Prints and Stamps

Each year the WHT issues a £5 stamp featuring specially commissioned wildlife artwork. All funds generated by the sale of these stamps are distributed to deserving projects through the Wildlife Habitat Trust and the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trusts (Registered charity no. 1013816).

2022 – Red Deer on Arran by David Parry

This year’s painting for the WHT habitat stamp, Red Deer on Arran, comes from internationally acclaimed wildlife artist David Parry. For the first time in the history of the WHT stamp, the trust has commissioned a painting of a mammal instead of the usual iconic bird species. All money raised from 2022 stamp merchandise will go towards funding of conservation projects.

David trained at the Central School of Art and is a full member of the Society for Wildlife Artists. He is a full-time artist, who started his career as an illustrator and progressed to wildlife painting, which remains his greatest passion to this day.

David’s biggest love is Africa and he’s spent many years visiting Eastern African countries with his sketch book, binoculars and camera to capture inspiration for his paintings. His love for the Mother Continent does not limit his work to just the animals of the vast African plains, of course. David still finds the time to paint British wildlife: “I spend much of my time bird watching and observing wildlife in the UK.” He also enjoys working on pet commissions, especially dogs.

When WHT approached David for this commission, he was immediately interested, as for many years he wanted to design a stamp with wildlife as the main subject. While he’s completed many wildlife illustrations for several publishers, David never has done anything on such small scale, which he found a welcome challenge.

As the main subject of this year’s stamp is red deer, we asked David for his thoughts about deer in the UK and their management. He said: “They are a valued part of British ecosystems. I realise that most deer herds must be managed to protect the different habitats they occupy and, of course, stalking and selling venison also provide income for remote communities.”

David’s favourite deer species is fallow – he used to spend many hours watching them in Knole Park in his youth. While he’s never been to Arran, he would very much like to go sometime, and he knows Skye quite well and has been to Fetlar in the Shetlands to see snowy owls in the wild.

Arran was a natural choice of subject for the stamp painting, as BASC provides a stalking scheme there exclusively for members.

If you would like to learn more about David Parry and see more of his work, please visit his website

2021 – Hen Harriers on Swinton Estate by Simon Turvey

When nature artist Simon Turvey was offered the commission to paint hen harriers on a grouse moor for this year’s Wildlife Habitat Trust stamp, he leapt at the chance.

“I do have an affinity with moorland, “he said, “I started going to Scotland in my twenties for several years running, and that’s where I first saw hen harriers. I haven’t been for a while now but I still have that pull towards moor, mountain and wildness.”

“Although I don’t personally shoot, I am a meat eater and I don’t see how one could object to shooting what you eat. I was happy to take on the commission; the hen harrier obviously is not a gamebird but has an iconic association with grouse moors. I get there’s an element of controversy for some people; however, this is not about promoting game shooting but promoting the conservation of landscapes, in particular moorlands. It is mostly moorlands where hen harriers breed and there’s the fact that moorlands are not just managed for grouse, they are also managed for hen harriers”

Simon has been a professional artist since the age of 21, fresh out of Ravensbourne College of Art. So how did he approach the work?

“Since my teens I always wanted to be a full-time artist. I had already been selling my work by the time I went to college. I wanted to do figurative painting, particularly natural history subjects, when the mainstream was moving towards more conceptual art.”

“I work in both oils and watercolours, but the WHT commission specifically asked for watercolours. ”

“In either case I approach a work from a variety of sources. I go on location where I can, but animals rarely stay still for you to paint them, so it’s very much a mixture of using live sketches, photographs and, if possible, skins or feathers. For the hen harrier I used some sketches I did years ago in Scotland plus photographs and other references to build up a picture. The estate sent me some photos of the moors that I used for the backgrounds.”

Simon had been invited to the Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire last year to do some preparatory sketches, but the Covid-19 lockdown put paid to that. The pandemic also kiboshed a planned meeting at the estate to launch the stamp in May. The owner of the estate, Moorland Association chairman Mark Cunliffe-Lister, has been involved with the hen harrier recovery project.

2020 – Pink-footed geese flying over Cockerham Marsh by Rodger McPhail

Almost 30 years ago, Rodger McPhail was commissioned to paint the first ever Wildlife Habitat Trust stamp. Charlie Wearden provides an insight into the renowned artist’s background and inspiration, and the story behind the painting on the Trust’s stamp for 2020/21.
Rodger McPhail is a widely known wildlife and sporting artist whose work is sought after internationally. An enthusiastic shot, fisherman and naturalist, his love and knowledge of his subjects is evident in his work.

Rodger spent much of his childhood drawing and painting and was obsessed with birds and animals from an early age. He spent his free time wandering the local fields and woods. Inspired by nature, it was inevitable that his twin passions of art and wildlife would merge.

