Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 16/11/2011

The Tufty Club*

Tufted Duck, originally uploaded by

We are jumping about a bit with this photo timeline on Flickr, aren’t we… Barnes, Kenya, last weekend, Kenya, Dartmoor, London Zoo etc. As much as I don’t want to post a run of the same photos, I don’t want to inflict the same photos over and over again on you, Dear Reader. Today’s images were taken during a visit to the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust at Barnes and is actually of a wild Tufted Duck, not one of their captive birds. Most creatures are opportunists especially when it comes to food and will always take an easy meal – and as the captive birds have an easy and regular access to food, some of the wild birds have figured out they can muscle in on the show.

To say Tufties migrate is a bit of an understatement, it’s more an invasion with their numbers swelling from around 7,000 resident pairs up to over 120,000 pairs. It’s easy to be passe about birds you see frequently but I always like seeing Tufted Ducks, though they’re not so receptive. It seems that I only need to start moving my lens towards them and they’ve disappeared under the water. They must also have a periscope as they seem to appear only when I’ve lost interest and moved on to something else. Well, not always, obviously as I managed to get a few half decent shots in this instance.

The Wetlands Trust have received some incredibly important residents this month when thirteen Spoonbill Sandpiper chicks were shipped from Russia where they had been collected, incubated and hatched prior to shipping to Slimbridge. These diminutive birds are some of the rarest on the planet with only around 120-200 breeding pairs in the wild, and unlike other rare creatures I write about, there isn’t an abundance of these birds in captivity so this really is a last shot to protect these birds. Seeing as the WWT has such a good track record at captive breeding and reintroduction then these birds are in the best place – fingers crossed they will get enough of the birds to be able to display them to the public.. and more importantly… me and my camera!

*Who remembers the Tufty Club? They were an early attempt to educate children into the dangers of road, and instill the Green Cross Code into them to reduce accidents.



  1. Your passion and talent inspire me! I wondered if you shot photos for National Geographic so I went to your “about” page. No such accolades to be found. You are brilliantly talented!

    • Thank you for your kinds words Diane, indeed a job with National Geographic would be my idea of heaven.

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