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Friday, 23 December 2011

Stoat'lly Ruthless

Wednesday another visit to Holywell Pond not expecting much but just another chance to look through the gulls ,good numbers around again and more Common Gulls than usual on the shore at the east end . Thought I would check the fields to the east looking back everything had lifted  took a few seconds to pick out a Peregrine as it lazily flew through the Lapwings rising then headed west. At the west end in the hide all there was to look through where gulls ,then I heard a shrill
squeal first I thought it was going to be gulls chasing each other , no thats too long perhaps Water Rail  fighting , again no it was only one sided  looked out the front a Rabbit hopped leisurely across the front of the hide  a second or two later the sound again what the hell is that I thought , carefully went outside and there right in front of me a Stoat with it's teeth sunk into the neck of the Rabbit  which was squealing very shrill and continuously but this just made the Stoat all the more aggressive. Camera at the ready I took a couple of shots the light so poor all where blurred so I pushed the iso up to 3200 and still I was only 1/50 th ,standing very still trying to hold the camera steady the Stoat could hear the shutter but the wind blowing my way it just had a look around , the Rabbit still not dead squealed again and the Stoat went at it again ,eventually after pulling it this way and that the Stoat satisfied it was dead started to pull it into the undergrowth which must have took some effort given the twigs etc around , one last shot and I left it too it and ten minutes later on the way home both where gone from sight . Thinking about it I have heard Rabbit squeal before but only briefly not on and on like this one nature can be ruthless !!!! 


By the time I got this shot the Stoat had been attacking the Rabbit for sometime but the photos turned out blurred
 Now it can hear the shutter sound but it's not sure what it is
Another frantic attack to finish it off

 Again it hears the shutter and heads off into the grass, but I just stand very still and it soon returns ,it's not going to let all that effort go to waste
 Not sure if this Rabbit has perhaps Myxomatosis, making it easier prey

A sizeable prey for such a small predator ,surprisingly only a small amount of blood on the face

And off it goes which is where I left


Cain Scrimgeour said...

gutted I missed all this, looks like the Rabbit would be thankful for the swift death

Stewart said...

Great post Brian, I love Stoats. Looks like the rabbit had myxie...

Northumbrian Birding said...

Cain, I'm afraid death was anything but swift !!!

Stewart, Yes you to have admire Stoats when they are in hunting mode they are fearless I was only yards away.

Johnnykinson said...

They are ruthless killers, but don't look the part. The light is always poor when you are desperate for a good image.

Northumbrian Birding said...

John I have now set the camera to push up the iso desperate I know ,but I would rather have something than nothing.

Dan Huber said...

Great capture


Northumbrian Birding said...

Thanks Dan, you are so right Birding is Fun!!!!