Rodger modestly claims that he became an artist because he did not excel at anything else: “When you are only good at one thing, it rather restricts your choice of career! I began to realise that I just might be able to make a living from art when I started doing illustrations for the Shooting Times magazine, and even managed to sell a few paintings when I was still at school.”

After attending art colleges in Coventry and Liverpool, Rodger went straight into his career as a wildlife artist, “without ever having to do a proper job”.

Many might be surprised to learn that Rodger did not come from a ‘sporting’ family. “At the age of 11, the only shooting available was the opportunity to head out wildfowling with my brother-in-law for a weekend on the marshes at Morecambe Bay. Still living in Coventry at the time, this was a big treat,” he explains.

Since then, Rodger’s passion for shooting and fishing has enabled him to travel the globe in pursuit of a vast range of quarry – from bonefish to bobwhite quail.

Rodger was commissioned to paint the first ever UK ‘Duck Stamp’ nearly 30 years ago and feels honoured to be asked again.

Pink-footed geese over Morecambe Bay was chosen as the subject, and this perfectly coincides with the Morecambe Bay Wildfowlers Association’s centenary.

It is fitting that the Wildlife Habitat Trust 2020/21 stamp should depict the glorious ritual of pink-footed geese flighting over Cockerham Marsh – a sight that so many wildfowlers will be familiar with.

Rodger decided to paint the geese from an aerial viewpoint, looking down onto the marsh and showing a unique bird’s-eye view of this famous area. “I am much indebted to my good friends and experienced local wildfowlers Keith and Tom Sykes,” he acknowledges. “They helped me choose the site, tracked down recent drone footage of the bay, and even supplied me with a freshly shot pink-foot as a model.”

2019 – Woodcock on the Stackpole Estate by Chris Lodge

Every year WHT commissions a leading wildlife artist to create a painting for the WHT stamp. This year, members can purchase a stamp with Chris Lodge’s Woodcock on the Stackpole Estate.

Chris grew up in Essex, but now lives in Suffolk. As a boy he would spend many hours out with an air rifle, shooting challenging subjects such as cans and fence posts. Around the age of 10 he decided to swap the gun for binoculars but he understands the importance of shooting though: “I believe the countryside is for all of us to respect and enjoy, and understand the long tradition that shooting has had in Britain over the years. I am in favour of all activities that develop and promote conservation of birds and their habitats, which unfortunately are under increasing pressure within the modern environment.”

Most of his inspiration comes from the marshes and estuaries of the beautiful Suffolk Heritage Coast. “Nearly every time I go out birdwatching I’ll see birds that grab my attention,” said Chris when asked about his work. “I always carry a camera with me and try to capture new scenes and ideas. The hard part is deciding what to paint first – I have a huge backlog of ideas that I have not yet had time to use.”

For most of the year Chris works as a gardener and the seasonal nature of this occupation allows him to devote several months over the midwinter period to painting. He always enjoyed painting but never had any grand ambitions; what started as a hobby, just naturally developed into a career, he said: “During my teenage years and early twenties, I became increasingly interested in birdwatching. I then began to try and capture my experiences with paint in more developed pieces.”

Chris was excited about the WHT commission as it’s slightly different from his usual works: “The wider landscape often doesn’t feature prominently in my paintings. The WHT commission was rather refreshing for me as it specified a location as well as a species to paint. This allowed me to do something slightly different to my normal style of work and feature the landscapes of Stackpole in the paintings. It was a great excuse for a weekend in beautiful Pembrokeshire too!”

Painting woodcock was a special treat for Chris too: “This was a species I had always wanted to paint, but never found the opportunity to. Indeed, it has become a bit of a running joke with a fellow artist who would often start a conversation with the line ‘Have you painted that woodcock yet?!’ – Well, now I can reply yes I have!”

2018 – Teal on Chichester Harbour by Andrew Stock

Once again the Wildlife Habitat Trust has commissioned a leading wildlife artist to create an image for the WHT stamp. This year, Andrew Stock and his Teal on Chichester Harbour has been chosen by the charity’s trustees.

Andrew is a self-taught artist who has been painting full-time since leaving Sherborne School in Dorset in 1978. While still at school, he was personally encouraged by the late Sir Peter Scott and went on to hold his first one-man exhibition at the age of 21 in London. He is a long-time member and a former president of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

Andrew sketches in the field, usually in watercolour, often using a telescope to watch the wildlife. Finished drawings are sometimes exhibited, but more often they form the basis for more considered works in oil or watercolour or as etchings on his return to the studio at his home in Buckinghamshire. Wildlife, especially birds, has been a constant theme, but in recent years landscapes have become an important part of his repertoire.

One of his favourite areas for inspiration is the north-west of Scotland, particularly Sutherland and the Sound of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, where he has friends and also enjoys fly fishing and a spot of rough shooting.

Andrew says: “I do have a bit of a hunter-gatherer instinct and I also enjoy lobster-potting and sea fishing while up there.

“More recently, I went last year to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, painting for an exhibition – the vistas are magnificent.

