New Zealand map and Tongariro Park

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Today is Waitangi Day, one of New Zealand’s national holidays, so I have some New Zealand cards to share with you.

UNESCO-tongariro-kiwi

First is this view of Mount Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s UNESCO sites. The sign warns of kiwi birds, a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand and one of the country’s national symbols.

new-zealand-map

And second, a map for my national maps collection. New Zealand has two main islands: the smaller but more populated North Island, and the larger but more remote South Island.

Both of these cards came from Amy in Wellington, via the Postcrossing forum. She used this stamp on the envelope:

NEW-ZEALAND-lake

The stamp shows Lake Rotorua.

As I mentioned, today is Waitangi Day, which commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The treaty made New Zealand part of the British Empire.

Awesome Owl Day

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Today I have a plethora of owls for you!

barred-owl

First is this Barred Owl, Strix varia. Although a typical North American owl, this card comes from BeckieJayne in the United Kingdom, via the Postcrossing forum

owl-close owl-in-flight

These two cards both come from Postcrossing forum member lumileopardi in Finland. They show the great horned owl, Bubo virginianus, another North American owl.

owl-panorama

This owl card comes from Kelly1989 on the Postcrossing forum. The card shows the White-Faced Owl, an owl native to Africa. This card comes from the Netherlands.

white-owl

Here is a snowy owl from Martuchaa in Poland.

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And finally, this card came as an official Postcrossing card from Taiwan. I am not sure what species this owl is, because the card doesn’t say.

Here are the stamps!

NETHERLANDS-bell

From the Netherlands.

TAIWAN-men-trains

And the stamps from Taiwan.

Maps: Alaska and Russia

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Today, on the anniversary of Alaskan statehood, I will share with you my first state map card from that lovely state:

USA-AKmap

This map was sent to me by Patsy through the Postcrossing forum. Patsy lives in Juneau, the capital, which is near the border with Canada. There are no roads into or out of Juneau, one must take a boat or plane to get to the town from outside.

Alaska became a U.S. state in 1959. Originally, the United States bought the land from Russia in the 19th century. And today I also have a map of Russia to share!

russia-map

This card was sent by Audrey_Zoe in Russia. It is another fine addition to my growing country map collection.

And the card came with new stamps:

RUSSIA-jungle-book

That’s all for today!

Merry Christmas Eve

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Hello, dear readers. Today I bring some Christmas-y cards to celebrate Christmas Eve. I hope you’re all having a good holiday, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then I still hope you’re having a good day.

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First is this Postcrossing official from Belarus, which I don’t think is actually a Christmas card. The little guy is called Damavik, a house elf in Belarusian folklore. He reminds me of Santa Claus, though, and cheerful Christmas things, so I thought I’d share him today. And it came with a great stamp:

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The stamp commemorates the Belarus National Opera and Ballet and was released in 2013.

Russian-christmas

And second is a card from Russia, which I think I got in a private swap from the Postcrossing forum, but I did receive it a while ago and I can’t remember.

Merry Christmas!

Mississippi, the Magnolia State

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Today is the 197th anniversary of Mississippi’s admission to the United States. I have two cards to share to commemorate this anniversary:

USA-MSmap

The first is a map, the first Mississippi map card I have for my map card collection.

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And the second is a card of Mississippi’s flag, which was adopted in 1894. The flag is the only U.S. flag to still include the Confederate flag’s saltire. A new flag was proposed in 2001, which would have replaced the saltire with a blue canton with 20 stars. However, a referendum to change the flag was defeated by Mississippi voters.

These cards came from cognac on the Postcrossing forum this summer.

UNESCO Finland: Suomenlinna, Old Rauma, Verla Board Mill

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Today is Finland’s Independence Day, so I’m sharing some UNESCO sites from Finland that I received a while ago.

UNESCO-verla-board-mill

First is the Verla Board Mill, a factory founded in the 1870s. There was also a nearby ironworks. The mill produced high quality cardboard and the ironworks were used until 1964. The site became a UNESCO site in 1996.

UNESCO-suomenlinna

Next is the seafortress of Suomenlinna, near the capital, Helsinki. Suomenlinna means “castle of Finland,” the fort is also known as Sveaborg in Swedish. The Swedish began building the fort in 1748 to protect against Russian forces, but Russian occupied Finland anyway in 1809.

UNESCO-old-rauma

Finally, the old wooden center of the city of Rauma, a coastal town north of Turku. Rauma is one of the oldest harbors in Finland, dating from at least 1441. It was made a UNESCO site in 1991 because the wooden houses are well-preserved examples of an old Nordic city.

These cards all came from Taru T. on the Postcrossing forum. Here are the stamps.

