What a great way start to the week, clear blue skies and warm sunshine! Perfect to get out and about around the reserve, and that is exactly what I have been doing. Bill and Eveline, our dedicated local volunteers, undertake any maintenance jobs that need doing around the reserve, from fixing fences to building bridges – there isn’t a lot they can’t do! And gratefully I have been able to help them with their tasks and pick up some handy skills along the way. Of course we have been getting ready for the season ahead; putting that final lick of paint on the signs, dusting off the displays and clearing the drains and paths around the reserve...and what could be more rewarding when your outside in the fresh crisp winter air with good company and in a brilliant location?
And then there’s always the unexpected delight of watching a peregrine swoop past or ravens displaying, or even taking a chance look at the cliffs to discover that its covered in guillemots, and all the joys of summer past come flooding back! At this time of year the guillemots will just be prospecting their breeding sites so it is luck whether you will see them or not. We took 5 minutes to grab our binoculars and watch with excitement as they bickered and bustled on the tightly packed ledges. Their little penguin-like bodies shuffled about awkwardly as they fought for space, and their familiar rumbling calls filled the air. It was like they had never left us to take to the sea and a sure sign that spring was on its way...
As well as the smaller maintenance jobs, these next few months will be busy up at the cafe too with the building work due to start very soon. Of course once all the work is done the cafe will be open again in April for you all to enjoy.
We hope everyone has had a very enjoyable Chirstmas and New Year. Here at South Stack we are all certainly looking forward to the year ahead. Come and make the most of the beautiful winter sunshine at South Stack and enjoy our many trails, wonderful wildlife and brilliant views.
Hope to see you all very soon!
From Jen and all the team at South Stack :-)
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all the staff at RSPB South Stack to say a special thank you to all the visitors, customers and volunteers that have given their custom, time, support, love and sacrifice for the good of the RSPB South Stack Nature Reserve and all it’s habitats and wildlife in 2010 – and wish each and every one of you the very best of love and wishes for this coming 2011 year.
Ps. Just to let you all know that South Stack Café will be closed from the 5th January 2011 for refurbishment.
We plan to re open the cafe for year round opening on the 4th of April 2011.
The reserve is still open so if you fancy a walk with a burst of crisp winter sunshine and fresh air what better place to do it than beautiful South Stack Nature Reserve.
please watch this space for further updates
Thank you for your patience - see you all soon – enjoy yourselves and be careful !
Love – Peace and Respect
Mark – Visitor Information Person
The familiar and brilliant sound of a lapwing! Never have I seen so many all together – the fields here at South Stack are full of them, like the starlings, curlews and thrushes too. They caught my eye instantly with their lazy almost butterfly–like flight. And if you’re lucky enough to get close you can admire their brilliant almost iridescent plumage of green and purple – how wonderful! Golden plover have been spotted here too in large numbers by our Site Manager Dave, they are not so easy to spot however as they are brilliantly camouflaged! Atleast, that is my excuse for not having seen them yet...
What else will great us at this time of year? Of course with all the snow and ice it is a difficult time for birds to find food. They will visit frost free spots rich in food from all around just to keep their energy levels up during the harsh winter months. Some of the friendly Robins, Blackbirds and Thrushes that you see busily searching for food have come all the way from Northern Europe to spend the winter in milder climates.
The Chough that are resident here at South Stack are reliant on soft soil to dig into the ground with their long beaks to find invertebrates; frozen ground makes this job all the more difficult. Thankfully, due to the mild coastal climate, even during cold spells the ground here will remain frost-free. Ian, our Catering Manager, is particularly fond of the Chough pair (mouse-trap) that regularly feed opposite the Cafe. Beside serving customers and cooking you may catch him, with binoculars to the window, quickly looking for any birds to be seen! Mark, our enthusiastic information officer, was also delighted to spot a female Black Redstart from the cafe earlier this week! Well – what are you waiting for? Who knows what you might encounter when you enjoy a brew at the South Stack cafe?
A quick thank you to Mo our local volunteer who has put up some amazing photo's of South Stack in the snow! If you havn't seen already just look at our South Stack page.
From all the team here at South Stack – goodbye for now and see you soon!