I also went to the Austrian Alps last   winter and I’m looking forward to going back in the summer to see how the landscape changes.”

Andrew has also been to the Kumaon Himalayas, on an expedition with the Royal Navy to Antarctica, and a guest at a private game reserve next to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. But he was equally happy in the less exotic surroundings of Bosham on Chichester Harbour for the WHT commission. “It’s a very pretty little village and I had a delightful time there,” he said.

He will be on the BASC stand during the 2018 Game Fair at Ragley Hall for the launch of the WHT stamp. “I did go to the Game Fair last year to see what it was like. The kids of course were fascinated with all the machinery and 4x4s; I was a little disappointed the artists were scattered about rather than being grouped together, but it was a fantastic day out; we had a lot of fun.”

2017 – Wigeon on the Dornoch Firth by Jonathan Latimer

Artwork for this year’s WHT stamp has been created by Jonathan Latimer and features Wigeon on the Dornoch Firth.

Jonathan, 40, has worked as a professional wildlife artist since 1999, but has been observing and drawing wildlife from an early age. A Lancashire lad, he gained a first class honours degree in natural history Illustration from Blackpool & The Fylde College where he was nominated course ‘Student of the Year’.

In 2003, Jonathan won the Birdwatch Artist of the Year competition for his portrayal of a female hen harrier, inspired by an early spring field trip to mid-Wales. Three years later he had a painting accepted for the prestigious ‘Birds In Art’ exhibition at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, in the USA.  He has also published a book Orchards Through the Eyes of An Artist, part of Langford Press’s Wildlife Art Series.

Alongside painting, Jonathan works as an illustrator specialising in natural history. His diverse portfolio includes work produced for books, magazines, museums and nature reserves.

A great fan of the wild landscapes of the Scottish highlands and islands, after getting the WHT commission Jonathan went to Dornoch Firth to prepare the backgrounds. He has also drawn on his experience sketching wigeon near Southport to create the striking image for this year’s stamp.

Although not a shooter himself, Jonathan appreciates the contribution the sport makes to maintaining wildlife and habitats. He said: “I have always been interested in wildlife and natural history. I have friends who go shooting and have been on a couple of shoots myself, but for me it’s all about observing and capturing the images.

“I am very aware of the work that shooters do in looking after habitats and increasing species numbers and biodiversity.”

2016 – Pintail on the Dee by Alastair Proud

WHT-stamp-FINAL-low-res-2016On the WHT commission, Alastair said: “I was very pleased that it was pintail I was asked to paint; they are such a stylish species. I often see them early in autumn on the saltmarsh nearby. I wanted to paint the birds backlit because in open areas, such as saltmarshes, you get such fantastic light. It shows their shape and the lovely colours of their surroundings. I went to the Dee estuary, which I’d never visited before, to find a specific backdrop for the pintail, specific to the area.”

Alastair enjoys flying hawks; it’s been his favourite pastime for over 40 years now. “I suppose it’s a bit similar to rough shooting, because I can go out more or less anywhere and catch something.” He also finds shooters to be pleasant and interesting company and thinks that shooting is a legitimate part of humans’ role in the natural world. “I think hunting is an important part of the environment; it’s within us and it is actually participating, fulfilling a role rather than just being an onlooker.”

2015 – Mallard on Bridgwater Bay by Jackie Garner

This year’s WHT stamp has been painted by wildlife artist Jackie Garner and features Mallard on the Bridgwater Bay.  Her inspiration for the WHT 2015 Stamp Mallard on Bridgwater Bay came from an enjoyable day sketching and photographing around the Bay. “Although WHT specified the species and venue, I wanted to explore the characteristics of the landscape,” Jackie recalls. “Then I was able to compose the stamp design from my references when back in my studio. As a common species, mallard tend to be underrated, so it was good to give their beautiful plumage the recognition it deserves.”

Jackie has written and part-illustrated the Wildlife Artist’s Handbook (available from at the discounted price of £15.29). “I just wanted to encourage people to get out and enjoy drawing or painting all the wonderful wildlife around us,” she said.

She’s not a shooter as such, although she did have a clay lesson a few years ago and loved it.

“It was brilliant fun, and I was much better at it than I thought I would be, but it’s hard finding the time for another activity in between my painting, illustration and teaching. There are only so many hours in the day.”

2014 – Golden Plover on Ribble Estuary by John Davis

This year’s WHT stamp has been painted by wildlife artist John Davis and features golden plover on the Ribble estuary.

John, from Birdham in West Sussex, said; “I was absolutely delighted to be asked to do this year’s WHT stamp artwork. Even more so as golden plovers have been a favourite subject for many years. Being based near Pagham and Chichester harbours on the south coast I often see hundreds during the winter, either out on the salt marsh or in fields with lapwing, especially during cold snaps. So I was able to get lots of field sketching done and re-familiarise myself with these gorgeous birds.

