Capturing a quicksilver sprite

Weasels, wiry wee terrors
Weasels, wiry wee terrors

Who knows how many times I have called a weasel to my camera – that is the easy part!

Snatching a decent photograph of this quicksilver sprite is the tricky bit.

Even having managed to grab a picture, it is usually little more than a brown blur, or a green blur depicting where a weasel has been!

However, the other day I got lucky, bringing this one in to two metres, whereupon he stood erect to scan for the source of my squeaks and squeals.

Though he only held the pose for a few seconds I managed four rapid pictures before he was gone.

As usual, hurried pitures are often blurry pictures. Thankfully the best of the four was usable and here it is. At only the length of your hand, weasels are small for a purpose.

These wiry wee terrors are long designed by evolution to hunt the narrow tunnels and burrows of mice, moles and voles.

Being denizens of rough grasslands and drystone walls, they are seldom seen despite being fairly common.

Few hedges, walls or verges will not have a resident weasel or two.

As regards the technique of calling them, or in fact calling most predators, the most simple and quick way is to purse your lips and suck to make a high pitched squeal.

Hopefully, this will resemble the distress calls the predator hears every time it grabs some unfortunate victim. It is a sound the predator associates with food and most can be called in after a bit of practice.

So, when in the country with a camera, if you spot a weasel, get the camera pointing towards it and start squeaking.

At the very least you will get a picture of where a weasel has been!

By George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management