Wow it’s beautiful – this week has seen the first covering of snow on the Snowdonia Mountain Range with great views from the RSPB Café at South Stack, a stunning reminder that winter is well and truly on it’s way,
Don’t worry about the snow and cold weather outside because a warm welcome by all our staff will always await you at our RSPB South Stack Café and talking of snow- I’m proud to announce that more ‘’Snow’’ is on the way.
It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally done it –that’s because accomplished wildlife artist and writer Philip Snow will not only be the first artist that has ever exhibited at the New RSPB Café at South Stack, but he will also be talking about his fine art, undertaking a bird sketching demonstration and signing his new book ‘Tall Tales From an Estuary’, a lavishly illustrated story of a typical Welsh estuary & its exotic visitors from all over the earth, told & pictured by its garrulous guardian & hoary historian, Howell the Heron!
The book was recently presented to HRH Prince Charles, along with a print of Red Squirrels at Plas Newydd – Prince Charles later stated that he 'enjoyed the book' & 'lovely painting', which now hangs alongside another painting of mine in his Mid-Wales home.
We are all really excited at the prospect of Philip Snow being at our café for the first time ever - he is not only a very skilled artist but also a man who very much cares about wildlife conservation who has donated considerable amounts of work and input to various conservation & education projects, like the North Wales Bird Trust and Friends of Anglesey Red Squirrels.
Philip snow has exhibited in most of London & Wales’ top galleries & venues, like the Design Centre, the Barbican, Mall Galleries & Association of Illustrators Gallery; & here in Wales, at Oriel Ynys Môn, Oriel Eryri, St David’s Hall, Mostyn Gallery, National Eisteddfod, Beaumaris Festival, Tegfryn Gallery etc., & with the Royal Academy Exhibition, ‘British Art’, in the Gulf States, & in several other countries.
His work is found in many Private, & Public & Royal Collections, including HRH Prince Charles, National Library of Wales, USAF Museum; USA Falconry Archives; RSPB, Kyffin Williams RA, Bryn Terfel, Iolo Williams, Julian Pettifer, & many Saudi & Gulf State royal families etc.
Philip says that ‘his books are the result of over 30 years work & investigation into the ‘Natural World’ [Creation] & reflect a deep Christian commitment & concern for our future - never more in peril than now’!
We look forward to seeing you all on the 13th and 14th of November for what we hope will prove to be a warm encounter with a very nice man, writer, naturalist and artist Philip Snow.
Love – Peace & Respect to you all
Mark – RSPB Visitor Information Officer
South Stack is now beginning to feel the cold grip of winter. But with it we have had beautiful crisp clear mornings that reveal the impressive Snowdonia moutain range and Llyn peninsular hills to the south.
Wildlife is wonderful too. Everything seems to be flocking together…including the sheep of course! I have watched as the Starlings rise, fall, twist and turn in perfect synchronized formation. The Jackdaws have been doing it aswell and impressive they are too with their agile mastered flight. These birds have come together from up in the mountains to feed lower down where it is less exposed to the winter elements. Surprisingly we have had regular sightings of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the area – this is unusual as predominantly this is a woodland species! Here we have few trees, but instead plenty of telegraph poles and man made structures in which they can nest. Fingers crossed it will stay! Another surprise visitor has been the snow bunting. These pretty looking birds have, as the name suggests, a lot of white on the wings and chest and are quite jittery when they feed on the ground but be careful and you can get quite close! They are migrants, coming from all round the Arctic Circle – lets hope they have a good winter here..
The Chough and Raven can be seen also, the two species of crow I never tire of seeing. If the sheep are about on the hill you may be lucky to see the chough feeding near by. They enjoy the disturbance that the sheep create on the ground and will snatch up all the insects that live there. Kestrels and Peregrines have been seen regularly also. Peter, our shepherd told me he quite often sees the peregrine when on the heathland near North Stack!
If you come to our Café there may be a member of staff that can help you to spot wildlife such as Chough feeding in the fields opposite. Whilst your enjoying a brew you may also see many other species of birds that have perhaps come to investigate our new bird feeder put up just yesterday. This is in preparation for our Feed The Birds event coming up this Thursday 28th and Friday 29th. Come and see for yourself and enjoy the warmth, friendly welcome and beautiful scenery.