“I visited the Ribble last year and I was able to compose my WHT painting from that combined with studies done locally. I was also able to use some of my studies of breeding golden plovers in Scotland.

“I love painting in oils and water colour so decided to do two pictures in oils and one in watercolour, hoping to capture different moods with each.

“I’ve been a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists since 1987 and exhibit annually at their show in London.

“Although some of my work is studio based I am happiest in the field making studies, sketching the landscape and hoping some wildlife will come along.”

John is not a shooter, but he recognises the sport as part of the country scene, and appreciates the fieldcraft involved: “I enjoy sneaking up on wildlife with a telescope and getting great views, sketching things and creeping away! I’ve met many gamekeepers with a wonderful knowledge and appreciation of wildlife,” he said.

2013 – Tufted Duck on Rockland Broad – Jonathan Pomroy

This year’s Wildlife Habitat Trust stamp has been painted by renowned wildlife artist Jonathan Pomroy and features tufted duck on Rockland Broad in Norfolk.

His interest in natural history stems from an early age when he used to work at the Slimbridge wildfowl reserve in his school holidays. He maintained this connection throughout his studies at art college in Bristol. “I spent a lot of time at Slimbridge watching and drawing pochard and tufted ducks.

Although not a shooting man Jonathan is completely comfortable with the sport and appreciates its benefit to wildlife and habitat conservation, so was delighted to accept the commission and an invitation to go out onto the broad in a boat with members of the Rockland Wildfowlers’ Association in search of tufties to sketch.

“I spent a good couple of hours on the water getting close to the birds and talking to the wildfowlers and it made me realise how much we had in common,” he said.

Jonathan has exhibited his work all over Britain and after a career spanning 20 years, is regarded as one of the country’s foremost wildlife artists. He lives in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire. Jonathan said; “I try to spend as much time in the field as I can. I go a lot to Castle Howard in Yorkshire, painting goldeneye and pintail. I love my work, it’s a very enjoyable thing to do.”

2012 Teal on the Medway – Simon Trinder

Simon is a self-taught artist and has painted professionally for fifteen years. He has always concentrated on wildlife and landscapes, with an emphasis on wildfowl and wild places.

He moved to Norfolk in 1997 and has recently moved to Snape in Suffolk.
Simon paints mainly from just imagination and memory. Artists that have influenced Simon include Peter Scott, J C Harrison and Frank Southgate, all of whom painted birds flying with great skill.

Simon has been published on calendars and had a series of limited edition prints released.

Simon has staged a number of major one man exhibitions during his career successfully selling out on a number of occasions. His work has been keenly collected by clients in many different countries and even by Royalty.

2011 Greylag on Orkney – Terence Lambert

WHt Stamp 2011Over three decades ago The Times of London heralded Terence Lambert’s arrival on the wildlife art stage with “Terence Lambert must stand as one of the finest imaginative bird painters alive today. His illustrative technique alone is remarkable, his fastidious eye for the details of plumage and perch. Yet it is his ability to enter a bird’s universe, his intuitive sense of the intensity of it’s life, sets him apart. Still driven today to master the complexities of pen, pencil and paint, he can justly be described as a key player in the development of contemporary wildlife art”.

Terence spent four years at Guildford School of Art studying Product Design. Although never employed in the field, it taught him self-discipline and an attention to detail, qualities that have helped in his desire to master the painting craft. Terence has painted birds almost exclusively for 30 years, illustrating the British list three times for various publications, together with a host of foreign species. He has won numerous awards. His work is held in collections worldwide.

2010 Curlew on Lough Foyle – Andrew Haslen

Andrew Haslen was born in 1953 in Essex where he spent his childhood and first became interested in the countryside and drawing animals.

In 1988 he was elected a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists and founded The Wildlife Art Gallery the same year.

For several years he has been interested in sketching and painting hares and this year a book is being published on his work called ‘The Winter Hare’, the focus of this book is the drawings he made of an orphaned hare he reared and released back into the wild. The book will also include studies and paintings of wild hares and other animals.

He now lives in Suffolk with his wife and two daughters.

2009 White-fronted Geese on the Severn – Peter Partington

Peter Partington was born in 1941. From his early teens he lived by Poole Harbour and it proved to have a deep influence. It was easy to escape from school and sit watching the shore-line; holidays and weekends were often spent bird watching and exploring its inlets and unspoilt reaches, where sea and marsh intermingle with woodland and meadow. He later qualified at art college and went on to teach art students for many years. Peter has been elected to the Society of Wildlife Artists. The International Museum of Wildlife Art has several pieces of his work in its collection.

He was invited in the Spring of 1992, by the Artists for Nature Foundation, to join their group of artists to record the Briebrza Wetlands to publicise the need for their conservation. He was invited again to Extramadura in Spain in 1994. Both trips resulted in sumptuous books which contain examples of his work. His talent has gained deserved recognition as a prize winner in the European Bird Art Competition. He willingly shares his expertise and he now writes regularly for ‘The Artist’ magazine on a range of painting subjects from landscape to weather, to birds and drawing.