FINLAND-elephant-whale

This stamp didn’t actually come on the cards. It came on another envelope from Finland, but I’m not sure who sent it or what cards were inside. They are some interesting ones, though, so I decided to share them now.

FINLAND-Europa-2011

This is the Europa stamp from Finland for 2011.

FINLAND-juniper

This stamp from 2002 shows juniper berries.

FINLAND-sailboat

And this stamp from 2006 came on the Suomenlinna card and depicts the fort.

Thanks, Taru T! And Happy Finnish Independence Day!

Assorted European UNESCO

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Today I have three new-to-me UNESCO site cards, one from Wales, one from Spain, and one from Switzerland.

UNESCO-altamira

First is one of the cave paintings in the Altamira Cave in Spain. The paintings were made during the Upper Paleolithic, 18 to 14 thousand years ago. The caves were discovered in 1880, the first such discovery of prehistoric cave paintings. The cave was declared a UNESCO site in 1985.

UNESCO-lavaux-vineyard

Next is the Lavaux Vineyard landscape in Switzerland. People have been growing wine grapes on these terraces on the shores of Lake Geneva since the 11th century. The terraces are protected from development by the Swiss government, and since 2007 have been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.

This card was sent by dannyozzy on the Postcrossing forum in late January, 2013.

UNESCO-poncysyllte-aqueduct

And finally, the Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Wales. The aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee Valley and is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain. It is 307 meters (1,007 feet) long and 38 meters (126 feet) tall. The canal was completed in 1805 and listed as World Heritage Site in 2009.

Here are the stamps:

SWITZERLAND-flower SPAIN-year_of_women

Forts & Charles Pinckney

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Today I have three cards, two forts that are National Monuments, and a National Historic Site, all from darkestperu on the Postcrossing forum.

NPS-charles-pinckney

First is the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Charles Pinckney was one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution in the 18th century; he later went on to be the Governor of South Carolina as well as a U.S. Senator and member of the House of Representatives. The site preserves a portion of his farm, though the house shown here was actually built in 1828, four years after he died. Today is the 190th anniversary of Pinckney’s death.

NPS-fort-frederica

Next is Fort Frederica National Monument, located on St. Simon’s Island in the state of Georgia. The fort was built between 1736 and 1748 to protect the British colony from the Spanish. The fort was named after Frederick, who was then the Prince of Wales. The fort and nearby town were abandoned in the 1750s and all that remains today are ruins.

NPS-fort-moultrie

And finally, Fort Moultrie, which is part of the Fort Sumter National Monument. The fort was built to protect the city of Charleston. It was built out of palmetto logs, which inspired the flag and nickname of South Carolina, The Palmetto State. The writer Edgar Allen Poe was stationed at this fort in 1827 and served there for two years as an artificer, one who prepared artillery shells. The fort continued to be used for defense through World War II and was finally decommissioned in 1947.

Darkestperu used some great stamps from the U.S. Postal Service that were released this year:

USA-bunting USA-goldfinch

These first two are from the Songbirds series released in April, 2014.

USA-hagenbeck-circus

And this stamp is from the Vintage Circus Poster series released in May.

Reptile Awareness Day

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Apparently, today is Reptile Awareness Day, dedicated to raising awareness of reptiles and their habitats and conservation efforts. To celebrate, I have a reptile postcard from Postcrossing forum member xJuul in the Netherlands:

reptiles-dutch

The card shows many kinds of reptiles: frogs, snakes, toads, and salamanders. In English the names are: 1) sand lizard; 2) viviparous lizard; 3) green frog; 4) marsh frog; 5) natterjack toad; 6) tree frog; 7) pool frog: 8) brown frog; 9) moor frog; 10) common toad; 11) yellow-bellied toad; 12) fire salamander; 13) Alpine salamander; 14) fin-footed salamander; 15) newt; 16) great crested newt; 17) midwife toad; 18) slow-worm; 19) ring snake; 20) viper.

My favorite kind of reptile isn’t here though: turtles or tortoises.

NETHERLANDS-red-fox

And on the stamp, a fox, which is not a reptile.

As a bonus, here are two just-arrived postcards from Komodo Island National Park in Indonesia, home of the world’s largest lizards, the Komodo dragon:

UNESCO-komodo-2 UNESCO-komodo-3

Both of these cards came from Jennifer in Indonesia. Thanks, Jennifer!

Fiji Day

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Today is Fiji Day, commemorating the country’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1970. This card was sent to me last winter by my friend Sam when he was vacationing in New Zealand and Fiji.

Fiji

Castaway Island is a private resort island in the Mamanuca Island group. It is known by Fijians as Qalito.

This is my first card from Fiji, and probably my last. There are only 858,000 people who live there, and only 9 Postcrossing members at the moment. Here is the stamp Sam used, showing a Petroica multicolor, the Pacific Robin.

FIJI-bird

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