of red.
The berries form a very important feed to Upland Geese and some passerines. Locally the berries are collected for making a sweet preserve.
75p. Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus sanfordi.
Intricately and beautifully marked with dark brown to buff feathers, it is the intense yellow eyes with the jet black pupil set against the mask-like facial feathers that is perhaps the most striking colour feature of this bird.
75p. Scurvy Grass or Vinaigrette Oxalis enneaphylla.
A widespread species found growing in coastal heath-land often appearing through the cover of more robust species such as Diddle-dee berry. The flowers display a range of delicate whites, pinks, mauve to quite deep violet, making it one the Islands’ most showy species.
The stalks and leaves have antiscorbutic properties and were used by early mariners to help prevent scurvy hence its common name.
Text by Ian Strange.
Designers Ian J. Strange & Georgina Strange
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Perforation 13 per 2cms
Stamp size 52 x 30.78mm
Sheet Layout 10 (5 staggered se-tenant pairs)
Release date 14 December, 2012
Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd
Photographs: Georgina Strange & Ian J. Strange of Design In Nature