He is now living near Lavenham in rural Suffolk, which provides much of the inspiration for his recent works.

2008 Flying Pinkfeet at Faxfleet – Julian Novorol

A self-taught artist, Julian began painting as a boy, out of his keen interest in wildlife, particularly wildfowl on his local estuary.

In 1973, the late Eric Hosking, the eminent wildlife photographer commissioned several paintings, and with his encouragement Julian began to paint more seriously. This led to work being exhibited for several years with the Society of Wildlife Artists in London, and Wildfowl and Wetland centres around the country.

In 1982, Julian was awarded first prize in the BASC’s National Wildlife Artists Competition. Since then his work has been exhibited both in the UK and abroad, and annually at the CLA Game Fair.

Since 1984, Julian has been painting full-time. His work has been reproduced in books and magazines, and as greetings cards. Paintings have been sold widely in the UK and abroad, and several have been used for limited edition prints. In 1989 Julian donated a large canvas to the BASC. The painting ‘Wigeon over the Black Hut was reproduced as a limited edition print with all proceeds going to the Wildlife Habitat Trust.

In 1992, and again in 2008, the BASC’s centenary year, Julian was commissioned to paint the UK Duck Stamp by the Wildlife Habitat Trust. The Duck Stamps are sold throughout the world to raise money for the purchase of threatened wetland habitats in Britain and Europe.

Julian’s life revolves around wildfowl and the local estuaries. He is actively involved in summer nesting surveys. For over 30 years he has participated in the monthly wildfowl and wader counts on Hamford Water and for the last 12 years has been the local co-ordinator for the monthly counts.

Julian has held an annual one man exhibition for the past 15 years, showing about 75 works. This year’s exhibition is on the 19th 20th and 21st September at Wix Village Hall near Harwich. For further details, please phone 01255 880552. Julian is married with three sons, and lives in Great Oakley, near Harwich.

2007 Gadwall on the Ouse Washes – Barry Van Dusen

stamp2007Barry W. Van Dusen is an internationally recognized wildlife artist living in central Massachusetts. Barry has illustrated a variety of natural history books and pocket guides, many in association with the Massachusetts Audubon Society. His articles and paintings have been featured in Bird Watcher’s Digest and Birder’s World magazines.

In 1992 Barry was named Audubon Alliance Artist of the Year and he was elected a full member of London’s Society of Wildlife Artists in 1994. His work has been exhibited regularly in the prestigious Birds in Art show (Wausau, Wisconsin) as well as in many galleries in the United States and Europe. At the invitation of the Artists for Nature Foundation (the Netherlands), Barry has traveled to England, Spain, Ireland, India and Peru, working alongside other wildlife artists to raise money for conservation of threatened habitats.

Barry works primarily in transparent watercolors and oils, but he has also worked with a variety of graphic techniques for illustration purposes.

The paintings of Barry Van Dusen have been described as a unique blend of impressionism and realism. Always built upon a foundation of strong draftsmanship, his works are carefully planned but freely executed in a direct and painterly manner.

Combining a lifelong interest in nature with a formal art education, Barry has developed a style that acknowledges the importance of science and biology while maintaining the primacy of artistic expression. With Barry’s pictures, the art comes first.

Barry has spent many years developing a personal watercolor style with which he explores and interprets the many moods of nature. Among his influences he cites the American masters of watercolor- Sargent and Homer- as well as contemporary European masters of wildlife art- Lars Jonsson (Sweden) and John Busby (U.K.).

Barry is a strong proponent of working directly from life, even with difficult subjects such as wild birds. Over the years he has filled countless sketchbooks with hundreds of drawings done on location – a practice uncommon among American wildlife artists. While he finds field sketching and painting to be an end in itself, this work also serves as inspiration and reference for more ambitious works produced in the studio.

Although birds have always been his favorite subjects, Barry commonly works with landscape and botanical subjects as well. Occasionally people, mammals, fish and other animals find their way into his work.

The Artist resides in Princeton, Massachusetts, with his wife Lisa.

