October 12, 2016

2813 CHINA (Guangxi) - Cormorant fishing at the Li River

Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae) is a family of some 40 species of aquatic bird, which range around the world, except for the central Pacific islands. They are medium-to-large birds, with body weight in the range of 0.35-5kg and wing span of 45-100cm. The majority of species have dark feathers. The bill is long, thin and hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes. All species are fish-eaters, catching the prey by diving from the surface. They are excellent divers, and under water they propel themselves with their feet with help from their wings.

Cormorants nest in colonies around the shore, on trees, islets or cliffs. They are coastal rather than oceanic birds, and some have colonised inland waters - indeed, the original ancestor of cormorants seems to have been a fresh-water bird. Humans have used cormorants' fishing skills in various places in the world. Archaeological evidence suggests that cormorant fishing was practiced in Ancient Egypt, Peru, Korea and India, but the strongest tradition has remained in China and Japan, where it reached commercial-scale level in some areas.

In Guilin, cormorants (mostly great cormorants - P. carbo) are famous for fishing on the shallow Li River. In a common technique, a snare is tied near the base of the bird's throat, which allows the bird only to swallow small fish. When the bird captures and tries to swallow a large fish, the fish is caught in the bird's throat. When the bird returns to the fisherman's raft, the fisherman helps the bird to remove the fish from its throat. The method is not as common today, since more efficient methods of catching fish have been developed, but is still practiced as a cultural tradition.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Journey to the West - One of China's Famous Classical Literary Works, designed by Li Yunzhong and issued on May 3, 2015
• Great Sage Equalling Heaven (1.20 CNY)
• Sun Wukong Surrendered to Buddha (1.20 CNY)
• Tang Monk Makes Great Vovs to Go to the West (1.50 CNY)
• Tang Monk Disciples Monkey King (1.50 CNY) - It's on the postcard 2813

The second stamp is part of the series The Birds of Prey (2), designed by Wan Yi, and issued on February 23, 2014.
• Aquila heliaca (1.20 CNY)
• Circus cyaneus (1.20 CNY)
• Accipiter gentilis (1.50 CNY)
• Falco tinnunculus (1.50 CNY) - It's on the postcard 2813

Cormorant - Wikipedia
Cormorant fishing - Wikipedia

Sender: Xiaomei Ding (direct swap)
Sent from Daqiao Town (Zhejiang / China), on 31.08.2016 

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