Precious Memories – A Morning With The Stoat Family

If you have a hobby which involves things which are out of your control then you will probably have a special memory of a special day tucked away somewhere.

I’ve been re-processing some old photos and I came across some that I’d taken back in 2011 at the RSPB reserve in Conwy. It was just such a magical moment. Just me and a family of Stoats who were playing around a rocky area which they were calling home. The light was good and the Stoats went about their business as if I wasn’t there, approaching me so closely at times that the camera wouldn’t focus. Reprocessing these shots put me back in that moment. I’ll never forget it, or them. (Click on any image for a larger view)

Time for your close-up, Mr Piper….

It was Happy Birthday to Adrian day today! An early-ish run up to Llyn Aled was fairly quiet but one bird made my day. A posing Common Sandpiper danced its way around the grass on my side of the car for at least 15 minutes whilst I peppered it with photos from less than 15 feet away.

Other upland birds were available, but nothing today was going to compare with the Sandpiper encounter!

Best of the rest from Blacktoft

The title says it all really ….

Little Egret flyby…

“time for my close-up”

the ever-present Marsh Harrier
I love Avocets but these were just too far away..

Little Grebe – or “cotton wool bird” as I call them


Mr and Mrs Tufted Duck

Mr & Mrs Gadwall

and a “heavy bomber” Cormorant

The Stars of Blacktoft

Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve is a superb place. There are so many birds around, some resident and some passing through.
There is one resident species that visitors cannot miss. The Marsh Harriers are the apex bird and it’s unlikely that you will go more than 30 minutes without seeing one. The reserve is large but narrow and the hides look across the strip of pools and reeds. As the Harriers patrol past, their eyes always intent on what lie below, some good views and photo opportunities can be had.

What do you call a Gull that’s only little?

This will be the first in a multi-part account of my trip to RSPB Blacktoft Sands on the bank holiday Monday.
I love this reserve. Great hides, habitat and birds and, being on the east coast, different birds from the Welsh ones I see near home.
From the moment I sat down in a hide I spotted a bird that I knew was different. Six Little Gulls (so imaginatively named!) were sat on the water in front of me. I’ve seen them before near home but only tired and tatty specimens, blown near shore by gales at sea. These were pristine, in full summer plumage. Their heads were sooty black, reflecting no light at all, and their breasts were showing signs of the pinkness of a bird in breeding condition. They never came close but I still tried to give them my best shot.
Of course, with them being gulls, little and powerless to overcome the ripples on the pool, I called them all “Bob”!

Typical feeding behaviour, plucking a tiny morsel from the surface of the water.