A Home for Nature. Or, How to Frustrate a Stoat.

August 23, 2020

I have a number of bird nest boxes scattered around the farm. There is an enormous nesting box for the resident Tawny Owl which took two of us several hours to mount in the roof of a barn and which he has studiously ignored for the last two years - preferring to sit on a cross-beam about 6 feet away from the custom-designed super owl-hotel, and watch me with irritation every time I walk through. Otherwise there are some standard nesting boxes on trees etc designed for the specific birds which inhabit the locations in the spring.

Luckily these have been more successful with Blackbirds, Blue Tits, and Swallows as well as Sparrows being frequent (and verbal) residents. With one particular occupied box I was determined to get a shot of the Blue Tit emerging from the hole, and set up camp on a chair at that end of the garden, well wrapped up 'cause it was cold, and about 12 feet or so away from the box, and waited.

I had no luck with the bird but after about 15 minutes this fellow showed up.

This is a Stoat (Mustela Erminea). Fairly common in the UK, not so common here unless there happens to be a surplus of rabbits for lunch. He had a good go at getting into the nesting box as there were young Blue Tits inside, but with the hole cut at around 25mm diameter he found it a bit of a struggle

In went the head for a good look 

 

but despite some swaying backwards and forwards the shoulders were just too much.

I give up. Still no shot of the Blue Tits though.

 

 

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