2006 Red Grouse – Ben Hoskyns

two_large_red_grouseBorn in 1963, Ben Hoskyns spent most of his childhood in East Anglia where he now lives with his wife and two sons. He adored painting as a young child but his art master, at school, offered him little encouragement and he gave up before ‘O’ Levels although he continued to ‘scribble’ from time to time – his subjects invariably being birds. After several years in insurance, getting nowhere in particular, Ben decided that he had to move on. Stubbornly ignoring any well-intentioned suggestions that he should, perhaps, get some training first, he started to paint for a living in 1988. He had been fascinated by wildlife from early childhood and never seriously considered painting anything else once he turned professional. Concentrating generally on British wildlife and on game birds in particular, Ben finds no shortage of inspiration whether at home in Suffolk, knee-deep in snipe bogs in Devon or dodging midges on grouse moors in Northumberland. His landscapes are, quite simply about the feeling of ‘being there’ and his studies capture the very essence of the subject. Ben wrote and illustrated Holland & Holland’s The Nature of Game (Quiller Press 1994) and has illustrated several other books, numerous magazine articles and his paintings have been used as Christmas cards by both the Game Conservancy Trust and The Countryside Alliance. He produced the jacket paintings for two of the Game Conservancy’s Annual Reviews and for the front cover of the 2005 Scottish Game Fair programme and was commissioned to paint the 2006 Wildlife Habitat Trust, UK Habitat Conservation Stamp. He has recently collaborated with seven other artists to produce a book about the woodcock which is due to be published in July 2006.

2005 Smew – Tim Hayward

2005 Wildlife Habitat Trust stamp - Smew by Tim HaywardThe fifteenth (2005-2006) habitat stamp is a stunning pocture of smew at Rye Harbour by the celebrated wildlife artist Tim Hayward. The smew is the smallest of the three European sawbills and is sometimes called the white merganser. More colourful local names are the white nun and the weasel coot. A migratory duck, they winter in the UK on inland waters, sheltered coastal waters and estuaries from December to March. They breed in northern Europe and Asia, nesting in holes in trees.

2004 Snipe – Darren Rees

Stamps-17997 The fourteenth (2004-2005) United Kingdom Habitat Stamp features ‘Snipe’ by renowned wildlife artist, Darren Rees. Snipe are secretive waders found on bogs, fens and wet meadows where they feed on worms, insect larvae and other small invertebrates by probing damp or waterlogged ground with their long beaks. Males can be heard making their distinctive ‘drumming’ on early spring mornings: the vibration of their outstretched tail feathers creates the low-pitched sound as they dive through the air. Snipe breed throughout the United Kingdom. The effects of extensive drainage and general damage to wetland habitats, in lowland areas of England, Wales and Ireland, has increasingly restricted and localised the range of snipe. Research into the breeding success of snipe shows an overall decline of 60% since 1982. In the south east of England and the east midlands, breeding numbers declined by 90%. Money raised through the sale of the 2004 UK habitat Stamp will contribute directly to the conservation of habitats and wildlife.

2003 Barnacle Geese – John Cox

Stamps-17998 The Thirteenth (2003-2004) United Kingdom Habitat Stamp features barnacle geese on the Solway by leading wildlife artist, John Cox. The barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis is an attractive small goose, the neck, chest, primary and tail feathers are black, and the back greyish with white and black bands on each wing covert. The head is white or cream except for a black crown, and there is a variable amount of black around the eye and the base of the bill. The underparts are white, the flanks pale grey, and the legs, bill and eye are black. The Caerlaverock birds leave their breeding grounds on Svalbard around August, most going to Bear Island, the most southerly island in the group, before flying to Britain. Most barnacle geese arrive in the Solway between September 20th and October 10th.

2002 Grey Partridge – Terance James Bond

Stamps-17999The Twelfth (2002 – 2003) United Kingdom Habitat Stamp features grey partridge, by leading wildlife artist, Terance James Bond. The grey partridge, Perdix perdix, is the most widespread European partridge, and the only one in central and northern Europe. It is a small rotund game bird with an orange face patch and pale grey neck. The upper parts are buff brown, with fine chestnut markings and cream streaks. The upper breast is pale grey, becoming creamier towards the lower parts, whilst the flanks are chestnut barred. There is a distinct chestnut horseshoe on the lower breast which is absent in juveniles and some females, and the legs are grey. The flight is fast and low, with occasional glides. The grey partridge originated as a grassland bird on the open, largely treeless, steppe. This allowed it to adapt easily to early agricultural systems, especially cereal production. The nest is found on the ground in thick grass at the base of hedges, in grassy field corners or banks, in crops, set-aside, nettle beds and bramble patches. Grey partridges begin to pair up in early January and have one brood per season, but will lay one or more replacement clutches if necessary. Clutch sizes range from 10 to 28 and hatching takes place from mid-May to mid-July. During the first two weeks of life, the young chicks feed entirely on insects, including caterpillars, beetles, bugs and aphids. They may take as many as 2,000 – 3,000 insects per day. The grey partridge is no longer the prolific game bird it once was, during the last 40 years numbers have declined by more than 80%. The main reasons for this decline, are intensification of farming systems, loss of habitat – especially hedgerows, and reduced predator control. Grey partridge was in the first group of species to be recognised by Government as needing assistance in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). The plan aims to stabilise grey partridge numbers by 2005, and ensure the breeding population is above 150,000 pairs by 2010.

