Tim Melling – Merlin

Tim writes: Photo-opportunities of perched Merlins are few and far between.  So I could hardly believe my luck when I spotted one on a roadside post some distance ahead.  I took a few record shots then inched closer in the car until it was only about 25m away.  It then turned its head and made full eye contact with me.  I managed to press the shutter just at the moment to catch the stare.  A few seconds later it took flight.  It was well below zero at the time and you can see the horizontal ice crystals on the post.  This was high on the Tibetan Plateau where Siberian Merlins (subspecies insignis) spend the winter where they feed mainly on various species of Snowfinch.