Thursday, January 26, 2012

Late for work...

Its sometimes good to be late for work. This morning I was running a half hour or so behind schedule, and with a fallen tree reported to be blocking the route south via the coast I headed west towards the A1.

and this is what I saw for my trouble -


An absolutely pristine fully white Ermine scuffling through the base of the roadside hedge at Littlehoughton.

I spent the two very cold spells in 2010 looking for these in drifts of snow. When the snow melted I felt sure there would be Ermine to see against the dark brown leaf litter, but all I managed were two semi-ermine, almost white but with a hint of stoat about them. Now, in a mild winter with scarcely a flake of snow this turns up. I see a few  Stoats around here and have seen three or four in recent weeks but all nice russet ones. I never considered the appearance of a ghost-stoat!

It just goes to show, you never know what you will find next.

My highlight of the year so far.

11 comments:

Dean said...

Nice one, Stewart. I`ve only ever seen one and that was in the Peak District.

Alan Pavey said...

Excellent stuff, never seen a Stoat with that great white coat, I'm not sure if the ones here in the south go white.

Marc Heath said...

Very nice indeed, a talent I wish I had. Love the blog, different but very good.

Ragged Robin said...

Great sighting Stewart and lovely drawing.

Anonymous said...

I was similarly surprised by a pure white full ermine in the old quarry area at Holy Island a couple of weeks ago.
Must be something other than snow which triggers it. The merlin which swooped at it obviously had no problem spotting it, but missed.

Kelly said...

I just saw your blog listed over at Sissinghurst Birds etc... and had to take a look. I love all of your field sketches!!

abbey meadows said...

I've seen a few over the years mainly around Stobswood and Druridge but never when there has been any snow. Nice sketch.

The Wessex Reiver said...

Well done Stewart that is a fabulous find, as you know the white pelage is related to day length and so forth, but I've never seen one in Northumberland before. And these days living in the SW, absolutely no chance

Greenie said...

Stewart ,
No need for a camera with talent like yours .
Great sketch .

Stewart said...

Many thanks all for the kind comments. I have seen a few Ermines over the years. My first was flushed by my old dog many years ago when it jumped right over his head and legged it. I have seen one at Big Waters feeding station while ringing with Alan Johnson and ods and sods elsewhere but this one, in full white pelage in the sun was really something else.

Nigel is right too, I have yet to see one in the snow, but then again it would be tricky.

Prize for best laugh goes to Marc....different! :) I'll try and figure that out?

Jerry said...

Never seen one of these beauties - totally jealous!