2001 Pochard on the River Severn – Owen Williams

Stamps-18000 The eleventh UK Habitat Stamp features rafts of Pochard floating on the murky tidal waters of the Severn Estuary in front of Slimbridge New Grounds, with the distinctive outline of the observation tower of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Headquarters in the background. The Pochard emigrates long distances with its main breeding grounds being in the Baltic countries and into Russia. As such, alongside many other forms of wildlife, the Pochard benefits extensively from the UK Habitat Stamp funded “flyway projects”. The WHT has helped ensure vital management of Lake Engure in Latvia – one of Europe’s most important sites for breeding waterfowl. Pochard and other species ringed at Lake Engure have been recovered from a number of UK wintering sites, including the Lough Beg and Lough Neagh wetland complex in Northern Ireland where, in 1999, the WHT in partnership with the Environment & Heritage Service, established the Lough Beg National Nature Reserve. Funds raised by the sale of the 2002 UK Habitat Stamp will contribute directly to this plan.

2000 Black Grouse at Lek – Keith Brockie

Stamps-18001The tenth UK Habitat Stamp features the black grouse. In spring the male “black cock” gather to display at communal leks – as portrayed on both the stamp and the sheet of stamps. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan has prompted a collaborative programme of habitat improvement including woodland regeneration and management of woodland edge to reverse the decline in numbers and range of black grouse in the UK. As such the choice of subject for the stamp complimented the launch of “Green Shoots, a Biodiversity Action Plan for Shooting” by the British Association for Shooting & Conservation. During the year the WHT assisted further acquisitions of coastal habitat on the North Lincolnshire coast. Funds were also used to develop a new innovative survey of breeding woodcock by the Game Conservancy and the British Trust for Ornithology to help increase the limited knowledge of numbers and habitat requirements of this secretive and illusive bird. Internationally more funds were directed towards the support of habitat management on Lake Engure in Latvia. The UK Habitat Stamp Programme received international recognition when it was included on a list of important projects promoting international wetland conservation at the First Meeting of Parties of the African/Eurasian Water Bird Agreement, a major international conservation treaty.

1999 Woodcock – Rodger McPhail

Stamps-18002The ninth UKHabitat Stamp features the illusive and mysterious woodcock – the first game bird to appear in the UK stamp series. Its favoured habitat of open canopy woodland with damp areas for feeding and dry roosting sites is depicted in the artwork for the sheet of stamps. As such, woodcock benefit greatly from the protection and management of traditional game coverts, particularly in the south and south-west of the British Isles. The extensive migratory wintering population also relies on the safeguarding of breeding sites in Russia, Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic States, where the WHT has strong contacts and affinities. Shortly prior to the launch of this stamp the Wildlife Habitat Trust, assisted by grant aid from the government’s Environment & Heritage Service, purchased the sporting rights over 527 acres of Lough Beg SSSI in Northern Ireland. The site was later designated as a National Nature Reserve and is important for both breeding wading birds and wintering wildfowl – with ring returns proving a link with Lake Engure in Latvia, one of the Baltic sites managed with help from the WHT. The Wildlife Habitat Trust also extended its work in Hamford Water in Essex where further key waterfowl feeding habitats adjoining the National Nature Reserve were safeguarded when purchased by the Tendring & Halstead Wildfowlers financially assisted by the WHT, English Nature, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

1998 Long-tailed duck, Blackwater Estuary – Keith Shackleton

Stamps-18003The eighth UK Habitat Stamp features a pair of long-tailed duck in the outer reaches of the Blackwater Estuary taking wing as a silent barge navigates its way up channel. The extensive coastal wetlands of the Essex coast play host to many thousands of wintering waterfowl, including dark-bellied brent geese which are also depicted in the artwork of the sheet of stamps. This stamp celebrated a strategic purchase of saltmarsh by the Blackwater Wildfowlers Association near Maldon within the Blackwaters Site of Special Scientific Interest with the assistance of the WHT. And in Scotland a grant from the WHT enabled the Tay Valley Wildfowlers Association to purchase the barge the “Iron Duke” needed to transport grazing stock to Mugdrum Island in the Tay estuary. Management of this island through grazing is vital to the conservation of nesting waders, such as redshank and snipe, and wintering wildfowl – all of which abound on this wildfowling club managed nature reserve.

1997 Shoveler, Somerset Levels – Robert Gillmor

Stamps-18004 The seventh UK Habitat Stamp features a pair of Shoveler pitching into the flood waters of the River Parrot on the Somerset Levels. The scene is overlooked by the Mump, the conical hill at Burrow Bridge, distinctively crowned by the remains of both a Norman castle and an 18th century church. This stamp celebrated a number of successful WHT projects including acquisitions of marsh and woodland in the Erewash Valley, Nottingham, lowland grazing marsh in Avon, and further saltmarsh areas on Hamford Water in Essex, with once again WHT working in partnership with English Nature grant aid. 1997 also saw the Wildlife Habitat Trust supporting five further projects in Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus to counter major threats to the breeding grounds of migratory waterfowl due to agricultural and industrial development following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

