Ascension : NEW STAMP ISSUE
Submitted by The Islander (Ascension Island Government) 21.10.2010 (Article Archived on 04.11.2010)
NEW STAMP ISSUE ASCENSION ISLAND – The Yellow Canary
Release Date: 11 October 2010
The Yellow Canary (Serinus flaviventris) is a small slender bird (12cm long) in the finch family.
Adult males are unmistakable with yellow below and greenish with brown streaking above; they have a bright yellow stripe round the forehead and back over the eye, fading out on the nape; the crown and a stripe through the eye are green but there is a yellow patch below the eye and below this is a strong black moustachial stripe.
Females are drab, streaky, greenish grey with dull greenish yellow on the rump; the greenish tinge separates them from Brown Cardinals. The stubby bill streaked breast and generally greyer appearance will also separate female or immature canaries from female, non-breeding male or juvenile Madagascar Fodies and from juvenile Java Sparrows. The underparts are white with brown streaking. Juveniles resemble females but have heavier streaking
The main habitat is in the scrub or open areas with some trees. The food is mainly small seeds, but fruit is also taken and they are seen hawking insects. They are often seen foraging and nesting in gardens.
The nest is usually built low at a height of less than two or three metres in bushes such as Furze, Wild Coffee and Samphire, but sometimes higher up in larger trees (including pines) or on the ground. The nest is a small open, neat cup constructed of grass and other fine fibres, usually lined with down, feathers and wool.
The eggs are faintly bluish white, occasionally sparsely speckled with minute brown dots around the larger end. Rarely eggs may be pale blue or greenish. They measure about 18 x 13mm. Clutch size is two to five eggs. Incubation, by the female alone, takes 12 – 14 days. Chicks fledge around two weeks after hatching. Breeding seems to occur at all times of year, but probably mainly in summer.
Canaries are sociable throughout the year – even nesting birds will join feeding flocks. Flocks are often quite large and may contain upwards of 50 birds. They often form mixed feeding groups with other small seed-eaters.
Males spend long periods singing from the top of bushes and fence wires and are the most accomplished songster of Ascension. The song is a rich varied mixture of thrills and musical phrases and may include mimicry.
On Ascension Island the Canary is fairly common, especially on the lower parts of Green Mountain, Two Boats area and similar altitudes. They are seen to venture occasionally in to Georgetown. It has been recorded that in the early 19th century the canaries were sold to visiting ships until the 1930’s.
The first record of the Yellow Canaries being brought to Ascension dates from 1890 although there is some confusion about the date of its introduction. It appears now that there has been some agreement that the canaries were probably brought in around 1776 and that the established population is now basically of the Serinus flaviventris stock. However there may have been hybridisation with the other species brought in at various times.
The Yellow Canary is native to the western half of Southern Africa.
‘The Guide to the Birds of St Helena and Ascension.’ By Neil McCulloch
‘St Helena & Ascension Island: A Natural History’ by Phillip and Myrtle Ashmole.
‘The Birds of Ascension’ by The Ascension Heritage Society
Illustrations: Dag Peterson
Photography: Reinhard Mischke
Layout: Bee Design & Art
Printer: BDT International
Process: Stochastic lithography
Stamp Size: 30.56 x 38mm
Sheet Format: 20 (2 x 10)
Sheetlet layout: 16 (4x4) with pictorial border
Perforation: 13.75 per 2cms
Release Date: 11 October 2010
Production Co-ordination: Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd
For further information, please contact John Smith, Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: (44) 1737 818181 Fax: (44) 1737 818199
These beautifully designed stamps and official first day cover will be on sale at the Post Office for a period of fifteen months provided stocks last. Overseas customers may view and purchase them by visiting our web site www.postoffice.gov.ac or enquires may be made to the Philatelic Bureau, Ascension Island Post Office, Georgetown, Ascension Island, ASCN 1ZZ or telephone + (247) 6260 Fax + (247) 6583