1996 Goldeneye, Strangford Lough – Michael Warren

Stamps-18005 The sixth UK Habitat Stamp features Goldeneye on Strangford Lough. Strangford Lough is one of Northern Ireland’s most important wetlands with its diverse range of marine habitats supporting over 2,000 recorded species. The extensive foreshore also plays host to many of the 75,000 wildfowl and wading birds wintering on the Lough. The preceding year had seen the first Habitat Stamp supported projects in Wales and Northern Ireland. In North Wales WHT helped the Y Foryd Wildfowling & Conservation Association purchase nine acres of key wetland near Caernarfon. This land subsequently became part of the Y Foryd Bay Local Nature Reserve. This was closely followed by the purchase of 20 acres of saltmarsh on Lough Foyle, Northern Ireland by the Lough Foyle Wildfowlers Association. The WHT was also instrumental in helping Habitat Stamp Programmes develop in other European countries – particularly Denmark and Sweden.

1995 Pink-footed Geese, Montrose Basin – Bruce Pearson

Stamps-18006 The fifth UK Habitat Stamp shows Pink-footed Geese returning to Montrose Basin against the background of the ancient town with its distinctive pinnacled clock tower. The extensive flats of the Basin are managed as a Local Nature Reserve through the partnership of Angus & District Council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. They provide ideal roosting grounds for up to 40,000 geese which flight to and from the cereal and grassland between Dundee and Aberdeen. 1995 saw further significant milestones for the WHT and Habitat Stamp Programmes. 400 acres of saltmarsh purchased by the Lytham & District Wildfowlers Association with assistance from the WHT and the Nature Conservancy Council were declared as part of the new Ribble Marshes National Nature Reserve. In Scotland the Wigtown Bay Wildfowlers Association purchased 221 acres on the Cree Estuary with assistance from the WHT, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Dumfries & Galloway Regional Council, paving the way for the establishment of the Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve. And in Essex the WHT assisted the Dengie Hundred Wildfowlers Association to purchase 40 acres of land on the Blackwater Estuary for inclusion within a pioneering saltmarsh creation scheme in conjunction with the National Rivers Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, and English Nature.

1994 Mallard – Afon Dyfi – Terence Lambert

Stamps-18007 This stamp features the mallard, the UK’s most familiar duck species, feeding and resting on the saltmarsh of the Dyfi estuary. The 5,000 Dyfi National Nature Reserve on the west coast of Wales provides an important haven for wintering ducks and geese. In 1994 Habitat Stamp funds not only assisted the acquisition and protection of another 60 acres of wetlands on the River Crouch in Essex but were also used for the first time to assist the conservation of breeding and staging grounds of migratory waterfowl and game. Funds were used to assist habitat management work on Lake Engure in Latvia and the development of management plans for the Vaike Vain Strait in Estonia and the Nemunus River Delta and southern lakes in Lithuania. The Burdur Lake project in Turkey also benefited when funds were used to purchase a boat and radio equipment for use by local wardens to help safeguard the White-headed duck – one of the world’s most threatened waterfowl species.

1993 Wigeon at Dawn – Lindisfarne – Chris Rose

Stamps-18008 This stamp captures the splendour of the European wigeon and the mystical atmosphere of Holy Island and the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve on the Northumberland coast where traditional waterfowl hunting continues alongside designated refuge areas. Since the 1993/4 shooting season all wildfowling permits at Lindisfarne must be validated by a UK Habitat Stamp. As a result, the WHT has helped fund management work on the Reserve, particularly the control of the invasive Spartina so as to maintain open mudflats and Zostera beds upon which many of the tens of thousands of ducks, geese, swans and waders using the Reserve depend.

1992 Ouse Washes – Winter Floods, European Green-winged Teal – Julian Novorol

Stamps-18009 The 1992/93 stamp design celebrated one of the first projects funded by the UK Habitat Stamp, namely the purchase of eight acres at Welney on the Ouse Washes by the Ely & District Wildfowlers Association with assistance from the WHT and English Nature. In the same year the Wildlife Habitat Trust/English Nature partnership assisted the Little Oakley & District Wildfowlers Association to purchase a key 150 acres within the internationally important Hamford Water Site of Special Scientific Interest in Essex. This site is now part of the Hamford Water National Nature Reserve with the wildfowling club undertaking management to safeguard not only migratory waterfowl but also rare nesting shore birds such as the little tern.

1991 Pintail over the East Light – Rodger McPhail

Stamps-18010This, the first UK Habitat Stamp, features the pintail, one of the most elegant of Europe’s migratory waterfowl flying over the East Lighthouse at the outfall of the River Nene on the Wash. Today the lighthouse overlooks the Terrington marshes which form part of the Wash National Nature Reserve. Here shooting is managed by the Fenland Wildfowlers Association – the first of many shooting clubs to adopt the purchase of the UK Habitat Stamp as an annual conservation levy by its members.

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